MP3 Players

How do I get music off my iPod?

My hard disk has died and now I can't listen to the songs I had on my computer as they're trapped in my iPod. Can I get these songs off my iPod and onto my new hard disk?

Dear CNET,
My hard disk is dead. I jumped up to celebrate when England scored against Paraguay and knocked my laptop off the table -- now I can't listen to the songs I had on my computer as they're trapped in my iPod. iTunes says the iPod is registered with a different computer and wants to delete the iPod before I can copy songs off. Is there any way to get these songs off my iPod and onto my new hard disk?

Tim Broadbent

Hello Tim. We can sympathise with your situation -- accidents do happen, and I'm sure Paraguay would agree. Anyway, to answer your question, yes, it is possible to get the songs off your iPod. Some unscrupulous fellows might use this technique to raid the bounty of their friends' iPods. We ask those criminals to stop reading now. That's right, we won't have your sort here, intellectual copyright violation is the most heinous of crimes -- you'll all be sorry when music stops getting made and bands get proper jobs, all because you stole the music so heartlessly.

Sorry Tim, we've strayed from your question again. Right, you'll need to get hold of software that can communicate with your iPod and transfer the songs. If you're using a PC, the excellent EphPod is one option; for Mac users, something like the open-source software iLinkPod is well respected.

If you're a Mac owner, there's also something rather special you can do to get your music off the iPod. This method doesn't require any extra software at all.  If you like to feel like an elite hacker, you'll love this. If you're a timid little puppy, you won't.

Enable your iPod for use as an external drive by connecting it to your Mac and waiting for iTunes to start up. Ctrl-click your iPod in the left-hand menu pane and select iPod Options. You'll start out in the Music section, which is where you want to be. Near the bottom of the screen, check the 'Enable Disk Use' box if it isn't already.

Using a FireWire or USB cable hook up your iPod to the computer you want to copy music to. If iTunes comes up, ignore it. Open the Terminal app in your Utilities folder. Type this into the Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Press Enter, then type:

killall Finder

Press Enter and don't close the Terminal window. You should see your iPod on the desktop. Open it up and then open the iPod Control folder. Inside you'll see the 'Music' folder. Drag the Music folder on to your desktop to copy the music. Once you've transferred the music, type or paste the following into the Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

Press Enter, then type:

killall Finder

Hope that helps you Tim. Best of luck, and keep smiling.