Syncing iPod to a new computer

Syncing iPod to a new computer 1

Q: I’ve had to restore my laptop (Windows XP) back to factory setting and reinstall iTunes. Will I lose everything off my iPod nano when I sync it with my laptop again?

– Michelle

A: This depends on whether you had a backup of your iTunes library which you restored to your computer. The association between an iPod and iTunes is stored in the library database itself, so if you’ve restored your entire iTunes library, including the database and all media content, then when you re-sync your iPod it should just pick up where it left off as if you’d never restored your computer in the first place.

If you’ve started a new iTunes library, then you will receive a warning the first time you connect your iPod nano to iTunes advising you that it is associated with another iTunes library and providing you with the option to either erase all of the content on it and sync it to the new library, or to cancel the operation and leave it as-is.

Syncing iPod to a new computer 2

As the option suggests, selecting “Erase and Sync” will remove everything on your iPod and replace it with the contents from the current iTunes library. If this library is empty, then it will effectively leave your iPod empty as well. Therefore, in this case you should select “Cancel” to leave the iPod alone; the iPod nano will remain connected to your computer and visible in iTunes, but it will not be synced with the iTunes library.

At this point, you will have two options: The first option is to set the iPod to manual mode and manage the content on it directly without syncing it with iTunes. In this case, the iPod nano effectively becomes its own iTunes library, and you would need to add content to it manually by importing it into iTunes and then dragging-and-dropping it onto the iPod. You can read more on how manual management of an iPod works in our Beginner’s Guide to iTunes.

Alternatively, you can copy the content from your iPod back to your computer and reimport it into your iTunes library, after which you can safely “Erase and Sync” your iPod nano as all of the content from it will be back in your iTunes library. This would still erase everything on the iPod, but iTunes would then copy it all back from iTunes. You can get more information on how to copy content from your iPod back to iTunes in tutorial on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer.


  1. Dear sir
    I am plan to buy 3rd generation 32gb ipod touch. what is the latest model no for ths?
    how to include fm radios in this ipod toch? (ie. what is the accessory to be purchase for FM receiver?)

    thank u


  2. Is there a way to move many books from a Sony reader two the Ipad? Books are both purchased and self-originated (rtf). some are DRM. Thank you.

  3. i want to play all the csi game and law and order but they only have it for mac i have window when are they going to have it for windows because i already play csi miami and love it.

  4. I am having a confusing issue with itunes. My music is stored on a removable hardrive, and I have never had any troubles. Lately though, I moved some files around in the music folder, and itunes sometimes freezes up on “location for itunes library.” It doesn’t happen all the time, usually when I make any sort of change to itunes. I can’t tell what I am doing or did to make itunes freeze, and I am thinking about removing itunes, moving the music to my computer, and starting from scratch. Any help would be great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *