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Converting and Transferring audio/video to iPod / iPhone on Ubuntu

Converting videos to a form playable on iPod/iPhone and managing music of iPod has always been a problem on the Linux platform.This problem is compounded by the lack of documentation available. Now after spending some time searching for solution to this problem of transferring and managing music on iPod i finally came up with a solution to this problem which i have tried documenting in this article.

Note : This documentation was written and tried on Ubuntu 8.04 so if you are using any other distro of Linux or version of Ubuntu there might be need of modifying the instructions.

Converting videos to iPod format

avidemux is a neat application that allows one to easily convert videos to a form capable of being played on iPod and a number of other gadgets. avidemux has a neat looking GUI and is very easy to use and install.

Installing avidemux

To install avidemux issue the following command in the terminal window :

sudo apt-get install avidemux

After installing you can launch avidemux from (Applicatons -> Sound & Videos -> Avidemux )

This is how avidemux looks

After loading avidemux open the file you want to encode in iPod format in avidemux by clicking on the Open button and selecting the file you want to convert.

Now after the video is loaded into avidemux , in avidemux go to Auto->IPOD(mpeg4) you will find dialog box like this.

Now depending on whether you are using iPod video (320x240 or 640x480) , iPod nano or iPhone(PSP 480x272 ) chose appropriate resolution and click Ok .

Now click on the Save button to actually start converting the file.

encoding in progress

Transferring videos/music to ipod

A number of tools are available on the Linux platform that allows you to manage music collection of your ipod however there are few that actually allows you to copy and manage music as well as video content of your ipod and gtkpod is one of them.It might not have as user friendly interface as iTunes available on the windows platform(and through Codeweavers Crossover office on linux too) nevertheless it does the job of transferring videos and songs to ipod and managing them.

Installing gtk-pod

To install gtkpod issue the following command in the terminal window

sudo apt-get install gtkpod

After installation is over go to (Applications -> Sound & Video -> gtkpod) to launch gtkpod application.

This is how gtkpod looks

Now after connecting launch gtkpod and you will find you ipod listed in the leftmost pane of the application. One thing i dislike about gtkpod is all the songs and videos are clubbed together into single list this makes managing music and videos a lot difficult.

Now to add audio/video to your ipod just drag the respective file/folder into ipod's playlist and press the save changes button and the files should be loaded properly in the ipod.

There are a number of other user friendly applications available too that allows you to manage music collection of your iPod and iPhone some of them are Rhythmbox(comes preloaded with Ubuntu and as soon as you connect ipod is loaded automatically), Juk , AmaroK , Songbird etc .

Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (
For Desktop on Linux Blog ,
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney


  1. Anonymous1:28 AM

    Hi Ambuj

    Could one drag a file to gtkpod's playlist. I can't do that. Alternatively I can only work 'add files' but it doesn't process. It needs me to rename a converted file using avidemux with .mp4 extension. Is this normal?? Though this file works on ipod, I can't get this file to play on rythmbox unlike other videos present in ipod. For your info. this video was converted from .flv file. So what can I do?? Please can you provide some help?

  2. Pe Bakk8:24 PM

    To install gtkpod issue the following command in the terminal window

    sudo aptitude install gtkpod

    For 8.10 (and I think 8.04) and higher, you'll want to change that to:

    sudo aptitude install gtkpod-aac

    That's the version of gtkPod pre-compiled with video support.

  3. For what it's worth, the videos created 480x272 PSP setting in AviDemux will NOT play natively on iPhone 3G (2.2.1).


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