Have you ever been frustrated by your desire to copy music from your iPod to your Mac? Let’s say that after years of flawless performance your Mac dies and you never got around to making that backup you’d been planning. All of your music files are gone, except for the ones that were synced to your iPod. You would love to be able to copy the music from your iPod to your Mac, but iTunes does not include an option for that. What are your options? You could search for and buy an application that will do this for you, or you could follow the steps below. DISCLAIMER: Some of these steps require that you enter commands via the terminal. This is potentially dangerous, so proceed at your own risk.
1. In iTunes, under Preferences, Devices, check the box labeled “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically. This will allow you to connect your old iWhatever to the new Mac without erasing the contents.
2. Press and hold the Command and Option keys
3. While holding the keys, connect the iPod to your Mac.
4. Launch the terminal application, located under Applications – Utilities
5. In the terminal, type the lines below. The first ensures that the Finder will display hidden folders, the second closes and restarts all instances of the finder. These are case sensitive:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
6. Double-click on the iPod icon, or select the iPod icon from the Finder.
7. Open the “iPod Control” folder
8. Select the “Music” folder
9. Right-click (or command-click) to bring up the menu
10. Select “Copy”
11. Right-click (or command-click) on a blank area on the desktop and select “Paste”. Your Mac will copy the contents of the Music folder to your desktop.
12. Once the copy is complete, return to the terminal window. Here is where things get just a little tricky, but don’t panic. You can do this.
13. Type the following in the terminal. It will tell you where you are in the file structure:
The output should look something like /Users/<your name or machine name>. If that is correct, type the following:
14. If that is not the output, type the following. It will change the directory to the desktop
cd /Users/<your username>/Desktop
15. Type the following to change the ownership of the Music file to your new computer. After you hit enter, you will be prompted for your password. If you do not take this step, iTunes will not be able to see the folder in order to import the files:
su chown -fhv -R <your username> Music
16. Type the following to change the permissions on the Music file. This will allow iTunes to import the files:
su chmod -R 777 Music
17. At this point, I would copy the contents of this folder to the Music folder in the Finder.
18. Now you can run the import from iTunes. Open iTunes, go to “File”, and select “Add to Library”. This will open a Finder window. Navigate to the folder where your music files now reside, select it, and click Choose. iTunes will import all of the music in the folder and will be “synced” to your old iPod.
19. Last, but not least, you want to type the following in your terminal to hide the system folders again:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
It’s a good bit of work, but it will save you a few dollars by not having to buy a third-party tool to take these steps for you.
UPDATE: If you find that your music folders are hidden after copying them, take the following steps.
1. Using the terminal, navigate to the folder where the files are located. If you copied your music folders to the iTunes music folder, the command should look something like this:
cd /Users/<your username>/Music/iTunes/
2. Run the list -la command to list all of the folders, hidden or not. Your old music folders should be there. If not, verify the location of the folders and navigate to that folder using the cd command as above.
3. Change the hidden flag by typing the following command:
chflags nohidden <filename>
If you music folders share a common first letter, or a string of first letters, you can use the * character as a wildcard. For example, my folders all had a F at the beginning of the folder name. I used the command chflags nohidden F* and that covered all of the folders.
4. Close and re-open iTunes and run the “Add to Library” function. It will now find your music files.
Again, good luck and let me know if this works for you.
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