Using your iPod as a storage drive

You can use your iPod as a drive (hard drive or flash drive depending on your iPod) to store and transfer data files on (also known as disk mode).

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Tip: To sync music files to iPod, use iTunes. You will not be able to play songs on your iPod that you transferred to your iPod using Finder on a Mac or using My Computer/Computer or an Explorer window on a PC. If you transfer songs to your iPod using those methods, your iPod will see them as data.

Using iPod as a drive

  1. Connect iPod to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes if it doesn't automatically open.
  3. Select the iPod icon in the Source pane.
  4. Click the Summary tab.
  5. Select "Enable disk use" or "Manually manage music and videos." Either one will allow you to use iPod as a drive. If you select "Manually manage music and videos," iTunes won't automatically update iPod with the iTunes library. If you want iTunes to automatically update your iPod, select "Enable disk use" instead.

  6. The iPod disk icon appears on the desktop and in Finder windows, and in My Computer/Computer in Windows. Double-click the icon and drag files to or from iPod's window to copy them.
  7. Make sure to eject iPod before disconnecting it from your computer. Tip: The iPod display will say "Do Not Disconnect" when disk use is enabled (iPod shuffle's status light will continue to blink orange until after it is ejected). These are reminders for you to eject iPod first.

Copying songs from your iPod to your computer

The iTunes library on your computer holds all the media (music, videos, podcasts, etc.) you've encoded from your CD collection or purchased from the iTunes Store. With default settings, iTunes automatically copies the media in your library to your iPod. When you use your iPod as a hard disk, you can't see the media iTunes copies to your iPod in the Finder or My Computer. This is normal. Using the Finder or My Computer, you can't copy these media files from your iPod back to iTunes or to any other computer. The synchronization between your iPod and your computer is one way: from iTunes to iPod. The exception is the Transfer Purchases feature, which allows you to restore purchased iTunes content to your computer from your iPod.

If you've erased the iTunes library on your computer, there's no way to use the Finder or My Computer/Computer to copy the media from your iPod to reconstitute the library on your computer. One solution is to encode the songs from your CD collection again, then sync your new library with iPod. For content purchased from the iTunes Store, you may be able to use iTunes in the Cloud to download it again. See this article for more information about the availability of that feature.

Ideally, you should have a backup of your iTunes and iTunes Media folders to restore your playlists, as well as your purchased and non-purchased content.

So what if you have some songs on one computer and you want to—legally—copy them to another? Can you use iPod's hard disk for that? That's one of several options discussed in iTunes: How to move your music to a new computer, or you can follow How to use your iPod to move your music to a new computer.


If you plan to connect iPod to another computer, make sure not to sync it with the iTunes library on the other computer. This will only happen if you selected the Enable Disk Use option instead of Manually Manage Music and Videos.

Alert window text: "The iPod is synced with another iTunes library. An iPod can be synced with only one iTunes library ata  time. What would you like to do? ..."

Note: If you take your iPod shuffle (or an iPod you selected Enable Disk Use for) to another computer, you will need to eject the iPod from My Computer/Computer or a Finder window since it will not appear in iTunes.

Right-click (or Control-click on Mac) on the iPod and choose Eject from the shortcut menu.

If you use your iPod as a disk with a Windows PC, keep in mind that the FAT32 file system can only accommodate files that are smaller than 4 gigabytes. No matter how much free space there is on your iPod, you can't copy files that are larger than that.

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