How to Sync an iPad With a Mac

by Keith Evans
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The Apple iPad, a tablet computer that runs on the iOS operation system, allows users to take their files, music, data and applications on the road with them instead of a bulky laptop computer. A user must synchronize the device with a computer running Apple iTunes software to transfer files between the computer and the tablet. Macintosh owners can complete this process in a few simple steps.

Step 1

Connect the iPad. Plug the wide end of the iPad cable into the connector port on the bottom of the tablet device; press firmly but gently until the cable is in place. Plug the narrow end into the USB port on the Mac computer.

Step 2

Launch iTunes. According to Apple, iTunes should automatically launch when it detects a connected iPad. If iTunes does not launch, find the iTunes icon, which resembles a musical note inside a circle, in the dock at the bottom of the screen. Click on it one time. The icon will begin to bounce as the application opens.

Step 3

Select the items to sync. iTunes can synchronize a wide array of information with an iPad, and the iTunes default settings allow the application to synchronize all music, podcasts, movies, TV shows and applications contained in iTunes with the iPad. To select additional content, including contacts, photos and videos not already in iTunes, click on the iPad icon in the left column of the iTunes window, and select the desired content from the iPad "Info" window.

Synchronize. If the iPad summary window is not already displayed in iTunes, click the iPad icon in the left column, and then click "Summary" at the top of the iTunes application. A "Sync" button will appear in the lower portion of the iTunes window; click on it.


  • Never force the iPad connector into the device or into the Mac USB port. Forcing an ill-fitting connector into the port can damage the cable, the iPad or the Mac.
  • Do not disconnect the iPad during the synchronization process. Interrupting the sync can cause data loss.


  • In addition to music and videos, iTunes can also synchronize email account settings, web bookmarks and other information stored on the Mac. You can select the data to synchronize from the "Info" window in iTunes.
  • Depending on the amount of data in iTunes and on the iPad, the synchronization process may take as long as 20 to 30 minutes. Synchronizing multiple full-length, high quality movies may take an hour or more.
  • If you do not have an iPad cable available, a standard iPod cable also fits the device.


Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.

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