Copy Music From Your iPod to Your iTunes Library

Recently I was asked by a client if I could restore their iTunes library (which had been deleted) on a PC. All that remained was on this person’s iPod. Thought I’d give it a shot, why not? My efforts were successful; the steps are detailed below.

1. Close iTunes. Delete ‘iTunes Library.itl’ and ‘iTunes Music Library.xml’ from your My Documents\My Music\iTunes directory. These are the database files that let iTunes know what’s up.

2. Do a hard reset on the iPod, such that when it’s ‘booting’ you go into disk mode. These key combinations are available at Command Tab.

3. Copy the ‘iPod_control’ directory from your iPod to your computer’s Desktop for simplicity’s sake. Sure, all the files and directories make no sense, but do it anyway.

4. When finished copying, right-click this directory, hit properties and uncheck the ‘hidden’ attribute box, then apply (include subdirectories).

5. Unplug the iPod, open iTunes, and configure the advanced tab:

Only the first two checks are important. You’re telling iTunes to copy music to the default location (above) and keep it under control.

6. On the file menu in iTunes, choose Add Folder to Library, browse to the iPod_control directory on your Desktop and gun it. Miraculously, iTunes should start scanning this location and add your tracks one-by-one, tags and all.

7. Now plug in your iPod (after you’ve taken it out of disk mode) and if you’re lucky, you should be presented with the option to ‘Erase and Sync’ your iPod with your new iTunes library. Seems like an extra step to me, but that’s what it takes.

Did it work for you?

About Benjamin Perove

Ben has been associated with a broad spectrum of technologies starting from an early age, and he's contributed to the success of many businesses and enterprises professionally since 2001. Most of his time is spent building cool stuff. When he's not working, he enjoys reading, playing acoustic guitar, and being with friends. He currently resides in Medellin, Colombia.

  • marcus

    Excelent. Works perfectly. I just had to click on the music subdirectory on item 6. Everystep 100%. Thank you.

  • trina

    when i click “add folder to library” and select ipod_control folder, nothing happens. :( any ideas?

  • sundaymicky

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  • geavone

    won’t work on iphones.
    For all thats having trouble accessing the “IPOD CONTROL DIRECTORY” folder on iphones its because apple removed that option in itunes. so to view your iphone files download this program called “iphone browser” and install it. after the install plug up your iphone to your PC and go to: var – mobile – media – itunes control – media in the iphone browser on left side. if you follow my directions you should see a bunch of folders containing music files. what i did was back up my media folder to my itunes folder and then deleted that folder from my iphone and then re-synced my iphone. if you don’t know much about computer files ask before you delete anything from your phone first.

  • Ben


    I don’t claim to be an Apple guru or anything close. I suppose I could’ve guessed iPhones would be setup differently than iPods. Thanks for the comment.

  • gdddd

    here is a step on how to copy ipod to computer.Please connect me.

  • Bharat

    I have bookmarked this page and been using these instructions for the last 3 years. Very useful. Please keep this page as long as iPod is there. Thank you.

  • vxxv

    copy music from ipod to itunes.

  • maccolar

    You may refer to this step by step guide, it’s about how to copy music and video from iPod back to computer iTunes. including the recorded video. It’s easy to understand and works pretty well for my iPod Nano 5 Gen.
    Hope it helps. Contact me if you have any other question.

  • iphone to computer

    It’s really helpful! Thank you !

    I just use iphone to computer

  • ipod to computer

    How helpful guide it is, thank you so much!

  • Kreg

    hi, with iphone software you can transfer stuff from iPhone to your computer, but it can only support media files
    and now you may also tried iCloud service

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