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Sync iphone with new macbook without erasing info - don´t have backup

62253 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Feb 19, 2012 4:30 AM by taylor beller RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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MiJaBo Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 11, 2011 10:23 AM
Hello everybody,

although I have googeled and searched in this forum I couldn´t quite find the exact answer to my problem:

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago my Windows PC went kaput. Fortunately, I bought a new Macbook Pro which is awesome.
Buuut I cannot find a possibility to sync my iphone 3gs with my new mac without losing all the information on it. I do not have a backup for the iphone on an external hard disk.

What can I do??

Thanks in advance for you help!

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (122,145 points)
    Without a backup for your iTunes library that was on your PC and for any photos on your iPhone that were transferred from your PC, transferring any iTunes content and photos from your new Mac or from any new computer will erase all iTunes content and photos from your iPhone that were transferred from your old PC. Not all information on your iPhone will be erased when doing so, just iTunes content and photos that were transferred from your PC.

    Just one reason why including your iTunes library with your computer's backup along with all other important data is a good idea.

    iTunes includes an option to transfer iTunes content that was purchased/downloaded from the iTunes store from an iPod, iPad, or iPhone, but this is for iTunes content that was purchased/downloaded from the iTunes store only.

    First you need to authorize your Mac with your iTunes account with iTunes if you haven't already done so. With your iPhone connected and without syncing, at the iTunes menu bar go to File and select Transfer Purchases From - the name of your iPhone.

    Before syncing contacts with the Address Book and calendar events with iCal on your Mac, enter one contact in the Address Book and one calendar event in iCal on your Mac. This will provide a merge prompt with the first sync for this data, which you want to select.
     MacBook Pro 15" Intel Core 2 Duo/2.53GHz/4GB RAM/500GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.6),  iPod w/Video 30GB,  iPhone 4 32GB
  • robert4949 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    If all my data is on the ipad, why is it not possible to sync with a new pc without erasing the ipad. This doesn't make any sense. I lost my hard drive. My ipad has all my stuff but my only option is to "Erase and Sync". That's ridiculous.
    xoom, Windows 7
  • KiltedTim Level 8 Level 8 (35,970 points)
    Because the iPad is not a backup device.

    Think of it this way... all your media, songs, photos, movies, tv shows, etc. live on your computer. The computer then loans those items out to any idevices activated with the same iTunes account.

    It's a Master > Slave relationship. Not a Peer=Peer relationship. Each installation of iTunes has a unique identifier. Your iDevice pairs up to this so that everything is kept up to date. When you change machines, or even log in using a different user ID on the machine and run an instance of iTunes you haven't synced with, it says, OK, the stuff I contain doesn't belong to this copy of iTunes, and if you give it permission, it will dump the contents and set up a new sync relationship. If you don't give it permission, it will refuse to accept anything from the new machine.
    17" iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.6), iPhone 3G, iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, MacBook
  • robert4949 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you for the reply. How can the movies, tv shows, etc. live on my computer when I downloaded them to my ipad from itunes on my ipad. No PC was ever involved.

    I already added my apple account to the new itunes, I did the transfer purchases and it looked like it synced everything but when I plug it in, it now only gives me the "erase and sync" option. What exactly will be erased?
    ipad, Windows 7
  • diesel vdub Level 7 Level 7 (20,690 points)
    robert4949 wrote:
    Thank you for the reply. How can the movies, tv shows, etc. live on my computer when I downloaded them to my ipad from itunes on my ipad. No PC was ever involved.

    But that's just it, you did not and can not download content from your computer to your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.

    The content is synced to, but never downloaded to the device. It still resides on the computer.
    The iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch is not a backup device, never has been.

    It is ultimately the users responsibility to backup their media.

    In a perfect world, you would have a backup of your media on some type of external storage system. When you change computers, you then load the backup of your media onto that new computer and import it into iTunes.
    Once that is done, there is no longer any concern over the initial sync wiping all media info on the device as it simply replaces it with the same information.
    3GS, iOS 4
  • robert4949 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    All my info and data is sitting right here on my ipad. Apple is the one that is going to erase it and make me lose it as the only option I have is "Erase and Sync". How can it reside on the the computer. I use my ipad, browse the app store, download a movie, music, what ever and the whole time my PC is off so what you're saying doesn't make any sense. How can it reside on my computer? I didn't know my PC was able to download data while it's off.

