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Last week I did a post where I asked Apple to Lose the Sync cable for syncing media to iOS devices. This week I have the pleasure of reviewing a software solution that in my opinion does what iTunes should do natively. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that the developers of SuperSync have a great product on the market and have filled the gap, but honestly there shouldn't be a need for this product in the first place.


The Need

Let's start with the problem. I have all of music, movie, podcasts, TV shows, etc. in iTunes on a dedicated iMac in my home. Let's call it the iTunes Server. This is the computer that we sync all of our iOS devices to for music, and other media content in my home. This is also the iMac that feeds our Apple TVs. This setup works great and keeps us from having to store the same songs, movies, etc. on multiple computers. As long as we're in the house we can stream content from the iMac to just about anything. There is one glaring problem with this setup and that is there is no easy way to "Sync" this media to another Mac (or PC) for those few times when we want to take this content with us on a laptop. Sure Apple gave us "Home Sharing" in iTunes 9, but while Home Sharing lets us drag and drop media from one computer to another, it has no automatic syncing abilities. It's a completely manual process. What I simply want to be able to do is have the same level of syncing that iTunes provides from computer to iDevice, from computer to computer over the network. I would love to open up iTunes on my MacBook Pro and use Home Sharing to sync my 5 favorite playlists over to my laptop. I own the content. I have the two computer authorized with the same iTunes account. Technically there is no reason why iTunes shouldn't be able to do this other than Apple hasn't built it in as a feature of iTunes. Even if you drag stuff over manually via Home Sharing, there isn't even a warning of duplicates. It will let you drag the same song over 3 times in a row if you don't pay attention. Let's say that you're willing to drag over your favorite songs and build the same playlists manually on your other computer, the minute you make a change on the 1st computer the 2nd computer is now out of date. 


SuperSync to the rescue

SuperSync is a separate application that you run on your two or more computers (you'll need a license for each computer). You can set either one or both up as "servers". All of the media on one computer's iTunes library will be displayed on the other computer in SuperSync. At that point you can pick and choose which media to copy over or more importantly which ones/playlists to keep in sync. This is actually is not my first time trying this applicaiton. I tried it a while back but it was missing one important feature back then that stopped me in my tracks. I have 3 favorite playlists that are "Smart Playlists". Back when I first tried this App SuperSync couldn't deal with Smart Playlists and therefore it was of no use to me. I happened to walk by their booth at Macworld Expo and listened to their pitch. I saw on the literature that Smart Playlists were now supported so I upgraded on the spot!


How does it work

SuperSync absolutely works as advertised. It's even pretty easy to use. My only complaint and suggestion to the developers is that the user interface is VERY INTIMIDATING. When you open it they show you a million things all at once. It's like walking into your office and someone has taken everything out of your drawers and filing cabinets and put them out on display in case you need them. Once you look past everything being exposed at the same time you can start to use the app. The first thing I decided to do was to delete all the songs from my MacBook Pro iTunes library. This is not required, but I wanted to start clean. The next thing I did in SuperSync was to select the playlist that I wanted to sync from the iMac and I chose all the songs and copied them over to the MacBook Pro. Next I choose "sync" for that playlist. From this point on if any changes are made on the iMac, I can just sync those changes to my MacBook Pro. It's that simple.



The Bottom Line

SuperSync solved my problem. The interface is daunting and could really be much more simplied by not exposing EVERYTHING all at once. Otherwise I'll gladly use this and recommend it to anyone wishing to keep two or more iTunes libraries in sync. Yes, it does sync in both directions which is really a plus if I happen to buy some songs while on the road. 

You can get SuperSync directly from their website. A two pack is on sale right now for $22!

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7 Responses to SuperSync Does What iTunes Should Do Natively

  1. Brett says:

    Apple is all about ease of use.

    I have no doubt that the reason Apple doesn’t do more to allow one to freely move media from machine to machine is due to pressure from the music and movie industry. If Apple wants to continue to sell media in the iTunes music store, they have to avoid upsetting the copyright holders.

    I wish people would place the blame where it really lies: with the content publishers that would charge each of us for every listen or view, from now to eternity, if only they could.

  2. Todd says:

    I’m sure this is how the lack of computer to computer syncing originated, but as Mr. White correctly points out, this can all be done now on AUTHORIZED computers. It’s just a major hassle. It seems to me the provisions to make the content folks happy were created a long time ago, In my opinion, this is more than likely an example of Apple’s concentration on iOS devices while Mac OS X devices’ capabilities languish a bit. And I’m a huge Apple fan, but iTunes really does need a rewrite if not a rethink.

  3. Andrew says:

    this is really very cool! thanks for sharing with us. I have a related question for you – is it possible to have all music stored on an external NAS Drive in a music folder (itunes>itunes media>music) and have 3 family (mine, wife, son) macs point to it to create unique playlists, and also save/store if purchased from itunes or ripped from Cd’s? appreciate your thoughts.

  4. Andy says:

    But what I really want is to use an NAS to store all my Music, Movies, etc and then be able to sync/update my iTunes Library on each machine that reference my NAS as it’s iTunes Music Folder. I don’t want to duplicate my data. Yes, I do have a dedicated Mac mini that I use as a media server for AppleTV, etc.

    I’m still looking for the software that does this. Oh, yeah, I don’t want to store my files on someone else’s cloud.

  5. Eric says:

    My experience with this product have not been as good. The two features that I wanted (Tivo access & 10.4.11 10.6.6 sharing) just didn’t work. I contacted tech support with both problems and their response to the Tivo problem was “it is fixed in the next release”, and there was no solution for the 10.4.11 problem (it starts and instantly dies). It does work fine with a pair of Intel based Macbook Pros, but my old Mac Mini (PPC) that is used as a music server among other things just doesn’t work. I finally asked for a refund and was told it would take a couple of days, which have elapsed and I’ve yet to see it appear in my Paypal account.

  6. […] doesn't offer true "syncing" between computers. Luckily I was able to solve this with SuperSync and sync the playlists I wanted from my iMac iTunes server to both MacBooks. The only thing that I […]