Technology

How to Download Music from your iPod

Have you ever wondered, “how do I download my music from my iPod”? Follow these instructions if you have any iPod except the iPhone or iPod Touch. (Those devices cannot be connected as an external drive without being jailbroken… I’m not into that.)

You can download your music following the instructions below, but it will not retain things like playlists, ratings, play counts, skip counts, last played dates and last skipped dates. It’s just your music files. Also, your music will be weird file names, but don’t worry when you reimport iTunes can use the ID3 tags and the “Keep iTunes Music folder organized” settings to properly rename and organized the files into neat and tidy folders again. Lastly, since you can’t tell one music file from another, it’s an all or nothing kind of thing. You download all the music from the iPod and can sort it out later.

Enable your iPod for Disk Use

  1. First, enable your iPod for disk use. To do so, connect your iPod to iTunes and select your iPod from the iTunes Sources menu. On the Summary tab, check the box labelled “Enable Disk Use”.

Next, is your iPod and your computer Windows or Mac formatted?

Instructions for downloading music from a Windows formatted iPod to Windows

 

  1. With your iPod enabled for Disk Use, you should be able to view it in your Windows Explorer as a drive. Double click on it to explore it’s contents, and see if you have a iPod_Control folder.
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  3. If not, you need to enable “Show Hidden Files”. If you do, skip to the next step. To show hidden files, in Windows Explorer select Tools, Folder Options and select the Show hidden files and folders radio button.
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  5. You should be able to see the iPod_Control folder. (If not, go back a step.) Double click on it to view the Music folder. This is where all your music is.
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  7. Copy the Music folder over to your hard drive (for instance on your desktop).
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Instructions for downloading music from a Mac formatted iPod to Mac

 

  1. With your iPod enabled for Disk Use, your iPod should now be connected as a drive in Finder.
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  3. Now you need to enable viewing hidden files. Open Terminal (in your Applications) and enter each line below at the command prompt (hit enter after each line):defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

    killall Finder

    Later, repeat this step replacing “TRUE” with “FALSE” to turn off viewing hidden files.

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  5. Select the iPod_Control folder to view the Music folder. This is where all your music is.
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  7. Copy the Music folder over to your hard drive (for instance on your desktop).
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Reimport Music and Sync iPod

Finally, reimport your music from this folder into iTunes by going to File, Add to Library and selecting the Music folder you copied to your hard drive.

A note for Mac Users: Your music files are still marked as hidden files (even if you can view them) and iTunes can’t import them. To get around this, you can do a search for all your .mp3 (and your other various music file types) in the new folder and drag and drop the search results into iTunes. Voila!

You may want to check that your settings are set to Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library and Keep iTunes Music folder organized in the iTunes advanced preferences.

Now it’s safe to “Erase and Sync” your iPod next time you connect it to iTunes. It will replace all the files currently on the iPod with the new library you just set up.

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