Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer - The Definitive Guide | iLounge Article


Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer - The Definitive Guide

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Probably the single most frequently-asked question of our editors here at iLounge is “How do I copy music from my iPod back to my computer?”

Although Apple’s iTunes program is very good at keeping a computer-based library synchronized to an iPod automatically, or for manually transferring tracks from your computer’s iTunes library onto your iPod, it provides extremely limited functionality for transferring information in the opposite direction—from your iPod back to your computer.

One of the likely reasons for Apple to have taken such a restrictive approach to this is to combat piracy and thereby maintain good relations with the music labels that are currently selling their content via Apple’s iTunes Store. In reality, however, there are any number of legitimate reasons why a user may want to copy music from their iPod back to their computer, such as recovering from a catastrophic system failure, or easily transferring a large iTunes library over to a new computer.

Unfortunately, with the exception of tracks purchased from the iTunes Store, which we’ll discuss further later in this article, iTunes provides no method for transferring your music and other media content from your iPod back to your computer. It has therefore fallen to third-party developers to pick up where iTunes left off in this regard, and there are today a number of very robust and full-featured utilities that will do everything from basic copying of media content back to your hard drive all the way through to rebuilding your entire iTunes library using the information on your iPod, complete with playlists, ratings, and play count information.

In this tutorial, we will begin with a background on how music is stored on the iPod in the first place, and then look at the options available for copying music and other media files from the iPod back to your computer, both on an individual basis and en masse for a complete disaster-recovery scenario.

It should be noted that the information in this article applies to all past and current models of iPod, including the iPod nano, iPod mini, the iPod shuffle, and now even the iPod touch and iPhone. However, there is no guarantee that future generations of iPod will continue to support these methods. Further, this information does not apply to content stored on the Apple TV, since despite its integration with iTunes, a different synchronization technology is used for this device and there are presently no methods to recover content from the Apple TV without hacking into or physically disassembling the unit.

Under the Hood—How Content is stored on the iPod

Before we get into the details of how to copy media content from the iPod back to your computer, it’s important to begin with a discussion of how that content is actually stored on the iPod. An understanding of how the iPod stores its content will make it more clear as to what the various recovery or copying options actually do, and help decide on what the best option is for a particular situation.

Unlike many other portable media players, the iPod stores its content using a database methodology. iTunes copies the content itself to a hidden directory structure on the iPod and then updates a database stored on the iPod. It is this database that is used both by iTunes and the iPod interface itself to index and catalog the content that is stored on the iPod.


For the most part, this database information is gleaned from the internal header tags within the media files themselves, in much the same way that iTunes indexes and catalogs your media library. Information such as the track name, artist, album, genre, and a myriad of other information that you can find for each track in iTunes is actually stored in each file, and the name of the file has no bearing on what iTunes or the iPod sees or how it catalogs any given media file. In fact, the only time the file name is ever used by iTunes is if the tags themselves are not present (or if the file format does not support tags, such as with WAV files).

The iPod database also contains additional information about your music that is not normally stored within the tracks themselves. This includes your playlists and the listing of their content, as well as track metadata such as rating, play count, last played time, skip count, last skipped time, and more.

This particular means of storing information on the iPod has both advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage to this approach is that music is catalogued in such a way that it is easily and rapidly accessible from the various menus on the iPod itself, without having to search through individual track information or build a separate cache. The disadvantage is that the music must be tagged properly in order for this to work, and of course this obscures the actual layout of the music files themselves, making it more difficult to find and copy specific tracks from the iPod back to the computer.

Fortunately, a number of third-party utilities have been developed that can read these iPod databases directly, and use them to not only locate specific tracks to recover, but in some cases even recover playlists and other additional metadata such as rating and play count.

On the iPod itself, all of the internal iPod information is located in a hidden folder called iPod_Control. Most of the information in this folder pertains to internal iPod operations, such as device configuration and settings and the library database described above. However, beneath this iPod_Control folder is a Music folder that contains all of the individual audio and video files that are stored on that particular iPod. The only information not stored here is photos, which we will discuss separately later in this article.

The files in the Music folder won’t necessarily be organized in any meaningful way for a human, since they are expected to be accessed via the iPod’s library database, which contains all of the information and other metadata for each track cross-referenced with the location of these individual files.

The times they are a-changin’—The 2007 iPod models, the iPhone and the iPod touch

Traditionally, as far as your operating system is concerned, the iPod has simply appeared to your computer as a removable storage device—basically an external hard drive. In fact, iTunes itself basically just accesses traditional iPod models in much the same way—media files are copied to the device as an external hard drive, and iTunes simply accesses the iPod’s database directly and updates the information contained in it using normal file access methods.


Essentially, the traditional iPod models are “dumb” devices when it comes to synchronization with iTunes. The device itself doesn’t “participate” in the synchronization process… iTunes itself does all the work, and the iPod just sits there connected as an external hard drive. When the sync is finished and the iPod is ejected, it returns to normal use, and since iTunes has updated the iPod’s database, any new tracks that have been added will appear in the appropriate places.

This method allowed early iPods to work quite effectively without requiring complicated technology, but it had the obvious disadvantage that since the iPod wasn’t involved in the synchronization process, any failure on the part of iTunes to properly update the iPod’s database would lead to odd and inconsistent behaviour. This was most commonly observed when disconnecting the iPod prior to an iTunes sync being completed—iTunes wouldn’t be able to update the database, and since the iPod itself didn’t know what was going on, it would be left with an inconsistent or incomplete database of track information.

