Introduction: Adding an Audiobook to an IPhone

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

The simple way to load an audiobook onto an iPhone is to use a drag-and-drop substitute for iTunes, like Copy Trans, and then use an audiobook player app. from the Apple store to play the files. Jump ahead to step 11 for those solutions. What follows below through step 10 describes how I made the effort work using iTunes, but only for a time.

I had been trying for months to load an audiobook in MP3 to my iPhone 4S. If I was able to load the files, they did not stay in their proper order.* I looked for help in Apple support documents and in articles on the Internet; but those I found were for earlier versions of iTunes and not helpful or they were too general and did not cover the problems I was having. Many people seem to have frustrating experiences with iTunes, especially when trying to add an audiobook to an iPhone. Finally, I got it to work and I want to document the steps I used. I hope this helps anyone who has been struggling with this. (Update: I now have an iPhone 5C. Everything was going well with my audiobook [a Bible in a 2nd language: German] on my iPhone, but it suddenly ceased holding my place. See step 12. I got an app. for playing an audiobook, and it works well.)

I am using iTunes 11 with Windows 7. The audiobook I have been trying to load is the 1964 edition of Luther's German Bible. I got it from SERMON online: Die Predigt Datenbank. The files are MP3. I added alpha-numeric coding to the names to keep all 1,189 files in their proper order.** For demonstration purposes in this Instructable, I will use audio files for the World English Bible from Audio Treasure.*** Both of these versions may be copied without copyright infringement. (The World English Bible is a slight update of the American Standard Version of 1901 to make the language more in keeping with today's English.)

I like the German audio Bible because it offers me an opportunity to practice my German. However, many who read this might be more interested in an English version, whether the free World English Bible or a paid version of your choice. You may also want to load other audiobooks onto your iPhone. Audible has audiobooks available for the iPhone through a special app., but, there is a subscription price and I could not find any German Bibles.

* As noted in the second paragraph, the audiobook is a German Bible in audio. Genesis 10 would play immediately after Genesis 1. Then Genesis 11 - 19 played followed by Genesis 2 and then Genesis 20 followed by Genesis 21 - 29. Other books followed the same pattern.

** My alpha-numeric coding begins with "aa1" through "aa9." Then it goes to "ab1 through "ab9," and so on.

*** For a very reasonable fee, you can order the files on disc. I do not know if they are already coded alpha-numerically or not. I was penny wise but pound foolish in that I downloaded each file at no charge. The disadvantage is that I spent time checking to be certain I had not omitted some files. (I had.) And, I had to do my own coding to keep the files in their proper order. In retrospect, it would have been better to pay the relatively small fee and order the files on disc.

Step 1: Create a Playlist in ITunes

I have not used the app. from Audible. Most of this Instructable is about loading audiobook files through iTunes 11.

I have read about an option called Join Tracks. I have even seen screenshots of that option in things others have posted. When importing a CD it is supposed to be one of the options that appears after a group of CD tracks has been highlighted as a block and the user right clicks on the highlighted field. Then the various files will be joined and handled as one by iTunes. This is supposed to make loading an audiobook onto an iDevice easier. I have never been able to make the Join Tracks option appear in the menu, even though I know where it is supposed to appear.

Now, open iTunes. Pull down the File menu. Place the cursor on New and move it to the right. Click on Playlist.

Step 2: Add Files to the Library

Files must be imported into iTunes. Place the CD containing the files into the computer's disc drive. Pull down File and select Add folders (or files) to library. In the Add To Library dialog box find the files on the CD. If you are adding a number of files, left click on any one file once. Hold down Ctrl and depress A. Then release A. All files or folders on the CD will be highlighted. Click on Select Folder (or File) at the bottom of the dialog box (not shown). Some time will be required for all of the files to be copied from the disc to the iTunes library, so be patient and wait.

Step 3: Find the Files in the Library

Scroll down in the Library to find the files you have added. Left click on the first file. Hold down Shift and then depress the downward arrow key. Highlight all of the files that are part of the audiobook. Do not worry if the order of the files is jumbled. That will be easily handled later.

