There is no way to transfer music from an iPod to a computer via iTunes. Since iPods must be managed through Apple’s software, this can be frustrating for those who decide they want music back on a computer. Some users opt to store all music on the iPod as opposed to keeping a backup on the computer.
This can lead to issues down the line if the iPod gets damaged or has to be restored to factory settings. Learning how to transfer albums and songs back to a computer from your iPod is easy and this post will walk you through two ways to do it.
Ways to transfer music From iPod to PC:
Transferring music from your iPod to a computer can be done in two ways. Downloading freeware or purchasing software that automates the process is the easiest way to transfer your music.
You can also do it manually which requires you to uncover hidden folders directly on the iPod then transfer them to a location on your computer, such as the desktop. This is not the preferred method for computer users, since it is a cumbersome process.
Let’s go over both methods for transferring music from an iPod to a computer and it’s upto you to decide which way is right for you.
How to transfer music with iDump:
For this post, we will be using iDump (build 31) in Windows Vista. This freeware will work with Windows Me, 2000 and XP, too. You want to visit CodersHole and download the latest version of iDump. Once you have downloaded it, install it on your computer by following the steps located in the installer. When it has finished installing, plug in your iPod to the computer and open iDump.
iDump will load all your music into its interface. It will automatically list your music by name, artist, album, genre and more. This gives you all the data located within the files stored on your iPod. This software allows you to manually check what songs to transfer.
You can make it easier to transfer certain music by utilizing the playlists set up on your own iPod. You can select them at the top left of the iDump screen to load all the songs on that particular playlist. From there, you can select which songs to transfer and which to leave behind.
If you select the name of you iPod itself, this will list all songs on the unit for you to choose from. If you want to select all your songs at once, simply right-click on any song and choose Select All. This will select all the checkboxes and make all songs bold. This lets you know which songs have been set up to transfer much more clearly. If you cannot find a particular song to transfer, you can also use the search feature to find it quickly. Next, you want to set up your Output options.
This is where iDump will transfer songs to your computer. Before you transfer any songs, you want to make sure you have enough room on your hard drive to do this. If not, you can choose to transfer music to a portable hard drive or other storage device as long as it is hooked up to your computer during the process.
You want to choose where to transfer music to in the Output Folder box. You can either browse for a destination or type it in if you know exactly where it is. Once set, you can take a look at the formatting option. This lets you choose how the files are named when transferred to your computer. Most users leave these options unchanged, but if you are picky about how you want files named use the options below it to type in how to display each file. If you want to create a playlist for the selected songs you are transferring, you can click the box under the Playlist Options.
Automate the Transfer Process:
If you have a lot of music or just do not want to sit at the computer when songs are being transferred, you can let iDump know if it is an unattended transfer or not. There are two settings to choose from that let you walk away. You can choose to have files overwritten if duplicates are found or iDump can skip songs if it tries to transfer two of them. This lets you go back later and either transfer those skipped songs if necessary or not have to worry about it at all. Depending on how extensive your music collection is on your iPod, you may want to skip duplicates and deal with them later.
When you have finished selecting your output options, you want to click the iPod tab again. Double-check you have selected all the songs you want to transfer and click Start Copy on the right-hand side of the screen. A pop-up will appear to show you the progress of the transfer and when completed, iDump will alert you. From here, you are all done with transferring music from your iPod to your computer with iDump.
How to transfer music from iPod manually:
The other way to transfer music from an iPod to the computer is the manual method. This is more complicated than using software. Before software was released to transfer music back to a computer, there was no way to get your songs off an iPod but using this method. The manual method pulls raw data from each song while transferring it back to your computer.
The only catch is that if that data stored within each song’s ID3 tags are incorrect, missing or unreadable, the song will not be recognizable once transferred unless you play it in iTunes. The instructions to manually transfer music will be for Windows Vista. The first step is to plug your iPod into your computer and make sure iTunes is closed.
You want to open the Start Menu and then go to your Control Panel. Select Appearance and Personalization followed by Show hidden files and folders underneath the Folder Options header. A pop-up will open containing those options. In Advanced Settings, you want to find the header Hidden files and folders. Click Show hidden files, folders and drives. Then, click the Apply button and close that menu out.
You now will see shaded files, folders and more around your computer. These are your hidden files. They are normally kept out of view to avoid being deleted. They can be anything from temporary files, important system folders and drives you do not need to be aware of when using a computer day-to-day.
Now, you can take a look at what is hidden on your iPod. You want to find My Computers and open it up. Navigate to your iPod and double-click on it to open its system folder. You should see a shaded folder called iPod_Control. This is where your music is stored on the iPod. It is normally inaccessible so you cannot accidentally delete files from opening the device this way.
Click on the iPod_Control folder and you want to simply drag and drop the Music folder to where you want the files transferred. Everything contained in the Music folder is what you need to transfer your music back to your computer. Before you do this, make sure you have enough space to attempt the transfer. Transferring music back to your computer this way from the iPod will take a lot longer than using a software program. So be prepared to wait for hours if you have a large music selection on the device. Since you cannot individually choose what is being transferred, you have to bring everything with you to weed through later.
When the transfer is complete, you need to make the Music folder readable. While hidden on the iPod, it is unreadable and this will make it impossible to import into iTunes. You want to right click on the Music folder and then click Properties. When the Properties box opens up, you want to head to the bottom of that screen to uncheck the Read-Only and Hidden options.
Click Apply and another box will ask you if you want to change the attributes to just the Music folder or everything contained within it. You want to change everything, so select the section option and then click Okay. This will take some time, too, but once it is done, you can manually import the entire Music folder into iTunes.
From here, once the import completes, you may find some of your music tag’s intact. Others may be displayed in the form of four letter combinations. These will have to be sorted through one by one to identify and retag them so you know which song is which and where it belongs. The overall transfer at this point is complete with the manual method.
Conclusion – Which is the better way to transfer music to a computer?
When it comes to which way is better to transfer music from an iPod to a computer, utilizing a software program is definitely the route to go. Software, like iDump, simplifies the process and makes it much easier to sort through your music after it makes it back to your computer. The manual method should only be used if you do not have access to software or for some reason the application you are trying to use does not work with your iPod.
If your iPod is corrupt and cannot be read by iTunes or music transfer software, a manual method transfer may be the only way to recover what is left of the music on the device.
Download iDump today to transfer files from your iPod to your computer.