If I may borrow a page from my Mac 911 blog, I’d like to use today’s Today@Playlist entry to answer a reader’s question. Specifically, Raymond Mak asks:
I read the “Moving Music Off the iPod” article in the latest issue of Playlist. I followed the steps described to make those invisible folders in the iPod become visible. However, the name of the songs in the folders appear in a strange format which make up of four capital letters, like ECBR, LIYD, etc. Why do the songs appear like that? Is there any way to show those songs as the actual title of the songs?
This is a “feature” introduced in the iPod Updater 2005-03-23. In previous version of the updater, the songs inside the invisible F folders carried the name of the track—“Dazed and Confused,” for example. Once you’ve updated an iPod with this most recent updater, track titles take on the four-letter naming scheme you describe.
Fortunately, this, in the parlance of hepsters everywhere, “ain’t no thang.” If you were to copy a bunch of these files to your Mac or PC’s desktop and then drag them into iTunes, the title, album, and artist information would appear as it should in your iTunes library, as long as that information is contained within the files’ ID3 tags—the storage area of the file that contains this kind of data.
And the utilities commonly used to extract music from an iPod— Senuti and iPod Agent, for example—appear to have no problem with this new naming scheme as they pull track information from the invisible database file contained on the iPod rather than from the arcane titles of the tracks.
This would be a far bigger deal if the naming scheme of the invisible F folders made a lick of sense in the first place. But even if you could see the real track names as file names in the F folders, it wouldn’t do you much good. Tracks are spread willy-nilly among dozens of these folders—Track 1 of Album X may be in the F04 folder, while Track 2 of that same album may live in folder F23. If you’re determined to copy only specific tracks from these folders, you’re best choice is to use one of the utilities I mentioned earlier.
To learn more about moving music off your iPod, see my Two-Way Street article.