iPod switcher issues

Soon-to-be-switcher, Colin McKinstry, is about to leave his diseased PC behind for a new Mac, but faces a problem with his iPod. He writes:

I’m getting an iMac in the next few days and I’m really excited about it, the only problem is with my iPod. I have been using it with my old PC, which, by the way, has broken (damn virus), and if I want to use the iPod with my Mac I will have to format it and lose all my music, as the PC is no longer with us to provide a backup.

Three points:

1. Good on ya for buying a Mac. Given that your PC was killed by a virus, you’ll particularly like the Mac’s virus-free operation.

2. You don’t have to lose all your music. Though they sync a bit more slowly than Mac-formatted iPods, iPods formatted for Windows work reasonably well on a Mac (though Mac-formatted iPods won’t work on a Windows PC without a third-party tool such as Mediafour’s XPlay 2 ). All you need to do is plug the iPod into the Mac and when iTunes asks if you’d like to replace the iPod’s music library with the library on the Mac, click No. Then highlight the iPod in the Source list, click the iPod icon at the bottom of the window, and enable the Manually Manage Songs and Playlists option in the resulting iPod preferences window.

With this option enabled you can drag tunes from iTunes directly onto the iPod to update it.

3. Of course that means you still don’t have a backup of your music on a computer—something you definitely should have. To create such a backup, download a copy of Whitney Young’s free Senuti, a tool for copying music from an iPod to a Mac.

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