The Ultimate iPod & iTunes Book!

iPod & iTunes Garage
Kirk McElhearn
435 pages. Prentice Hall, 2004. $25

Buy from | Amazon UK | Amazon FR

Download the iPod & iTunes Garage update version 3 (650 KB).

Reviews: “Kirk McElhearn Informs and Entertains”
Consumer Electronics Net: “…an essential guide for anyone who uses these two products.”
Technology Corner (scroll down for the review): “Why doesn’t Apple include this book with iPods and iTunes?”

Quoted in:, You Can Use An iPod For Much More Than Music

The Music Never Stopped

The Gadget Show


Full disclosure: this book is now terribly out of date. Don’t buy it, unless you can get a copy cheap. There’s some good info about managing your iTunes library, but anything that talks about the iPod is over four years old…


Hear ye, hear ye! Attention all iPod and iTunes music junkies! Please briefly remove those conspicuous white earbuds and pay attention to hear this! Author Kirk McElhearn is the grand host of the iPod & iTunes coming-out party. His new book, iPod & iTunes Garage, will show both Mac and Windows users the tips and tricks to transform their iPods into the most useful electronic device they own. And he will demonstrate how to manipulate the iTunes digital music management program to make it the most entertaining piece of software in existence. The book covers the latest features of iTunes and the iPod, including the new 4G model and the iPod mini. (And, to be totally up to date, Kirk McElhearn has an update ready and waiting: see above to download a PDF file with the update. This update covers all the latest Apple innovations: the iPod photo, the iPod U2, and the latest versions of the iPod software and iTunes.)

McElhearn’s coverage ranges from the practical (Installing the iPod Software) to the sublime (Turning your iPod into a Total Music System.) The book has four basic parts. The first covers the iTunes software: both as an application independent of the iPod, then as the conduit to funnel music to the iPod itself. The rest of the book is devoted to the iPod: first, its features, as well as tips and tricks on using the iPod; then additional external software and hardware add-ons available to transform it into a comprehensive musical system and personal digital assistant.

For example, did you know that you can take your audiobook files, even those not purchased from or the iTunes Music Store, and make them bookmarkable, so you don’t lose your place when you listen to them? Or that you can use the iTunes Party Shuffle like a radio, or as a DJ to queue up tunes for a party? Or how about using the iPod in shuffle mode – do you know how many ways you can use this random playback?

“Most users don’t know the tips and tricks that can help make iTunes a much more powerful digital music management tool,” said Kirk McElhearn. “And iTunes is the key to getting the most out of an iPod. My goal was to create a book that tells all.â”

Starting modestly with the essential information such as how to install iTunes, in no time McElhearn breaks the sound barrier by presenting all the key features, such as how to create the twenty-first century equivalent of a compilation cassette tape: the playlist. McElhearn shows readers how to take control and organize their iTunes library so they’re not overwhelmed when their music file collections balloon into the thousands.

McElhearn then turns his attention solely to the iPod, and first and foremost, aims to show readers how to leverage its primary function as a portable digital music player. He covers the basic functions that are essential for any iPod owner, including selecting and working with playlists, and important information not readily known, such as how to extend the device’s battery life and how to troubleshoot technical problems.

But skip ahead just a few pages, and McElhearn pushes the iPod to new limits. A sneak peek of these special topics includes how to transfer music files from one iPod to another, how to connect the iPod to a stereo, and how to store digital photos on the iPod. And for readers who frequently travel, McElhearn shows them how to charge their iPods on the move, how to listen to iPods in a car, and the best kind of headphones to filter out airplane noise. (And he even explains how to use the iPod as an alarm clock on business trips!)

Beyond this wealth of technical information, McElhearn weaves one other dimension throughout the book, which is to take a big-picture look at the sweeping cultural implications of iTunes and the iPod, and what it foretells for the music industry. Industry giants such as Steve Wozniak and Janis Ian share their opinions on this new era of digital music and file sharing. And, McElhearn got in touch with dozens of musicians and authors, asking them what their ‘Essential Music’ is. Musicians like Bob Weir, Peter Frampton, Chuck Garvey, John Foxx and Harold Budd; and authors like Arthur Golden, Peter Robinson, Christopher Priest and James Morrow share their favorite tunes.

In keeping with the spirit of the new Prentice Hall PTR Garage Series, the book is organized into more than 80 easily digestible topics to assist readers in immediately locating the desired material.

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