    Again, I've never loaded anything from itunes on my pc. I only use the ipad and everything installed, etc. was from the itunes store on the ipad itself. I connect it to the PC maybe once every 6 months just to check for software upgrades and click backup.
    ipad 3g, Windows 7, Erase and Sync is BS
  • ArminH Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Why not simply use one of the many available free apps that allow you to download/upload files to/from your iPad, Iphone, etc. No iTunes needed. That way you can download everything from the device to your computer, import it into iTunes and then have it resync...
    Have a look at for info.

    Message was edited by: ArminH
    MacBook Pro 6,2, Mac OS X (10.6.6), iPhone4, AppleTV2
  • Pndcarva Calculating status...

    I have the same problem as robert, this is not nice.... i Love apple products but, i BOUGHT a new computer and i can't sync without erasing cause my old one died? thats not right.

  • wannablessedbe Calculating status...

    I too am having the same issue. My main hard drive died so I had to do a fresh install of Windows. I have things on my iPhone that I'd like to keep on my iPhone, but I have things on my computer that I'd like to add to my iPhone. Trying to get things from the phone to the computer isn't even an issue to me. However, I can't do so because iTunes wants to wipe the whole iPhone and start from scratch if I want to sync anything. I'd feel safer if I knew EXACTLY what it was going to erase, but that information doesn't appear to be forthcoming.

  • paulfromlunenburg Calculating status...

    This functionality, or actually lack there of, is pretty silly.


    It's the antithesis of Apple's move towards iCloud. I can now grab apps I have purchased from my account, but aren't currently installed on the iPod Touch, directly from the touch. However, I can't back up and sync my Touch with a fresh install of iTunes on my new laptop, after the old laptop died? Huh? Makes zero sense.


    As long as they are both linked to the same iTunes account, what the heck is the problem?


    I actually have a backup of my old iTunes library from the old laptop. I already have transered the backed up files to the new iTunes library, but the back up was over a month old and I've now had the new laptop for a couple months, so the old backup is three months + old.


    I just want to get everything synced back up between the Touch and the new laptop, with out losing data from the Touch. Why make this so difficult? There is zero purpose for this.

  • gdgmacguy Level 6 Level 6 (18,405 points)

    What people don't realize (and it is part of your user agreement with iTunes and Apple) is that buying a digital piece of music is not different than buying it on a CD.  Once you buy it, it's your responsibility to protect it.  Your agreement with the iTunes store specifically requests you to BACKUP your purchases as this is the way that you protect your digital music, just like storing your CD in a protective case protects the CD.  If you lose your CD, I'd like to see what the salesperson would say if you walked back into the record store asking for a replacement!


    You have been cautioned to backup your music.  Due to the agreement Apple has with the record labels, you can only download it ONCE without paying again.  Apps, which Apple in a sense owns, can be downloaded multiple times. 


    Apple has struck a new agreement with the record labels now, at least in the US, that will allow you to redownload purchased music, but currently that's only in the US and only for iOS 4.3.3.

  • paulfromlunenburg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This frustrating flaw goes away with iOS 5.0


    The PC/Mac will just be another device and all devices will be synced automatically. Rather than make us wait until the fall for this to be fixed by 5.0, Apple should just allow the iPhone/Touch/iPad to sync to a new iTunes install with out having to erase the device.


    In my case, iTunes already allows cloud access to apps. Apps I purchased from my iPod Touch have already been downloaded to my iTunes install, so no lost apps. I haven't added music purchased from the Touch, so no problems there. What I do NOT want to lose is my data on the Touch, data for apps I use and the arrangement of icons on the homes screens. I also don't want to lose pics I have taken or captured on the the Touch since my iTunes backup from three months ago.


    All this functionality will be automatic in 5.0, so obviously Apple agrees that these inconveniences are better eliminated. "It just works".


    I just hope I'm not going to have to wait until fall and 5.0 to be able to sync my Touch to iTunes again!

  • iPeat Calculating status...

    This is moronic as was the fact that Lion wouldn't update my Leopard operating system I had to reformat the hard drive before I could install it from the disc a I had to burn because I couldn't buy the DVD. In the process I lost the iTunes library becuase it was saved god knows where... not with the rest of my iTunes music, books, applications, etc. and Library backups.  However they all date back to 2009 so they are useless. Looks i'll be waiting until iOS 5 but that probably won't work either because it will need to be backed up before updating. There is no reason at all why I shouldn't be able to back up to a new library. All the music, applications, and other copyrighted material is already there I'm logged in with same account that is on the iPhone. Let me sync already.

  • KiltedTim Level 8 Level 8 (35,970 points)

    Lion can only upgrade Snow Leopard. It can not legally be used to upgrade from Leopard without first purchasing and installing Snow leopard. So you're admitting you're a thief and complaining because you lost data because you didn't bother to back it up.

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