Q: I have a question regarding recovery of an iPod. I have an iPod photo which was formatted for use with a Mac. I can no longer access it, and I no longer have the Mac; however I’d like to recover the music on the iPod if possible. My research seems to indicate there is recovery software for PC formatted iPods, and for Mac formatted iPods, but not for my situation. Is there software I can download to a PC that will fix the formatting problem on my iPod short of requiring the factory settings to be restored, or am I out of luck short of finding a Mac to use?
A: Since an iPod is really just an external hard drive as far as your operating system is concerned, the key to recovering a Mac-formatted iPod on a Windows PC is to first install software that will allow your PC to read a Mac-formatted disk. The most popular solution for this purpose is MediaFour’s MacDrive. This application installs as a driver in Windows which allows any Mac-formatted disk to be read from the Windows operating system, including your iPod. MacDrive itself is a commercial software package selling for $50, however a free trial is available which is fully-functional for a limited time period, which may be sufficient to recover your iPod.
Once you’ve installed MacDrive, iTunes should be able to read your iPod just as if it were Windows-formatted. At this point, any of the iPod recovery tools available for Windows will work with your iPod in the same way they would for a Windows-formatted iPod. You can read more information on iPod recovery in our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer.