Top Programs to Transfer Your iPod Music to a Computer

Deciding between the dozens of programs that transfer iPods to computers can be maddening. After all, they all appear to do similar things and make similar claims. How do you decide which one offers the best combination of features, speed, and price?

Read on to learn which iPod-to-computer transfer programs get top marks and which you should avoid.

Hands Holding Headphones Over Wooden Desk
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CopyTrans offers the most all-around solid experience of any program on this list to users looking to transfer the contents of their iPod to their computer. With its relatively speedy transfer, detailed interface, and ability to copy metadata—to say nothing of an appealing price—it's an attractive package. Support for transferring iBooks content would be a nice addition in future versions, but CopyTrans is a terrific option.

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Not all programs on this list have the ability to transfer iBooks files, as well as music, podcasts, and videos, but iRip does. In addition to that valuable feature, it is relatively quick when performing transfers and handles most metadata well.

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Of the first four programs on this list, TouchCopy offers the fullest set of features: it transfers music, video, podcasts, and additional data like address book entries, text messages, voicemails, and ringtones. These powerful features are very valuable, though transfer speed and some interface quirks and occasional crashes hold it back.

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At this point in the list, the programs become a bit more buggy. Of these buggy programs, iCopyBot offers a solid, and only somewhat flawed, package. It transfers iBooks files, photos, ringtones, voice memos, and podcasts in addition to music, and it does it pretty quickly. It's let down by its interface and problems handling more advanced uses (like computers with multiple iTunes libraries).

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ImTOO iPod Computer Transfer

ImToo's iPod Computer Transfer is fast and can move both iBooks files and ringtones, but it doesn't transfer ratings or play counts. It also requires a separate US$29.99 purchase to get iPad support. With many other programs offering included iPad support, that extra cost is tough to take.

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iPod Rip

Xilisoft's iPod Rip is another program that doesn't include iPad support, and can't move iBooks, song ratings, and play counts. It does, however, transfer songs, album art, voice memos—and does so reasonably quickly.

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TuneAid is a pretty bare-bones program: it moves your iPod's music and doesn't do anything else. It's reasonably speedy and easy to use, but with so few other features, it's hard to recommend it.

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Pod to Mac

Pod to Mac is blazingly fast and can move album art, song ratings, ringtones, and photos. It has an easy to handle interface, too. So why doesn't it rate higher? We encountered crashes during transfers, had buggy transfers of types of data, and it can't move iBooks.

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Pod to PC

The PC sibling of Pod to Mac has some of the same problems, but not as many strengths. While it can move music, play counts, ratings, and album art, it crashes too often, has a less clear interface, and is slow.

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ICopyExpert isn't a bad program, but it's slower than most and can't move files other than music and video stored in the iPod's library. If it could add some additional functionality or improve transfer speed, it would likely be ranked higher.

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Media Widget

Media Widget is another program that suffers from both slow speed and a lack of features. While it moves music (and playcounts, ratings, and album art), it can't move other kinds of files, and transferring just 2.4 GB of data took over 45 minutes during our test.

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iPod PC Transfer

IPod PC Transfer has a few weird quirks not encountered in any of the other programs. For one, it doesn't transfer to the iTunes folder by default. Second, and more importantly, it seems to make two copies of every file it transfers, making your transfer take up twice as much room as it should. Inexplicable choices in functionality, those.

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Song Exporter Pro

Song Exporter Pro is an iOS app that lets you easily share songs from your device to a computer via the Wi-Fi. It can't move many aspects of an iTunes library (podcasts, movies, etc.), so it's not a great choice for moving an entire library. Still, that's not really what it's designed for; if you want to share just a few songs with friends, though, it's a simple, powerful, cheap program that's definitely worth a look.

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Bigasoft iPod Transfer

While Bigasoft iPod Transfer is amazingly fast, it's not really an iPod transfer program as much as it is a tool to simply move files from one place to another. As a result, it doesn't move ratings, play counts, iBooks files, photos, or ringtones. Speed doesn't make up for so many missing features.

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iPod Access

While testing iPod Access, it didn't always work. When it did work, we couldn't tell why the bugs previously encountered had now resolved themselves. When it works, it's a solid program. Though it lacks more advanced features, its music transfer is very fast.

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xPort software hasn't been updated since May of 2011, which makes compatibility with newer generations of Apple devices and later versions of iTunes unlikely. If the developers of the program can't be bothered to update it at least every two years, you shouldn't be bothered to use it.

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TanseeiOS Music&Video Transfer

Tansee copies music, podcasts, and voice memos. Its support of Apple devices iOS is well updated. However, if you want to transfer photos and camera video, you'll have to purchase a separate piece of software, Tansee iOS Photo&Camera Transfer. This means that for the broad range of functionality offered by other options in a single app, you have to get two with Tansee at a cost of about US$50, which doesn't compete well against those others.

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