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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Comment 292 was the one that finally showed me how to copy a bunch of files at once instead of one at a time. I was able to copy the files from my iPod to my (newly reformatted) computer, but iTunes wouldn’t import an entire folder, only one song at a time. I have a PC, but Ana’s instructions worked for me as well. The only thing that needed clarification was that once you’ve selected Open with iTunes for a group of files, you then need to make sure they are all selected, right click, and then select Open. As iTunes opens each file, it imports them. Eventually a small Play window will open for each song, and you have to close each window, but that’s a lot easier than importing each song one at a time! Thanks for the help!

Posted by Ellen on February 21, 2010 at 1:36 PM (CST)


I downloaded music videos from itunes now it won’t let me sync them to my ipod.
I also have another question if i wanted to start all over how do i get all the stuff off my ipod and start fresh.

Posted by dustypeters on February 23, 2010 at 2:49 AM (CST)


I’ve been delaying starting my ipod library over again once my harddrive crashed last year.

I was so disappointed because I had over 20GB of music on my video ipod.

I finally decided before erasing my ipod to check out this article and it worked perfectly!

I’m glad I waited. Now I can have all my songs back!

Posted by Cassie on February 24, 2010 at 11:48 PM (CST)


Thank you for the information, all i wanted to do was to get my new MAC to recognise my i-pod which was synced to a PC. I did not want to delete all the playlists by erasing it all and re syncing it. I asked lots of people how to do this and no one new.  On reading this I found out it was as easy as pressing command and option key at the same time. RESULT Thank You

Posted by Peter Roberts on February 28, 2010 at 11:44 AM (CST)


I have a audio recording on my ipod. I want to transfer that to my computer. will the data get deleted after I transfer my audio to computer

Posted by Nandita on March 20, 2010 at 3:43 AM (CDT)


I cant afford to buy any of the programs, and I just got a new computer, and everything looks different than in the pics! Any help??

Posted by mm on March 27, 2010 at 3:50 AM (CDT)


Thank you SO much for this information.  You saved us from having to buy a lot of songs a third time (We didn’t see your article the first time this happened to us.). 

You rock!

Posted by Marci on March 28, 2010 at 1:58 AM (CDT)


I’ve done this not long ago.
For those songs purchased from iTunes, no need to use any program. Simply click “Transfer Purchases”.
For songs from other sources, use some third party program to help. Go to{ }and find the easiest one.
It has some many guides and tips on this.

Posted by GJess on March 28, 2010 at 3:05 AM (CDT)


i bought itouch copy and have and my music loaded as “lost music” on my external HD.  How do I know import that “lost music” into itunes??

Posted by martha brousseau on April 2, 2010 at 10:16 AM (CDT)


This article saved my life. thank you!

Posted by Michelle on April 5, 2010 at 4:17 PM (CDT)


Okay, so I have a couple questions.

My computer crashed therefore my iTunes library account is gone. I know that it talks about this problem in the Disaster Recovery section but it doesn’t really explain how to solve it.

I want to be able to have my library back, purchase songs, basically like it was before it crashed. Is there ANY way I can do this?

Posted by Caroline on April 6, 2010 at 8:02 PM (CDT)


My external hard drive recently was dropped and I couldn’t access the files ... and that’s where all my iTunes were.

The instructions to get access to the files without using a program were easy peasy!


Posted by Teena on April 16, 2010 at 8:56 PM (CDT)


I did the following steps. It worked great, but about half of the music I copied didn’t sync so now I no longer have some songs.
Everything else worked though.

Posted by Sarah on April 17, 2010 at 12:22 PM (CDT)



Posted by SHIHIRAN on April 19, 2010 at 5:21 PM (CDT)


Thank you so much for this article.  My library is in the process of recovery after an external HDD of mine decided to erase all music from after a certain date (28 out of 40 gigs of music); I knew there had to be a way to get the media off of my iPod (or else Apple was getting a nice little letter), and I knew it had something to do with the disk use feature, I just couldn’t put the puzzle together.

So, from one slave of electronics to another, thanks again.


Posted by Paz on April 19, 2010 at 5:58 PM (CDT)


this is an amazing article its easy to understand and so quick to do!
all my friends love me for revealing this to them :D
thank you again!!