The iPod classic and iPod nano (video) released in September 2007 retained this same approach to synchronization with iTunes, but added an extra “checksum” in the iPod database to help ensure that it would be left in a more consistent state in the event of a problem occurring during synchronization with iTunes. Unfortunately, these changes broke compatibility with a number of third-party iPod management applications, since they needed to update the checksum when updating content on the iPod. There were some rumours at that time was that Apple had added “encryption” to the iPod database to deliberately break third-party applications. However, there is no truth to these rumours, and in fact applications that simply read the iPod database (such as many of those we will discuss further on in this tutorial) have been mostly unaffected by these changes. From an iPod recovery point of view, there are no significant differences between the 2007 traditional iPod models (iPod classic and iPod nano (video) ) and previous generations.

On the other hand, the iPod touch and iPhone introduced a completely new synchronization protocol for communicating with iTunes. Since these devices are running an OS X based operating system much like a computer, they no longer have to be passive targets for iTunes, but can participate in the synchronization process.  With the iPod touch and iPhone, iTunes essentially hands the information off to the device for processing, and the device updates its own database. This ensures proper database integrity in the event that a problem occurs during synchronization, since the operating system on the iPod touch or iPhone can ensure that the database has been properly updated, even if the device is pulled from the cradle in the middle of a sync. This in fact was an important feature for the iPhone—the ability to pull the device to answer a call if it rings while syncing with iTunes.


The result of these changes on the iPod touch and the iPhone are that most of the traditional methods for recovering content will not work.  Fortunately, many software developers have stepped in to fill this void as well, and in the past few months several existing applications have been updated and a few new ones released specifically to handle recovering content from iPod touch and iPhone.

Disaster Recovery

So you have a nice big 160GB iPod with your entire media library loaded onto it, synchronizing automatically with your iTunes library, when suddenly the unthinkable happens… Your computer’s hard drive decides that it’s been spinning for long enough, and gives up on you.

You now suddenly find yourself in the position where your only copy of your music library is on your iPod itself, and you need to get those tracks back off the iPod onto your computer, so you can rebuild your iTunes library.

In a situation where you’ve been using automatic synchronization with your iTunes library, and you suddenly find you no longer have an iTunes library to sync with, there are a couple of additional considerations that are important to keep in mind.

Automatic iPod synchronization from iTunes is, for the most part, a one-way experience. Some information does come back in the other direction, such as ratings and play counts, but the bottom line is that iTunes considers the library on your computer to be “authoritative”—meaning that the iPod mirrors the iTunes library, rather than the other way around.

The unfortunate downside to this is that if you have an empty iTunes library on your computer, an iPod that is automatically syncing to it will happily mirror the content of your empty library. In other words, everything on the iPod will be deleted and replaced with, well… nothing.

The good news, however, is that this is only really a problem if you’re actually using the same library as you were syncing with before. iTunes is intelligent enough to notice when an iPod that you connect was previously associated to a different iTunes library database, and prompt you with a warning as to what you want to do next:


If you are trying to recover your music from your iPod, you obviously do


want to select Erase and Sync. Simply click Cancel instead, and your iPod will remain connected to your computer, but the auto-sync process will not run.

So what about those situations where you are connecting your iPod to your existing iTunes library? For example if you accidentally deleted a few tracks from your main iTunes library that you want to recover from your iPod. In this case, the iTunes automatic sync will run without notification since it’s the same library database. Fortunately, iTunes offers a solution for this as well:  Simply hold down the SHIFT+CTRL keys (on Windows) or CMD+OPT keys (on a Mac) while you are connecting your iPod to your computer. Keep holding these keys down until your actually see your iPod show up in the iTunes source list.  This will prevent iTunes from running any kind of automatic sync when it detects the iPod, but the iPod will again remain connected and ready to work with.

Swinging Both Ways…

Keep in mind that if you’re planning to use the features described in this article to use your iPod to transfer music between a Mac and a PC, your iPod itself needs to either be Windows-formatted so that both your Mac and PC can access it, or you will need to use a program like MediaFour’s MacDrive to allow you to read your Mac-formatted iPod under Windows.

Note that this is not an issue with the iPod touch or the iPhone. These devices are not accessed as an external hard drive (see above), and the format therefore doesn’t matter. Under the hood, they’re always Mac formatted, since they’re running OS X.

Next Page: Transferring Purchased Content and Copying Manually from the iPod….

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Derek, post #100, that is IT!! For Mac users, not PC, post 100 is the fix. Goto edit/select all. Then file/open and all files transfer to iTunes. I had iTunes open at the same time and did this for each folder within the Music folder. I had to reload album artwork but that is it. THANKS Derek!!!

Posted by Frank on July 18, 2008 at 11:32 PM (CDT)


Wanna know the way to transfer music from ipod to itunes? First of all, your ipod should always be enabled for disk use although I have been successful on ipods that havent been enabled. First, plug in the ipod (of course). When Itunes asks the erase and sync and the transfer purchases question, click cancel. Do not do anything that will erase the ipod! Next, open the ipod with windows by going to my computer. Windows sees the ipod as a drive, open it, and inside of it is the itunes music folder,open it. There you will see the entire library by artist. Sometimes its scrambled but it doesnt matter. Now, your gonna open up the itunes music folder on your pc by going to my documents>my music>itunes>itunes music. Now with both the itunes music folders open side by side, drag and drop them from the ipod folder to the pc folder either one at a time or go to edit and select all (depending how fast or slow your computer is -out of 5000 songs my slow H.P. laptop couuld only do 100 at a time).When you finish that, disconnect your ipod and open up itunes. Click on the music tab. Now drag all your music from the itunes music folder in windows and drop them into tunes. Let the computer do the rest.

