CNET's Donald Bell shows you how to transfer music, playlists, photos, videos, and iTunes data off your iPod and back to your computer.
Are you looking for a way to transfer songs and videos off your iPod and back to your computer? One of the first steps you can take is to connect your iPod to your computer, open up iTunes, and locate the "Transfer Purchases..." option in the iTunes File menu. By doing this, iTunes will locate any content on the iPod that has been purchased using iTunes and will pull those purchases back into your computer's iTunes library.
After using iTunes to transfer your purchased content, you'll need a third-party application to grab any other music, videos, playlists, photos, and song data. Depending on the type of computer you're transferring to, we recommend downloading Pod to Mac 12 or Pod to PC 2.6 from Download.com. The applications are free and work identically to make it easy to transfer music, playlists, and videos from your iPod to your computer.
For $9.95, an iPhone OS 3.0-compatible version of the Pod to PC software (version 3.2) is also available.
The track transfer pane in Pod to PC and Pod to Mac makes it easy to select only the material you want. Toggles at the top of the screen allow you to filter the list to exclude items already in your media library, as well as copy-protected content.
Importing your iPod content into iTunes after using Pod to PC or Pod to Mac takes just one step. After opening iTunes, dive into the iTunes File menu, find the Library submenu, and select the option for Import Playlist. After pointing iTunes to the playlist that Pod to PC created on your desktop, all you need to do is sit back and watch as iTunes sucks in all your transferred media.
To see how the process works, CNET's Tom Merrit made a handy video that walks you through the steps for retrieving files from an iPhone. The process is identical for iPods, so don't feel left out when Tom says "iPhone"--just overdub it in your mind.
To transfer photos from your iPod, the makers of Pod to PC make a free program called Pod Photo Transfer (PC only), as well. The application is very straightforward, with only a handful of advanced options.
If you're going to make a habit out of transferring content off your iPod and onto another computer, take a look at Floola.
Floola works with both Mac and PC as a free, lightweight alternative to iTunes that offers an integrated export feature. The interface isn't pretty and not all iPod models are supported, but Floola's killer feature is its ability to run directly from your iPod (you'll need to enable iPod disc use through iTunes), allowing you to take the entire program between computers and copy content to your heart's content.