Moving your iTunes Library from an Old iPod to a New One

With the holidays approaching, chances are some of you may be getting new iPods, iPhones or iPod Touches. Or perhaps, you may get a new Mac and want to transfer your iTunes Library onto it. Although they make a great gift, some will struggle with getting everything off their old device and onto the new one.

A lot depends on the situation, but for the technically challenged, we’ll look at how to get your music and anything else off your old iPod (or other device) onto the new one.

One Big Big Big Warning:

If your iPod contains your iTunes library (going to a new Mac) or different music / media than your current iTunes Library, DO NOT let iTunes automatically sync with it! Your iPod / iPhone’s music, movies, apps, photos, everything will be erased and synced with the empty iTunes Library on the new machine.

iTunes Music Store or Personal Content?

Now you’ll need to distinguish between what you bought from iTunes and what you have from other sources. Basically, anything not bought through iTunes will have to be treated a little differently depending on the situation.

Situation #1 – Old iPod to New iPod, Synchronized with iTunes:
This is the easiest situation because the iTunes library contains everything and you’re not switching computers. Just plug in the new iPod. iTunes will see that it’s factory new and run the Setup Assistant. Just follow the Assistant to set everything up and let iTunes automatically sync. When it’s finished, your new iPod is ready.

Situation #2 – Old iPod to New iPod, Not Synchronized with iTunes:
When you manually manage your iPod, what’s on it and in iTunes can become very different. This won’t be a problem if iTunes has everything and the iPod just has certain songs, albums, pictures or videos. In this case, just follow the Situation #1 instructions but instead of automatically syncing, choose to Manually Manage.

Situation #3 – Old iPod, New Mac. Moving iTunes:
Here’s where we need to be careful. First, Authorize your new Mac’s iTunes with your iTunes Store account. (Don’t forget to De-Authorize the old one!) Remember, when you connect the old iPod for the first time to a fresh install of iTunes with an empty library, automatically syncing will erase your iPod. What you need to do is cancel the sync and choose to manage manually.

– Select the iPod under the Devices tab on the left.

– On the Summary tab towards the bottom, choose “Manually manage music and videos”.

Transfer iTunes from old iPod to New

Now, to transfer your purchased iTunes Music Store content:

– Click File from the iTunes Menu Bar.

– Choose “Transfer Purchases from “‘iPod Name'”.

iTunes with then copy all of your authorized iTunes purchases from the iPod into your library. This is pretty easy except for one glaring problem…

What about the rest of your stuff?

Not everything comes from the iTunes Store. Music that was imported from CDs, downloaded or created isn’t an iTunes Purchase. How do you move these files from an iPod to your new iTunes Library? With iTunes, you can’t. With third party software, you can. Using the following applications, you’ll manually extract the music from your iPod and then re-add it into iTunes. Recommended downloads are:

YamiPod
Pod to Mac
iRip

Now you can enjoy your new iPod or Mac, without losing your iTunes Library. Also if you have a Blackberry, PSP, Sansa, Pre, Droid or any other Android based phone and want to sync your iTunes, take a look at DoubleTwist.

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