How to Copy Music From an iPod to an External Hard Drive (4 Steps)

by Morgan O'Connor
Image courtesy of Apple

Neither an iPod nor iTunes makes it easy for you to copy music from one place to another. You cannot simply plug your iPod into a friend's computer and tell iTunes to transfer some of her music to your iPod, for example. This same difficultly comes into play when you transfer music from your iPod to an external hard drive. Doing so is possible, but the resulting file names will be jumbled and nonsensical. Unscramble this information in iTunes later for an organized music library.

Step 1

Plug your iPod into a computer with the included connector cable. Do not use the computer with which you normally sync your iPod for this task, as the iPod would automatically sync and delete any songs that are not in your iTunes library. Click "Cancel" in the box that pops up asking if you want to erase and sync your iPod with the iTunes library on this computer.

Step 2

Open your control panel and click on "Folder Options." Click on the "View" tab, then click to select the "Show hidden files, folders and drives" option. Click "Apply" to apply this setting.

Step 3

Navigate to "My Computer," where the iPod should appear in the list of devices with removable storage. Double-click on your iPod to open it, then open the "iPod_Control" folder. Click on the "Music" folder once to select it, then copy this folder onto your desktop. Unplug your iPod from the computer.

Plug your external hard drive into your computer. Find and open the external hard drive in "My Computer." Find the "Music" folder on your desktop, and copy it to your external hard drive. You now have a copy of all of the music from your iPod.


  • This makes a backup of all of the music from your iPod, but you must import that music into iTunes to unscramble the track names. To transfer music from your iPod without scrambling the file names, you must download (and possibly purchase) a program designed for this purpose. Your options include Anapod CopyGear for Windows and iPodDisk or Expod for Mac.


Photo Credits

  • Image courtesy of Apple

About the Author

Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.

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