Posted by kat on April 21, 2010 at 6:04 AM (CDT)


I’m having a problem getting back the music videos that I have purchased. They were lost and my ipod touch was not backed up. I tried transfering purchases, downloading purchases. Does anyone know how I can get them?

Posted by Ruth Pavuk on April 30, 2010 at 2:05 PM (CDT)


Hi there,

I just want to say how grateful I am to for posting this article, I lost all my music this weekend and have been able to retrieve it via my Ippod thanks to you.

Very grateful for the time and effort!


Posted by Lisa Bruton on May 14, 2010 at 2:56 AM (CDT)


it says that i have to restore my ipod in order for me to use it on my pc computer because it is a mac formatted ipod…will all my music be deleted off of my ipod if i click restore?


Posted by gw on May 26, 2010 at 7:37 AM (CDT)


I have been following the instructions above for updating my itunes music library based on the content of the ipod. I have now got visibility of the hidden files, but I am struggling to “reimport them directly into iTunes via the File, Add to Library option” as I cannot find this option on my pc (Windows Vista). Any additional help would be really appreciated - as you can probably tell, my technical expertise is really limited.
Thanks, Tim

Posted by Tim Green on May 26, 2010 at 4:45 PM (CDT)


If you have itunes 9 or later running, there is a folder called “automatically add to itunes”; simply drag your music files into there and it will do just that.

It should be found in music > my music > itunes > itunes media

Posted by Kevin on May 26, 2010 at 10:24 PM (CDT)


Thanks for your help Kevin!

Posted by Tim Green on May 27, 2010 at 2:44 PM (CDT)


Thanks! I wwas about to smash my stupid ipod on the floor and go back to listening to cd’s!

What happent to drag and drop????

Posted by Craig on May 27, 2010 at 3:41 PM (CDT)


hey is there a way to take an ipod that has already been syncd with one computer. take it to a diffrent one and download music without any hassels?

Posted by josh on May 28, 2010 at 2:06 AM (CDT)


This was SUCH A HUGE HELP!!!!
My computer royally screwed me a while back, but then I lost my ipod. It was in my boyfriend’s couch. Go figure. Anyway, I just found it (5 months later!), and now that I have it back, I can go through with the retrieval!
The only thing I’m still wondering about, though… Is there a way to transfer applications, too? These programs seem only to cover music, which is GREAT, but I’d like to retain my applications too, if possible.

Posted by Emily Shipp on May 29, 2010 at 2:13 PM (CDT)


I lost my playlists on my laptop.  Tehy are still on my ipod classic 40Gb.  Can I recover them from the iPod to my itunes?

Posted by Pete on May 31, 2010 at 7:10 AM (CDT)


Awesome article!  It worked perfectly on my computer!!!  Thank you so much

Posted by Gwen on June 1, 2010 at 5:46 PM (CDT)


Hi everybody and best wishes from Ireland!

I’m considering tapping my iPhone3G (very hard) with a large hammer! I’m hoping somebody out there might have a better suggestion!
Here’s the problem.

I originally bought an iPhone, installed iTunes (Windows7) and was very happy.

Then my hard disk crashed, so I put my music out to an external HD and told iTunes where it was. Everything was still fine.

The my Creative Mp3 died and I replaced it with an iPod Touch 64gb, and installed that.

I put some music on to it and thought life was good!

The I decided I wanted to put one of my playlists to my iPhone and that’s when it went bad.

I tried to sync the selected playlist and got the dreaded message about erasing my iPhone content!

I tried to manually manage, but when I click “Apply”, I get that dreaded message again.

I’m guessing that the iPhone is linked to a library location that no longer exists, but it will not accept the current one specified in the Preferences.

Any ideas or advice most gratefully accepted!

Best wishes

Posted by Jim Madden on June 2, 2010 at 11:30 AM (CDT)


thanks for the info
still relevant!

Posted by rob on June 6, 2010 at 10:38 AM (CDT)


I have the IPod Nano 4G. I recently bought a new computer and I have heard that the IPod will erase everything when you plug it into a new computer. I need help. Is there a way that I can transfer my music to a new computer?

