It feels like your stomach just fell through the floor: you opened up your iPod to listen to some music on the way to work this morning and all the songs are just gone. There are a couple reasons why your music may have disappeared. Perhaps you attempted to sync the iPod with a different computer, or maybe there was an error with the system and the MP3 player reset itself. You can manually recover songs from your iPod if you're patient and diligent, or you can purchase software to do the heavy lifting for you. Either way, if you've synced new songs to your iPod since the deletion happened, you might risk losing the old songs forever.
Stop using your iPod immediately once you discover that songs have been deleted. Do not plug it into any computer to sync with iTunes until you recover the files. Open iTunes on your computer and click on "Edit" then "Preferences." Click on the "Devices" tab then check the box next to "Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically." Click "OK."
Connect your iPod to your computer. When the iPod appears in the bar on the left click on it then click on the "Summary" tab in the main window. Put a check next to "Enable Disk Use" then click "Apply."
Click "Start" then "Computer" and browse for the iPod in the removable drives. Double-click on the iPod icon to open it as a drive. Press "Alt+T" then click "Folder Options" click the "View" tab and put a check next to "Show hidden files, folders and drives" then click "OK." Double-click on the "iPod_Control" folder then double-click on the "Music" folder.
Double-click on any file in the "Music" folder to play it. The files will be labeled with alphanumeric codes rather than song titles. If it is a song you want to recover, copy the file to a different folder. Press "Ctrl+C" on your keyboard, then right-click on your desktop and select "New" then "Folder" to make a new folder. Name the folder "iPod Music Recovery" then press "Enter." Double-click on the new folder to open it and then press "Ctrl+V" to paste the song from the iPod into the folder on your computer. Repeat this process for all the songs you want to recover.
Right-click one of the recovered files and select "Rename" to give it its correct title rather than an alphanumeric code. Repeat this for all the songs. When you're done you can add this folder to the iTunes library and sync the files to your iPod again.
Open iTunes without plugging the iPod into the computer. Look in your iTunes library for the songs that are missing from your iPod. If the songs are present in iTunes, but not in your iPod, then you can re-sync the files. Connect your iPod and click on the icon in the left navigation bar. Click the "Sync" button in the main window on the right and your files will be restored. If the files are gone from iTunes, however, don't sync until you've recovered the files.
Download and install iPod file recovery software (see Resources). These programs will automatically search through the files and folders on your iPod and recover any songs present there, including the name and song data associated with them. However you will need to purchase the software to recover your songs.
Open iTunes and click "Edit" then "Preferences;" click the "View" tab then check the box to prevent automatic syncing of your iPod and click "OK." Connect your iPod to your computer and run the iPod file recovery software you downloaded. Follow the instructions from the software manufacturer to complete the recovery of your deleted files.
- Purchased songs can always be re-downloaded through the iTunes store.
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