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How to sync a MacBook Pro with an iPad

Updated April 17, 2017

The Apple iPad can act as a media hub for your videos, photos and music, allowing you to access them from the internal storage wherever you go. It also supports over 300,000 applications from the App Store, and you can also sync bookmarks and documents from your main computer.

Although you can download content directly on to the iPad from the internet or iTunes Store, it's also possible to sync your iPad with content from your Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer, either through a direct USB connection or WiFi.

Syncing over USB

Download and install the latest version of iTunes from the official website on to your MacBook Pro.

Open iTunes and connect your iPad to your MacBook Pro with the USB cable. On a MacBook Pro, the USB ports are on the left side between the Thunderbolt port and the SDXC card slot.

Click "iPad" under the "Devices" listing on the left-hand side of the iTunes window. Select which content you wish to sync to the iPad by clicking the various tabs along the top of the screen. For example, click "Music" to select which playlists to sync to your iPad.

Click "Apply" in the lower-right corner of the window to sync selected content in iTunes to your iPad.

Syncing over WiFi

Download and install the latest version of iTunes from the official website on to your MacBook Pro. You will need to set up WiFi syncing over USB first before you can sync wirelessly.

Open iTunes and connect your iPad to your MacBook Pro with the USB cable. On a MacBook Pro, the USB ports are on the left side between the Thunderbolt port and the SDXC card slot.

Click "iPad" under the "Devices" listing on the left-hand side of the iTunes window Click the "Summary" tab, and tick the box for "Sync with this iPad over WiFi."

Disconnect your iPad from your MacBook Pro.

Click "iPad" under "Devices" on the left-hand side of the iTunes window. The iPad will appear under "Devices" as long as the iPad and MacBook Pro are connected to the same WiFi network.

Select which content you wish to sync to the iPad by clicking the various tabs along the top of the screen and click "Apply" or "Sync" to sync the iPad.

Tip

Your iPad will automatically sync over WiFi with your MacBook Pro when the iPad is plugged in and charging, iTunes is open on your MacBook Pro and both devices are on the same WiFi network.

Things You'll Need

  • iPad USB cable
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About the Author

Matt Durrant began writing professionally in 2008 and has been published in Malaga's "Boutique," Tokyo's "Metropolis" and "Leeds Guide." He enjoys travel writing, especially about Japan. Durrant is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese and English at the University of Leeds.