Recovering Mac-formatted iPod on Windows


Q: I use to have a Mac and my iPod is Mac formatted. I no longer have my Mac and my new computer runs Windows. How do I copy the songs on my iPod to Windows? Every time I try, it keeps telling me I need to re-format my iPod to windows and I will loose all my songs! Is there anything I can do?

– Angela

A: The basic problem here is that Windows cannot read a Mac-formatted iPod (or any Mac-formatted disk, for that matter). Therefore, to get the content from your Mac-formatted iPod onto your Windows PC, you will need to either copy this content off using a computer running Mac OS X, or use a third-party software application that allows Windows to read Mac-formatted disks.

Our recommended option for doing this under Windows is to simply get a hold of a program called MacDrive (, $50, 5-day trial available). Although this is not a free option, you may find that the trial version provides enough functionality to accomplish a one-time copy of content from your Mac-formatted iPod back to your Windows PC.

Note that MacDrive simply provides the ability to read a Mac-formatted iPod from a Windows computer—it does not provide any iPod recovery capabilities in and of itself. However, once your Windows computer can read your Mac-formatted iPod, you can use any number of third-party iPod copying software tools that are available for Windows; with MacDrive installed these tools will simply access your iPod as if it were Windows-formatted in the first place. See our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information on some of the software applications available for this.


Jesse Hollington

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.