How to transfer music from an iPod to your computer

CNET's How To expert Sharon Vaknin explains how to transfer the music on your iPod to your computer.

This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Most of us store music in two places: on our computer and on our iPod (or other MP3 player). But if your computer crashes indefinitely, all the music you (hopefully) purchased disappears along with it. So what's left? A handicapped iPod, as Apple restricts its gadgets to sync with one music library--any attempts to sync with a different computer will result in a deleted iPod.

Naturally, there's a workaround. If you'd like to safely move songs from your iPod (except the iPod Touch) to any computer, follow these steps:

How to transfer music from an iPod to a Mac
Step 1: Connect your iPod and launch iTunes. In the iPod management screen, scroll down to Options and check "Enable disk use." iTunes will give you a warning--select OK.

Step 2: Now your iPod will show up as a drive on your Desktop. But before you can access its files, download and install a program called Houdini. Houdini lets you view the music folder that's automatically hidden by Apple.

Step 3: Open Houdini, click "Folders," and then "Reveal." Locate your iPod, and open "iPod_controls." Highlight "Music," and press Choose.

Step 4: Now in your iPod folder, open iPod_Controls > Music. Highlight all of the folders and drag them into the desired folder on your hard drive. This might take a while, depending on how much music you're transferring.

Once the files are copied, you've successfully transferred the music. However, you'll notice that the songs have four-letter names and are scattered among many folders. It's OK. Once you import the music into iTunes (or any other media player), the program will reinstate the titles of the songs.

How to transfer music to an iPod to a Windows computer
Step 1: Connect your iPod and launch iTunes. In the iPod management screen, scroll down to Options and check "Enable disk use." iTunes will give you a warning--select OK.

Note: If you get an error message asking you to reformat upon connecting, your iPod was originally formatted for Mac and cannot be used in Windows. One workaround is to install a program like MacDrive, which will allow your Windows machine to read Mac-formatted drives. Clicking "reformat" will erase your iPod.

Step 2: Now open My Computer and open your iPod drive.

Step 3: Open Tools > Folder Options. Click the View tab and check "Show hidden files and folders."

Step 4: Now in your iPod folder, open iPod_Controls > Music. Highlight all of the folders and drag them into the desired folder on your hard drive. This might take a while, depending on how much music you're transferring.

Step 5: Highlight all of the folders again, right-click, and select Properties. Uncheck "Hidden." Close this window.

Once the files are copied, you've successfully transferred the music. However, you'll notice that the songs have four-letter names and are scattered among many folders. It's OK. Once you import the music into iTunes (or any other media player), the program will reinstate the titles of the songs.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Love heavy and clunky tablets?

Said no one ever. CNET brings you the lightest and thinnest tablets on the market.