Backing up and restoring an iPod classic
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have a 120GB iPod classic needing a battery change. I am opting for an in-store change due to lack of skill, and as a result, I am told I will lose all my data.
I have my songs backed up already, but I am concerned about losing the artwork manually added (i.e. not inside the mp3 file). Is it possible to use Windows Explorer to do a straight copy and paste of all the MP3 and DB files and then re-copy onto the replacement iPod? Are there any files I should not copy back over?
A: Since the iPod classic uses a hard drive to store your data, it’s actually very unlikely that simply having the battery changed will result in you losing any data; most likely the store is advising you of this simply as a precaution, and it’s definitely a good idea because anything can happen.
If you’ve manually added your album artwork to your tracks through iTunes, then it should be embedded in your MP3 files anyway, as this is how iTunes normally behaves. If artwork was added to the tracks directly on your iPod after copying the music onto it, then the source files on your computer would likely not have embedded artwork, and you would need to copy them back from the iPod in order to have the copies with the artwork stored on your computer.
The ideal way to back up the content on your iPod classic is actually to copy it off using one of the methods described in our article on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer and then reimport it into your iTunes library. This will ensure that everything is properly tagged and organized on your computer, including your album artwork. iTunes can also automatically download and add album artwork to any tracks that don’t already include it, however artwork added using this method will not be stored inside the actual MP3 files, but only in the appropriate iTunes and iPod databases. See our Guide to Album Tagging, Art and Playlists in iTunes for more information.
Creating a new iTunes library from your iPod content provides the most flexibility as all of your data is stored properly in an iTunes library and can be managed and retransferred from there. Should this not be an option for whatever reason, however, you actually can just copy everything from your iPod classic to another hard drive using Windows Explorer, but you must ensure that you include the “iPod_Control” folder, which is where all of your music and database files are actually stored. This is normally a hidden folder, so be sure that you’ve enabled the option to show hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer. The section on “The Brute Force Approach” in our Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer article provides more information on how to do this.
This can be copied back onto your iPod classic in much the same way should you need to restore it, and there aren’t any files you need to worry about excluding since you’re copying your data back onto the same model of device.
If you want a more automated process for this, you may also want to consider purchasing a third-party app such as iCloner ($20, free trial available), which is specifically designed for this purpose.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Report: Developers losing interest in making watchOS apps
- Source: New AI set to give Siri a massive improvement
- India officially rejects Apple’s bid to sell used iPhones
- Apple’s new ‘Echo rival’ may feature a camera
- Apple ‘working rapidly’ to extend Apple Pay to more countries
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)