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?
- Iovine fuels speculation about Apple’s interest in scripted TV shows
- Report: ‘iPhone 8’ to include upgraded water resistance
- U.S. appeals court resurrects App Store antitrust lawsuit against Apple
- Apple increases maximum tvOS app size to 4GB
- Apple releases fourth iOS 10.2.1 beta
- Apple looking to produce original TV content for Apple Music subscribers
- FBI releases heavily redacted information about cracking iPhone
- Apple partners with Tresorit to offer encryption option to CareKit developers
- ESPN’s iOS apps add support for Single Sign-On
- Spigen AirPods Stand coming in mid-February
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10