Natali SolovyovaIcon
Natali Solovyova Sep 23, 2020

How to Transfer Music from iPod to Mac Without iTunes & iCloud

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Natali SolovyovaIcon
Natali Solovyova Sep 23, 2020

Here’s a little-known fact about iTunes (or Finder on macOS Catalina): iTunes can’t transfer music from iPod to your desktop. It just doesn’t work in reverse. To stop this, iTunes might overwrite every single track on your iPod that you collected for years. 

If your iPod is an emergency backup, your only choice is third-party software. In this article, we collected a handful of tactics to restore your music on your Mac. 

Let’s start!

Don’t let iTunes sync with your device automatically

Let’s face it. There is simply no way to transfer music from iPod to Mac using iTunes (except purchased music).

Automatic iTunes sync is pretty much a one-way experience. By default, the iPod mirrors the contents of the iTunes library. So if your iTunes library is empty (and iPod is chock full with music)… iTunes is going to override everything! All the music you were collecting for years will be deleted forever.

In short: if you want to sync your iPod with iTunes automatically, you are playing with fire. 

Brand-new iTunes library: Let’s say that you want to sync your iPod to the new iTunes library (that you never synced before). In this case, you will receive this warning. The obvious choice here is to cancel. Say no to all the iTunes prompts.

iTunes library you synced to before. If you try to sync music to your library that you synced before with (and now it’s empty) – iTunes will override everything the moment you connect your device. You are not going to be notified. 

There is an escape route, luckily. 

Step 1. Connect your iPod to the computer.

Hold down the keys “CMD’ + option keys while connecting your iPod. Don’t release them until you see it connected. iTunes will still recognize your iPod but the automatic sync will not run. 

Open up iTunes, or, if you are using the latest macOS Catalina, go ahead and launch Finder. 

Step 2. Disable ‘Automatically sync when this iPod is connected’ in the Summary tab

Done! iTunes will not override the contents of your iPod. 

Suppose, all the music on your archaic iPod is pretty unique (the only copy you have). The basic logic is that you cannot upload music from iPod to your iTunes library. Therefore, the biggest mistake you can do is to sync your iPod with iTunes automatically. Obviously, iTunes will overwrite every track.

Fortunately, many developers stepped in to save the day. Over the years new exciting apps appeared that specifically help to manage your iPod. One of them is iMazing that we will discuss further on. 

How to Add Music from iPod to Computer using iMazing

iMazing is an iPod companion app brought to you by Softorino. It allows you to back up, export, and manage your music completely, without iTunes or extra apps. With iMazing, you can transfer all your gigabytes of music in a few clicks, no more. 

iMazing works great with any Windows or a Mac computer. Best of all, it’s irresistibly simple. It’s just a 3-step path before you transfer all your music from iPod to computer. 

Step 1. Download iMazing and Install it

iPod backup with iMazing

On your Mac, drag the app into the Applications folder.

You can download iMazing for free from the developer’s official website.

Step 2. Connect your iPod

iPod backup with iMazing

Plug your device with a standard USB cable you use for your device. Tap ‘Trust’ on your device. iMazing will recognise your songs the minute it is connected. 

Step 3. Select the songs you want to transfer

how to backup iPod with iMazing

It goes off without a hitch. 

Still not convinced? Here’s a quick Overview of why iMazing is a breakin’ awesome way to add music from iPod to computer. Here’s what iMazing (and you) can do: 

  • Clear UI helps you navigate in a simple way! Export music to Mac with no fuss.

  • Your music collections stays beautifully organised! Artworks, names, tags stay intact.

  • Besides music, you can export videos, text messages, contacts, apps, etc.

  • Run a complete iPod backup using iMazing.

  • Enrich your music collection using iMazing as you can sync multiple devices.

iMazing is many things: backup tool, file extractor, yet it doesn’t feel cluttered. It’s simple & breezy. Typically, there’s 1 major issue with complex apps. They are confusing. They are hard to understand and use. Luckily this is not the case with iMazing. it’s simple. You will not spend 30 mins trying to figure out how it works! 

