From iPod to iPhone: why not?
October 25, 2012 1:59 PM   Subscribe

How do you move songs from an iPod to an iPhone? Google is a bit scant on this and when I try to open the iPod as a drive on my PC it doesn't show the files. My Apple Zealot friend says it's like moving music from a cassette to a LP but I say digital is digital and this is another reason why Steve Jobs is a jerk.

OK - I have this iPod Nano full of music. These are songs from my CDs that I ripped on iTunes on my PC and then loaded on the iPod. Then I deleted them from the PC because I didn't need lossy MP3s taking up space on the computer. Now I have an iPhone with more memory than the iPod. So I want to switch that library over. Should be a simple drag and drop in a perfect world. And even though both devices are authorized on this computer, iTunes regards this as an impossible request.
posted by Ber to Technology (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I should have RTFP before replying. I don't think you can do this without involving a PC or Mac, but even if you have deleted the music from your PC, if your iPod supports disk mode, you can drag the Music folder from it into an instance of iTunes on a computer to rebuild the library there, where you can then sync to the destination device.
posted by hwestiii at 2:07 PM on October 25, 2012

It's designed to be a one-way operation. Music lives in iTunes (or iTunes Match), and is synced out to iPads/Phones/Pods. Over the years there have been various hacks to mine iPods for their music databases, but it's largely dependent on the particular version of Nano that you have. As far as I know, there's no way to do this on a non-jailbroken iOS device.
posted by Oktober at 2:07 PM on October 25, 2012

iExplorer might be a good place to start. I'm not sure if the trial version is functionally limited, or if you have to buy a license to get it to do what you want, but worth taking a look. Their "Phone to PC" app might also do the trick.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 2:08 PM on October 25, 2012

You (as far as I know) do need to copy them to your computer first. This is not because Steve Jobs is a jerk, but rather probably because of the record label's restrictions put in place to allow their music to be sold on iTunes.

Copying music from iPod to computer. Not sure if it's still up to date for your iPod.
posted by The Deej at 2:10 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You were so happy with the tail, you felt safe in deleting the dog. I get it.

This guide explains how you can get the mp3s off the iPod and onto your PC, and then you can re-import into iTunes and sync with the iPhone.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:11 PM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I lost my music on my laptop once and had to transfer it from my iPod back into iTunes. This required the use of a third-party app, the name of which I don't remember. But then I had the mp3 files back in my library, and I could transfer them to my iPhone from there. You'll need them stored locally in your iTunes in order for this to work. This is to keep people from plugging in their friends' iPods and copying all the music easily.

Here are some instructions from Wired, and another set from Gizmodo.
posted by aabbbiee at 2:12 PM on October 25, 2012

iTunes is not designed to take music off an iPod. It is intended to sync music from a computer to an iPod (though Apple is moving to a new, iCloud-based paradigm, but that's beyond our scope here). If you google "transfer music from iPod to computer" or similar, you will find a number of third party apps that will accomplish the job for you, but I've never used one, so I can't speak to specific products.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:13 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the past, I've used the program Senuti to transfer music back from an iPod to a computer. Not sure if it's been updated recently or how it works now, but it worked fine for me a few years ago, and doesn't require any fiddling around with the file structure on the iPod or iPhone.
posted by yasaman at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2012

Senuti is what I have used. Moderately (but not very) easy to use, but it works fine once one learns it.

And, the free "demo" version covers 1000 songs, after which it is $18.99. But I have used it with several different computers and iPods and recommend it.

Then just plug in your iPhone and put the songs on there from iTunes.
posted by Danf at 2:19 PM on October 25, 2012

Mod note: Folks answer the question asked and save your grar please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:20 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is also an open-source version of Senuti available, back when it used to be free. It still seems to work despite being old.
posted by calistasm at 2:47 PM on October 25, 2012

On Ubuntu, I've found that GtkPod and RhythmBox both have no problem pulling songs off an iPod Nano (I've personally used them with 2nd- and 5th-gen Nanos but can't personally vouch for others). If you don't have a Linux machine handy you could just burn an Ubuntu LiveCD and boot off it to do the transfer.
posted by pont at 4:27 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Personally I would never choose to own an Apple product precisely because this kind of restriction irritates me beyond reason, but Yamipod worked well for me when I had to do this exact thing for a customer.
posted by flabdablet at 7:53 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used Yamipod for this. The only thing that was annoying was that some of the fields in the iTunes info screen got filled with random characters.
posted by catlet at 11:33 AM on October 26, 2012

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