Posted by david on July 19, 2008 at 12:32 PM (CDT)


Ok, hers my dillema…..

I just bought a new 6th Gen 80GB iPod Video. I have a 5th Gen iPod Video. Im not sure what version of iTunes im using though. It tells me 7.7 is available on an update pop up, but I heard that version sucks. Anyway…..

I bought a new 6th Gen 80GB and want to get my 6532 song library transferred from my old 5th Gen 30GB to my new 6th Gen 80GB iPod. I notice that only 5588 items show up in my iTunes, but there are 6532 items on my iPod. The iPod does not mirror my iTunes. I know this is from using my ex’s computer to install music when I first bought the old 5th Gen 30GB.

Now, how do I get all of the 6352 songs into iTunes without losing them or screwing something up, and on to the new 6th Gen 80GB iPod? I already did an iPod music transfer using CopyPod to my computer of all the 6352 items on my old iPod. I placed them in a new folder I called “MyiPodBackup2008” in the “MyDocuments” area.

Do I need to uninstall iTunes, redownload it (the non 7.7 version), then run the option to find all music files so they can reload into my iTunes to include all 6352 songs? 

I would appreciate any help! Thanks in advance!

Posted by John on July 26, 2008 at 6:23 PM (CDT)


So is there any update to these apps?? 

My WD MyBookPro2 just crashed with all of my iTunes & 20-30g of new unadded music & movies and the data recovery is $1200+.  I’d like to restore my iTunes from my iPod when I get another external drive and wondering which is the best of these apps?

Posted by helix66 on August 5, 2008 at 4:31 PM (CDT)


thanks man, really helped, 5/5

Posted by Kuchiki Byakuya on August 9, 2008 at 2:02 PM (CDT)


I’m having trouble with this - approx. 100 of the songs I’m trying to load back onto the iPod (after copying them back into iTunes), says they can’t copy because I"m not authorized to play them on this computer. I recently had to do a system restore, and I guess that’s what’s causing the problem, but now I don’t know what to do! They all appear to be purchased music.

Posted by AmandaL on August 9, 2008 at 11:10 PM (CDT)


this worked for me!
but instead of the last step, from the file location you can use Ctrl-A and select all the music files and simply drag the music files from the folder to iTunes music library.

Posted by oj on August 14, 2008 at 9:48 PM (CDT)


i love this site! my old computer crashed and i thought all my songs were gone untill i came here….but now im stuck at one part, i went into ipod_control and opened the music folder. but whats next? i didn’t know how to get into the advanced place so i just stopped. please help

Posted by angela on August 18, 2008 at 1:17 PM (CDT)


Free program for windows and mac: Diskaid.

Google it

Posted by You're Welcome on August 20, 2008 at 12:58 PM (CDT)


I had a harddrive crash on my macbook with no backup, hard lesson learned =[ the only copy i had of my music at all (almost 4k songs) was on my ipod. i nearly cried when i was told i probably wouldnt be able to recover any data within a reasonable price. i faced the music and replaced the harddrive..but I used TuneAid and paid for it (very good price!) and I have never been so happy. it found all my tracks just by pluggin in my ipod and with one click they all started transferring over. it transfers track numbers, album art, playlist, genre, rating..everything! it also tells you how many duplicates it has found and the number of errors with logs to show them.

Posted by Hope on August 23, 2008 at 5:23 AM (CDT)


what if most songs on the ipod were not bought from the iTunes Store? will they be lost? can someone let me know please because i dont want to lose all my music

Posted by Aimee Osborne on August 27, 2008 at 3:37 PM (CDT)


I have the same problem as Heydarla (#24). My iPod was formatted with my old Mac. I’m now on a PC and want to transfer my music from the iPod to PC and can’t figure out how my PC can read it. If you know how to take a Mac iPod music to a PC iTunes library, please let me know. thanks

Posted by pat on August 27, 2008 at 11:42 PM (CDT)


I am trying to do this and i have Windows Vista so when you said go to tools- folder option etc. i could not find tools under my removable disk, so anyone please help??

Posted by Tina on September 6, 2008 at 1:49 PM (CDT)


What i did is after uncovering the hidden ipod file i dragged that over to documents and put it in there, then after it loaded from the ipod to my computer i dragged all the files from documents to itunes. you could probably shorten it up and drag directly from the ipod control folder though.

Posted by Eric Nelson on September 8, 2008 at 3:26 AM (CDT)


Do any of the 3rd party software applications work with iPod touch to get media off the iPod or is it just for the older models/models that have hard drives??

Posted by Thomas on September 10, 2008 at 11:09 AM (CDT)


hi!, i am having 30GB ipod. i changed my computer. now i want to connect my ipod with new computer. my fear is i will lose all my data like songs, photos and movies form i pod.
how can i overcome through this problem.i want to save songs in ipod and want to add new songs. give me hints or help me solving this problem.

Posted by bhavesh patel on September 13, 2008 at 2:15 PM (CDT)


I followed directions from ‘somewhere’ to transfer my IPOD content onto my new laptop (MS). It worked. But now when I hook up my Ipod to put new songs on it. It’s still in the “give everything to the computer” mode. What did I do? (I remember it was a simple step but don’t remember what) and how do I undo it? Thanks.

Posted by Bweez on September 13, 2008 at 4:38 PM (CDT)


OMG this article was LIFESAVER! i recently got a new ipod and the silly ipod ‘expert’s at the store said that there was NO possible way to transfer library from my old ipod to the new one. so phooey on them!

btw, thank you waterguard (POST #19!!!!!)—they should include your IMPORTANT tip within the article because i would’ve been lost otherwise XD

Posted by janeberryblue on September 14, 2008 at 9:50 AM (CDT)


Thank you so much!!! I have a windows formatted old ipod 40gb and used the step by step manual process on my mac and it worked!

