Everyone knows that iPhones and iPod Touches are NOTHING like their predecessors when it comes to restoring your music library after some catistrophic computer mishap or hard drive failure. It happens a lot, and I’m probably one of the biggest culprits. A while back, I found all my songs on my iPod Nano, imported them into iTunes without copying them onto my computer, and then told iTunes to wipe my iPod. Within seconds, all my music (yeah, at the time it was only 8 gigs, but still) was gone. Needless to say, I wasn’t very pleased. I figured that the easiest way to help people out with it is to write up a little tutorial. Below, you’ll find tutorials for PC as well as Mac users, and all the download links you need.
“I’m a PC.”
Well, isn’t that nice for you then. The PC tutorial is markedly easier, and involves just one piece of software that many people already have: WinAmp. WinAmp is an iTunes replacement, and can be tweaked to do anything from DJ’ing to internet radio broadcasting. However, we are going to install a plugin that allows it to interface with an iPod Touch or iPhone, and back up its music. Alright; lets get started.
You’ll need to download Winamp, and the ml_iPod plugin for Winamp. Make sure you get version 3.08 or later of ml_iPod or it won’t support iPhone/iPod Touch devices. You do not need to download the “Pro” version of Winamp, and you can choose whether or not you want to download it with the free bundled .mp3. Install Winamp first by running the file you downloaded, follow all the steps, and enable any features you’d like. Then, run the ml_iPod plugin installer, follow all the steps, restart Winamp if its running, and get ready to rock and roll.
If you haven’t already, plug your iPod Touch/iPhone into your computer, run iTunes, but DO NOT SYNC IT or you will lose all of your music. Connecting it is crucial in initializing the device communication drivers. Next, you’ll want to close iTunes completely and open up WinAmp. If all goes well, you should notice your iPod Touch/iPhone on the left hand side menu. If not, try unplugging your device, waiting a minute or so, and plugging it back in. Still no luck? Restart your computer and re-launch Winamp, then try again. If you’re still getting nothing, you may have installed something wrong, old, or corrupted, and I recommend you uninstal everything and start from step one again, or contact me.
Prepping your device.
The best way to guarantee a clean backup is to make sure your device has a clean, correct database. This means that the file used to organize, list, and pull up songs is clean. Luckily, the ml_iPod plugin has a feature to clean up your database for you. Right click your iPod Touch/iPhone, select “iPod Tools” and choose Cleanup part 1. If you want to ensure your device is fully cleaned up, I’d run parts 2 and 3 afterwards. This may take some time, but it is well worth it. Cleanup part 1 removes any “orphaned” or unused database entries. Part 2 checks every file for consistency, and part 3 checks for any songs that it could not find.
Here’s where things get hairy, at least for me. Go to start, click “My Computer,” and select your primary hard drive (usually “C:”). An issue I noticed with ml_iPod is that when it backs songs up to your computer, it copies them to the root folder of your primary hard drive, and for this reason, I IMPLORE that you make note of any and all files and folders in the root of your hard drive (anything in the folder “C:/). After you’ve done this, its time for some backing up. Go back into Winamp, clicking your device, and selecting any songs you want on your computer. Right click your selection, and select “Copy songs to hard drive.” You may have to wait a little bit as it copies, but once it finishes, you should have all of your songs back on your hard drive! Just move them to a place where you’ll be able to find them later, unplug your iPod, and go on your own merry way.
“I’m a mac.”
I’m still working on a tutorial for Mac users; the only method I’ve been able to come up with so far involves using a free trial, and I’m not a fan of 30 day trials. I should have a Mac tutorial up within a few days. Hang tight, and contact me with any immediate questions.