How to Format an iPod From Mac to Windows

by Aramenta Waithe
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

When an iPod is configured to synchronize with a Mac computer, the Mac formats the hard drive or flash memory in the iPod using the HFS file system. This file system is incompatible with Windows, making a Mac-formatted iPod unusable on a Windows-based PC. If you have a Mac-formatted iPod you want to sync with a Windows PC, you can use iTunes to return the iPod to its original factory state and format the internal storage for use with Windows.

Step 1

Download and install the latest version of iTunes. If you already have iTunes installed on your computer, update it by clicking the "Help" menu and selecting "Check for Updates."

Step 2

Connect the Mac iPod to your Windows-based PC while iTunes is running. iTunes displays a message explaining it has detected an iPod formatted for Mac computers, and you must restore the iPod before you will be able to use it in Windows. Click "OK."

Click the iPod in the blue column on the side of the iTunes application, and then click the "Restore" button in the main area of the window. iTunes formats the storage on the iPod to work with Windows. During this process, use the meter displayed on the screen to track the progress. When the format operation is complete, the iPod reboots and iTunes detects it again. You may now proceed with configuring the iPod to synchronize with your Windows-based PC.


  • Before formatting your Mac iPod to work on a Windows-based PC, transfer the songs on the iPod to a Mac if possible. You can then use a removable storage device such as a USB flash drive to move the songs to the PC and avoid losing them. If you do not back up the content on the iPod before formatting it, all of the content will be lost.

More Articles