When transferring multiple items, people are usually afraid about losing some of the data. Well, iMazing makes sure all of your music files get transferrred. Another perk is that with iMazing you can transfer entire playlists from your iPod to Mac on-the-go. It just smoothes the management process altogether. 

Do Terminal commands work?

A few years ago (the times of iTunes 7 or 8) with some luck and digging into Terminal you could restore your iPod as an external drive and copy your music all you want. Well, imagine that these times are officially over. 

Even with terminal commands, you aren’t able to see through iPod. This pathway is locked. You can only transfer purchased music with ease (you will find an entire section dedicated to this below). You can’t but use third party software. Apple locked it out. 

I made a quick research before jumping into this article ( and I mean googling ‘how to transfer music from iPod to Mac’). 

Few articles (for instance, this one on MakeUseOF, Wondershare) told me that you can merely export your songs from an iPod as if it is an external drive. This seemed too good to be true…and it was. 

In 2019 this does not work. Turns out it’s a myth. Even on PC, Windows Explorer will only show you photos at best. So the official takeaway here? The myth is busted! 

How to Redeem ‘Purchased’ Music on your Mac

Take it or leave it, but iTunes will not sync music from iPod to Mac. This the common logic behind iTunes. It does not work in reverse – this Apple Support thread is the proof. 

There’s 1 exception. If you purchased music in iTunes Music Store, then you can re-download it on any device. Curious how you can do this? For a start, you won’t even need your iPod for this, as long as it was associated with the same Apple ID. 

macOS 10.15 Catalina: Unlike the older version, this is done in Music.app on your Mac. Open it. Choose ‘Account’ >’Purchased’ from the menu. You will immediately see the purchased items inside the app. Select the ones you want to re-download. Bingo. 

older macOS: Launch iTunes. Select ‘Devices’ > ‘Transfer Purchases from my iPhone, iPad, or iPod’. You will be presented with a quick preview of all the music you have purchased. 

This means that Apple (officially) does not provide any solution on how to transfer music back from iPod to Mac. It’s pretty clear that Apple is trying to combat piracy. However, there might be many legal reasons why you would need to transfer music from iPod to Mac. 

What’s under the hood (how your music is stored on the device)

It’s important to know how your music is stored & divided on iPod. All tracks are cataloged and labelled with multiple tags: genre, artist, album, and other info, that’s always good to know! This kind of data helps to locate desired tracks promptly on your gadget without scrolling through all entire song directories.

There’s more to it! Extra information like play count, skip count, playlists, and ratings are also held in the iPod database. Apparently, anyone wants to retain this data when transferring iPod music to Mac. The good news is – some 3rd party software (we already spoke about iMazing) is able to export this info & data as well. 

Let’s transfer from iPod to Windows

Let’s face it, most of us are using a Windows machine, still, we want to back up our music and not only the purchased ones via iTunes. We want to transfer and backup all of our little pieces of art collected over time. When you upgrade to a newer device or finally decide to bump the iPod and listen to music truly through your phone you surely want to backup and transfer all of your little nostalgic tunes. The great news is, it’s possible. The even better news is it’s freaking easy to do if you follow the subsequent guide.

iMazing’s Magic

Obviously, Apple doesn’t like unrestricted music transfer throughout all sorts of devices, that’s why transferring music to your PC via iTunes is a real hustle but will be described in the next section. To save you a lot of time and nerves, third party application developers took that chance to create astonishing tools, making each and everyone's life easier, at least when it comes to music transfers. So, you’re pumped? Great! Follow the steps down below to let the magic happen:

Download and install iMazing:

First, we need to get the software we’d like to work with. In this case, iMazing is our go-to! Click on the link down below to get the newest version of iMazing, after that’s done, install the software like you’ve done it so many times before.

Get iMazing for free

Connect your iPod

Now let’s start the process, connect your iPod, and make sure you have a great connection. Launch iMazing and wait a little moment till your device pops up on the left section of the iMazing software. Click on your iPod to open up a detailed section of your possibilities.

