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CD ripping, digital music, music streaming, iPod / iTunes / Sonos - various thoughts, suggestions, ideas, odd ramblings ….

iPod to PC / Mac Music Recovery

Even this late in the iPod lifecycle we're getting a couple of calls a week in the same vein. "Can you get music off my iPod and onto my computer?"

There are still people who, for whatever reason, have music on an iPod that isn't on their current computer. Often it's due to that hard drive failing, sometimes people move to a new PC and forget to take their iTunes library with them. They're left with an iPod Classic stuffed with tracks and a new PC / Mac with no music. Can we get their music back?

Let's be clear what isn't a problem - purchased music. If you log into your iTunes account on the new computer you can re-download tracks you purchased from iTunes Music Store. The issue lies with the music you've ripped from your purchased CDs. Can those tracks be recovered?

As we often say to clients - all things are possible. If you do a Google search you'll find several pages with guaranteed, surefire, undoubted methods to backup from an iPod to a computer. Indeed, in the early days of our CD ripping service, we did this pretty often. We even purchased software for our Macs and PCs that allowed us to do this. At the heart of any of these approaches is an intervention to stop the automatic sync of device and computer. Once that has even begun, in that fraction of a second, if you can't grab the music player an turn it into a vanilla flavoured external storage device, you're screwed. You don't get two chances. Zap, it's all gone.

Today it's much more difficult than it was fifteen years ago. The whole process is so much faster. Of course we have our own iPods to practice with and we speak from experience. We know that it goes wrong too often. Of course we're speaking from a commercial perspective, we're no longer confident that we can take on the risk of it not working. So we're happy if you want to say it can be done, it's just we're not doing it any more.

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