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October 6th 2009 10:42 pm

iPod without iTunes?

The release of the PSP go has reminded me that a portable game device would be nice.

The iPod touch seems to have a good collection of games of a sort that are better scaled for what I would want in a portable game device than the DS or the PSP. (I sold my PSP a while back)

So I'm considering an iPod with the primary application of casual gaming, with the secondary applications of web browsing and playing podcasts.

However I *hate* iTunes with a passion (quicktime too for that matter) and I don't want to have it touch my PC. Is it possible to setup and run the iPod touch without having to install iTunes?

If it is possible what functionality on the iPod do I miss out on?

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21 replies

try using doubletwist for mac
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Sorry Farnsworth I should have clarified:
My home network is made of a combination of Windows 7, Linux and A Windows Home Server. I've had macs in the past, but I currently don't have anything running OSX.

I see there is a Windows version of double twist and I had a quick look at their site and it looks like it would do media syncing quiet well.

I guess my largest concern is not how to transfer media to my device (which it looks like double twist would solve anyway thanks Farnsworth :) ). But is if iTunes is required for other bits and peices, like account setup for the app store, subscribing to podacsts and so on.
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Ever tried to work on that passionate hatred of yours, cool down, and give iTunes another try?
You can de-activate most of the features you find useless in the preferences.
or try this http://tinyurl.com/bu7vtw

Looks like the problem sits between the chair and the keyboard here.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the Touch, it's a brilliant device
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Now now, there's no need to insult qyiet; lots of people have legitimate gripes about iTunes and put up with them as the cost of having an iPod.

I use iTunes every day and I'm not a big fan either: too slow, no matter how many things you deactivate.
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A valid point, if put somewhat bluntly. I have given it several chances in the past, and at this point I would rather not hijack the thread with why I don't want to use it. So for the purposes of this thread can we just assume that it's an irrational thing and I won't be swayed.
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I wish I could be that classy. I'd get my snark on and poke the Apple fanboi where it itches. Kudos to you sir :D
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Songbird is unfinished as of yet, and while it's a worthy addition promising a lot, I actually find it no less of a potential irritation to use than iTunes due to it's speed, which in actual use is slower than the latest version of iTunes. The very fact that it's open source leads many to overrate its actual merits IMO.

Now in my case, I've thrown in the towel as there are a lot of iTunes-needing features with either the Touch or the iPhone which make it inconvenient to ping-pong between something else and iTunes. And since I run SSD's or SAS RAIDs in all of the systems I use iTunes on - all Macs, another towel thrown in after three years of sweat and tears trying to get a usable cross-platform multi-computer setup going - it's actually not as much of a pain as it could be.

However, under Windows there are better music / media managers than iTunes which have extensive development put into them in trying to work with the Apple-locked-down Touch/iPhone. And looking at your profile, I'm assuming you're a Windows user.

Mediamonkey is one. There's a free version, and a paid-for version which does a better job of library monitoring. I haven't used it recently but it does promise Touch/iPhone syncing.


I'm partial to the paid-for (30 day trial) j.River Media Center, which is a hugely powerful media manager / player as well as handily capable in syncing. If I only had non-Touch/Phone iPods, I would probably stick with j.River. The Touch/iPhone is not supported by MC natively, but the second link points to a plugin which is a workaround.

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I know there is a way to add the ipod to the computer to show up as an external drive. I have done so in the past with my ipod mini. Though I've never actually tried to add files this way, I would assume you would need to do some file conversion in order for the ipod to recognize it. iTunes does this for you.
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I Use doubletwist for my G1 sort of, don't really need it but it works, and it has just about the same funcionality as itunes which i will never use again(personally i see it as bloatware). But shortly like next week you will be able to buy music off Amazon MP3 which has IMO much cheaper music then itunes, and Double twist gives you just about every option to synch it to your device or which ever device you want.
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Good to hear a positive review for double twist. :)
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So am I interperting this correctly?

Is iTunes *only* used to transport your music, pictures and videos accross to the touch?

