Q: My MacBook’s hard drive just died and all of my music, music videos, photos, addresses etc. are on my iPhone. I know there’s a tutorial for this problem for the iPod but how do I get everything off my iPhone and back onto my computer?! Please help!!
A: The iPhone uses a new synchronization protocol that is different from the iPod line of devices. Unfortunately this means that there are presently no third-party tools that can be used to recover any content from the iPhone, nor is there any kind of “Disk Mode” available that would allow manual access to this data.
Content purchased from the iTunes Store can be transferred back from the iPhone via iTunes, in the same way that it can for the iPod, using the “Transfer Purchases” option in iTunes, as described in our article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer – The Definitive Guide. Unfortunately, however, this will not help for music and video content that was imported or acquired from other sources.
The only other information that can be recovered from the iPhone are the contacts, calendars, and bookmark information. Since iTunes provides bi-directional synchronization of this content, connecting the iPhone to your computer and selecting the “Merge” option when prompted will transfer all of the content from your iPhone’s contacts, calendar and bookmarks back to the appropriate applications on your computer:
One last rather tedious option does exist for recovering photos from the iPhone, and that is simply to e-mail them to yourself. This may not be practical if you have a lot of photos, since they will need to be sent one at a time, but it is a far better option than losing your photos altogether.