iTunes is a great music program from Apple. You can use it to shop for and download music and organize your music collection on your computer and iPod. But that is also where the problem is, you can only use it with Appleā€™s hardware, iPod, iPhone or even iPad. Would it be great to benefit from the iTunes features using your own non-Apple music player?

Normally when you plug your MP3 player or mobile phone, it will not show up in the iTunes device list. So a program is needed to make this possible. One of the programs you can use to make your MP3 player or mobile phone visible in iTunes is called iTunes Agent.

After you download and install iTunes Agent, plug you MP3 player or mobile phone to a USB port. Now start iTunes Agent. At first start you will be allowed to import from a previous version if you are upgrading. After starting iTunes Agent will only show as a tray icon in the notification area of the Windows taskbar. iTunes Agent will automatically start iTunes, so make sure iTunes is closed before you start iTunes Agent.

iTunes Agent in taskbar notification area

Since iTunes completely clears the destination location on your device when you synchronize, it is important to prepare your media player for use in iTunes. The simplest way to do this is to open the device in the Windows Explorer and create a folder that you will use for iTunes synchronization.

Note: It is important that you can access the media player in the Explorer to create a folder, so use the device as a Mass Storage Device if possible (the USB device wizard often shows you the option, or in this case the mobile phone allows different modes to be selected). I tested a Philips GoGear VIBE as well and there I had to select the MSC option in the PC Connection settings instead of the default MTP.

Create music folder for iTunes

The next step is to configure iTunes Agent. Right-click the iTunes Agent icon in the taskbar, and in the popup menu select Preferences. This will bring up the iTunes Agent Preferences window, where you need to click the New device button.

New iTunes Agent device

Enter a name for the device, and leave the Synchronize pattern set to iTunes.

Next, select the Music location on device by clicking the Choose button. Browse to the new folder you just created. In the Recognize by folder/file field, you click the Create button and select the same folder on the device.

When done, click the Save device button to store the settings for the new device. iTunes Agent will show a notification message that the device is connected. You can now close the iTunes Agent Preferences window.

Next you need to close iTunes, which will also close iTunes Agent, and restart iTunes Agent. This is to make sure the new device is available in the iTunes device list.

MP3 player in iTunes

You can now use the new media device as a destination for you music by dragging MP3 files to it as you would with an Apple iPod.

When you are ready to update the MP3 player or mobile phone from iTunes, you select Synchronize devices in the popup menu of iTunes Agent (right-click the icon in the taskbar again). iTunes Agent will ask you to confirm the destination folder before it starts the synchronization.

When the synchronization is complete, a notification message is shown in the taskbar.

Important: Before unplugging your MP3 player or mobile phone, make sure you use the Safely Remove Hardware option to prevent USB device problems. Since we used the media devices as mass storage devices, it is important to execute this step.

Unplug device in Windows

When done, unplug the media device and check out your new music on the media device. All the songs you moved to the media player device before synchronization will not be present on the player.

There you have it, use iTunes with any MP3 player or mobile phone!

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