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How to Navigate the iPod Nano's Menus

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  chco's Photo
Posted Nov 03 2010 04:00 PM

The following excerpt from the O'Reilly publication iPod: The Missing Manual, 9th Edition gives a new user some help in understanding and using the iPod Nano's menu system.

Click wheels are so 2009. On the modern Nano, you get to your songs, photos, FM radio, pedometer, and other fun stuff by tapping your fingers—or sliding, dragging, and flicking them as described in the previous chapter.

The Nano keeps all its menu items hidden under colorful icons on its Home screen. To see all the songs on your Nano, for example, you just need to tap the Songs icon, and there are all your tunes, in a big, flickable list.

But, as you may have noticed, the Nano has a very small screen and can fit only four icons front and center at a time. So how do you get to the other icons—the ones for photos, settings, and so on? Easy. Just flick your finger from right to left on the screen to stroll through the four pages that make up the Nano’s Home screen. The highlighted white dot in the row of four dots under the icons shows you your position within those pages. To go back to the first page of the Home screen, flick your finger from left to right.

Once you get those moves down, here’s what you’ll find under the icons:

  • Playlists. Tap this blue icon to see all the playlists you’ve made on the Nano—as well as the ones you copied over from iTunes.

  • Now Playing. Can’t name that tune? Tap this gray icon to pop up the current track’s name, complete with its album artwork (if it has any) and playback controls. Tap Attached Image to see a list of all the tracks on that album.

  • Artists. Tap this orange icon to see the full list of bands and musicians on your Nano. Tap a band or artist’s name to see the albums you have from that group or singer.

    Attached Image


  • Genius Mixes. This purple icon opens up the Genius Mixes you’ve synced over from iTunes.

  • Radio. Tap here to fire up the Nano’s built-in FM radio.

  • Podcasts. If you subscribe to podcasts, those free audio and video shows from the iTunes Store, you’ll find them under this icon.

  • Photos. If you’ve synced digital photos from your computer, you can view the pictures by tapping the Photos icon and then tapping a photo album title or an image thumbnail.

  • Settings. Tap here to adjust the way your Nano works.

  • Songs. Tap here to see a list of your music sorted by song title.

  • Albums. If you’d rather look at your music divided up by album, tap here, and then tap an album title on the next screen to see the tracks.

  • Genres. Pop, punk, funk, classical, country—tap this icon to see your music by type.

  • Composers. Want to hear all your Mozart or Bob Dylan at once? Tap Composer to see your music listed by the name of the songwriter.

    Attached Image


  • Fitness. With its small, sleek size and lack of moving parts, the Nano is made for workouts. Tap here to go to its pedometer and workout history logs.

  • Clock. Tap the clock face icon to see an even bigger clock onscreen—and one with the correct time. Flick the screen left to get to the Nano’s stopwatch, and flick left again to see its timer.


The Nano Settings Menu

The Settings icon on the Nano’s Home screen has submenus for tweaking your iPod experience. Here’s what you can do in each one:

  • About. Here you can find out how many songs and photos you have on your Nano, the player’s format (PC or Mac), the amount of space left, and its serial number.

  • Music. Turn on Shake to shuffle songs kinetically (you get a new song each time you shake your Nano-clenched fist!), even out song volumes with Sound Check (or lock them in with Volume Limit), improve tracks with equalizer presets, or turn on crossfades.

  • General. The controls for setting the Nano’s wallpaper, screen brightness, date and time, local radio region, live-radio pause, accessibility functions, and native language all live here.

  • Photos. Configure your photo slideshow timing and transitions here.

  • Pedometer. Set a goal for the number of steps you want to take per day or adjust your recorded weight for the calorie math here.

  • Reset Settings. Choose this option to blow away all those custom settings you’ve been fiddling with and start fresh with the factory defaults.


iPod: The Missing Manual

Learn more about this topic from iPod: The Missing Manual, 9th Edition.

Get the complete scoop the latest line of iPods and the most recent version of iTunes with the guide that outshines them all -- iPod: The Missing Manual. Teeming with high-quality color graphics, this books helps you manage your media, play back music, videos, and photo slideshows, and keep your calendars and contacts up-to-date. Whether you have a brand-new iPod or an old favorite, this book provides expert guidance on all the amazing things you can do.

See what you'll learn


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