ipod, schmipod
July 21, 2010 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Another ipod question - awww yeah! I searched previous questions but they didn't work or I didn't do them right. I need plain english, step-by-step instructions on how to move music from an old decrepit ipod to my new slammin ipod.

I have only tried iTunes to do this, which may be a mistake. [I went to previously suggested sites (like Yamipod) but my computer didn't know what program to use to download it. And what's a bitorrent file?] Anyhoo, what I did with iTunes was to: "plug in" my old ipod, then show the hidden files so that I could find my list, copy those hidden files onto my desktop in a new folder A, then find my iTunes music folder and drag the new folder A into that folder. Dragging the folder A into my ipod within iTunes does not work. It gives me a circle with a cross-out symbol. Then I'd plug in my new ipod and sync. The music is there but all of these exclamation points are next to each song and when I click on it, it says it can't find the source file. The symbols don't go away until I plug in my old ipod.

What the hey is going on and what should I do? Links to legit, very thorough, and easy to understand sites are appreciated, as is your advice.
posted by bunny hugger to Technology (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There's something I'm missing here. Why not just plug in your old iPod, do a sync with iTunes so that iTunes has all the music on it that your iPod has (which it should have already, otherwise how did your music get on your iPod in the first place?) Then plug your new iPod in and sync your library to it.

Have you been transferring music to your iPod without using iTunes?
posted by grumblebee at 7:12 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

The only way this wouldn't work is if you have iTunes set to "manually manage" your iPod. If it syncs automatically when you plug it in, then it should copy everything to your new iPod so that it's the same.

Please talk us through what you're doing with iTunes and your new iPod, when you're plugging it in, etc.
posted by Citrus at 7:23 AM on July 21, 2010

grumblebee, I have an old iPhone which has a lot of music on it that didn't come by way of iTunes because I just downloaded it directly over wifi. Unfortunately, the computer that I originally synched my phone with is now basically dead which means that I can't rescue the music from it that way. So although I can't attest to bunny hugger's circumstances, I can confirm that this can be a problem which I can't resolve the traditional way. I hope that the traditional way is sufficient for bunny hugger - but it isn't for me! :(
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:33 AM on July 21, 2010

The torrent links on the Yamipod download page are not what you want. You need to scroll just past them to the second set of download links, where it says "BINARIES."

Download the version of the program that will work on your computer (either Windows or Mac OS X).

From there, it should be very easy. You run YamiPod, and follow the instructions on this page. Copy the songs onto a folder on your desktop. Once it's done, you drag those songs from your desktop into iTunes, clean them up however you want, and put them on your new iPod the same way you always have--either by syncing or, if you have it set to manual, by dragging onto the iPod in iTunes.
posted by bcwinters at 7:41 AM on July 21, 2010

Here's something people (myself included) don't always think of in these circumstances: hiring someone. Of course, you may not have the means to do this, but if you do, it can save a lot of headaches.

I'm a programmer, and I'm generally computer savvy, but sometimes I come upon some aspect of computers that just isn't my area of expertise and that is likely to cause me hours of frustration.

Recently, I had a home-networking issue like this. After a few of hours of googling and messing around, I was no closer to a solution than when I started. So I placed an ad on Craigslist -- offering $40, I think -- and several people wrote back to me. The guy I hired walked me through the steps over the phone. He was incredibly helpful.

I'm not suggesting this as your first resort. But if you reach a level of extreme frustration, it's worth considering.
posted by grumblebee at 7:49 AM on July 21, 2010

So to be clear: you're trying to pull all the music files off an iPod and onto your machine so you can have it on the new iPod device (iPhone/iPad/iWhateverthehell - I am just going to say iPod to refer to your Apple music playing device, k?)

Here's the deal: on the iPod itself the music is sorted out into those letter directories in some sort of optimization scheme. We don't need to know what it is other than that it makes it disorganized to take stuff back OFF it.

What you've done here is set up disk access so you can copy the files off. That's good.