Posted by zebra on September 17, 2008 at 10:06 PM (CDT)


Thank god for this tutorial! My old laptop’s battery wouldn’t charge, and I didn’t have enough time to transfer my itunes library over before in completely conked out! Thankfully had it all on my ipod and used this! Used the ‘brute-force’ approach and it worked! However, did have a few issues, such as working out how to make sure the files werent completely hidden and then had to re-do the entire thing again as I had forgotten to change the setting so it copied into the itunes folder whilst adding to the library, but read through the comments and found solutions! Thank you so much - a life saver!!

Posted by Jo on September 18, 2008 at 10:22 AM (CDT)


My system crashed while I was connecting my ipod. Now my ipod appears to be locked with the message ..... Connected, Eject before disconnecting

Posted by Grace on September 19, 2008 at 8:58 PM (CDT)


How come there is not Print article button?
Where it will put only the article on a page to print.
without these comments, and side bar ads.

Posted by greg on September 25, 2008 at 10:18 AM (CDT)


This is too vague. 

Exactly how do you copy your ipod and it’s audio/video content to a new PC?

Posted by Carl on September 30, 2008 at 8:57 AM (CDT)


Great article….really easy to move back…although mine didn’t let me import straight from itunes but did let me copy the music file back into the itunes library. Also as an added bonus mine showed me the tags on 90% of it when I got it to list the detail. So could actually move files knowing what they were!....thanks for the help

Posted by Luisa on October 3, 2008 at 3:09 PM (CDT)


You saved me! The hard drive on my old computer died, and I was able to recover all the music I on my two iPods using the simple Terminal command given here. No 3rd party software was needed.

Posted by Cynthia on October 5, 2008 at 11:59 AM (CDT)


OK, here’s what I can’t figure out. I’ve read everything possible, and it all seems very simple, but my G: drive keeps disappearing on me! I’ve opened it up, found the iPod folder, found the music folders. I know I’m following the step correctly. Sometimes I can’t even get that far before POOF! It just sucks back up into nowhere. How can I pull files from a drive I can’t find?!

Posted by Kate on October 8, 2008 at 2:39 AM (CDT)


can anyone plz tell how do transfer songs that are not purchased by itunes to a computer!! plz help me!!

Posted by Alvia on October 9, 2008 at 10:59 AM (CDT)


why do i hav 2 of every song? and when i delete one of the duplicates- it says the file cannot be located? I did what you said for not-MAC users… help!!!

Posted by Kristin on October 10, 2008 at 12:08 PM (CDT)


Hi I need help in putting my photos to my computer from my ipod.
I dont want to pay 30 dollars for just that.
I just want to do it easily and free.
Can anyone help?
Mark P.

Posted by Mark on October 13, 2008 at 3:58 PM (CDT)


I took that website of Digidna. They support the iTunes 8 and other iPhone and iPod Touch. It was very easy and took maybe 20 minutes. $18.95. I have a MacBook and a 3generation Nano.
I got all of my files onto my newly bought HD on my previously crashed HD.

Posted by Bette Levine on October 25, 2008 at 4:41 PM (CDT)


I have my library on my ipod only because my computer crashed. I now have a mac and my ipod is formatted for windows. Which is the best third party software to use to create my library on the mac? My previous computer was a PC. thank you

Posted by Sharon Watt on October 27, 2008 at 2:48 PM (CDT)


I’m a very basic user, my pc crashed and lost my Itunes. I have my ipod in tack. can you please step by step help me load my ipod onto my computer without the pc wiping everything out.

Appreciate your help.

Posted by Phil on October 28, 2008 at 7:01 PM (CDT)


I didnçt download any program to get my music form the ipod I just did it manually. My problem is that I unblock the folder Contol Ipod and now everytime I conect my ipod to my computer an advise appears an say : the file that is requiere to syncronize the ipod is block…. How can I solve this problem.?! =(

Posted by Isi on October 31, 2008 at 5:18 PM (CDT)


Hi Thanks for the great article! I have a question. I did the brute force method and everything went fine, I have all my music files in the Itunes library. My problem is that the songs wont play on Itunes! Itunes shows that little play symbol and it appears as if it should be playing, but nothing happens. On the top of Itunes where it shows the info about the current song playing it shows the song, but on the time bar it starts at 0 but ends at a negative number ex. 0:00 to -4:13.
Does anyone know where I went wrong? All my folders are unhidden and not marked “read only”
Any help would be awesome Thanks!

Posted by JennyP on November 4, 2008 at 1:06 PM (CST)


Just get TuneAid. Problem solved.

Posted by Sarah on November 7, 2008 at 12:04 AM (CST)


I’ve had some trouble with my Ipod Touch
It recently just froze on me so i had to restore it and once i had restored it i tried backing it up from the backup, but about $50 worth of songs that i had bought using my ipod had dissapeared and i wanted to now if there was a way i could get the songs back becuase for some reason they weren’t on my computer, they just completely vanished. I really dont want to buy all the songs again so if you have any idea how to get the songs back it would be a great help. Thanks

Posted by mel on November 8, 2008 at 12:30 AM (CST)


I’ve had some trouble with my Ipod Touch
It recently just froze on me so i had to restore it and once i had restored it i tried backing it up from the backup, but about $50 worth of songs that i had bought using my ipod had dissapeared and i wanted to now if there was a way i could get the songs back becuase for some reason they weren’t on my computer, they just completely vanished. I really dont want to buy all the songs again so if you have any idea how to get the songs back it would be a great help. Thanks

Posted by mel on November 8, 2008 at 12:35 AM (CST)


If i have an ipod with songs on it and i wanted to add those songs to my itunes with out deleting the songs from the ipod, how would i do so?