Select your tunes and start exporting

After you selected your device, lots of possibilities are getting displayed. Click on “Music” to get a list of all the available songs you have on your iPod. Now you’re allowed to individually select which piece you’d like to transfer and which you’d like to delete, which comes in real handy.

Over time, a lot of junk and onetime listeners are filling up the storage on your iPod which you’re skipping all the time. Now you can clean up your music library. After that’s been done click on “Export to Folder” and select your preferred export location, make sure to create a new folder so you don’t confuse this backup with previous ones.

After the location has been determined the magic starts, you just have to wait a little moment to let iMazing finish the trick and Voila, you’re done!

Well, that was easy! Transferring music with just a few clicks and all automatically, I hope this process saved you a lot of time and nerves, so, now compare this to a process using no proprietary software at all.

How to Transfer Music From iPod To Windows PC the “geeky” way

It’s great that proprietary or third-party software exists, otherwise you won't be able to perform basic tasks with your devices unless you have a computer science degree. Sometimes tough, Windows as a tool itself is all you need to get the desired output. That’s been said let’s jump right into it and find out how all of your music can be copied over to your Windows machine using nothing but Windows.

Connect your iPod and find the Music Folder

Now to the fun part, connect your iPod, and instead of opening up iTunes immediately, you open the iPod like it was a mass storage device from your PC. Go deeper into the folder iPod_Control > Music. That’s where all your music gets stored and hidden making it normally only visible for iTunes. If no files show up make sure all of the files are visible.

You have trouble connecting your iPod or it isn’t recognized by your PC?
Click here to find out what may cause the issue!

Let’s start the copy & paste action!

Now make sure you’ve selected all of the folders on your current location and copy/paste them on a folder you like of your hard drive. By doing that the music files will be moved from your iPod to your PC.

Where are my song titles?!

Don’t be shocked if the music files won't have their original names anymore, Apple shortens the names with only four letters. Anyways, when you import the files in any windows music player, the original song names should appear.

When the copying process is done, make sure to right-click on your iPod and click “Eject Device”. By doing this you’ll prevent any data loss from happening.

Your music is transferred to your machine, the process was freaking easy meaning you’re freaking happy now! Hopefully, the process was so straight forward so you don’t have to come back to this article ever again. That’s been said, have fun with your tunes on your PC.

How to Transfer Music From iPod to iTunes, where Apple Support Ends 

In a normal, perfectly functioning world you have your iPod, and your iTunes library. Do you want a new song? Great! Add it to iTunes and sync your library with your iPod to mirror everything from your PC/Mac over to your iPod. Now, let’s imagine the world isn’t always perfectly functioning, let’s imagine your PC/Mac gets stolen, breaks down or some virus makes fun of you erasing all of your data, and you, believing in an always perfectly functioning world, haven’t made any backups.

Well, that’s a lot of fun, because that’s where Apple’s support ends.

Apple doesn’t provide you with a software solution to restore your iTunes library sourcing from an iPod even though your iPod library should be an exact image of your iTunes one. That’s been said we have to rely on third-party applications in order to get the job done.
Luckily though that’s no issue at all. So, let’s present to you some software and the corresponding steps to get the job done as easily and as fast as possible.
 

iMazing strikes again

When it comes to third-party applications specialized in transferring and back upping data throughout basically any apple device and PC/Mac there is just now way around iMazing. It’s very straight forward and easy to use service made iMazing to a transferring industry standard. And the greatest news is, it’s free for a basic task. So, let’s don’t waste any more time and jump right into your iTunes restoration!

Download and Install iMazing

Even though you’ve probably already installed iMazing on your machine, we want to make surethere’s no step missing leading you to success. That’s been said, click on the link below to get a fresh version and install the latest iMazing software.

Alright, let’s go!

Connect your iPod

Now, open up the software and connect your iPod to your PC/Mac, make sure you have a stable connection and your wiring is on point performing the following process. If you have trouble connecting your iPod to your machine or if your machine won’t recognize it, click on the link below for some troubleshooting.

Still no connection over there!

