Q: I’m currently using a third-generation iPod touch with iOS 4.0.2 synced with iTunes 9 on a Windows XP PC. I’ll be getting a MacBook Pro soon and would be syncing the iPod touch with iTunes on the Mac instead. Therefore I’ll have to reformat and restore the iPod touch to be Mac compatible thereby losing all the data in my apps. Is there any way to bring over the backup file on the XP to the Mac so I can back it up after the restore?
A: Actually, the good news is that you will not need to worry about reformatting your iPod touch for Mac OS X. Devices that use Apple’s iOS operating system—the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad—actually use a completely different method of syncing information that doesn’t depend on a Mac or Windows file system.
When you first connect your iPod touch to your new MacBook Pro, iTunes should automatically create a new backup of your device. You can check this by going into your iTunes Preferences and selecting the Devices tab to see a list of iOS device backups being kept by iTunes, and you can force a manual backup of your iPod touch by right-clicking on it in the iTunes Devices list and choosing Backup from the context menu.
If you’re using automatic sync you may receive some warnings asking you to Erase and Sync with the new iTunes library, but you can simply click the “Cancel” button to bypass these and then either switch your iPod touch into manual mode or copy the content from the iPod touch back over to your computer to reimport into your iTunes library. See our guide on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information on how to do this. Keep in mind that any items on your iPod touch that were purchased from the iTunes Store, which will naturally include all of your apps, can be restored from the iPod touch back into iTunes by using the Transfer Purchases option described in the above article.
Once you have your iTunes library on the Mac with all of your apps and media content in it you can safely choose the “Erase and Sync” option if you want to use automatic syncing with iTunes—the option does not truly erase everything from your iPod touch and re-sync it, rather it only removes any content that isn’t in your iTunes library—apps and media that are on the iPod touch that match up with content in the new iTunes library will be left alone rather than being erased and then recopied.
If you do want to make a copy of the iPod touch backup from the Windows XP computer you can find it at C:Documents and Settings(your name)Application DataApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup. Again it is not strictly necessary to transfer this over, but if you’re going to be getting rid of the Windows XP computer before getting everything going on your MacBook Pro then it may be a sensible precaution to keep this backup around just in case.