Posted by Torr on November 12, 2008 at 5:56 PM (CST)


I got a comment and a question.
First who ever you are that put all this togeather, you did a fantastic job. When i found this site i was trying to find out what i have.
Is it a flash drive or an ipod. An if an ipod is that the thingie that plays music? Now thats dum. I fool with computers a lot so i got a little exposure but none in these tote around music things. I read all the questions and answers and i now think i can controll this thing.  Now my question. I bought some stuff in a yard sale an found this 1st generation 512 ipod shuffel in the stuff. Its got music on it. No doubt someone bought the songs through itunes. I have all songs and folders transfered to a folder on my computer.  I have done all the stuff mentioned in this long article. Post # 102 is really all anyone needs i think. A person does need to know to get all the stuff off the ipod an in a file before it re-sinks with itunes i think, an the bit about unchecking hidden files an folders. An by all means stay away from the inside of the thing. If my battery goes dead i am going to chunk it.
Now what happens when i let it resink with itunes. Its going to find the songs that someone else bought an try to put them back, i think? Are they going to be listed in someone elses account? Is that person now using that account with another ipod? Is Apple going to loose their cool saying i owe for the songs? I dont really care for the songs and they are only about 30 of them. Can i delete them to where they will stay deleted. Or will it give me a new account an ill be loose from the one that it has used in the past? I am going to convert a bunch of my music to the thing after i get it set up to take them.
Thanks, i have learned a lot from your site.
You are much appreciated by this old old southern boy.

Posted by Neldon on November 13, 2008 at 4:21 AM (CST)


This has been so helpful! Thank you!

Posted by KT on November 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM (CST)


Thank you, DEREK!!! I, like many other posters, had the issue of trying to add a hidden file to the iTunes library. Thank you for finally addressing it! Most helpful!

Posted by leslie on November 21, 2008 at 5:11 PM (CST)


Thanks for this article! Great job!  I did the brute force and I got all my files back but I have ONE PROBLEM…the song name is gone and replaced with the mp3’s file name!!! 

Anyone got this error?  Now I have to go back and rename all 4000 songs!  Anyone got any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by Carlo on November 23, 2008 at 3:01 PM (CST)


I recently added all the songs from my ipod, the titles of the songs didn’t transfer.  Now I have all the songs but I don’t know what the name is.  I copied the control folder of the Ipod over to the computer, so is there a way to upload the titles from there to the itunes library.  The song titles are all in 4 letter codes and I want to change them to titles again.  Help Ipod transfer gurus.

Posted by Reno on November 28, 2008 at 10:12 AM (CST)


Amazing article, the “reveal hidden folders” way worked extremely well for me!

Posted by rebecca on November 30, 2008 at 9:03 PM (CST)


I’m lucky I know how to turn on the nano 8gb or 4th gen, whatever that means, my nieces gave me. They put music on it from their
files. I need to make my own library so I can delete what music I do not want.
I have no idea what to do. I bought a program for 20 called ipod copy expert, but I have no idea why it is saying my ipod is not plugged in.
I have it plugged in to one of the usb ports, but beyond that I have no clue, very challanged when it comes to this stuff. Really what is my next step in very simple terms.

Posted by Mary on December 4, 2008 at 9:03 PM (CST)


A really good article, i took your advice and bought “copy trans suite”. What a fantastic program, so easy to use and intuitive. I’m going to try their ipod doctor software and see if i can rescue my older ipods. Thanks.

Posted by nikhil mathew on December 5, 2008 at 1:22 AM (CST)


EXCELLENT article. You’re missing one important step near the end however. When copying the contents of the ipodcontrol folder to a WINDOWS PC, after you have activated the “shown hidden files” option, next you must uncheck the “Hidden” option for all files and folders. To do this, select all the items (music and folders), then right-click on a file or folder and choose “Unhide”. A window will pop-up asking if you wish to apply the settings to all files and sub folders. Say “Yes”. Then iTunes will be able to import ok.

Posted by Eriq on December 12, 2008 at 7:21 PM (CST)


thanks nematzz . iDump works great

Posted by whale on December 12, 2008 at 11:53 PM (CST)


Thanks! You saved my music collection!

Posted by Amy on December 14, 2008 at 11:29 AM (CST)


hey just wondering if anyone could help me out, have a 120gig ipod but my its formatted with my old mac computer, but now i need to tranfer the muisic from my ipod to a pc, i tried the brute force approach and the songs show up on itunes but they have an exclamation mark next to them and dont play, is it cos im going from a mac to a pc and could anyone tell me which programme is the best for me to do this, please someone help!! thanks

Posted by Rossipique on December 15, 2008 at 7:12 PM (CST)


What about iPodRip? It was the original application and has all the key features while working on Mac and Windows. Seems odd to not include it!

Posted by Mat on December 15, 2008 at 11:35 PM (CST)


my music cant be copied to my ipod. it shows the error (-69). what does that mean?

