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Using an iPod

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Looking at the iPod's Menus and Screens

Now that you have an idea of how to move around your iPod, let's get a good understanding of its menus and screens by moving among them using the following steps:

  1. Slide your finger or thumb clockwise on the Click Wheel to move down a menu or counterclockwise to move up a menu. As you move your digit, different menu options will be highlighted on the screen to show that they are selected.

  2. When you want to use a menu command, highlight it and press the Select button. That command will be active and the screen will change to reflect what you have done. For example, if you selected another menu, that menu will appear on the screen. If you select a song, the Now Playing screen will appear and that song will start to play.

  3. To move back to a previous screen, press the Menu button. You'll move back to the screen you were on before the current one. Each time you press the Menu button, you'll move back one screen until you get back to the Main menu.


You can change the contents of various menus, as you will learn later in this part of the book. The menus I describe here are the iPod's and iPod mini's default menus.

The Main Menu

The iPod's Main menu provides the major (dare I say main?) commands available to you (see Figure 3.4).

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 The Main menu is a good place to start using an iPod, which is why you will move there when you first turn it on.

The specific commands you see on an iPod are slightly different from those on an iPod mini (or a earlier generation iPod), but once you have seen one Main menu, you will quickly understand any of the Main menus you see. On the iPod, the Main menu commands are the following:

  • Music

  • Extras

  • Settings

  • Shuffle Songs

  • Backlight

  • Now Playing (appears when a song is selected and playing, even if it is paused)

All these commands take you to their respective menus, except for the Backlight and Now Playing commands. The Backlight command turns the iPod's Backlight on (more on this later). The Now Playing command, which appears only when you have selected and are playing music, takes you to the Now Playing screen (more on this later, too).

When a menu choice leads to another menu, a right-facing arrow will appear along the right edge of the screen for that choice. If you don't see an arrow for a command, that command will cause an action to happen instead.


That clicking sound you hear is the iPod's way of providing additional feedback to you each time you move to a different menu option. Oh, by the way, the technical term for this feature is the Clicker.

When there are more options on a menu than can be listed on the screen, you will see the Scroll bar; the dark part of the bar represents how much of the menu you are seeing on the screen out of the total menu, which is represented by the full bar. (Remember that to scroll up and down a menu, you slide your finger or thumb around the Click Wheel.)

The Music Menu and Screens

The Music command takes you to the Music menu. This menu enables you to browse the music stored on your iPod by Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, Composers, or Audiobooks. When you select one of these options, you will move to a menu that lists each category within the category you selected. For example, when you browse by Artists, you'll see a list of all the artists with which music on your iPod is associated. You'll get the scoop on browsing in Chapter 4, "Listening to Music on an iPod."


There is one playlist on the iPod that you won't find in iTunes because it wasn't created there. That is the On-the-Go playlist. You can create this playlist from music that is stored on the iPod. You'll learn how to use this in Chapter 4.

For now, consider the Playlists command that takes you to the Playlists menu, which lists the playlists that are stored on your iPod. (If you haven't read Part II of this book, titled "iTunes," playlists are collections of music that you create in iTunes.) On the Playlists menu, you will see each playlist you have created in iTunes. Because each playlist represents a "menu" of the songs in that playlist, when you select it, you will see the songs menu that lists each song in the playlist. You'll learn how to work with the Playlists menu and screens in detail in Chapter 4.

The Extras Menu and Screens

The Extras command takes you to the Extras menu. On this menu, you will find various options that are related only because they are on the same menu. These commands enable you to access the iPod's non-music features, such as the Clock, Calendar, and so on. You'll learn about these extras in Chapter 9, "Using the iPod's Calendar, Contact Manager, and Other Non-Music Tools."


On an iPod mini's Main menu, the Music command doesn't appear. Instead, you'll see the Playlists and Browse commands. The Playlists command does the same thing as the Playlists command on the Music menu. The Browse command shows you a similar set of menus that you can use to browse your music by Artists, Albums, and so on, just like you can using the Music menu.

The Settings Menu and Screens

The Settings command is like the Preferences command in most computer programs. It enables you to configure various aspects of your iPod, such as the contrast of the screen, the Clicker settings, and so on. You'll use this command to configure the Backlight, as you'll learn later in this chapter, and we'll get into it in detail in Chapter 6, "Configuring an iPod to Suit Your Preferences."

The Shuffle Songs Command

The Shuffle Songs command, located on the Main menu of an iPod, not an iPod mini, causes all of the songs on your iPod to play in random order. (You can configure shuffle playback more precisely on iPods and iPod minis using the Shuffle command on the Settings menu. You'll learn how to do this later.)

The Backlight Command

This option turns the iPod's Backlight on if it is off or off if it is on. See the section titled "Using the iPod's Backlight" below to learn more about the iPod's Backlight.

The Now Playing Menu

The Now Playing command appears on the Main menu only when you have selected and played music (it continues to appear when you pause music). When you choose this command, you move to the Now Playing screen, which shows you the song that is currently playing (see Figure 3.5). This is an important screen because you can control various aspects of how music is playing from this screen, such as the volume level. You'll explore the Now Playing screen in more detail in Chapter 4.

Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 The Now Playing screen shows you the music currently playing on an iPod.

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