They’re making some changes at work. One of which will be to ban iTunes from our work computers. This is a problem for those of us who travel a lot. I know that when I’m connected via Terminal Services/Remote Desktop/RDP the desktop finds my iPhone and my iPad. So I figured that I could setup a machine with a remote connection at home and pass through iTunes while I’m on the road. That way I could plug my iPhone/iPad into my work computer and update it via RDP.
After much Googling and Binging my head against a wall I got it to work. I thought I would lay out how to make it work here, since a lot of forums indicate that it can’t be done. I’m using Windows 8 but this should work with Windows 7 as well.
- Get Terminal Services working inside your house. There are lots of good instructions on how to do this on the web.
- Now get it working outside of your network. Put one of your computers on a different network and test this. Use a cellular connection, Starbucks, whatever. Usually this involves opening port 3389 on your router and pointing it to your local machine’s IP address. Again, there are lots of good tutorials on this on the web.
- On the RDP client machine, activate RemoteFX USB redirection like this:
Run GPEDIT.MSC to activate the Group Policy Editor.
In Group Policy, navigate to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Connection Client\RemoteFX USB Device Redirection
Edit “Allow RDP redirection of other supported RemoteFX USB devices from this computer.”
Enable the policy, and specify whether you wish to allow all users or only admins to redirect devices.
On the client machines, run “gpupdate /force” (without quotes) from an Administrator command prompt to enable/disable the feature, and then restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
The feature will not work until you restart.
- You’ll now have a new option in the More section of your RDP client: Other Supported RemoteFX USB Devices.
- Plug in your iPhone/iPad, fire up the RDP client and navigate to the More window. An Apple item should show in this window.
- Connect to the remote computer and start iTunes on the remote machine.
- iTunes will find your iPhone/iPad and sync normally. Note, there can be a significant lag before it finds the device, but all in all this works pretty well.
I pulled information primarily from these sources to make this work:
Both sources provide more detail about the pieces.
One caveat, one of the sites indicates that DRM protected content can’t be synced this way. Most of my music is DRM free so I didn’t see any issues and I didn’t try to transfer something as large as a movie using this method.