How to sync your iPad with Linux

Apple makes some great hardware, but their closed eco system is far from Linux-friendly. Thankfully it can be done - here's how you can use your iPad, iPhone and iPod with your Ubuntu Linux computer…

Working with photos & video

11. F-Spot
F-Spot is the default photo management program that ships with Ubuntu up to 9.10, and it’s a great application for this task. Apple’s devices, particularly the iPhone 4, have been known to make great cameras. Using F-Spot you can import your pictures from your iPhone or iPod touch. When you plug in the device, you will be asked which photo management software you want to use to manage your pictures. Pick F‑Spot. When F-Sport opens, it will offer to import all the pictures from your device – it really is that easy!


One of the funnest features of Apple’s mobile devices is their video playback capabilities. However, it’s not always easy to get video on these devices unless you have purchased the movie directly from Apple. Let’s look at how it’s done…

12. Install Handbrake
The first step to get video on your Apple device is to convert the video at hand to a format that’s compatible with the devices. We’ll use the program Handbrake for this. Handbrake can convert video from pretty much any format to the iPod format. Download your distribution’s binary from Handbrake’s website. Install the binary for your distribution. Currently Handbrake only comes with a command-line version on Linux.

Get Handbrake from the project’s website

13. Convert the video
Once you have the tool HandBrakeCLI installed, try accessing it from the command line to make sure it works. Once that’s done, you can begin converting your first video. Use a command like the following to make the conversion:
[sourcecode language=”bash”]# HandBrakeCLI -i /media/dvd -o mymovie.mp4 –preset=”iPhone / iPod Touch”[/sourcecode]
In this example, the input file is a video DVD. Once the conversion is complete, you can use Rhythmbox to drag and drop the video into your Apple mobile device.

14. Video streaming
Getting video onto these devices can be quite time-consuming. What we recommend instead is to stream a movie to the device using a wireless network with Air Video. You can do this too. Install the Wine package on your Linux machine. Download the latest release of Java and install it in Wine using a command like ‘# wine ./java-winxp.exe’. Download the Air Video Server from the website with ‘# wget’. Install it with Wine – ‘# wine ./Setup225.exe’. Once the installation is complete, you will be able to find Air Video in the menu under Applications>Wine> Programs>Air Video Server>Air Video Server. Launch the application and start sharing some movies from your computer.

15. Watch a streaming movie
Download and install the Air Video client app on your iPad, iPod or iPhone. There’s a free limited version available from the App Store as well as a paid one that has full functionality. Launch the app and you should be able to see your desktop or laptop listed under the available servers. You can browse through the list of movies and watch one by streaming it. If you face any issues, take a look at the firewall settings on your computer and make sure that the port 45631 is allowed traffic.

A list of movies available for you to play from your Apple mobile device

Continue to page 4 – sync your contacts with Ubuntu one

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