4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 21, 2010 7:43 AM by a0me
a0me Level 1 Level 1
My iMac had a hard drive failure about a week ago and I'm getting it back from
Apple tomorrow with a replaced hard drive. I have been reading different articles
and websites on how to restore my media library to my new hard drive but I
have to admit that they left me confused about the best way to get this done.

Currently my library is in 2 separate locations:

- External hard drive
Luckily, I had backed up my iTunes library to an external hard drive
by following the instructions on Apple's website (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1751)
before the hard drive failure.
However, the article being a bit vague in some areas, I don't really know what have been
backed up besides the music files themselves. Are the apps bought from iTunes
part of the backup? What about the playlists? Album covers, podcasts?

- iPod touch
My music library (as well as a dozen Apps bought from iTunes, podcasts, etc...) is also
on my iPod touch.

Since I have some stuff which are only on my iPod (such as notes I wrote after my last sync
and apps I bought directly from my iPod AFTER the iMac's hard drive failure) I would really
like to be able to restore my whole library from my iPod.

Is this possible? This article on Apple's website (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1766) makes it
sound like you can, but seeing the number of utilities, hacks, etc... available on the net, I'm
beginning to think that I'll need to rebuy the apps, etc. I bought from iTunes and recreate
my playlists, etc... from scratch.

Any kind of help would be appreciated.

24-inch iMac (MA456LL), Mac OS X (10.4.11)
Reply by Jolly Giant on Feb 18, 2010 9:45 AM Helpful
a0me wrote:
My iMac had a hard drive failure about a week ago and I'm getting it back from
Apple tomorrow with a replaced hard drive. I have been reading different articles
and websites on how to restore my media library to my new hard drive but I
have to admit that they left me confused about the best way to get this done.

Currently my library is in 2 separate locations:

- External hard drive
Luckily, I had backed up my iTunes library to an external hard drive
by following the instructions on Apple's website (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1751)
before the hard drive failure.
However, the article being a bit vague in some areas, I don't really know what have been
backed up besides the music files themselves. Are the apps bought from iTunes
part of the backup? What about the playlists? Album covers, podcasts?


if you followed through with the linked article, all you need to do is reverse the process toward the iMac's new drive. just copy the iTunes folder to the music folder on the new drive (replacing the folder that is in there). launch iTunes. go preferences > advanced and change the location of your iTunes media folder to point to your new startup disk.

i would keep the external drive as a backup ...


- iPod touch
My music library (as well as a dozen Apps bought from iTunes, podcasts, etc...) is also
on my iPod touch.

Since I have some stuff which are only on my iPod (such as notes I wrote after my last sync
and apps I bought directly from my iPod AFTER the iMac's hard drive failure) I would really
like to be able to restore my whole library from my iPod.



Zevoneer wrote:
1). Connect your iPod to your new computer. If it is set to sync automatically you'll get a message that it is linked to a different library and asking if you want to link to this one and replace all your songs etc, press "Cancel". Pressing "Erase and Sync" will irretrievably remove all the songs from your iPod.

Alternatively open iTunes first and go to Edit>Preferences>Devices and check the box "Disable automatic syncing for iPhones and iPods" and choose Ok. Then connect your iPod.

2). When your iPod appears in the iTunes source list change the update setting to manual, that will let you continue to use your iPod without the risk of accidentally erasing it. Check the "manually manage music and videos" box in Summary then press the Apply button. Also when using most of the utilities listed below your iPod needs to be enabled for disc use, changing to manual update will do this by default: Managing content manually on iPod and iPhone

3). Once you are connected and your iPod is safely in manual mode there are a few things you can do to restore your iTunes from the iPod. iTunes will only give you the option to copy your iTunes Store purchases directly from an iPod to the computer, you'll find details in this article: Copying iTunes Store purchases from your iPod or iPhone to a computer

For everything else (music from CDs, other downloads etc) there are a number of third party utilities that you can use to retrieve the music files and playlists from your iPod. I use Senuti but have a look at the web pages and documentation for the others too. You can read reviews and comparisons of some of them here (you'll find that they have varying degrees of functionality and some will transfer movies, videos, photos and games as well):
Wired News - Rescue Your Stranded Tunes
Comparison of iPod managers

A selection of iPod to iTunes utilities:
Senuti Mac Only (iPod Touch & iPhone compatible)
expod Mac Only (iPod Touch & iPhone compatible)
PodView Mac Only
PodWorks Mac Only
TuneAid Mac only (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
YamiPod Mac & Windows
iPod Music Liberator Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
iPodRip Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
iPod Music Liberator Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
iGadget Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
Floola Mac & Windows
Music Rescue Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
iRepo Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
iPod Access Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
TouchCopy Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)

There's also a manual method of copying songs from your iPod to a Mac or PC. The procedure is a bit involved and won't recover playlists but if you're interested it's available on page 2 at this link: Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer - The Definitive Guide

4). Keep your iPod in manual mode until you have reloaded your iTunes and you are happy with your playlists etc then it will be safe to return it auto-sync.