Where you have run into a problem is that you have tried to add them straight back into iTunes w/o copying them to another drive first. Instead of dragging that whole tree full of folders onto iTunes you should drag them onto a local folder first. It'll take a while but I think it's best for you to get a copy of all these somewhere easier to deal with than via the iPod cable.

What Citrus is refering to is that iTunes can be set up one of two ways when it comes to adding music. One is that iTunes manages your music. On my version of iTunes on the mac there's an option that says "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" and that's nice and descriptive about what it does. I've seen other/older versions that talk about iTunes managing your library, which is less obvious.

What it basically means is iTunes is asking "when you add something to me, do you want me to leave it where it is or make a copy in my own folder?"

Based on what you describe you have it set to leave the music files alone. That's fine when you already have your stuff organized in a way you like it or on an external drive or whatever, but what you have at the moment is this jibberjabber mess of directories with no human-readable rhyme or reason.

So what's happening is that iTunes just makes a mental note about where those files live and looks for them there when it needs them. But where it's looking for them is on this drive on your old iPod, so when it's not hooked up it can't find them.

So what you probably want to do in order to have a less jumbled set of files is turn on that option to let iTunes sort out your files and copy them somewhere. On my iTunes the option to sort things nicely is a separate check box: "Keep iTunes media folder organized" - if you have both it and the "copy files" option set then every time you add a new song file iTunes will copy it to the directory where it keeps all that stuff.

So were I you, I'd turn those options on and remove all the files I already have in iTunes, or at least the ones with the ! mark. Then re-add the files - either directly off the iPod or (I think this is quicker/safer) copy them to a local drive first THEN add them to iTunes. Once they're added to iTunes you should be able to remove that copy folder, presuming they've been copied & sorted by iTunes.

Hope that's thorough enough for you.
posted by phearlez at 8:06 AM on July 21, 2010

I was going to say pretty much exactly (well, maybe not word-for-word) what phearlez said, so that saves me a lot of typing and I can just say: yes, do it that way.
posted by kyleg at 8:22 AM on July 21, 2010

If the songs came from another computer that you no longer have access to, the problem could be Apple's DRM. If these are songs you bought from the iTunes store, try playing one of the songs with an exclamation point through iTunes on your current computer and see if it prompts you for your iTunes password to authorize the song on your current computer. You can't sync a song if you aren't authorized to play it on the syncing computer.
posted by stopgap at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2010

The problem with simply dumping data from the iPod to your computer is that the iPod contents are jumbled into seemingly random folders. That's where iPod managers come in handy. Wikipedia has a list of iPod managers, covering Mac (OS X), Windows and Linux, though the list is a bit out-of-date. From personal experience, Sharepod was pretty good for Windows systems, but it's been a while since I used it.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 AM on July 21, 2010

thanks, all great answers. i will try again tonight.
posted by bunny hugger at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2010

You're looking for Sharepod.

It just works.

i pulled all the old music off of an old iphone.

Download the program, unzip it to your desktop (you need to have iTunes installed, but not running).

It will show up with everything you have on your iPod/iPhone. With iPods, it can also be run off of an iPod in disk mode.

All you have to do it click "Backup" at the top, and it will transfer all your music and videos to the desktop. Re-import that stuff into iTunes.

Sync your new iPod/iPhone.

It's that easy.

posted by Master Gunner at 2:43 PM on July 21, 2010

I did it. holy crap. used itunes.
i think my original problem was b/c I saved those hidden music files on my desktop and not a local disk. i couldn't get them to drag over without getting the veto symbol.
i had some fear about deleting the exclamation files, but once i had the files safe, I just deleted everything in music library, transferred over the hidden files by dragging (doing a check first to see that it would let me, and then synced with my new ipod.
thanks to everyone.
posted by bunny hugger at 5:20 PM on July 22, 2010

There is a really good program called "Pod to PC". It will transfer all your music from any iPod to your hard drive. At which point you can drag those files into itunes. I've found this to be the easiest way. Trust me I've tried ALOT of ways.

The program was free when I downloaded it. Don't know if it is anymore however...
posted by Atlantic at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2010

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