How about things like firmware updates, are those able to be done over wifi on the touch itself?
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Firmware updates are handled by iTunes.
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:( So its possible to get a long way away from iTunes, but not really possible to do without it completely

Thak you all for your responses, I think I may look at building a Virtual XP machine up to do the odd task like the firmware that needs iTunes.
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I know this response is old, but it's strongly advised to NOT attempt updating firmware through a VM. The device enters a different USB mode and it can cause problems with the VM. You don't want to end up with a bricked device. At the very least, research this heavily before attempting it--Don't just expect the VM to work identically with USB devices.
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DoubleTwist for the Mac is awesome. For Windows (and sometimes Mac) I use SongBird. Its a great open source alternative to iTunes and supports iPods. Just get the Quicktime and iPod extensions and you are set to go. SongBird will only handle the transferring of media though. I may be wrong, but I think you have to use iTunes to install firmware updates.
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Well.. I've gone and got one now.. and after powering it on the first thing it did was demand I connect it to itunes.. I guess I need to update my gdgt profile, and get that VM up and running.

Thanks again everyone
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I feel your pain, I hate it but have to use it for the GF's iPod touch. The best way i have found to deal with it is, turn off all things like Bonjour service, and don't let it update automatically.

That way you can use any Media SW to rip CD's to MP3 etc and do all your usual stuff, and just use iTunes to move files across and do firmware updates without it bloating out.

Unfortunately iTunes is like taxes, you can't avoid it forever
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After you've activated the iPod Touch you could try SongBird www.getsongbird.org as an alternative to iTunes.
I think work is ongoing with an iPod Device Add-on to have iPod Touch/iPhone support, Add-on is available here addons.songbirdnest.com­/addon­/12
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As you can see, the only way to fully interact with an iPod, iPhone is to use iTunes. I don't think its the best thing either, but it gets the job done. I have used a bunch of programs like that and I find faults in all of them... If you buy an iPod, you use iTunes - buy a Zune, you use Zune software... Lots of these other media players don't sync at all, you just drag and drop what you want... That bypasses all of these programs but is not very convenient overall... If you plan to get an iPod and put some games on it, I think iTunes will be more than adequate for that.

If it makes you feel any better, you can download all your games directly onto the device and not have to bother with iTunes. It has the browser and youtube functionality built-in, so nothing to mess with there... It looks like you just need iTunes for podcast and music syncing, two of the things IT IS actually good at......
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I thought better post the follow up stories. I'm pretty much up and running iTunes-less.

I swear if software could hold a grudge.. iTunes did just that:

I installed itunes, plugged it in and told itunes 'don't sync anything' when it asked on startup. Though what the heck.. sync some music across (seeing as we are here) and left it to it.

After a while I got sick of waiting for the music to copy (about 5 gb or so) so I canceled the transfer and played with the touch for a bit.. installed a bunch of apps and all was happy.

Then suddenly all the 3rd party apps I had installed refused to launch.. I would tap, and they would flash up then back to the main menu. No amount of reboots/resets/reinstalls would fix this. Till eventually I did a full wipe to factory settings AND told iTunes that this was a new iPod, not the one it had seen before. Only with both of those did 3rd party apps start working again.

I've found that I can get my podcasts via the itunes app on the iPod without having to have a PC connected. It feels very clunky to me (I'm used to the podcasting app on the Nokia E71 which will pull podcasts down for you). But it works, and the iTunes app pretty much had every podcast I listen to.

Of course the next day a firmware update was released, so I plugged my iPod back into iTunes to get it. The next thing it did was an annoyance.. Despite being told not to sync podcasts it pulled all the podcasts I had downloaded on the iPod *off* it. Including the one I was listening to before I plugged it in.

I've not yet setup doubletwist (as my primary reason for a iPod Touch isn't the music) but I'll post a follow-up when I have.

Overall I would have to say I *am* quite enjoying the iPod Touch... iTunes not so much :) I do have a couple of usage questions.. but I'll start a new thread for them.
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Sad followup:

I went to setup double-twist and songbird last night. Turns out both failed.

Doubletwist requries that iTunes also be installed.
Songbird looks great.. but the iPod support dosn't extend to the iPhone or iPod Touch yet :(

I'm begining to suspect dmurray1981 is correct and iTunes is like taxes.. I'm going to be stuck with it if I want automated podcasts. (or till I can find a good podcasting app)

I do want to point out (again) that despite posting sob stories I am enjoying this gadget a lot.
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