Q: My husband had stuck his iPod classic in a drawer about 4 years ago and forgot about it. Now he wants to use it. He has a new computer and a new e-mail address and cannot remember his previous e-mail (which I’m assuming was his user name) and also can’t remember his password or answers to any security questions. Is he just out of luck? I have an iPhone & iPad 2 so he wants me to “fix” this for him. Help please. Thank you.
A: The good news is that unless he’s dealing with content on that iPod that was purchased from the iTunes Store, he doesn’t need any kind of a username or password to actually use it. Even if the iPod classic does have iTunes Store purchased content on it, you only need the iTunes Store account name and password if you want to transfer the content back to his computer. The iPod classic by itself should work just fine without needing any kind of e-mail address, username, or password.
You can manage the existing content directly on the device and load on new content manually via iTunes simply by setting the device into “manual mode.” To do this, simply connect the iPod classic to your computer, start iTunes, and then select it in the Devices list on the left-hand side of the iTunes window. Look for the option labelled “Manually manage music and videos” and enable it. If you get a dialog box when starting iTunes that asks you to “Erase and Sync” your iPod, simply choose the “Cancel” option to bypass this.
On the other hand, if your husband wants to get his music back from his iPod classic into his iTunes library, some additional steps will be required. For music loaded in from CD or sources other than the iTunes Store, there are a number of third-party tools that can be used to transfer that content back from the iPod onto your computer. Our comprehensive tutorial on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer explains a number of options on how to do this.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with content that was purchased from the iTunes Store, you will need to authorize your computer with the iTunes Store account that was used to purchase that content in the first place. This is where a user ID and password will become necessary. The good news is that you can find the name of the user account that was used to purchase an item listed in file information for each track; simply choose a purchased track and select File, Get Info from the iTunes menu and take a look at the “Summary” page.
This at least gets you as far as the iTunes Store user ID, which may then help in tracking down the password via Apple’s Forgotten Password tool at http://iforgot.apple.com or by contacting the iTunes Store customer support department.