Q: I am new to the whole Mac world, so please bear with me. I recently purchased a new iMac and luckily was able to transfer my entire music collection from my Windows PC to my Apple iMac without any major problems. While sitting at my desk the other night I accidentally knocked my iPod off its dock and an error message appeared on the iMac telling me that I had removed hardware unsafely. My iPod now is showing that there is no music on it, however, when checking hard drive availability on the iPod it still shows that all the data is stored. I know I can just restore the iPod to factory settings and put the music back on, but is there anyway I
can just make the iPod recognize the data that is obviously still present
on it? Thanks for any suggestions.

– Patrick

A: Unfortunately, what has happened in this case is that the iPod’s internal database has become damaged, so while all of the content may still be on the iPod, it has no way of finding or identifying that content.

Although there are tools that can be used to recover/repair an iPod database in this situation, it’s probably far simpler to just do a Restore on the iPod as long as you have all of your content in your iTunes library already. Third-party iPod repair tools are generally not free, and many of them do not even support the newer iPod models due to changes in the internal database files.

Further, doing a full Restore from iTunes will ensure that your iPod is in a clean state, whereas third-party iPod database repair tools may not completely correct the problems.

Also note that since you stated that you moved from a Windows PC to a Mac, restoring will have the additional advantage of ensuring that your iPod is properly formatted for Mac OS X. While a Windows-formatted iPod will technically work with a Mac, this is not a supported configuration and there have been some problems that have popped up in the past related to album artwork and database consistency when working in this configuration.

Note that if you do have content on your iPod that does not also exist on your computer, you may want to check out the “Brute-force” recovery method discussed in our iPod 201 article on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer.


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.