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iOS device syncing in iTunes 11, audiobook lengths, and listening in mono

Kirk McElhearn | Feb. 25, 2013
Disoriented by iTunes 11's new way of syncing iOS devices? Confused by the different lengths of audiobooks with the same titles? Curious about how to make a list of the books in your iTunes library? Interested in listening to your audio in mono, instead of stereo? I have the answers to all these questions in this week's column.

Disoriented by iTunes 11's new way of syncing iOS devices? Confused by the different lengths of audiobooks with the same titles? Curious about how to make a list of the books in your iTunes library? Interested in listening to your audio in mono, instead of stereo? I have the answers to all these questions in this week's column.

Q: I have updated to iTunes 11 and it is so different I can't find my way around it. Where is the button that gives the information about my device? I am unable to find it, or to sync my photos to my computer to my iPhone. Where did the photos sync option go?

The thing that seems to have thrown iTunes users the most with the latest update is the way you access an iPhone or other iOS device to change its sync settings. In iTunes 10 and earlier, iOS devices would show up in a sidebar at the left of the iTunes window. iTunes 11 removes this sidebar by default; however, you can bring it back by choosing View > Show Sidebar, or by pressing Command-Option-S.

That button at the top-right of the iTunes window gives you access to sync settings for your device(s)

If the sidebar is visible, you'll see your iPhone in the same location as before, under Devices. If you don't display the sidebar, however, you need to look at the top-right of the iTunes window for either a button that displays the name of your device, or one that reads, say, 2 Devices, if you have two iOS devices connected. Click that button (or with multiple devices, click the button, then click your device from the pop-up menu) to access your device's settings. From there, things are mostly as they were before.

Q: Why are some audiobooks on iTunes longer then others. Some versions of The Count of Monte Cristo are 50 hours while others are 50 minutes.

Audiobooks come in two flavors: abridged and unabridged. The costs associated with creating audiobooks--making cassette tapes or CDs back before audiobooks became digital, for example--lead publishers to abridge books (make them shorter). To some of us, however, abridged books are a heresy. The Count of Monte Cristo is a good example--in a paperback edition in the original French, it's about 1500 pages, and cutting out bits and pieces (or entire chapters) would ruin the story.

Look for the word "Unabridged" if you want to buy a full, uncut book.

Abridged books may work for non-fiction, where (let's be honest) many books have enough fluff that you won't notice the cuts. But for novels, I'd stick with unabridged books. They're a bit more expensive, because of the recording time needed, but at least you'll get the entire story.

 

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