One of the most popular ways to use the Seagate Wireless Plus external hard drive is to stream content.
Whether it is keeping the kids amused on that fifteen hour car trip, ten hour plane journey or for yourself on a business trip when you know you are going to be stuck in a hotel in the middle of nowhere land and could use a distraction.
It’s the go to device when you don’t want the weight, inconvenience or security considerations of having your Macbook with you.
ITunes is the most popular place for us Apple users to have our content stored in as well as on our iPhones and iPads. So how do your get your iTunes content onto the Wireless Plus and what can you do with it?
I aim to answer that question and more in this article “Seagate Wireless Plus and ITunes, Your Questions Answered”.
Read through from start to finish or jump to the questions by clicking on the section you want in the table of contents.
Configure the Seagate Wireless Plus First
The Seagate Wireless Plus is one of my top three wireless external hard drives for a Mac environment.
Before you do anything with it, download its manual, make sure it is fully charged, download the latest firmware update and configure it using your Mac.
The Seagate Wireless Plus works well when it is correctly configured and you understand what you can and can’t do with it on a Mac.
Rushing the config because you don’t believe in reading the manual, or attempting to use it for something it is not able to do will leave you frustrated and disappointed so take the moments it takes to understand how it works.
I suggest you configure using your Mac as I think it’s the easiest interface to use.
Understand that the Seagate Wireless Plus is NTFS formatted and needs to remain so for the wireless features to work. This means that you will need the Paragon driver (Supplied by Seagate on the hard drive) to write to the drive. By default Mac OS can read NTFS drives but cannot write to them.
What About the Seagate Wireless Plus’ File System Format?
Do not be tempted to format the drive to be compatible with or to use with Time Machine. If you do that you will not be able to use the drive as a wireless device, and there are plenty of cheaper options for USB directly connected external hard drives – link to top ten document
You purchased this drive as a wireless external hard drive and to keep it that way means it needs to stay in the format supplied.
What are the Basic Considerations of ITunes on a Mac?
It is worth understanding a few basics so that you can better understand what you can do with iTunes and why some of the restrictions are the way they are.
What is iTunes?
iTunes consists of a front end application that relies on the iTunes library which is a database of sorts that accesses your media files. Those files are stored in a directory structure that iTunes, builds, creates and amends as you add files, delete files through the front end application.
Those files can be your music, podcasts, videos. Content that you create, by making your own videos or music or from CD’s that you have uploaded to iTunes. As well as content that you have paid for and downloaded from the iTunes store.
As well as all of that you can connect your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and sync to iTunes which creates a complete backup of those devices, their apps, media stored on them and their settings so should you need, you can completely restore those devices should the worst thing happen.
Your Apple devices can also be ‘authorized’ devices through iTunes which means they are approved as your platforms to play your store downloaded content on – this is an important point to understand.
iTunes can be configured to allow home sharing. Which means that iTunes can share the content on your Mac over Wi-Fi. However this only allows you to share music on your home Wi-Fi network, which is not much help to you if you’re wishing to share your content on that plane journey.
And when you backup your Mac to an external hard drive using Time Machine the iTunes library is backed up too, securing your media files and any backups and syncs from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch at the same time as securing the information on your Mac.
What are the considerations of iTunes on iPhone and IPad?
ITunes is the traditional method of getting those media files onto your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Those files are literally copied to those devices and take up room on their internal storage.
Content can also of course be directly downloaded onto your iPhone and iPad via the App Store.
Devices that are authorized can play your purchased content, movies, etc. from the store and that content is played direct from the storage on those authorized devices.
This means that you have to have the room to store all you want to play, and decide what you want to copy onto the device ahead of time.
You can backup/sync media such as photos, music, podcasts etc. stored and or created on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to iTunes on your Mac and have your Mac act as the first line backup for all that data.
Which means that you have to have the room to store all those files.
But what if you don’t?
What if your Mac also doesn’t have the room to store all those files?
And that is where the wish for a wireless drive such as the Seagate Wireless Plus comes in. Or does it?
Off load of iTunes on to Seagate Wireless Plus?
This is often the plan. Set up iTunes on the Seagate Wireless Plus, after all it has plenty of room, put my iTunes library there and all my problems are solved.
Except that for iTunes to work at all the app needs to run on a computer – that means your Mac.
And the hard drive it runs on needs to be directly connected to that Mac.
Fine you say, I’ll just plug it in.
And then you find the wireless capability doesn’t work, and what about all your plans for travel without taking your Mac with you? Cause you are right back to needing your Mac.
Filling up your Mac’s internal storage is a real issue as internal drives on Macs tend to be small, (unless you pay the extra and buy a Mac with large internal drives). It’s easy to fill up the available storage if you have a large music and or movie collection coupled with photos from your iPhone and iPad and you backup it all up to iTunes on your Mac.
And yes you can move iTunes to an external hard drive but that drive needs to be accessible to your Mac, so directly attached via USB.
I would suggest getting a good quality external storage drive for that job and a second one as a minimum to be your overall backup device. It is best to have your files in more than one place in case the worst happens and you loose that video of baby’s first steps.
The Seagate Wireless Plus isn’t going to do that job for you. And remember earlier when I said the drive is NTFS formatted and you need a Paragon driver for your Mac to read it, that’s another reason it’s a bad idea. The driver needs to keep pace with the operating system on your Mac and of course needs to be installed before you can write to the drive, all extra considerations when you are trying to get to the data on that drive.