Step 4: Move the Files to the Playlist

The blue area is the highlighted files from the previous step. Left click on it once, hold, and drag to the Playlist column. The files will appear in the window.

Pull down the Sort menu and choose Sort by Name. The files will go into their proper order.

By way of additional information, there are 459 files,* which are enough to play for 1.2 days. You can also see the alpha-numeric coding I used to put the files into their proper order. (ID3 tags were also added much earlier because a player once used by a friend would not keep the files in their proper order without them.)

Double left click on Playlist and give the Playlist its own name. I am giving it the name "English Bible." Left click outside the name box and the Done button appears. Left click on it.

* The audio Bible is on two discs. If I added files from the other disc, there would be more than 459 files. Files from some of the smaller books of the New Testament are grouped as one file, so the total number does not quite equal the 1,189 chapters in the Bible. The German audio Bible I have has one chapter per file for a total of 1,189 files.

Step 5: Options

The newly renamed Playlist appears in the list of Playlists at the left of the window. The files ("songs") in the playlist appear in the center portion of the screen with the name of the Playlist. Right click on one of the files and a dialog box appears with numerous options available in iTunes. Left click on Get Info. in that dialog box. A new dialog box with seven tabs appears. Sorting allows adding extra sort information to keep files in order, but each file must be handled separately. This is more "for your information" so you will know how to find some options that are not immediately apparent in iTunes. The alpha-numeric coding I used is sufficient to keep the files in their proper order. Note: if you click on the graphic it will enlarge and you can more easily read some of the fine print.

Step 6: Things to Checkmark

Pull down Edit and select Preferences.

See the second graphic. Left click on the Sharing tab. In the dialog box left click on the check box for Share my library on my local network. It is your choice whether you select Share selected playlists or Share entire library. Here I scrolled down and checked the desired Playlist. Also left click on the Advanced tab and place a checkmark in the box titled "Keep iTunes folder organized." Close the dialog box.

Step 7: Connect Your IPhone by the USB Cord and Synchronize As Usual

The phone should synchronize automatically when connected to the computer by the USB cable. You can also pull down File and select Device. Then select Synchronize (your) phone. Or, a button will appear at the upper right of the window that says iPhone. Click on it, and the window pictured in the graphic should appear. At the far lower right corner you will see a Synch. button (not visible in this graphic).

The graphic shows what you should see in the Step 5 progress bar as the new files are loaded.

Step 8: What Is on the Phone

Open the Music folder on your iPhone.* Tap on the Playlists icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap on the "English Bible" Playlist. Tap on the file you wish to hear. It will begin playing. To stop playing, tap on the double vertical bars. (See the second graphic. The double vertical bars will appear where you see the black triangle Play command.) To resume play on another day, open the Music folder and tap on Now Playing (First graphic--upper right corner of the screen in red letters). Tap on the black triangle. The image shown is from my German audio Bible. When one file has finished playing, the next file automatically begins to play without tapping on it to open it.

If you actually lose your place** and have not gone far beyond what you last remember hearing, you can use the double arrows pointing to the left to go back a few chapters one at a time. Or, you may need to scroll through the full list of files to find the one where you want to begin. (In this scenario you will need to have a sense of where you stopped to locate your beginning place. I sometimes fall asleep if I listen during the night. Later I need to remember what the last thing I remember was. Another option would be to break the Bible files into multiple Playlists: perhaps one Playlist for historical books, one for prophetic books, one for writings, one for the Gospels, one for the rest of the New Testament. I would use an alpha-numeric naming scheme to keep the Playlists grouped. That would make the scrolling process easier when I need to find my place again, if I have lost it.)

I had been using a Sandisk dedicated MP3 player that worked very well. But, one day a water bottle leaked and it was drenched. The player still works, but no longer keeps my Bible files in their proper order. I decided I wanted to succeed at getting my Bible files to play on my iPhone, and now I have. Having these files on my iPhone means I no longer need to pack two devices.