Posted by Bobbie on June 9, 2010 at 1:36 AM (CDT)


may be i can have a try !
I just use<a >DRM Music Converter</a>

Posted by jack on June 9, 2010 at 2:22 AM (CDT)


I am having a issue with my i pod touch. It has never been touched by Rain or water or any liquid. It is not working now it is all black and I can see what is on the screen but it’s like real dim. I tried to hardwire it to reset to the beginning and that doesn’t work. Does anyone have any solution what to do. Please help me.


Posted by Kimberlee on June 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM (CDT)


So helpful!!!

Posted by Marisa on June 9, 2010 at 6:50 PM (CDT)


I’ve tried this countless times and the only files i can access are pitures. yes, i have my defaults set to un-hide. please help? :c(

Posted by Emily on June 12, 2010 at 10:14 PM (CDT)


I no longer have the computer I use for uploading, and backing up my iPhone. I now have a new computer, but it wont let me move my content from my iPhone to my new computer. How do I make it possible for my iPhone to recognize this new computer. Any help would be much appreciated, thank you!

Posted by Noel Flugel on June 17, 2010 at 1:23 PM (CDT)


If you have the most recent version of iTunes, this won’t work. Is there a way to transfer music downloaded from Bittorrent, Limewire, etc… With the new iTunes?

Posted by C.J. on June 20, 2010 at 11:34 PM (CDT)


Thank you, thank you, thank you!  This was a wonderful article and was extremely helpful!  FYI, if you still have hidden files right click on the music folder, select properties and unclick hidden.  Fantastic!

Posted by brooke on June 23, 2010 at 10:48 PM (CDT)


Somebody above saved my butt.

Posted by sk on June 25, 2010 at 12:26 AM (CDT)



Posted by sam on June 27, 2010 at 9:52 PM (CDT)


hi,i got ipod 4gb,now i bought a new laptop and i download itunes from apples when i connect my ipod to my laptop to transfer exsiting music to laptop i got eror saying “ipod sync with other librray"how can i get my music back on my laptop,without deleting from i pod.

Posted by aashish on June 28, 2010 at 6:59 AM (CDT)


I found the ipod control folder and everything. But everytime I click ‘Add folder to library’ and then select the ‘music’ folder it doesn’t do anything! Help?

Posted by Breia on June 28, 2010 at 10:18 PM (CDT)



Posted by HALP on June 30, 2010 at 4:00 PM (CDT)


i cant get videos from my i pod on to my PC!

Posted by JT on July 1, 2010 at 9:55 PM (CDT)


ummm… when i go into my computer, the ipod external hard drive icon doesn’t show up. what should i do?

Posted by guitarplaya on July 3, 2010 at 2:13 AM (CDT)


Crash question.

I’ve managed to restore everything to iTunes after it crashed, playlists, songs etc… EXCEPT the single star ratings I gave to 2500 songs. This is on my ipod, but not on my restored version of iTunes on my PC. I know how to upload stuff from my ipod, but can I upload ratings? Any clever ideas?


Posted by Alexis on July 3, 2010 at 1:15 PM (CDT)


I attempted to manually back up 75 GB of music.  I would have used to tools to transfer directly to iTunes, but didn’t have enough space on my iTunes loaded laptop so a manual shift to the external hard drive seemed the only option.  Following the instructions above, it was copying everything over fine until I started getting error messages saying that some files couldn’t be copied/read. Then it started hanging on this message so I couldn’t cancel.  I shut down the laptop and restarted to discover that my iPod had been completely wiped and I only have about 1/3 of the music backed up.  RIP 5 years of music collection.  Be warned…..

Posted by cormac on July 9, 2010 at 10:55 AM (CDT)



Posted by cheri on July 15, 2010 at 1:59 AM (CDT)


Outstanding advice - thankyou - was able to transfer a lifetime of otherwise lost music. Many thanks

Posted by delighted on July 18, 2010 at 5:30 PM (CDT)


Thank you so much! After getting a new computer and then fighting with Itunes for a year, you helped me get my music back!

Posted by adraut on July 20, 2010 at 11:44 AM (CDT)


Thank you so much. This guide saved my library and countless hours of music re-downloading. You should be awarded a medal for this.

Posted by John M on August 6, 2010 at 8:24 PM (CDT)


Hey this was too easy once I found out about the hidden “Music” folder….prolly should have figured this out for myself but the article hooked me right up!  Got all the songs off an iPod and loaded into iTunes, too easy!

