It's taken me long enough, but finally a solution for syncing both an iPhone and an iTouch with Linux is possible. What is best about this method, is that it does NOT require a jailbroken iPhone. That's right, you'll be able to sync your iPhone, via USB, and add all sorts of good music to it. Now therein lies the catch - all you will be able to sync is Music. No calendar or contacts (yet). But for those who just need to get their music onto their iDevices, you are in luck.
The process is a bit involved, but not too difficult. I will walk you through the steps, some of which are command based, and some are not. And without further adieu, let's get to the installation and configuration. NOTE: As with anything, use caution and ALWAYS back up your data. It is never guaranteed that you won't lose data. You've been warned. ;-)
There are numerous tools to install. I will be doing this on a Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop box, so you will have to adjust your steps according to your distribution.
The first thing to do is add a repository to your apt sources. Do this with the following command:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmcenery/ppa
Now you need to update with the command:
sudo apt-get update
Once apt has completed the update issue the following to install the bulk of what is needed:
sudo apt-get install gvfs gvfs-backends gvfs-bin gvfs-fuse libgvfscommon0 ifuse libgpod-dev libgpod-common libiphone-utils libiphone0 python-iphone libplist++1 libplist-utils python-plist libusb-1.0-0 libusb-1.0-0-dev libusbmuxd1 usbmuxd
Quite a bit to install eh? And it's all necessary. Let that process complete.
The next step is to edit the /etc/fuse.conf file so that your user will have access to the gvfs file system. Do this by opening the /etc/fuse.conf file in your favorite editor and changing this line:
Save that file and you are ready to move on.
Now you have to add your user to the fuse group. To do this go the User and Group entry in the Administration sub-menu of the System menu. When this tool opens click on the Key button to unlock the tool for administrative purposes. Now click the Manage Groups button and then scroll down until you find the fuse group. Double click the fuse group and then click the check box next to the user you want to have access to the fuse group. Click OK and then close out all of the User and Group windows.
The next step requires that you log out of your desktop and then log back in. This will ensure that all changes have taken place. Once this happens plug in your iPhone (or iTouch) and see if it automounts to your desktop. There will be two devices mount. The first device will show up as a camera, the second as a phone. Once you see both of these, you know you are nearly done.
Unfortunately there are some bugs in Rhythmbox that prevent the user from writing to the iPhone/iTouch. That's fine because there is always Gtkpod. You will need to install this with the command:
sudo apt-get install gtkpod
Once this is installed you will find the entry for it in the Sound & Video sub-menu of the Applications menu. Fire that tool up and you are nearly complete.
The last thing you need to do is to configure Gtkpod to mount your device. In the Edit menu you will notice a Repository/iPod Options entry. You have to configure your device as a repository for Gtkpod.
As you can see (in Figure 1) you have to configure where the device will be mounted. This is where it might seem a bit more complicated than need be.
Because of having to use gvfs, the mount point will be in ~/.gvfs/ and will be listed as the name of your device. You will have to open up a terminal and change into that directory to find out what it is called. In my case it was ~/.gvfs/Jack Wallen. So I would enter that in iPod Mountpoint configuration section.
The next option to configure is the Model. Make sure you select the correct model. Do so by clicking the drop down and choosing your model from the list. Once you have done this, click the Add button to add your new device repository. You can then OK the Options window and you are ready to load your iPhone.
Back in the main Gtkpod window click the Load iPod(s) button and eventually your device will show up. You can now add music to your device! Make sure, when you are done adding music, to click the Save Changes button.
It's taken long enough, but the ability to add music to an iPhone has finally arrived. The next step, hopefully, will be the syncing of apps and contact/calendar data. I have a feeling that's going to be another long wait.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.