Back with the release of iOS 5, Apple made it possible to sync your iOS device with your computer without the need to connect it via a USB cable. In order to set this up, you do have to connect your device to your computer with a USB cable at least once though. I have my iPhone connected, so I'll select it and here under the Summary tab I'll check Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi, and then I'll click Apply. That's it. Your phone will now sync with iTunes any time it's on same network as your computer and when it's connected to a power source, maybe while you're charging it overnight.
At this point I'll actually unplug my USB cable from my computer and notice that my iPhone still appears here in iTunes. Now officially, according to Apple, you need to plug your device into a power source in order for it to automatically sync. In my experience, you can still sync over Wi-Fi without your phone being connected to a power source, but for this example I'm going plug my phone into the power adapter that came with it. Not that you can see me doing this, but you have to take my word for it. Notice I can still browse the contents of the phone. I can look at its music, its movies, even though it's not physically connected to my computer.
So for instance, I want to add more music to it. First, I'll turn on Manually manage music and videos, so I'll Apply that. You can see it's looking for my phone, it's found it. So now, I can actually go to my Music Library, select some songs and drag them into my phone. You'll know your device is syncing by this little spinning icon that appears in the menu bar. Just make sure you stay within range of your wireless network while the syncing is going on. So this is great for those times when you're at your computer, but maybe your iPhone is sitting on its charger in another room of the house.
You can still sync without having to go get it and attach it to your computer. Now, for those times when you want to sync your device with your computer, but you're not sitting at your computer, maybe you've just added a contact to your address book and you want to make sure it gets added to your computer's address book, you can go to Settings, General, iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. Here, I just tap Sync Now to manually sync your device over your network right away. Now, Apple says that you need to connect your device to a power source in order for it to sync, but it's been my experience that you can unplug your device once it shows up in iTunes, and it will continue to show up and work properly if you wanted to do a manual sync like this.
I believe the reason Apple wants you to keep it plugged in is so that the battery doesn't die during a sync or backup. So it's still a good idea to keep your device plugged into a power source if you're going to be transferring a lot of content back and forth. But as you can see, we now have the convenience of being able to sync our iOS devices without having to plug them into a computer.
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