The iPod Shuffle is one of the smallest MP3 players on the planet. There's no screen and no buttons, yet compared with last season's iPod Shuffle, this little guy is way more complex. If you're brand-new to the iPod, or at least the iPod Shuffle, we're going to walk you through the setup and offer a few tips.
Next, plug the iPod Shuffle into your computer's USB port using the included cable. This is a different cable than the standard used with most iPods, and much, much, smaller--so be careful not to lose it.
Once you're connected, you'll see a setup dialog where you can make sure the VoiceOver kit is enabled and decide whether to sync music automatically. Leaving this box checked is the quickest way to get up and running, but since the Shuffle's capacity is rather limited, iTunes will likely grab a random selection of music from your library instead of the whole collection. If you'd rather have direct control over what music is added, leave the box unchecked.
If you haven't already, iTunes may pop up and prompt you to download it's VoiceOver Language kit. It's an annoying speed bump on your way to playing with your new iPod, but it's a necessary step because the Shuffle relies on this voice kit for a lot of its features.
Below the general summary information, you'll find a handful of options for how the iPod syncs with your computer. Oddly enough, there are more options in this menu than with any other iPod.
For the iPod Shuffle there are three important options to be aware of. First, the Enable Sound Check box will ensure that all songs on the Shuffle are adjusted to play at a consistent volume. We usually sneer at the idea of iTunes meddling with how loud our music is, but if you're using the Shuffle for working out or just don't like the idea of messing with the on-ear volume controls, Sound Check comes in handy.
On that same note, the Limit Maximum Volume slider down at the bottom comes is useful, especially if you're worried about a child playing music too loud or if you want to use this with a pair of headphones that don't have Apple's special volume control clicker.
Finally, there's the Manually Manage Music option. Check this if you want direct control over what music and playlists get synced to the Shuffle.
Also note that there are more than a few tabs running across the top of this window, including a music tab, podcasts, and iTunes University. The Shuffle now offers a way to navigate between different media using the clicker remote and voice cues, so you're not just restricted to playing music. You can also find an audiobook syncing option hidden in the music tab's playlist options.
For a video version of this tutorial, head to CNET TV.