Using newer iPods with older OS X versions

Q: tried connecting our new iPod to our old eMac running Jaguar and the disk on the iPod is showing up on the desktop but our version 4 of iTunes does not see the iPod. We cannot update to new iTunes as it requires OX 10.4 or later. Is there a way to put folders on the iPod disk that iPod will see in the iPod menu?

– Paul

A: Unfortunately, if the new iPod you’re referring to is one of the 2007 models, you will not be able to use this on older versions of Mac OS X. The new iPod models require iTunes 7.4 or later in order to be recognized at all.

Further, although iTunes 7.4/7.5 will run on OS X 10.3.9, the system requirements on Apple’s specs page for the new iPod models themselves list OS X 10.4.8 as the minimum operating system requirement.

The iPod itself doesn’t simply read the music files, but requires that any content added to it be listed in an internal database on the iPod, which it uses to reference the actual content. This means that iPod-specific software such as iTunes is a requirement to load content onto an iPod.

There have traditionally been a number of third-party iPod software applications that allowed management of iPod content outside of iTunes, however some of these require newer versions of Mac OS X also, and many of these have not yet been updated to provide support for the new 2007 model iPod devices, which do not use a backward-compatible iPod database.

Further, many of the traditional third-party iPod management applications are Windows-based, rather than Mac-based. As of this writing, the only third-party tool we’re aware of that supports the new iPod classic and nano (video) models, and works on older versions of OS X is YamiPod (freeware, Note that we have not specifically tested whether or not this would be supported on Jaguar (OS X 10.2).

A catalog of other third-party applications for Mac OS X can be found on our Third-Party iPod Software Page, although it should be noted that many of these have not been updated for the newer iPod models.