Posted by you on December 16, 2008 at 3:47 AM (CST)


Excellent and very helpful article. Thank you for putting this together. I used this to reconstruct my daughter’s iTunes Library from her iPod because 2500 of her songs had disappeared from her iTunes though they were present on the iPod. One difference that I saw was that under ipod-controls->music folder, there were several sub-folders like F00, F01, and so forth, and the actual music files were under those sub-folders. I saw that iTunes couldn’t add the folders (F00, F01 etc) themselves. So I had to create a new folder on Mac HD and copy the individual music files from under the sub-folders to that new folder, and then do “Add Folder to Library”, select all the music files under the new folder on Mac HD and do it that way.

Thanks again.

Posted by S Bagchi on December 21, 2008 at 10:22 PM (CST)


I have a ipod classic 80gb. an i just bought a new laptop. how do i transfer my library to my new laptop

Posted by ric b. on December 26, 2008 at 11:47 AM (CST)


I LOVE YOU! Thank you so much for posting this and for posting the CopyTrans information! My hardrive crashed and took along with it my iTunes folder (for some reason they were able to salvage my non-iTunes folder.) I had MOST of my music on my iPod - ran CopyTrans and it worked like a champ in mere minutes!!! THANK YOU FOR ALL your advice!!

Posted by Tricia on December 26, 2008 at 2:01 PM (CST)


Floola is the best! And it is very simple!!

Posted by Jon on December 26, 2008 at 9:54 PM (CST)


This worked well for me.  We have a Windows laptop and desktop and when my husband and I first got our iPods, I put his library on the laptop while my library was on the desktop.  After I figured out iTunes, I realized we should both be on the same computer and share the same library so we could share each other’s songs.  I wanted to move his iPod library to my library on a different computer.  I was worried it would erase what was already in my library, but it didn’t.  I combined our libraries on one computer - worked like a charm!

Posted by Lilia on December 27, 2008 at 12:21 PM (CST)


Much thanks for the information.  I was able to recover all my songs to a new computer (as my old computer died a violent death).  I only had one problem.  I was not able to copy over the entire hidden music folder to my libray at once.  Unfortunately, I found that I had to copy the files and was only able to copy 15 at a time.  I was a bit miffed, however as soon as I started to see all my music in my new library, I quickly got over it.  It took me about 45 minutes to copy over 600 songs.  Well worth my time, considering the other option.  I am happy to say that my new I Tunes works great with my old Nano and new Touch. 

Thanks again for such a indepth step by step.


Posted by Dan O on December 27, 2008 at 3:57 PM (CST)


Subscribing to iPodweek

iPOD Classic 120Gb

Posted by Ashley Haddock on December 28, 2008 at 12:24 PM (CST)


wonderful article…saved 500 some songs from my ipod!!

one question, i have a macbook..OS X 10.4 i used Terminal and the command to show the hidden files…and i went back in to hide my folders again, replaced TRUE with FALSE, but it still shows my hidden files.  It’s not anything crucial…but it does get kind of annoying…anyone have any suggestions??

Posted by chrissy on December 30, 2008 at 12:51 AM (CST)


I’m desperate. I have an ipod formatted with a macquintosh operating system. Unfortunally my hard drive died and now I bought a windows computer. How do I transfer the songs from the ipod (mac formatted) to my new windows computer ? Some body help

Posted by OSCAR PALOMARES on December 31, 2008 at 7:31 PM (CST)


Great article, but I’m still fighting with two iPods.  My wife got me a 120GB 6th gen to replace my 30GB 5th gen and I have tried CopyTrans and TuneAid.  Neither of them worked.
Trying the ‘brute force method’ fails to work as well, but I’m wondering if there are certain folders under the ipod_control folder that I could copy instead of the whole thing.  There HAS to be some info in there that is exclusive to that generation of ipod.
Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed, as I don’t want to lose all of my ratings and playlists.  The music is the most important thing and I can get that copied over, but I have spent SO much time putting the playlists together!

Posted by Mike on January 1, 2009 at 9:17 AM (CST)



Posted by JAG on January 2, 2009 at 9:07 AM (CST)


to use 2 i touches with one computer, just create a second user on your computer.

Posted by scott on January 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM (CST)


Senuti has recently started charging $18 to download.

Posted by manny on January 3, 2009 at 5:51 PM (CST)


okay i need help, i was at my friends house and we both have mac laptops, and she has a shared network in her house so i decided to download all of her itunes songs because i had just received my laptop for christmas and i wanted songs on my itunes . I have no idea why i did that because we have a total different taste in music. Yesterday i went to my neighbors house and we are like best friend’s and we have the same taste in music so i downloading all of her music onto my ipod thinking it would be easy to transfer my new ipod songs to my itunes and delete all of my old songs. I clicked ” transfer purchases” after deleting all my old songs and it said a list of files could not be tranferred which was 100 songs and the only way i could resolve that was to authorize my computer. I did as it said clicked “store” , authorize computer and it said it was already authorized. So now i’m stuck with no music on my itunes and i tried downloading all the ” free softwares” as everyones telling to do but it didn’t help at all. WHAT DO I DO? SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Nikki on January 4, 2009 at 12:33 PM (CST)


I somehow erased by itunes music but still have it on my 3G ipod. I’ve used my ipod as a portable device and loaded the music but it’s showing up as F00 GOSP.m4a’ for example. And I also have CD’s listed by name AND my laptop says I have Low Disk Space. I’m thinking now I’m doubled up w/ data. B4 doing any of this tech supp @ Crutchfield walked thru finding the music & agreed w/ me that it was gone. Any suggestions? Anyone else have this prob & figure it out?

Posted by PCobb on January 4, 2009 at 8:55 PM (CST)


My hard drive died, so I replaced it, but whatever killed it has done something to my little shuffle. 
About half the songs on my shuffle are gone, and most of them were bought from iTunes store. 
There has to be a way to retrieve those songs that I have PAID for, but that have disappeared from my shuffle? 
Can I not get my old iTunes library back by putting in a password or user ID or is it just totally tied to my old hard drive?

