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Chapter 3. Controlling an iPod or iPod M... > Looking at the iPod's Menus and Scre...

Looking at the iPod's Menus and Screens

Now that you have an idea of how to move around your iPod, let's get a good understanding of its menus and screens.

The steps you use to move around the iPod's menus are the following:

Slide your finger or thumb clockwise on the Click Wheel to move down a menu or counterclockwise to move up a menu. As you move your digit, different menu options will be highlighted on the screen to show that they are selected.

When you want to use a menu command, highlight it and press the Select button. That command will be active and the screen will change to reflect what you have done. For example, if you selected another menu, that menu will appear on the screen. If you selected a song, the Now Playing screen will appear and that song will start to play. If you selected an application, that application will run.

To move back to a previous screen, press the Menu button. You'll move back to the screen you were on before the current one. Each time you press the Menu button, you'll move back one screen until you get back to the Main menu.

The Main Menu

The iPod's Main menu provides the major (dare I say main?) commands available to you. The specific commands you see on the Main menu by default will depend on the model of iPod you are using. For example, if you use an iPod, as shown in Figure 3.2, you'll see the Photos command, which won't appear on the iPod mini because it isn't applicable to that model.

Figure 3.2. The Main menu is a good place to start using an iPod, which is why you will move there when you first turn it on.


You can change the contents of various menus, as you will learn later in this part of the book. The menus I describe here are the default menus.

When no music is playing, the default Main menu commands are the following:

  • Music

  • Photos (iPod only)

  • Extras

  • Settings

  • Shuffle Songs

  • Backlight

All these commands take you to their respective menus, except for Shuffle Songs and Backlight. The Shuffle Songs command puts the iPod in Shuffle mode where it plays songs in a random fashion (you'll learn more about this later). The Backlight command turns on the iPod's Backlight (more on this later, too).

When you are playing music, the Now Playing command appears. This command takes you to the Now Playing screen. In the upper-left corner of the screen, you'll see the Play icon if music is currently playing or the Pause icon if music has been paused.


That clicking sound you hear is the iPod's way of providing additional feedback to you each time you move to a different menu option. Oh, by the way, the technical term for this feature is the Clicker.

When a menu choice leads to another menu, a right-facing arrow will appear along the right edge of the screen for that choice. If you don't see an arrow for a command, that command will cause an action to happen instead.

When there are more options on a menu than can be listed on the screen, you will see the scrollbar along the right edge of the screen; the dark part of the bar represents how much of the menu you are seeing on the screen out of the total menu, which is represented by the full bar. (Remember that to scroll up and down a menu, you use the Click Wheel.)

The Music Menu and Screens

The Music command takes you to the Music menu, which provides access to a number of other menus relating to the selection of music to which you want to listen (see Figure 3.3).

Figure 3.3. The Music menu enables you to access your music in a number of ways.

The menu options you have on the Music menu are the following:

  • Playlists— The Playlists command takes you to the Playlists menu, which lists the playlists stored on your iPod. (If you haven't read Part II, “iTunes,” playlists are collections of music that you create in iTunes.) On the Playlists menu, you will see each playlist you have created in iTunes and have moved to the iPod. Because each playlist represents a “menu” of the songs in that playlist, when you select it, you will see the Songs menu, which lists each song in the playlist. You'll learn how to work with the Playlists menu and screens in detail in Chapter 6, “Building an iPod's Music Library.”


    There is one playlist on the iPod that you won't find in iTunes because it wasn't created there: the On-the-Go playlist. You can create this playlist from music that is stored on the iPod. You'll learn how to use this in Chapter 4, “Listening to Music on an iPod or iPod mini.”

  • Artists— Similar to the Playlists menu, this command takes you to a menu on which your music is organized by artist. You can choose an artist and then browse all the music by that artist that is stored on your iPod.

  • Albums— This command and menu enable you to browse and select your music by album.

  • Songs— This command takes you to a menu containing all the songs on your iPod, listed in alphabetical order.

  • Podcasts— Podcasts are similar to radio broadcasts except that you can download them onto your iPod and listen to them at a time of your choosing. Selecting the Podcasts command tasks you to the podcasts stored on your iPod so that you can work with them.


    If you're paying close attention, and I'm sure you are, you noticed that I didn't include a section for the Photos command. Since that is applicable only to the iPod, I cover that in Chapter 9, “Using the iPod for Images.”

  • Genres— I'll bet you can guess that this command takes you to a menu that enables you to browse and select your music by genre.

  • Composers— Are you detecting a pattern here? I'll leave this one for you to figure out.

  • Audiobooks— This takes you to a menu showing all the audiobooks available on your iPod.

The Extras Menu and Screens

The Extras command takes you to the Extras menu. On this menu, you will find various options that are related only because they are on the same menu. These commands enable you to access the iPod's non-music features, such as the Clock, Calendar, and so on. You'll learn about these extras in Chapter 10, “Using the iPod's Calendar, Contact Manager, and Other Non-Music Tools.”

The Settings Menu and Screens

The Settings command is like the Preferences command in most computer programs. It enables you to configure various aspects of your iPod, such as the contrast of the screen, the Clicker settings, and so on. You'll use this command to configure the Backlight, as you'll learn later in this chapter, and we'll get into it in detail in Chapter 7, “Configuring an iPod to Suit Your Preferences.”

The Shuffle Songs Command

Unlike the other items described so far, this is a command that doesn't take you to a menu. Instead, it puts your iPod in Shuffle mode. You'll learn how to configure and use this command in Chapter 7.

The Backlight Command

This command turns on the iPod's Backlight if it is off or off if it is on. See the section titled “Using the iPod's Backlight” on page 45 to learn more about the iPod's Backlight.

The Now Playing Menu

The Now Playing command appears on the Main menu only when you have selected and played music. When you choose this command, you move to the Now Playing screen, which shows you the song that is currently playing (see Figure 3.4). This is an important screen because you can control various aspects of how music is playing from this screen, such as the volume level. You'll explore the Now Playing screen in detail in Chapter 4.

Figure 3.4. The Now Playing screen shows you the music currently playing on an iPod.


In Figure 3.4, you can see that the artwork associated with the music being played appears on the Now Playing screen. This only happens on an iPod with a color screen. For all other models, you won't see this.

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