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.