Posted by Ruth Nicholas on January 5, 2009 at 7:53 AM (CST)


like most people on here i had to transfer music from an ipod to another computer, i managed to get the music off the ipod on to the computer and it plays without the ipod, but i cant sync the ipod, i keep getting ” the ipod cannot be synced, the file is locked” and i cant even restore the ipod for the same reason, any ideas would be appreciated. thanks

Posted by Michael on January 5, 2009 at 3:58 PM (CST)


How do u delete tunes, video, from ipod Nano?

Posted by charles haley on January 7, 2009 at 3:47 PM (CST)


this was a very good article. i followed all the steps

but im still STUCK! i need help!!

when i go to transfer the files from ipod control to my hard drive on the computer a window pops up sayin error “GYTR” (the four letter words) parameter incorrect. can sum help me slove this issue

Posted by adrian brown on January 7, 2009 at 5:43 PM (CST)


I have recently upgraded my ipod touch with the bigger memory version,  I want to give my little sister my old one but she has no itunes library,  can i easily transfer my music form the laptop onto an external hard drive and then transfer the contents onto sisters laptop,  for her to manage the tunes and therefore delete and control what she want to keep and do. 

will I be able to now sync my new touch with my existing music file on my laptop

best Sandy

Posted by sandra persaud on January 8, 2009 at 4:39 PM (CST)


Hey thanks SO MUCH!
I got a new laptop and left my old one at home when I moved to uni and was panicking about not having all my music!
Your guide was totally helpful.. and I learned a thing or two in the process ;)
Again… thanks muchly.

Posted by TheCJ on January 11, 2009 at 9:21 AM (CST)


For those with HD crashes, I use for online backups. Works in the background constantly backing up your data. $50/year is hard to beat.

BTW - Don’t forget that these backup tools can’t backup open files, so be sure to occasionally close everything down and leave it running or force an immediate backup.

Outlook is a good example of what is really a large database file that can’t easily be backed up while open.

Posted by Peter on January 18, 2009 at 4:53 PM (CST)


Thanks for all the good info!

Posted by sharon on January 21, 2009 at 4:53 PM (CST)


Waterguard, I know it’s almost a year later, but you freakin’ saved my sanity with the tip about the removing the “hidden” setting in the actual file!!!

Posted by Manda on January 26, 2009 at 1:45 PM (CST)


My problem is a bit more complex.  I have an iphone with all my music loaded.  My PC crashed and can’t recover itunes.  Have a new PC tried to sync my iPhone and it wants to wipe out all music on my iPhone (I did not purchase this music on my iPhone, purchase via itunes, so it will not transfer purchased items back into itunes) any suggestions?

Posted by G on January 26, 2009 at 5:54 PM (CST)


in post 19, waterguard, you SAVED MY LIFE! i couldn’t figure out why the folder was there but itunes wouldn’t recognize it, and the tip about making sure it wasn’t hidden solved it! Thanks so much. I’m sure it was something really obvious to you, but for me that was the only thing holding me back!

Posted by Becca on January 27, 2009 at 11:07 AM (CST)


This being January 27, 2009; I’m not sure that it’s still possible use the brute force method to transfer the contents of your iPod Library DIRECTLY from your iPod into iTunes IN ONE STEP.  iTunes may have been changed to make reverse importing more difficult.  I was, however, able to get this done in two steps.  I created a temporary “TEMP iPod” folder and copied the contents of my iPod HDD into that folder after making the hidden folder unhidden.  Then, after making sure that “Keep my iTunes music folder organized.” and “Copy files to iTunes music folder when adding to library.” were both selected, I clicked on “File” => “Add folder to library . . .” and selected “ . . .\TEMP iPod\iPod_Control\Music” – and it was done.

The biggest problem with doing it in two steps is that you need twice as much free space on your HDD.  However there is a way around this:  My “. . .\TEMP iPod\iPod_Control\Music” folder contains the folders “F00” to “F49”.  Instead of copying all 50 of these folders into the “TEMP iPod” folder all at once, you can do it bits at a time – (whatever’s necessary, depending on how little free space you have.)  For example, I might:

1) Select F00 to F24 and transfer those into the temporary folder.

2) Select the temporary folder as the one you add to the iTunes library.

3) Delete the contents of the temporary folder.  (If your free space is very limited, you might want to empty the recycle bin at this point as well.)

4) Start over at step one except now select F25 to F49.

This would reduce the amount of free space you need by 25%.  If you have very limited free space, you might need to gradually decrease the number of F** folders you copy to your HD as you go along.

Information on how to free up space on your HDD can be found elsewhere.

Posted by bcharts on January 27, 2009 at 9:16 PM (CST)



We had a pc problem and lost itunes. Now have itunes on another pc and daughter has created her own itunes library. I’ve connected my ipod and itunes recognises it, created a new playlist but I can’t sync it. Also running out of space, do I need to use one of the suggested methods to try to copy the music from my Ipod back to itunes? I’d be happy to delete stuff from my Ipod and start again but how do I that?

Posted by Shelley on January 28, 2009 at 2:57 PM (CST)


so it is hard to tranfer my music off one ipod to another. just got a new one. my other one is two years old. Bought this one out of my babysitting money lost reciept and can’t do nothing at all.

Posted by helen on February 1, 2009 at 1:00 AM (CST)


So I own a PC right now and an iPod I may soon be making the leap to Mac. I was wondering if the third party programs would still work the same since the iPod had originally been on a PC.