5). I would also advise that you get yourself an external hard drive and back your stuff up, relying on an iPod as your sole backup is not a good idea and external drives are comparatively inexpensive these days, you can get loads of storage for a reasonable outlay: Back up your iTunes library by copying to an external hard drive


Reply by Jolly Giant on Feb 19, 2010 10:43 AM Helpful
a0me wrote:
Thank you for your reply.

Does this mean I have to do both procedures


no. i would just copy the iTunes folder over.

the information pertaining to restoring ones library using an iPod was provided because you asked for both options

All replies

  • Jolly Giant Level 7 Level 7
    a0me wrote:
    My iMac had a hard drive failure about a week ago and I'm getting it back from
    Apple tomorrow with a replaced hard drive. I have been reading different articles
    and websites on how to restore my media library to my new hard drive but I
    have to admit that they left me confused about the best way to get this done.

    Currently my library is in 2 separate locations:

    - External hard drive
    Luckily, I had backed up my iTunes library to an external hard drive
    by following the instructions on Apple's website (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1751)
    before the hard drive failure.
    However, the article being a bit vague in some areas, I don't really know what have been
    backed up besides the music files themselves. Are the apps bought from iTunes
    part of the backup? What about the playlists? Album covers, podcasts?


    if you followed through with the linked article, all you need to do is reverse the process toward the iMac's new drive. just copy the iTunes folder to the music folder on the new drive (replacing the folder that is in there). launch iTunes. go preferences > advanced and change the location of your iTunes media folder to point to your new startup disk.

    i would keep the external drive as a backup ...


    - iPod touch
    My music library (as well as a dozen Apps bought from iTunes, podcasts, etc...) is also
    on my iPod touch.

    Since I have some stuff which are only on my iPod (such as notes I wrote after my last sync
    and apps I bought directly from my iPod AFTER the iMac's hard drive failure) I would really
    like to be able to restore my whole library from my iPod.



    Zevoneer wrote:
    1). Connect your iPod to your new computer. If it is set to sync automatically you'll get a message that it is linked to a different library and asking if you want to link to this one and replace all your songs etc, press "Cancel". Pressing "Erase and Sync" will irretrievably remove all the songs from your iPod.

    Alternatively open iTunes first and go to Edit>Preferences>Devices and check the box "Disable automatic syncing for iPhones and iPods" and choose Ok. Then connect your iPod.

    2). When your iPod appears in the iTunes source list change the update setting to manual, that will let you continue to use your iPod without the risk of accidentally erasing it. Check the "manually manage music and videos" box in Summary then press the Apply button. Also when using most of the utilities listed below your iPod needs to be enabled for disc use, changing to manual update will do this by default: Managing content manually on iPod and iPhone

    3). Once you are connected and your iPod is safely in manual mode there are a few things you can do to restore your iTunes from the iPod. iTunes will only give you the option to copy your iTunes Store purchases directly from an iPod to the computer, you'll find details in this article: Copying iTunes Store purchases from your iPod or iPhone to a computer

    For everything else (music from CDs, other downloads etc) there are a number of third party utilities that you can use to retrieve the music files and playlists from your iPod. I use Senuti but have a look at the web pages and documentation for the others too. You can read reviews and comparisons of some of them here (you'll find that they have varying degrees of functionality and some will transfer movies, videos, photos and games as well):
    Wired News - Rescue Your Stranded Tunes
    Comparison of iPod managers

    A selection of iPod to iTunes utilities:
    Senuti Mac Only (iPod Touch & iPhone compatible)
    expod Mac Only (iPod Touch & iPhone compatible)
    PodView Mac Only
    PodWorks Mac Only
    TuneAid Mac only (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    YamiPod Mac & Windows
    iPod Music Liberator Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    iPodRip Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    iPod Music Liberator Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    iGadget Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    Floola Mac & Windows
    Music Rescue Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    iRepo Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    iPod Access Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)
    TouchCopy Mac & Windows (iPhone and iPod Touch compatible)

    There's also a manual method of copying songs from your iPod to a Mac or PC. The procedure is a bit involved and won't recover playlists but if you're interested it's available on page 2 at this link: Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer - The Definitive Guide

    4). Keep your iPod in manual mode until you have reloaded your iTunes and you are happy with your playlists etc then it will be safe to return it auto-sync.

    5). I would also advise that you get yourself an external hard drive and back your stuff up, relying on an iPod as your sole backup is not a good idea and external drives are comparatively inexpensive these days, you can get loads of storage for a reasonable outlay: Back up your iTunes library by copying to an external hard drive


  • a0me Level 1 Level 1
    Thank you for your reply.

    Does this mean I have to do both procedures, i.e. restore my music library from my external hard drive and then sync back from my iPod touch to iTunes?

    The only things I need to get back from my iPod are the apps that I bought (+related saved data) and the content of my Notes.
  • Jolly Giant Level 7 Level 7
    a0me wrote:
    Thank you for your reply.

    Does this mean I have to do both procedures


    no. i would just copy the iTunes folder over.

    the information pertaining to restoring ones library using an iPod was provided because you asked for both options
  • a0me Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks. I finally got my Mac back. I restored my iTunes library, still nervous about trying to sync my iPod with the new library...