Get songs off your iPod

14 Aug

Dumping your entire music collection onto an iPod is a simple, one-click process.

But what about getting your music off an iPod? You’ll find that’s not so easy. Apple’s iTunes software only lets you put the music onto the player, and not the other way around. The iPod/iTunes combo was designed with this restriction built in to prevent piracy and illicit trading. However, there are a number of legitimate reasons you might need to transfer songs from your iPod to your hard drive. For instance, if that fateful day arrives and your PC hard drive crashes, you can restore your music collection without re-ripping dozens of CDs.

Fortunately, there are many applications you can use to get your tunes off your iPod. Some of them are even free, so they won’t cost you a thing.

What You’ll Need
1. An iPod (obviously)

2. Either a Windows or Mac machine.

The simplest method for grabbing tunes off of your iPod is also the geekiest. Just enable the “Disk Mode” feature of the iPod from within iTunes, which will allow you to mount the iPod as a hard drive. Then, you can browse the disk using Windows Explorer or the Mac’s Finder.

How To (Mac)
On a Mac, you’ll need to enable hidden folders in the Finder.

1. Launch the Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities and double-clicking on

2. Paste in these lines of code:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

killall Finder

3. If you ever want to make the hidden folders disappear again, just run the code again, but change TRUE to FALSE.

How To (Windows)
Similarly, you can copy songs from an iPod onto a Windows PC by enabling hidden folders to be viewed. Here’s how.

1. Open your My Computer directory.

2. Double click on your iPod.

3. Go to Tools > Folder Options > View.

4. In the Advanced Settings list, under Hidden files and folders, check the radio button for Show hidden files and folders. Then click OK.

5. Go to iPod_Control > Music. You’ll see the iPod’s music organized randomly into a bunch of folders. Copy those into your music directory.

Although the filenames of the songs will be scrambled, their ID3 tags will be intact, so you’ll be able to navigate the songs as usual on your computer or another iPod.

While these slightly inconvenient methods work, there are plenty of software apps that make the process of browsing and copying files much easier.

Third Party Apps
Senuti is a free, open-source, Mac-only application that allows you to recover songs, photos and movies from your iPod. Senuti features drag-and-drop transfer of songs and playlists. Senuti also allows you to copy songs from a Windows formatted iPod onto a Mac.

The main downside to Senuti is that it doesn’t recognize duplicate tracks. If you have a playlist with 10 songs on your iPod and the same playlist already exists in iTunes, Senuti will add the same 10 songs again. You can stop Senuti from duplicating the actual song files by choosing “overwrite songs” in the preferences, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop the duplication of songs within playlists.

IPodRip works in both Mac OS X and Windows. It has drag-and-drop support for moving songs from your iPod directly into iTunes, as well as one-click importing to restore a local collection. IPodRip also features a number of nice extras not found elsewhere, such as a database integrity check for your iPod database, an option to export your library information to HTML or XML formats, and the ability to sync metadata between your iPod and iTunes.

IPodRip is shareware, and it costs $15. The unlicensed version will expire after 10 uses. So, if you just need to recover from a hard drive failure or similar one-time problem, iPodRip can do it for free.

iPod Access
This is another cross-platform offering. Copying songs with iPod Access is simple: Just highlight the songs you want to copy and click “Add to iTunes.” The trial version only allows you to transfer five songs at a time. A full license costs $20. When it comes to handling song transfers, iPod Access gives you more options than some of the other programs in the list, including the option to rename the songs in a variety of formats. IPod Access will also only overwrite existing files on your computer if the iPod copy is newer.

Anapod Explorer
This Windows-only app raises the bar somewhat compared to the other programs. It doesn’t just recover files, it also has a whole bunch of additional features like ID3 tag editing and other file management tasks. The downside is that those additional features come at an additional cost — the full version of Anapod Explorer is $30.

Anapod Explorer includes a separate program, Anapod Xtreamer, which allows you to browse your iPod in a web browser. Xtreamer makes it easy to transfer files, not just from your iPod to the connected computer, but to any computer on your network.

Another Mac-only program, Podworks boasts a number of ways to recover your music from an iPod. Podworks can send the songs straight into iTunes by using the “Send All to iTunes” option, or it can transfer songs to any other location on your hard drive. Podworks lacks the desirable-drag and-drop features of other applications, but it does avoid duplicating songs. The shareware app costs $8. There is also a 30-day trail version which is limited to 250 song transfers.

With XPlay there is no bulky interface, no fluff, nothing to get in the way of you and your music. XPlay’s powerful drag-and-drop ability makes transferring music on and off the iPod quick and simple. To copy music off the iPod, simply double click the iPod icon and navigate to the songs folder. Once there you see a listing of all your songs. You can drag-and-drop your music to and from the songs folder. It is that easy.

This is the only tool of the bunch that supports all three major operating systems — Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s also free. YamiPod can transfer songs to and from an iPod, and it offers a good range of options for handling duplicates. YamiPod also has some extra features not found in the other programs, including the ability to create playlists and send them to YamiPod can add song lyrics to your tunes, and it also supports Mac OS X’s Growl notification system.

A Wired How-To.


17 responses to “Get songs off your iPod

  1. dibo

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    this is why i will always keep my cassettes alot easier to record with and alot less complicated

  2. geoff

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    get songs off ipod

  3. Mollyy.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    thankss. this workedd! im soo happy noww (:

  4. Olivia Burns

    Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Hahhaha! yes! It worked! I did the dorky one. I actually felt lke a computer wiz. It was amazing. Thank you 😀

  5. grr

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    this deosnt work on a windows vista!!! it deosnt have the “tools” option… so i cant get past the first step

  6. Anonymous

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 11:43 am

    it didnt work for me….any more detail?

  7. the man

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 11:44 am

    it didnt word for me any more details?

  8. Anonymous

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    it wouldnt work for me im so mad

  9. Anonymous

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    it didnt work there isnt a ipod icon in my computer

  10. Anonymous

    Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    this worked for me on a mac computer. totally awesome!!!

  11. Damian

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    this deosnt work on a windows vista!!! it deosnt have the “tools” option… so i cant get past the first step

    What you need to do is go into control panel >apearance and personalization>Folder options > view > Then check hidden files and folders.


    good luck

  12. aaron

    Monday, May 4, 2009 at 12:15 am

    my folders in the music folder say they are empty

  13. Rae

    Friday, July 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Used geeky way. Fell kinda smart now. Worked great. Thanks.

  14. Anonymous

    Monday, October 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    fuckin right this shit worked

  15. Ashley

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I have Vista and it worked just fine.

  16. topher

    Monday, March 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    thnx workedd well.

  17. Transfer iPod to PC

    Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    iPodRip works great for me. Copying files from my iPod to pc is now convenient especially in doing backups of my playlist, pictures and movies. Thumbs up!


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