Posted by Hai on February 2, 2009 at 8:02 PM (CST)


THANK YOU! I am another foolish victim of a crashed, un-backed-up pc that had all my photos & music on it. After a couple of months weighing the options I was learning about for recovering my IPOD music (and restoring it onto my new pc), I found this site, and used the ‘brute force’ method so well defined here. It was a success and I’m thrilled. THANK YOU 1575 times over - the number of songs recovered from my IPOD!  :)

Posted by dana on February 5, 2009 at 12:32 AM (CST)


Read post 19!!!! Of all the suggestions in this thread, this one is the key!!!!

Posted by Todd on February 7, 2009 at 11:02 PM (CST)


What about photos how do you get those onto a new coputer. My computer just crashed and i lost every thing. every time i look something up, and follow what it tells me to do i keep finding Thumb folders and a window coming up asking me what i want to open the folder with. and when i try copying it to the My Pictures file. its just the same Thumb folder and the same window pping up when i click on it.(If you already mentioned this in the above statements i’m sorry i was just scanning through.)

Posted by Near on February 8, 2009 at 11:35 PM (CST)


how can i transfer my data from my ipod touct to my computer?

Posted by harjeet on February 10, 2009 at 8:11 AM (CST)


I feel I should comment on this as I found a solution I havent seen posted yet.  My biggest hinderance to buying an Ipod was not wanting to have to deal with Itunes, yuck.  So then I read that Winamp handles Ipods very conviently - Which it does!! 

I was ripping some tracks to a friends older Ipod (I’ve got a 4th gen nano 8GB) which required me to download the ML_Ipod plugin for Winamp. 

Now using this, just plug in your ipod, open winamp’s Media List (ML) click on Ipod, Right click on the artists you want, and then click the Copy To Hard Drive option :D

Enjoy, easiest method Ive found :)

Posted by Dj on February 22, 2009 at 3:03 PM (CST)


Forgot to add, it copy’s it from winamp to C:\ {artist name}

Then I just move it to my music folder from there

Couldnt be easier :)

Posted by Dj on February 22, 2009 at 3:09 PM (CST)


Thank you very much for the review of CopyTrans!
I was struggling to find a way to recover my iTunes library after a computer crash and CopyTrans did the job steamlessly!
It copies tunes, movies, podcasts, playlists and ratings back to iTunes in no time.
Many thanks to iLounge, iLounge’s readers and to CopyTrans team of course!

Posted by Deb's on February 25, 2009 at 8:09 AM (CST)


Its very simple really. Go to My Computer and browse the connected iPod, make sure you can see hidden folders and go into the music folder. You will be presented with a number of folders named ‘F00’, ‘F01’ etc. These contain all your songs. Go into each folder, select all songs and hit ‘enter’. Provided iTunes is your selected media player, it will open all songs at once and they will be transferred to your library…easy!

Posted by Brendan on February 26, 2009 at 1:46 PM (CST)



Posted by STUART VERNON on February 26, 2009 at 11:52 PM (CST)


I just bought a new 120 iPod classic, so I want to transfer all my music and videos from my 60 video iPod to the new one, Wich will be the best way to do it?

Posted by Angel on March 9, 2009 at 1:11 PM (CDT)


Post # 185: Use Tansee iPod Transfer Photo. Just download the freeware version. You can transfer 6 pics at a time to your PC. It works very well! For music and video I use Floola.

Posted by Rob on March 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM (CDT)


How do I load music from my ipod onto i tunes if the ipod is associated with another itune account. The ipod is mine I’ve just been using my sisters itunes account until I hooked up my cpu again. when I attempt to download I’m given only one option to sync and erase or cancel my option. Does anyone have any alternatives.

Posted by aleathea pagtakhan on March 25, 2009 at 6:24 PM (CDT)


wanting to download songs off ipod onto itunes on laptop without losing songs in itunes

Posted by peata on April 12, 2009 at 8:58 PM (CDT)


This is GENIUS!
I’ve neeeeeeeeeeeeeeded this article!

Posted by Jesus on April 12, 2009 at 9:08 PM (CDT)


i an using windowns vista.  i understand the whole manual reverse sync pretty well.  my probem is….when i attempt to manually reverse sync, i can not find the option “show hidden icons”.  therefore, i cant get vista to find the music on my ipod…ughh

Posted by gator girl on April 13, 2009 at 8:48 PM (CDT)


My computer crashed with my enitre itunes library, Itunes money, and my account info on it. There’s no waay to recover it. Meanwhile, I have my ipod with all my songs and photo’s on it that I been charging from a wall plug. I been trying to read articles, butu mostly those are ones that are useful if you still the original computer working. We’re using a new computer and I want to put Itunes on it. I’m afraid I’ll lose my music(especially the one’s I didn’t get from Itunes store) and photos. How can I add my ipods music and pics to the new computer’s Itunes and close my account on the dead computer?

Posted by Sammie on April 15, 2009 at 8:50 AM (CDT)



I got over 13,000 trancks on my PC, but want to transfer this onto my Itunes but can’t do it except track by track, can I transfer the whole file over in a more easy way? thank you

Posted by Simon Baker on April 16, 2009 at 1:28 PM (CDT)


Dear Sir, I think I love you. I was devastated when my hard drive crashed in January, and it never occured to me that you could recover the music from your ipod, so I’ve been puting the new music I’ve downloaded on my nano and just kept the music I had already on my 30GB, and I stumbled across your article… you are my hero!


Posted by Khatana.rose on April 16, 2009 at 9:43 PM (CDT)

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