Free Backup Software For Transferring Music From an iPod

Free tools that make it easy to copy files from your iOS device

iTunes makes it easy to sync music and other files from your library to the iPod. But, what about the other way around? If you've ever tried using iTunes to 'reverse sync', then you'll know that transferring the contents of your iOS device back to your computer can be more problematic.

This is especially true if you've got non-iTunes songs that you've purchased from other music download services. Or, even music CDs that have been ripped and synced, but may no longer be in your main library.

If you're not careful, content on your iPod can get deleted if it's not already in your main iTunes library. So, what do you do?

To ensure you fully back up your iPod the best way is to use a third-party software tool. These often have added features which are lacking in iTunes. Some are even good alternatives to iTunes if you don't like using Apple's software.

So, here's a list of free software programs that do an excellent job of copying files from your iOS device.

1
SynciOS Free (Windows / Mac)

SynciOS Software
SynciOS Music Screen. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

SynciOS is probably the most popular free tool for managing an iOS device using a Windows or Mac computer. It's a well polished software application that does more than just copy files from your iPod.

For example this free tool comes with a built-in player, ringtone maker, audio / video converter, and even a handy video downloader. This last option takes URLs from the web (like a YouTube video) and downloads it as a file. This can then be transferred to your device.

Other useful resources include free online ringtones and wallpapers. Again, these can be downloaded and synced straight to your device within the SynciOS program.

Overall, SynciOS Free is a stellar alternative to iTunes that does a great job of managing the contents of your iOS device.

2
Apowersoft Free Online iPhone/iPad/iPod Transfer

Apowersoft Phone Manager
Free online version of Apowersoft Phone Manager. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is an online tool by Apowersoft which means that you don't have to install anything on your computer in order to backup files from your iPod (or iPhone / iPad). The only prerequisite is that Java (and the relevant browser plugin) has to be installed on your machine.

Once this free tool is up and running you'll be presented with a good range of tools. As well as being able to export music files from your iPod, there's also options to copy across audiobooks, ringtones, voice memos, podcasts, and videos. If apps are more your thing, then you can also uninstall or archive these too.

If you are looking for a free backup tool and don't want to be tied down to just one computer, then Apowersoft's cloud-based tool could be the perfect app to use.

Incidentally, this tool is also compatible with Android devices as well so you could in theory transfer music between two different mobile operating systems.

3
PodTrans (Windows / Mac)

PodTrans
View of iPod's music via PodTrans software. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

The free version of Podtrans is available to download for Windows and Mac operating systems. This is an iPod-only tool which is compatible with the Shuffle, Mini, Nano, Classic, and Touch (all running iOS 4 or higher).

The interface is well designed and user-friendly, although not as polished as it could be -- it can be a little slow and jerky at times and lacks features such as a built-in player. However, the icons on the main screen make it easy to find the right area on your iPod to work on. For example, clicking on the Music icon gives you further options to export songs, delete ones you don't want, or even add new tracks without having to use iTunes at all.

PodTrans also has options for managing ringtones, voice memos, audiobooks, podcasts, and iTunes U. If you've got videos on your iDevice then you can also manage these with this free tool.

Apps can also be exported, deleted, and imported which makes PodTrans a decent all-rounder.