Friday, 25 October 2019

Getting data off my iPod

When it comes to technology, I can be a bit of a Luddite. If I have something that works well and meets my needs, I am reluctant to change it until it really, absolutely, utterly no longer works.

In that vein, I have been using an iPod nano (ie, sixth generation iPod) for many years. It meets my needs very well. It is small, light, and will clip to my clothes. This latter point is important, as women's clothes often don't have pockets (a problem to be discussed in another post!). The Nano works well with my audiobooks, which tends to be my main use. While I do have trouble at times with syncing with iTunes, I have not yet struck a situation where I have needed to upgrade.

However, recently I found that a book on my iPod had disappeared from my library. Luckily, I spotted it was missing before I deleted the book from my Nano. I went to try and copy the book back from my Nano to my iTunes, but was unable to find a way to do that within iTunes itself.

In order to copy from iPod back to iTunes, I went looking online for some non-iTunes transfer software. Unfortunately, the apps which I found no longer worked on the iPod Nano: the Nano was too old to be recognised by the software. I tried both CopyTrans and Leawo iTransfer, and had no luck with either one.

I had to think laterally. I know that iTunes creates four letter file names for each of its files, and stores one book across multiple folders. The only way you can work out what each file is within the folder structure of the iPod is to listen to each file. I didn't want to have to do that. I have a lovely piece of software called FileSearchEX (the EX stands for exchange). This is a very helpful piece of kit for doing pre-Windows 8 tiered searches (read more here). What I did was: 
  • I went into my iPod using iTunes, and changed some of the audiobook information for the entire book, to change the "file modified" date stamp. 
  • Then I used FileSearchEX, with the date filters for "file modified" restricted to today's date, to search my iPod. It returned the files for that audiobook which I was missing from iTunes.
  • I then simply dragged the iPod Nano FileSearchEX files and drop them into my iPod backup Windows folder. I got a list of four letter-named MP3 files.
  • Then I reimported those MP3 files straight back into my iTunes library.
  • iTunes reimported the files as music, so I had to re-categorise them as an audiobook, but all the other information was still there.
While this is a bit of a workaround, it worked without me needing to buy any new software.

I hope it works for you too!


*please note that while this is not a sponsored post, consider buying a copy of FileSearchEX: it is only USD$30. It has saved me thousands of dollars in wasted time trying to find files.

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