iTunes, the media centre application software to manage iPod, iPhone and iPad has some limitations. While it can connect to the Apple store and download music and multimedia files to the iPod, iPhone or iPad,it cannot be used to backup the data in these new generation telephony devices. Third party software such as CopyTrans, Floola, etc, have to be used to copy data from the iPhone to the PC. A comparison of iPod, iPhone and iPad backup software is available to provide information about the features on each that can be used. A comparison of iPod, iPhone and iPad backup software would also help users decide which software suits them best.
iTunes is Apple's media center to control your iPhone, iPod and iPad. Manage music, videos, films, audio-books, podcasts, photos, ringtones, apps and more then add them to iPod or iPhone. In the iTunes Store you can purchase all this and download it onto your device. For iPhone and iPod users, iTunes is essential when it comes to the activation of a device or updating the Firmware.
But for managing audio and video on the iPod and iPhone you can find some lighter and faster alternatives to iTunes. An overview of some iPod managers can be found here: Manage iPod and iPhone without iTunes.
The biggest limitation of iTunes is that it transfers data only from iTunes to iPod and iPhone, but not the other way around. Additionally, your iPhone is bound to one iTunes library and cannot be synchronized with another PC without deleting the iPhone's contents first. After a PC crash, data loss, or simply if you want to create a backup of your device, it can be necessary to transfer music, videos and more from your iPod back to the PC.
To do so, you will need one of the third party backup tools presented below.
CopyTrans has been around since 2004 and is regularly updated. It supports all iPod, iPhone and iPad models. With CopyTrans you can save your iPod contents to the PC or transfer it directly to iTunes. The transferred data includes: music, videos, films, TV-shows, audio books, books, podcasts, voice memos, ringtones, playlists, smart playlists and tag information such as artwork, ratings, play counts and date added.
Install CopyTrans on your PC
There are two download sources available:
The first source contains the installation wizard, which will install the CopyTrans Control Center and guide you through the installation process. The installation is done within 30 seconds and available updates will show up automatically in the Control Center.
The second option is to download the zip version of each program. You simply extract the files in the zip folders to folders of your choice. These single versions don't need an installation and can be saved on a USB stick. Double clicking on the CopyTrans.exe icon will start the program.
Both downloads are available (zip files and installation wizard) on the CopyTrans website. The installation wizard can also be found on Kioskea.
How to use CopyTrans
Once you have installed the software on your computer, launch the program and connect your iPhone or iPod. CopyTrans prevents iTunes from synchronizing your device and therefore from deleting its content.
Transferring your music to iTunes can be done with a single click on "Smart Backup". CopyTrans recognizes songs that are already in iTunes and doesn't copy them twice so you won't end up with duplicates in iTunes. Alternately you can choose "Manual Backup" mode to save your iPod and iPhone music in a folder on your PC or on an external hard-drive.
Creating an iPod or iPhone backup with CopyTrans is simple and you will find step to step guides on the CopyTrans Support page.
Operating System: Windows
Type: Shareware, transfer of 250 tracks in trial mode
Supports: all iPod models incl. iPhone 4 and iPad
File Compatibility: Audio and video files
With Floola you can manage your iPod music, videos, podcasts and photo. Unfortunately Floola is not always up-to-date and the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad are not supported yet. Users have translated the software into several languages and it is available as freeware. The program copies data from iPod to PC and from PC back to the iPod.
A direct transfer to iTunes is not possible and when transferring to PC, some ID3 Tags will be lost. Floola has an integrated media player as well as an Amazon and LastFM connection.
Install Floola on your PC
If you want to download Floola you can use the zip file from Floola.com. This version is quite easy to install and after the download you simply have to extract the files from the zip folder to your Desktop. Start the program by double clicking the Floola icon.
Once Floola is on your PC, launch it and connect your iPod to your PC. Floola will ask for your iPod model. Please keep in mind that the giving the wrong iPod model may lead to data loss.
Choose the songs you want to copy to your PC from the main list, go to "Element" in the task bar and click on "Copy to". You can now choose the destination folder and change some settings. When you confirm your choice, the transfer of your iPod tracks to the PC will start. The design of Floola isn't always easy to use and you may find yourself consulting the online help.
Operating System: Mac, Linux, Windows
Supports: older iPod Models
File Compatibility: Audio, video and image files
With Froddle Pod you can copy music and video files from iPod to PC and back. A direct import into iTunes is not available. iPhone and iPod Touch are not supported. The very colorful interface may not please everyone, but nevertheless the software is easy to use. In addition to the iPod backup function you will find some extra features like CD import and track volume adjustment.
Install Froddle Pod on your PC
You can download the zip installation file from Froddle.com. Unlike comparable programs, you need to install Froddle Pod on your PC. However, the installation is done quickly and you'll then find a shortcut on your desktop to launch the app.
How to use Froddle Pod
Once Froddle Pod is running, connect your iPod to your PC. You can now import songs from CDs, play your favorite songs and transfer your iPod music back on to the computer. You will also find the possibility to create backups of your iPod's database. Froddle Pod is easy to use, as the icons, texts and buttons are relatively large.