Posted by Bill on August 17, 2010 at 6:04 PM (CDT)


well arent you an angel??? heres my story. we got a new computer and had the music back into itunes and everything. after setting everything up a few days later, my brother asks me if we need the copy from the hard drive. stupidly i say no because i thought we would keep the music if it was in the computer. i was wrong. we lost it all on the itunes library, even if it was in our ipods. looking at your article today, i figured out how to get all my purchasedf music back. a big thumbs up for this article!!!!

Posted by Sarah on August 18, 2010 at 11:29 AM (CDT)


I have used Copy Trans to transfer my ipod music to itunes. In my itunes library i can see ALL my music however when i went to upload my music from devices only 2 thirds of the music made it back to my ipod. How do i get ALL my music to my ipod.

Posted by Doug Knittle on August 18, 2010 at 2:13 PM (CDT)


Thank you so much for this exhaustive and very helpful article. I had a similar problem on Mac as a number of people explained regarding Itunes not showing hidden files in the directory when using the “Add to Libray” command. I manually dragged the whole ipod_control\music folder to the itunes music folder and then opened all the tracks in itunes, and it worked.

My question is whether I should or shouldn’t convert all the files to AAC format. They seem to be playing just fine, though I haven’t tried to burn any onto discs yet. Please advise!

Thanks again!

Posted by soozzip on August 19, 2010 at 9:32 PM (CDT)


my friend let me borrow her ipod classic which her friend gave to her.she has 360 songs on it.i have like ten because i am broke.i want to know how to take her songs and like duplicate them and be able to leave them on her ipod calassic but be able to put them in my itunes library so that i can put them on my ipod touch.i dont know how so i found this sight and saw this bar please respond soon and fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by dalton myers on August 20, 2010 at 6:05 PM (CDT)


this was exactly what i was looking for, thanks! though after transferring purchased items from my ipod touch, the “syncing” symbol was still turning; though after ejecting the ipod everything seemed to be in order!

Posted by km on September 6, 2010 at 5:18 PM (CDT)


Hi all

Been following the instructions above for adding in folder to library.  All seems ok but how doe I know if it’s actually working (eg copying all my music files from ipod to library)?  Using windows explorer I can see a new folder created today called “Automatically Add to Itunes”, but the folder is empty.  My ipod is using approx 27Gig of its 30Gig capacity so appreciate it could take a long time but can’t tell if it’s actually doing anything?  Checked task manager and doesn’t seem to a be a lot of activity going on, although I can see the disk activity light flashing but I am also still connected to the internet so dunno whether that’s the activity.

Can anyone give me an answer or point me to something to check please?

Thank you in advance for any help :)

Posted by Ann on September 19, 2010 at 7:22 AM (CDT)


Is there one of these things that can transfer APPS from your iPod to your computer, because I managed the music (with touchcopy) but my apps are stuck. Thankyou for help I WILL check back here:)

Posted by Toby: HOW do you copy APPs from iPod to computer?? on September 19, 2010 at 4:09 PM (CDT)


@Ann (#357): The “Automatically Add to iTunes” folder has nothing to do with recovering content from your iPod. That folder was added in iTunes 9.x and simply automatically imports anything placed in it into your iTunes library.  This folder should normally be empty—even if you copy files into it these are automatically imported by iTunes and usually moved to a more appropriate location in the process.

For adding a folder to your library there should be some type of progress indicator in iTunes showing what it’s doing.  Where are you adding the folder from?  Alternatively, you can try using the “Add Files to Library” option and select a group of files to import rather than a folder.  The Add Folder option sometimes works oddly on certain versions of Windows and/or certain configurations.