I am not an iTunes expert. If you encounter other problems with iTunes, poke around the Internet for articles and videos, although they too often cover earlier versions of iTunes and are not much help. Adapt something in what I have posted here. Explore menu options you can now find through what I have presented here and experiment. It is a conundrum that Apple makes such intuitive and user friendly devices, but their iTunes software can make you want to pull your hair out in clumps, and there is normally so little help available beyond very basic things.

* You may not see the playlist for your audiobook, but items from other playlists. The display on your phone changes when the attitude of the phone is horizontal rather than vertical. Try turning the phone 90 degrees and back again once or twice. The display you were expecting should appear.

** When you download an update to the OS, you will lose your place. The order of the files may be quite mixed up. Synchronize the phone with iTunes again and the file order will be restored, but you will need to locate your place again.

Step 9: Update: Loading to an IPad As a Second Device

My wife gave me an iPad this Christmas. I decided to load my German audio Bible onto it. I could not get it to work until I brought up the screen shown in step 7. I had to check the selection for Synch Music check and then check which playlists I wanted to move to the iPad. Once I had clicked "Apply" the iPad began to synchronize and move the German audio Bible files to the iPad. The Apply button in the lower right corner had changed to Synch. If synchronization does not begin by itself, click on Synch.

Step 10: When You Get a New Phone

My iPhone 4S died recently. I replaced it with an iPhone 5C. My German Bible files seemed to be loading when I synchronized the new phone with iTunes, and the bar that shows the space used versus space available in the system (see the bottom of the graphic in the previous step) indicated they had loaded. But, when I tried to play them, as well as when I tried to play some MP3 music I had purchased and loaded, I saw a red circle with a red square next to each file, as you see in the photo. Also, these files scrolled across the screen in rapid fashion without making sound.

This circle and square is the same symbol you see when you are beginning the download of a new app. At first I was puzzled, but decided the circle and square symbol meant the files had not really loaded, yet, somehow. It was the next day when I synchronized the phone to iTunes again. The circle and square symbol disappeared and the files play as they should now.

Step 11: An Alternative to ITunes

Even at its best, iTunes can be problematic and inscrutable. Finally, I looked for an alternative to iTunes. I found Copy Trans, and it works well intuitively. I used the free version on my PC.

The image shows the Copy Trans Control Center after downloading and installing the program. The free version menu option is highlighted.

The second image shows the dialog window. Notice the Add+ button in the upper right (highlighted in dark blue). Click on it and you can navigate your computer, including disc drives, for files you wish to add to a playlist you have created. See the left column in the graphic. Upload your files and Update your device. Audio files go into your device's Music folder.

When adding numerous files to an iPhone, it can happen that the names of the files appear, but they do not play. Rather, you see a red square surrounded by a red circle as shown in step 10. The solution in Copy Trans is to delete the playlist and its contents. Then make new playlist and add only a few files at a time. One person on a blog suggest 80 files or less. I tried this, and it worked; but, I also clicked on the Update button after adding each batch of files.

Step 12: Another Alternative

Despite all of my work, one day I found the music player on my iPhone 5 no longer held my place. Perhaps that was due to some update. I discovered the app. store has apps. for managing an audio book. I got Smarter Player. I had divided my audio Bible into three folders and am now on Psalm 81 in Altes Testament 2.

the files for Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, etc. are English audio Bible files I did not realize I had loaded. I later removed them.

Step 13: Listen While Driving

My 2012 Hyundai Sonata is equipped with Bluetooth. I can play my audio Bible while I drive, but, I need to remember the proper details to make it work. I need to turn the Bluetooth "on" in Settings on my phone. Recently, I also need to tap on the name of the Bluetooth device on the phone's screen. In this case, the word "Sonata" appears on the Bluetooth screen. Once the Bluetooth connected by itself, but this extra step became necessary with a software update. Then I need to turn the car's sound system "on" and press the input selector button. See the first photo.

Bluetooth is handy. It uses extra battery from the phone and I should connect the charger from the cigarette lighter jack. Or, I can uses a 1/8" stereo (male) to 1/8" stereo (male) extension cord. In that case, just plug in the cord and the display goes to the auxiliary input. See the second photo. (The red arrow points to the cord end, which is a little difficult to see.)