Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Troubleshooting Questions for iPod (iOS) Users

Here are a set of questions to ask your iPod users who are having difficulty getting the audiobook on their iPod via a wired transfer:

What type of computer do you have? 
  • Remember, even though the iPod is compatible with both WMA and MP3 audiobooks, if they are using a Mac they won't be able to download and transfer WMA audiobooks. 
  • WMA audiobooks can only be downloaded, played, and transferred using a computer with the following software installed: a Windows operating system, a current version of the OverDrive Media Console, Windows Media Player (9+), and a Windows Media Player security upgrade. 
  • If the patron is a Mac user they will not be able to download the WMA audiobooks to their iPod using their Mac. 

Is this the first time using the audiobook service? 

Why? Due to the DRM, these files must be opened and transferred using the correct software. 
  • Check to make sure they've installed the OverDrive Media Console (OMC) to their Windows or Mac computer. 
  • Check to make sure Windows users have updated their WMP Security Upgrade.
  • Check that they are using a current version of the OMC. (If they have never upgraded to version 3.x they won't be able to do an iTunes/iPod transfer!) 
  • Make sure they are opening the audiobook file with the OverDrive Media Console. 
    • Internet Explorer and Firefox users should "Open" the file (with OMC). This should allow the OMC to take over the download. 
    • When Safari users click the download link, the file will download automatically to their preferred download location (usually the Downloads folder). The Downloads folder will open and show the audiobook file name. Double-click the file name to start the download. 
  • Important: Never change the download location. First time users will be prompted to create new folders (My Media and My WMA or MP3 Audiobooks); always allow the new folders to be created. 

Do you use this same computer to transfer music to your iPod/iPad/iPhone? 

Why? Where to begin... This is the simplified explanation: The iPod has a strong relationship with the computer it normally does business with. Plugging it into another computer without first prepping it can result in the lose of data.
  • Generally speaking, older iPods with click wheels are formatted to be either Mac formatted or Windows formatted. Connecting a Mac formatted iPod into a Windows computer and attempting to transfer the audiobook to the iPod will result in reformatting the iPod -- all music, video, photos, etc. will be removed. Furthermore, when the user wants to put their music from their Mac back on the iPod, the audiobook will be wiped out. 
  • Some newer models, such as the iPod Touch, can be used primarily on a Mac and occasionally connected to a PC for audiobook transfer -- but be sure to warn the patron of the risk of losing their data. 

Is iTunes and your iPod software up to date? 

Why? The OMC requires iTunes or higher to transfer audiobooks.

Is iTunes running?

The iTunes program must be running to transfer to an iPod.

Does iTunes "see" your iPod? 

Why? If  iTunes doesn't recognize your iPod the transfer can't happen.

Are you prompted to change your import settings in iTunes? 

Why? Without changing the import settings, the transfer time at high quality would take hours to put the audiobook on your iPod.

Are you manually managing your music and videos? 

This is an important setting. If the patron does not already manually manage their music and videos, they will be prompted to make the change during the initial transfer process. Be sure to recommend clicking the "Apply" button after making the change. This is what keeps the audiobook from being removed from the iPod the next time the patron syncs the iPod to the computer. (A copy of the MP3 audiobook is not held in iTunes, therefore if the user doesn't manually manage the music, the copy on the iPod would be wiped out.)

Are you using the "transfer" button in the OverDrive Media Console to start the transfer? 

Most iPod users are conditioned to use iTunes to transfer music to their player. In this case the transfer has to be initiated by the OMC and then iTunes starts to work with the OMC to transfer the audiobook.

Does the transfer now start? Or does the transfer wizard search frantically for your device? 

Why? Following these tips the transfer should go smoothly, but what if the player isn't recognized? At that time, I'd go back and safely disconnect the iPod, maybe restart the computer, and open the OMC and iTunes, plug in the player, make sure it is recognized by iTunes (give it a minute, waiting for the sync to complete), and try the transfer again. In the rare instance that it doesn't work, you'll have to report the problem to OverDrive's tech support team.

Things to mention: 
  • Transferring MP3 audiobooks from a PC or Mac to an iPod is very quick! 
  • The MP3 audiobooks don't have extra data to let the iPod know that it's really an audiobook. The MP3 audiobooks will just end up in the music folder on the iPod. 
  • Read more about how to change the MP3 files to true audiobooks (with resume playback!) using a Mac (pages 16-18) or PC.
  • Transferring WMA audiobooks takes longer. The file is being converted from WMA to AAC. This can take two or three minutes per part. 
  • WMA audiobooks transferred to a PC will show up in the iPod's "Books" folder. No need to change the format to audiobook like the MP3s.