I was given an 4th generation iPod as a gift and decided to give my girlfriend my 3rd generation iPod. One problem, I needed to get my music off my old iPod and onto the new one. I searched around a bit and didn’t come up with anything, so here’ what I came up with. I don’t know that this is the best method, but it worked for me.
One of the problems was that I had nearly 20 gigs of music on my 3G iPod, and did not have 20 gigs of free space on my PowerBook’s hard drive. What I came up with needed to go directly from iPod to iPod without storing anything on the comptuer. Also, my PowerBook has only one Firewire port so I used a PCMCIA Firewire card to allow me to plug both iPods into the computer at the same time.
First, I went into iTunes and turned off “Keep iTunes Music folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library.” in Preferences under Advanced. I also turned off “Sound Check” under Audio.
I had already used a tool like iPod Decloak to create a folder with aliases to all the 3G iPod’s music. These are the folders F00 through F49 that you may or may not have seen. I opened F00, used Cmd-A to select all, and dragged all the music to iTunes. I had to repeat that step 50 times to get iTunes to add all the music on my 3G iPod to my iTunes. Finder’s column view helped a lot.
At this point I thought that I could select all the music in iTunes and drag it to my 4G iPod, but iTunes didn’t want me to drag that many tracks at once. Instead, I changed the preference on my 4G iPod to “Automatically update all songs and playlists” and iTunes immediately began copying directly from the 3G iPod to the 4G iPod, as well as the music that had been in iTunes before I started this.
All that’s left is for me to reinitialize the 3G iPod (my girlfriend has better taste in music than me and any songs of mine that she likes I probably got from her) and remove the music I added to iTunes, probably using Advanced -> Consolidate Library.
There are some drawbacks to this method. I imagine there’s a better way to add all 50 music folders to iTunes at once, but iTunes didn’t want to import all the aliases. Also, I wound up with a lot of duplicate music on the 4G iPod because I had some music in iTunes and on the 3G iPod; show duplicate songs doesn’t work on iPods.

2 responses to “Moving songs between iPods”

  1. Couldn’t you have used the command prompt to get all of the symlinks in the same directory?

    mkdir /somewhere/else
    cd /path/to/cloaks
    for f in */* ; do mv $f /somewhere/else ; done

    Then drag everything from /somewhere/else to iTunes?
    Seems like the command prompt could solve your duplicate songs problem too…

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