 Select your tunes and start the export

Check out the left side of the opened iMazing software. If the connection with your iPod was a success, the iPod should pop up and be visible as a device. Click on your iPod and go into the music section which will display all of your available songs. Now you can select every song individually or just check them all for a full music library transfer. Your selection is done? Great! Click on “Export to iTunes” to start the export wizard.

Let’s customize your export!

From that point on, iMazing gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to your export. Think carefully whether you want to transfer certain types of files or the entire library. We recommend to just go full throttle and export the whole thing. Click on next and iMazing will start the transfer.

Make sure your iPod is connected to your machine the whole transferring-time, depending on the amount of stuff on your iPod this could take a while. So, lean back, get an ice-cold drink, and enjoy the process!

Tranferring Music from your iPod to Mac, the easy way

As we’ve learned above, relying only on iTunes when it comes to backing up your music will work most of the time, but sometimes though it’s just not working like “most of the time”. Meaning storing your music separately from iTunes is a won’t be a hustle at all and will be a third leg of safety to make sure your music library is always there whenever you might need it. So, let’s start with our good old friend iMazing.

Have you already downloaded and installed iMazing?

You have? Great! Skip this step!
If not, we won’t let you out in the rain, the link below is for you!

Get a fresh install of iMazing!

Connect and Select!

Launch iMazing, connect your device, make sure your iPod is connected properly and you’ll have a great base to get the hustle going.
Now you can open up the iMazing software and select your iPod the left section of the window.

Your iPod doesn’t show up? No worries! Click down below for some troubleshooting.

Where is my iPod?!

Select and start exporting

After you successfully selected your iPod, click on the music section and you’ll be displayed with all of your music files. Choose carefully or choose them all, select the songs you want to transfer. Click on “Export to Folder”, choose your desired location and let iMazing do the magic.

Tranferring music from your iPod to Mac, the manual way

1. Connect your iPod & start the journey!

Make sure you’ve connected your iPod, and instead of opening up iTunes, you open the iPod like a mass storage device from your Mac. Jump right into the iPod_Control folder, go ahead and click on “Music2. That’s where the magic gets stored, the secret is out. If no files show up make sure all of the files are visible.

You have trouble connecting your iPod or it isn’t recognized by your PC?
Click here to find out what may cause the issue

2. Copy & Paste
Select all of the folders you see by Command-A, copy all of the folders, and paste them in a location you desire.

Aight, but my song titles are pretty weird

Don’t be shocked if the music files won't have their original names anymore, Apple shortens the names with only four letters. Anyways, when you import the files in any windows music player, the original song names should appear.

When the copying process is done, make sure to right-click on your iPod and click “Eject Device”. By doing this you’ll prevent any data loss from happening.

Well, that was easy right? Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the process and don’t have any struggle whatsoever if you ever have to perform this task again.

Why you should back up your device on a regular basis

You are lazy, I get it. Me too. But you will never regret backing up your device from time to time. 

Sooner or later we all lose data (sometimes it’s hard to predict when that moment comes). You might lose your phone, accidentally delete photos or videos. Trust me, you will be happy to find your backups intact! So do your homework and make backups regularly. Read how to back up your device to Mac & Windows here. 

Bottom Line

This is how the story started: 

Few months ago I got my first-ever MacBook which was perfect. It’s light yet powerful! Every tiny detail is thought out – space grey, intuitive touch bar, bullet speed, wow! The image is so clear it amazes you each time.

But there was a caveat. 

My pocket-sized, teeny, iPod Nano is a decade old. It has 15Gb of music that I collected over time. Apparently, there was no way to sync all this music to my new laptop.

This is a huge issue since the iPod holds years of my music preferences. Many of us collected, handpicked all these tracks piece by piece. Losing it would be a fiasco of the cosmic size. 

However, with the guidelines outlined above, it’s ridiculously easy to upload music to your Mac (and even Windows) from your iPod. And if it worked like a charm for me, I hope this guide will help you too! Let me know in the comments how it worked out! :) 

Natali Solovyova
Natali Solovyova

Apple junkie at Softorino

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