@Toby (#358): Apps are copied back through the “Transfer Purchases” option described on Page 2 of the article.  As long as your computer is authorized for the iTunes Store account that was used to purchase those apps they should transfer back—in fact iTunes will probably prompt you to transfer them if you’re using automatic sync. Otherwise you can still access the “Transfer Purchases” option from the File menu in iTunes, or by right-clicking on your iPod in the Devices list.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on September 20, 2010 at 11:31 AM (CDT)


Thanks for advice, finally resolved it.  It was permissions on the IPOD folder itself, it was still showig “hidden”.  As soon as I got rid of that permission it copied everything from my IPOD ito ITUNES which was exactly what I was trying to do. Copied all 26Gig
So pleased I found this article, as have been trying to get all my IPOD music into ITUNES for 18 months and was actually looking here for info on an App to buy and now I don’t need it :)  Thank you for your reply Jesse.
Ann UK

Posted by Ann on September 21, 2010 at 5:04 PM (CDT)


Thank you so much!!! x

Posted by Rosie on September 26, 2010 at 9:01 AM (CDT)


THIS WAS SO HELPFUL! i have been trying to do this for hours and your page was the only one that helped me! thank you!

Posted by Rachel_B on September 26, 2010 at 2:07 PM (CDT)


I am trying to manually get my music back to my computer from my ipod (5th generation i believe) and when I check the “Enable disk use” option it won’t stick. What so I do???

Posted by Secrets on September 26, 2010 at 6:51 PM (CDT)


I put new songs on my ipod shuffle and i cant figure out how to get past my older songs and listen to my new songs:( and i always wonder how to fix i!!:)

Posted by phil on October 1, 2010 at 3:34 PM (CDT)


i sent my pc to be worked on and they replaced my hard drive. now all my music and pics are on my iphone 3gs.  how do get all my music pics and apps back on a new computer. thanks jimmy

Posted by james on October 6, 2010 at 12:12 AM (CDT)


Thank you for a very helpful article on how an   iPod stores the music. Now everything makes sense!

Have a great day!

Posted by ANDRE VERWEY on October 17, 2010 at 5:34 PM (CDT)


I love you. For this tutorial, I would marry you. Thank you for saving six years of music gathering from being lost forever.

Posted by Arisha on October 24, 2010 at 1:41 PM (CDT)


i have a mac formatted ipod nano touch. is there any free software that i can extract the music onto a pc with? please help. i have been reading for hours. i tried Music Rescue before i found your article and found out that it is not nano touch compatible. i would simply pay for a program if i was sure it would work. but free would be far preferable.

Posted by matt on October 27, 2010 at 5:48 PM (CDT)


@matt: try copytrans. it used to work with mac ipods.

Posted by KB on November 1, 2010 at 9:38 AM (CDT)


THANK YOU!!! Awesome article..already referred it to friends. And I have ALL my music back!!!

Posted by TC on November 4, 2010 at 2:25 PM (CDT)


Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article!!  I got a new laptop and didn’t know how to get my music onto it from my old computer or iPod—this article was easy to read and helped me get my (legally owned!) music onto my laptop iTunes.  Thanks!

Posted by Steven vdL on November 5, 2010 at 4:03 PM (CDT)


My kids old desktop PC crashed with no backup, leaving their 39GB music collection only on their iPod Classic. I bought Copytrans for $20 and it worked perfectly, keeping all track info, genres, ratings, play counts, play lists etc. I would wholeheartedly recommend it. If you can afford the $20, I would recommend NOT trying any manual solutions first. Note that the free version will only restore 100 songs. Next step: finding storage space for a new iTunes Music backup!

Posted by darmuzz on November 8, 2010 at 10:49 AM (CST)


i got a used computer from my brother, when i bought some itunes it went into his library which was on my new computer,how do i get my library(all songs purchased from itunes) onto this computer, which is now mine???so i can purchase more songs and can i get the songs i already purchased(from the purchased list) onto my shuffle(this would be from my library) hope i am clear

Posted by howie on November 9, 2010 at 10:36 PM (CST)


hi , this article was really helpful and everything but im not that great with computers so it was kind of hard to understand. basically… im getting a mac because my old lap top broke, however all the songs are on the old computer and all i have left are the songs on my ipod.. so you’ve probably explained it in your article, but just in a more simple way (haha) can you tell me how to transfer them onto my new macs itunes library without all my songs being wiped out!! 
thanks so much, rosie x

Posted by Rosie on November 22, 2010 at 4:10 PM (CST)


An alternative to the comment in number 100 is this:
1.  Copy the music folder from your iPod to the desktop
2.  Open the terminal
3.  Navigate to the Desktop folder (cd Desktop)
4.  Run the following command:  sudo chflags -R nohidden Music/

You will be prompted for your Admin credentials.  This command will remove the “hidden” flag from all of the files in the Music folder.  After that, iTunes will be able to see the hidden Music folder and import all the files.

