Sync Your Sansa (Fuze) With iTunes

December 1st, 2008

Apple / Mac, Mobile Gadgets

**Follow this guide for any even easier method that supports more devices (including the Sansa Fuze)**

I was able to score the Sandisk Sansa Fuze (8GB) for only $64.99 at Toys ‘R’ Us the other day on Black Friday. It retails for $129.99 and is a solid competitor to the iPod Nano. There’s only one problem — it’s completely Windows-based and knows nothing of Mac, iTunes, etc. There is, however, hope! I don’t “buy” music with iTunes. I just use it to manage my “free” media (MP3). I keep my iTunes synced tightly with my MP3 ID3 tags, however when I plug in my Sansa Fuze, nothing happens!

Not anymore! I wrote an Automator script that calls ‘rsync’ to keep my iTunes Music up-to-date. There are a few catches. The first is that you’ll need to edit my script and replace my username with yours. Second, this only works for MP3’s! It won’t sync your purchased, locked down iTunes media. You’ll have to convert them to DRM-free MP3 format to play nice with your Sansa. Then again if you’re using iTunes to purchase music, you might as well purchase an iPod to go with it.

Simply download my Automator script and right click on file, then select Open With, and go to Automator. You’ll be presented with a bunch of boxes and options… Look for the line that says “/Users/richard/Music/*.mp3” — you’ll want to replace this with your iTunes music location. Probably just replace “richard” with your Mac username. All of my songs are in my Music folder in MP3 format, hence the “*.mp3” at the end. We’re only going to sync MP3’s and nothing else. The next line you’ll want to replace, and this is only if you’re using a model different than the Fuze is where it says “SANSA FUZE”. Replace this with whatever name appears on the drive icon when you plug in your MP3 Player. Keep the quotes.. For example: If you have a Sansa Clip, you’ll probably want to use “SANSA CLIP.”

Go ahead and save that file. Now right click on it again, go to Open With, and now select “Automator Runner.” It should crank up and sync your library. You’ll have to know where you put your shit before this will work but it works every time. Expect a long delay the first time you sync your library and every other time you run it, you will only be copying new items to your Sansa — keeping all your DRM-free content iPod free as well.

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About Richard

Richard is a professional web developer and business consultant. He opened his first web hosting company at the age of 13 out of his bedroom on an ISDN connection and hasn't looked back since. Richard currently resides in sunny Florida.

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15 Responses to “Sync Your Sansa (Fuze) With iTunes”

  1. Chris Lupo


  2. Tiffany

    You need to change the settings in USB mode to MSC…. Once you have done that it should see it without any trouble…

  3. Adam Bon

    Hi Richard,

    My Mac isn’t even recognizing my new sansa fuze. what to do?


  4. rachel

    how come this doesn’t work for me! this sucks. i can’t right click and have automator as an option.

  5. Richard B

    RIchard – Turns out rsync was on the machine – my error in trying to run it. This is what I get now:

    localhost:~ rabergnc$ rsync -vcW /Users/rabergnc/Music/*.mp3 /Volumes/”SANSA FUZE”/MUSIC
    rsync: link_stat “/Users/rabergnc/Music/*.mp3” failed: No such file or directory (2)

    sent 21 bytes received 20 bytes 82.00 bytes/sec
    total size is 0 speedup is 0.00
    rsync error: some files could not be transferred (code 23) at /SourceCache/rsync/rsync-35.2/rsync/main.c(992) [sender=2.6.9]
    localhost:~ rabergnc$

    As best as I can determine, the directories are there. Not sure what to do now. Any suggestions or things you can see I am messing up?

    Richard B

  6. Richard

    My Kalyway installations came with it out of the box. I believe it’s included in all Mac OS X (Leopard) installations. You might want to try downloading Xcode from Apple’s website and seeing if that provides it. Alternatively, you can search for “rsync for mac” and download/compile what you need to get the rsync command line binary. It’s a must have for many situations.

  7. Richard B

    This is the result:

    -bash: sudo-rsync: command not found

    I have no idea what it means. I know little to nothing about UNIX.

  8. Richard

    Open Terminal and type “sudo su -” — enter your user password and then paste in that rsync command. It should give you a more verbose error message rather than the default workflow error.

  9. Richard B

    I followed the instructions and I get an error message – “Workflow failed”.

    This is the command sequence line being used
    rsync -vcW /Users/rabergnc/Music/*.mp3 /Volumes/”SANSA FUZE”/MUSIC

    Any suggesions?

    Thanks – Richard

  10. Richard

    Assuming you have more than 8GB of music, when itunes syncs with the Fuze does it load 8GB and then stop?

    Yes. The last song that takes it over the size limit should fail and the rest will be on your Sansa.

  11. john

    Assuming you have more than 8GB of music, when itunes syncs with the Fuze does it load 8GB and then stop?

  12. Richard

    You can change the drive name in the Automator script to “SANSA CLIP” to sync the music, however you cannot sync iTunes playlists without upgrading your Sansa to an iPod. This simply syncs the music library — not any specific iTunes things as Apple wants you to buy their music player to play nice with their other products.

    Hope this helps.

  13. mooney101

    Is there anyway to just have it sync a specific playlist and not the whole library to a Sansa Clip?

    Thanks So much!


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