Transferring music from iPod touch

Q: In the past I have used TuneTools with my 30GB iPod to transfer music to my hard drive from my iPod. However, I have now recently purchased an iPod touch and my problem is that I cannot locate or find my iPod touch in “My Computer” and TuneTools says that there is no iPod found even though I have it connected. I was searching for the Enable Disk Use on my iPod touch and can’t find it. What is it that I need to be doing?

– Nicholas

A: Both the iPod touch and the iPhone now use completely different synchronization protocols from the traditional iPod models, and these are not based on any kind of “Disk Mode.”

Prior to the iPhone and iPod touch, iTunes synchronized content to the iPod simply by accessing it as if it were an external hard disk, writing files to the iPod disk directly and updating the library database index directly on the iPod. As a result, the iPod naturally had a “disk mode” that could be used to access this information, since it just appeared to the host computer as any other external hard drive would.

With the iPod touch and the iPhone, iTunes now uses a synchronization protocol that involves sending the data to the device itself, and allowing the OS X operating system on the device to actually handle writing the files to memory and updating the database index of the content that is on the iPod. The upside to this is that it provides for a more stable synchronization solution and reduces the chances of corruption from situations such as the iPod being disconnected in the middle of a sync.

The downside, of course, is that “disk mode” has effectively been eliminated, as it is no longer required to support the transfer of content to the iPod. This makes it much more difficult to get access to that content, as the iTunes-specific sync protocol must be used instead of merely reading data from an external hard disk.

As a result of this, applications that were specifically written to recover data from traditional iPod models will not be compatible with the iPod touch unless they are specifically updated by the software developer to add in this additional support.

At this point, the number of tools that have been updated for the iPod touch is still quite limited. Some possible options that are compatible with the iPod touch include CopyTrans (http://www.copytrans.net, $20, limited trial available), and iPod Access (http://www.findleydesigns.com, $20, limited trial available), and TouchCopy (http://www.wideanglesoftware.com/touchcopy, $20, limited trial available).

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