Posted by Redcrosse on November 23, 2010 at 7:58 PM (CST)


Hi this article on getting the music from your ipod back to the computer does work and it is great but you never told us how to get everything back to normal. i CANT GET MY ipod TO SYNC NOW.

Posted by Jax Tinnin on December 9, 2010 at 9:20 PM (CST)


Thanks Mo!  I read so much techy mumbo jumbo and my head was swimming!  All I had to do was show the hidden files and copy the folders onto a new folder in my computer.  Couldn’t be easier!!! You rock!

Posted by Janelle on December 16, 2010 at 8:55 PM (CST)


very useful website. hello. i have a iPod 4th generation and i have put my iPod in the wash! there are techniques on the internet and one of them said dismantle and air out. so because i was desperate i did. ive put all of it together except the top. i can get it on! please help me i have a massive speaker sitting there rusting because i now have no music

Posted by Storm Stanley on January 8, 2011 at 6:15 PM (CST)


“derek” is right: on a Mac running 10.6.5, and iTunes, the proffered command to show hidden files does indeed work…but only in the system Finder window. The problem arises in iTunes when you click on “File, Add to Library”. iTunes then opens its own “Finder” window, from which you must choose your file(s), and this window still does not show any hidden files. So, you’re dead in the water anyway. The rest of derek’s solution may well work perfectly, but I’ve already converted all my music from Apple LossLess to high-res MP3s because most of my cars’ software/HDs require MP3 to work properly. Since I’m unwilling to convert back to AAC, I guess I’ll be downloading one of the third-party packages and doing it all that way…

Posted by Bob on January 10, 2011 at 3:15 PM (CST)


Thanks so much for this article; I can finally start using my new iPod because it will have all my music on it!

Posted by Mollie on January 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM (CST)


I used the brute force methods a few months ago and it worked out great. However, now I want to add new music to my iPod and in order to do this I must get rid of somethings on my iPod. I don’t want to delete it completely, I just want it off my actual iPod. Is there anyway I can keep it in my library but off my iPod?

Posted by Danielle on January 23, 2011 at 3:30 AM (CST)


hi i bought the new ipod touch and i record a video on it and i want to move the video to my computer but i dont know how to i do not have a apple computer or laptop i have the dell computer so can you plz tell me how to import the video to my computer plz

Posted by Aysha Dar on January 27, 2011 at 8:22 PM (CST)


As in post 85 I also could not copy the once hidden files now residing on my Mac desktop.  I can see and explore the folder in Finder, but when I try to Add To Library, the folder is not there.  OK, so I resorted to buying software - SenUti - not too expensive and sounded OK.  After downloading the software and copying files from my iPod Classic (160g)a number of files (albums and playlists) did not copy - not such a drama as I probably recovered about 95%.  I have tried a number of times to copy the playlists again but it still refuses - unfortunately the albums in these lists have not been copied to the main database either.  I’ll pass this on to the developers. A coupe of other little niggles - I have stray tracks and odd tracks from different artists added to albums; albums are nolonger grouped together by artist when viewing in picture mode.  Ultimately it looks like I have a lot of sorting out to do clean up my iTunes.

Posted by Gary Lawrenson on January 29, 2011 at 9:13 AM (CST)


Thank you for this!  I wanted to transfer music from an old ipod to a new computer.  I used the brute force method.  I had a problem however when it came to transferring the file to folder in itunes.  I read the comments and came across #19 that told me that the folder had to be unhidden.  Did that and everything worked!  I thought it would be impossible!

Posted by Juliane B on January 29, 2011 at 9:36 PM (CST)


Followed the steps in Brute Force Method and was able to transfer 377 songs successfully back onto the computer and into itunes library.  But, for some reason, 31 of the song names are just listed as four letters, with no artist name or album info.  Why did 346 of the songs show up correctly and how do I fix the 31 that did not?

Posted by mike on February 2, 2011 at 11:21 PM (CST)


EASY fix for MAC users: when you get to the last step and iTunes won’t find your folders…Highlight your copy of all the F subfolders and ctrl-click, choose “get info”.  At the bottom right corner of the window click the lock (to unlock) you will need your administrator password.  Then click the triangle next to “General”.  You will see a box next to Locked.  Click it.  Then unclick it.  Then unhighlight your folders which will magically appear.  Yay!

