How to Recover Songs From an iPod

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Losing the entire contents of your iTunes library can be disastrous. With early versions of iTunes, the crashing of a hard drive typically meant the loss of purchased music. Later versions of the program, however, allow you to recover music and video from your iPod and import them back into your iTunes library. Here is how.

Step 1

Download the latest version of iTunes if your computer isn't already running it.

Step 2

Hold down your computer's "Shift" and "Control" keys if you are running Windows. Hold down "Command" and "Option" if you are using a Mac. Connect your iPod and release the keys only when you see your iPod appear in iTunes. This prevents your iPod from automatically syncing to the iTunes library.

Step 3

Authorize the iTunes account to accept transferred content if you bought your music and videos with a different computer. Select "Store" from the iTunes menu and then select "Authorize Computer." Enter your user name and password.

Step 4

Select "File" and then "Transfer Purchases."

Step 5

Click the "Transfer Purchases" button in the automatic synchronization warning that pops up. This transfers all your purchased content back into the iTunes library.

Step 6

Recover all the data on your iPod by selecting "Removable Disk (E:)" in Windows Explorer or Finder on a Mac. Use this option if you are recovering data that wasn't purchased in iTunes.

Step 7

Enable your computer's hidden folders by selecting "Tools," then "Folder Options" and clicking "Show Hidden Files and Folders" in Windows. In Mac OS X, open "Terminal" under the "Applications/Utilities" folder and type "'defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE'." Hit "Return" and type "'killall Finder'."

Step 8

Open the "iPod_Control" folder in your "E: Drive." All of your iPod's content is stored in the "Music" folder. Once you have confirmed you can read this folder, go back into iTunes.

Step 9

Check the "Copy Files to iTunes Music Folder When Adding to Library" box if it's unselected in "Advanced Preferences."

Step 10

Import your iPod's music folder by selecting "File" and "Add Folder to Library" in Windows or "Add to Library" on a Mac.