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With the release of iOS 5 and iTunes 10.5, Apple has 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. When it shows up in the iTunes sidebar, you can select it, and then under the Summary tab, check Sync this iPod or iPhone over Wi-Fi, then click Apply. Your iPhone will now sync with iTunes anytime it's on the same network as your computer, and when it's connected to a power source, maybe while you're charging it overnight.
So, I'll actually unplug my USB cable from my computer right now, 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 sync. I'll do that now. So, notice I can still select my iPod. After I've unplugged, it's going to ask me apply the changes that I made, so I'll go ahead and do that, but I can still see the music that's on the iPod; I can still play with its settings; I can still drag new content to the iPod; and you can see the content is copying over as it should.
You can tell your device is syncing by this little spinning sync icon that appears in the device's menu bar; just make sure you stay within range of your wireless network while syncing is going on. Now, for times when you want to sync your device with your computer but you're not sitting at your computer, for example, maybe you just added a contact to your address book while sitting on the couch and you want to make sure it gets added to your computer's address book; you can go to Settings>General>Wi-Fi Sync, and in here, just tap Sync Now to manually sync your device over your network right away. I think 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 to it. But as you can see, we now have the convenience of being able to sync our iOS devices without having to plug them into the computer.
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