Posted by anaclaire on February 3, 2011 at 4:58 AM (CST)


copy trans only copied 100 of my songs—- how do i get them to copy all for free???

Posted by KittySoOfficial on February 20, 2011 at 12:07 PM (CST)


Thank you so much to JDH and the commentors who gave the tip about opening each Music file for Mac. I had to get a new hard drive and my entire library was on my ipod, and I succeeded in syncing the two with the “brute force approach” - the process is a little cumbersome, but it works.

Basically, for Mac, you need to:
-follow the steps above to enable disk use for your ipod and show hidden files
-doubly-click to open each folder within your ipod’s ipod_control/music folder
-in each folder, hit ⌘A to select-all and ⌘O to open all
-itunes will automatically import the music (snippets started playing, i just muted)
-repeat; once all of the music is in your library, erase & sync your ipod

thanks again!

Posted by km1312 on February 21, 2011 at 4:27 AM (CST)


Very informative and useful.

Posted by Priya on March 8, 2011 at 5:06 AM (CST)


Brilliant. Thanks guys. 14GB of my favourite CDs recovered and days of hassle saved.

Posted by Ben Richardson on March 14, 2011 at 10:22 PM (CDT)


wow!! that helped out sooooo much!!!

Posted by R on March 15, 2011 at 2:56 PM (CDT)


I read the article on recovering the library with brute force intently.  However, my Windows 7 does not open give an option to show all hidden files.  It does show all the initial folders as described, but there it stops.  If I right click, it does not show option for show all hidden folders.  Where do I go from here?

Posted by Lamar on March 21, 2011 at 4:17 PM (CDT)


I have been unable to listen to my ipod touch 2G through the usb connection in my car.  The car dealer says I have to download new software into the ipod in order for it to work.  Does anyone know anything about this or what software I need?  Thank you.

Posted by Jean Wade on March 23, 2011 at 11:11 AM (CDT)


*****LAMAR****Go to ‘Computer’ and open the appropiate drive letter for your IPOD. Then open ‘Organize’ on the top bar, go to “Folder and Search OPtions” and open it. Then hit the tab for VIEW and change the Radio button to Show hidden files….............

Posted by fordfox on March 29, 2011 at 10:32 PM (CDT)


Great article! My old computer crashed and I replaced it and my ipod touch was the old place where I had my entire itunes library stored. I used the iGadget and it saved me from hours of uploading all of my CD’s. Thank You!!!

Posted by Nicole on April 1, 2011 at 11:28 PM (CDT)


Extremely informative and useful.  I am not a technically savvy person but I learned quite a bit reading this article.  But at the end of the day, I resorted to a third party software (Music Rescue) as the article suggested and discovered how easy it was to do. I was worried that I would not be able to transfer my iPod contents that I had uploaded via Windows onto my new Mac, but Music Rescue worked just fine.

Posted by Aggie Manalac on April 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM (CDT)


Great article and super information. I fixed my problems with the listed article. Thanks

Posted by Jimmy on April 3, 2011 at 10:21 PM (CDT)


Why is ipod allowed to keep our music from us in this way? Why do we have to jump through all these hoops to get to something we have legally purchased? When I go to by a CD, the CD guy does not follow me home and tell me what I can do or not do with my CD, so how come the nazi itunes/ipod guy can control us this way and no one thinks its wrong. I think I paid enough for the stupid thing to get to enjoy it anyway I see fit, someone tell them to let go already.

Posted by Veronica on April 5, 2011 at 7:27 PM (CDT)


thank you so much this really helped
this is a really great article

Posted by brian on April 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM (CDT)


I had the same problem of nothing happening after selecting the ‘iPod_Control’ folder to add to my library.  But opening it under My Computer (Windows users), right-clicking the folder and unchecking the “Hidden” attribute, then clicking ‘Ok’ and then leaving it alone (don’t close the window) and GOING STRAIGHT TO iTunes to start the ‘Add Folder to Library’ process again is working perfectly!! Thanks waterguard (Post #19)!!

Posted by Zac on April 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM (CDT)

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