And then there is iTunes bought Content
So? I hear you ask.
Well iTunes bought content is DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected. This means that it will only play for the Apple id that bought the content on their authorized devices.
How does the Seagate Wireless Plus handle iTunes DRM content?
Copying that content to the Seagate Wireless Plus and trying to stream via the Seagate Media App will simply not happen.
Not since IOS 8 when Apple disabled the feature.
And Yes you can rail and shout that you legitimately bought the content for your use so why shouldn’t you stream to your devices as you like …
you have a point … unfortunately you can’t.
You could get yourself a second user iPad 1 or older iPad that only runs IOS 7 say and yes you would be able to stream those files via the Seagate Wireless Plus using the Seagate Media App on IOS.
The IOS device must first be authorized on iTunes.
To authorize connect your iPad or other pre IOS 7 device to your Mac
- Fire up iTunes.
- Make sure you have signed into the store using the Apple id used to make the purchase of the DRM protected content you want to share.
- Sync your device.
- Copy those files you want to the Seagate Wireless Plus.
Then when you use the Seagate Media app to play DRM protected files from iTunes it will play in Safari on your IPad.
You can also take a look at this document at Seagate Playing DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected movies in Seagate Media App for more information.
What About the Rest of my Content in iTunes I hear you shout. What Can I do?
Yes, you can directly connect the Seagate Wireless Plus to your Mac via USB (and direct connection is the way to do this not Wi-Fi) and copy your iTunes library and file structure to the Seagate Wireless Plus.
The Seagate Wireless will take the content, search through it and create its own index and file according to whether it is music it finds, movies, photos, etc.
Note the indexing can take some time (as can the uploading) so be patient and allow the Seagate to do what it need to, once you have disconnected it from your Mac.
It’s a good idea to make sure it is connected to power to allow it to do this job as it can take several hours.
All your non DRM content will be fine and accessible from your iPhones or iPad devices via the Seagate Media App on IOS.
Can I Get Around iTunes DRM content?
Well there is no legitimate media player that ignores DRM.
There are applications, which you can find on the web that you can run on your Mac to remove the DRM protection on the files.
– but due to the establishment going after suppliers of this type of software and blocking sites that mention specifics you will need to do your own Google search on that subject!
Using such software involves downloading from sources that may be dubious and of course taking time and bandwidth on your Mac to run that software against all your DRM protected content. And that may just not be practical.
If you have the physical DVD’s or CD’s then finding ‘ripping’ software may be a route to go.
Again, you need to source software, use bandwidth on your Mac and take time to do the ripping all adds to the consideration as to whether this is the direction you want to take.
My iPad’s Photo and Video Content?
Download the Seagate Media App and you can wirelessly transfer files from your iPad or iPhone to the Seagate Wireless Plus and then you can share the content to other devices from there.
If this is your only copy of the content, ensure you make a copy elsewhere. Hard drives have been known to fail.
That if the files your wanting to transfer are large files, that this could take some time to do over Wi-Fi.
The Seagate Wireless Plus’ Wi-Fi runs 802.11 b/g/n which is a slower Wi-Fi standard than 802.11ac which the newer Macs, iPhone and iPads run.
And there is a limitation on the Seagate Wireless Plus to consider, connection to Internet, Wi-Fi and uploading content at the same time that could catch you out – as it can’t do all at the same time.
You may find connecting your iPad and iPhone to your Mac via cable, and a sync with iTunes, then USB direct connection of the Mac to the Wireless Plus and upload the content;
As long winded as it sounds, it may be the quickest solution.
Restrictions of Wifi
Now that I have mentioned Wi-Fi it is worth a quick discussion.
The Seagate Wireless Plus uses 802.11 b, g and n standards. The quirk of Wi-Fi is that it can be unpredictable and drop out part way because of a weak Wi-Fi signal, obstructions, or interference.
The 802.11 b, g and n standard is a bit more susceptible to this.
You may need to move closer to the Wireless Plus to stream or position yourself to avoid obstructions or other devices causing interference, e.g. bluetooth devices, other wireless devices like baby monitors, wireless keyboards, etc.
Non Mac, iPad or iPhone created Content
The files you want to stream from the Seagate Wireless Plus have to be in a format compatible with the files your iPad or iPhone can play. Any encoding / changing of the file format has to be done ahead of trying to stream those files.
Viewing Content on the Seagate Wireless Plus
You use the Seagate Media App on your iPad or iPhone. Open up the app and go to the location on the Wireless Plus where the uploaded content is stored, photos for photos, the video directory for videos, etc.
Select and stream them from where they are stored on the Wireless Plus.
If you with to view content on your Mac, open up a browser and head to the location of the of the Seagate Wireless Plus. (type www.seagatewirelessplus.com in your browser) Select and stream the files from where they are stored on the Wireless Plus.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article ‘Seagate Wireless Plus and iTunes Your Questions Answered’. I hope you enjoy your iTunes content on the Wireless Plus.
If you have an interest in seeing how the Seagate Wireless Plus compares to other wireless drives used with a Mac, check out my article on Wireless External hard drives for Mac to find out what is currently on the market.