Transferring iPod touch from PC to Mac


Q: Thanks for the article on how to transfer the iTunes library to a new computer. I have an iPod touch that I sync with a PC running Windows XP. I recently bought a Mac and want to move my library to the Mac and sync my iPod touch with the Mac from now on. Your article clearly explains how to move the music/content in iTunes from one computer to another, however I am wondering about transferring all the applications I have bought for my iPod touch and their data from my Windows PC to my Mac. Further, will my Contacts and Calendar information on the iPod touch be lost when I move from the Windows PC to the Mac. I understand that the iPod touch may have to be restored in order to sync with the Mac.

Transferring iPod touch from PC to Mac

– Denis

A: Firstly, the good news is that you do not need to restore your iPod touch for use with your Mac, as the iPod touch and iPhone use a completely different synchronization protocol from the older iPod models. The click wheel iPods use a “disk mode” for synchronization where the disk-level format of the iPod is important. With the iPod touch and iPhone, however, synchronization is handled through other methods, and there are not platform-specific sync issues.

As mentioned in the article on transferring your iTunes library, iPod touch and iPhone applications are stored in a sub-folder named “Mobile Applications” with your iTunes library database itself. If you have copied your entire library database over, these applications will still be there, and will continue to sync with your iPod touch in the same way as your music and other media content. The only catch is that you will need to make sure you specifically authorize your new Mac for your iTunes Store account, since this information is computer-specific and iTunes will not transfer applications to your iPod touch unless your computer is authorized for the account that was used to purchase them. You can do this simply by choosing Store, Authorize Computer from the iTunes menu and entering your iTunes Store user id and password.

As an aside, if you no longer plan to use iTunes on your Windows computer, be sure to DE-authorize that computer by selecting Store, Deauthorize Computer before uninstalling iTunes or getting rid of the computer.

Your contact and calendar information, on the other hand, is going to a slightly special case. If you have been synchronizing your contact and calendar information from Windows Address Book or Microsoft Outlook on your Windows PC, you will need to transfer it back to Mac OS X Address Book and iCal on your new Mac. On the other hand, if you were not synchronizing your information with your old computer but only using it locally, then you can continue to synchronize your iPod touch with your Mac and just leave calendar and contact synchronization unconfigured and iTunes will leave any existing information alone.

In either case, synchronization of this information will be off by default when you connect your iPod touch to the new computer, and you can leave it off until you’re ready to deal with it. If you do want to get your information from your iPod touch into your Mac Address Book and iCal applications, iTunes can do this for you quite easily, however. When you first enable contact and/or calendar synchronization, iTunes will recognize that you already have content on your device and ask you if you want to transfer it from your iPod touch to your computer.

Transferring iPod touch from PC to Mac

Selecting “Merge Info” will copy your calendar and contact information from your iPod touch or iPhone back to your computer, merging it with any information that may already be stored in your Address Book or iCal applications. From that point on you can then continue syncing your information as you normally would.


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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.