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista
Supports: all iPod models except iTouch, iPhone, Shuffle 3G and nano 5G;
File Compatibility: Music and video files
iRip is a small software tool from "the little app factory". With it you can transfer music, videos and playlists from iPod and iPhone to PC. In addition to iRip, "the little app factory" offers some other small tools like Tagalicious (to add and modify artwork and lyrics). iRip itself is limited to the iPod and iPhone backup function and lacks features such as artwork transfer.
Install iRip on your PC
iRip, like Froddle Pod, needs to be installed on your computer. This means, that the download contains an msi file. With this file you will launch the installation wizard. The installation is completed in less than a minute and you can use the trial version to transfer 100 tracks. After that you need to purchase iRip in order to use it without limitations.
How to use iRip
Keep in mind that iRip does not prevent iTunes from synchronizing your iPod or iPhone. To do so, press the Ctrl. and Shift keys, when connecting your iPod or iPhone (even if iRip is running). This will prevent iTunes from synchronizing your iPhone and deleting its contents.
When iRip detects your device, you can choose between an automatic and a manual backup. iTunes runs parallel to iRip and the tracks appear relatively quickly in the iTunes library. Sometimes iRip asks to carry out some changes to the iTunes Settings in order to save the transferred tracks correctly. When testing the app this was the case and iRip crashed twice. In the end, it stopped working completely. Apart from this incident the program made a good impression.
Operating System: Windows, Mac
Type: Shareware, 100 tracks in trial version
Supports: all iPod models incl. iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad
File Compatibility: Audio and Video files
MusicLiberator is another application to create iPod and iPhone backups on your PC. With it, you can transfer the following media files: music, films, podcasts, TV-shows, audio books, playlists and ratings. A direct transfer to iTunes is not possible, but playlists can be saved in a separate file, which can later be imported in iTunes. If you want to manage artwork, pictures and ringtones, you will find some extra tools in the ZelekSoftware store.
Install MusicLiberator on your PC
You can download either a Windows or a Mac version. Both need installing, which usually takes less than a minute.
How to use MusicLiberator?
After the installation you can use the trial version to transfer five tracks per session. The iPod's content will load and appear in the program's interface. Choose which iPod tracks to transfer to your computer and click on "Copy". MusicLiberator is limited to a simple Backup function that makes the software easy to use. But, with a $35 price tag it is among the most expensive iPod and iPhone backup tools.
Operating System: Windows, Mac
Type: Shareware, 5 tracks per session
Supports: all iPod Models incl. iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad
File Compatibility: Audio and Videofiles
Senuti is an iPod and iPhone backup application for Mac Users. If you are wondering about the name, just read it backwards. This also explains the direction of the data transfer, from iPod to Mac or directly to iTunes. Supported media files include: iPod music, videos and playlists. It is easy to create a backup of your iPod and playlists can be copied through Drag and Drop.
Install Senuti on your PC
You will find the download on the FadingRed Website. Drag the Senuti Symbol from the dmg file into your "Applications" folder and double-click to start.
How to use Senuti
After the installation you can activate the program or use it in trial mode. The program's interface strongly resembles iTunes and a license can be purchased at the FadingRed Store for $18. There, you will find video instructions and an FAQ section on how to use the program.
Operating System: Mac
Supports: all iPod Models incl. iPod Touch and iPhone
File Compatibility: Audio and video files
SharePod is a well-known and popular program for managing your iPod or iPhone without iTunes. The app supports most iPod and iPhone models, except iPhone 4, iPad or devices with iOS 4. It offers the possibility to transfer data from iPod to PC and back from PC to iPod. It supports audio, video and picture files and has an integrated media player.
Install SharePod on your PC
If you download the app from getsharepod.com you will directly load a .exe file. Extract this file from the zip folder and drag the SharePod icon to your desktop. Double-click on the icon to launch the application. SharePod does not need to be installed on the computer and can be run directly from a USB stick.
You will find this iPod manager on Kioskea as well.
How to use SharePod
When using the "Copy to computer" function, you can manually choose the iPod files that you want to transfer to your computer. If you go for "Backup iPod" all songs and videos from your iPhone or iPod will be saved on your PC.
If you are not sure about which option to choose, you will find Frequently Asked Questions online. But if you need professional support or if you want to join the community, you need to pay $10 per year.
Operating System: Windows
Supports: all iPod Models incl. iPod Touch and iPhone except iOS 4
File Compatibility: Audio-, picture- and video files
YamiPod is the last iPod Backup software that will be presented in this article. Like Sharepod this tool can be installed directly on an USB Stick. Unfortunately the app is not updated on a regular basis, and therefore, new iPod models like iPod Touch or the new iTunes versions are not yet supported.
You can use YamiPod only if you own an older iPod Model that has been used with an older iTunes Version. Devices that have previously been synched with newer versions of iTunes are prone to errors. The program has been translated by users into 28 languages and runs on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows.
Install YamiPod on your PC
To download YamiPod you have two options. You can load it from YamiPod or directly from Kioskea.
Extract the contents of the zip folder to your iPod or computer. Double-click the .exe file to start the application.
How to use YamiPod?
When you have opened YamiPod, connect your iPod to your PC. You will be asked to indicate the iPod model in use. It may take a few seconds until the iPod's contents load and show up in the interface. As soon as the iPod's contents appear, you will find some basic functions. You have the possibility to add music to the iPod or to copy it back to the PC. The interface is similar to iTunes and generally quite simple. Nevertheless the application's interface is not always self-explanatory.