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Topic: Initialize and Use Ipod touch without iTunes?

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Old 12-01-2007, 07:58 PM
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Question Initialize and Use Ipod touch without iTunes?

Obviously I am not an "apple" person, so please forgive the newbie question...

I am interested in purchasing an ipod touch but I have no intention of using or even installing itunes. I have my own very extensive library of music and videos in various formats all completely without any drm and I intend to keep it that way! I just want to upload the songs and videos to the touch and use it without any drm or proprietary conversions of existing files.

I know various hacks and alternative managers exist but I can't find out if I can buy a new touch and initialize/use it without ever installing itunes. The guys at Fry's said it could not be done but I'm not sure i believe him!
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:01 PM
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I recall I couldn't even use my Touch until I activated it in iTunes. However once you have activated it, it's like any other iPod except Windows itself can't see the file system. However there's ways of getting around that. Also iTunes has to be installed in order to get the drivers for the Touch anyway.. But once it's activated this is a non issue.

On a quick note iTunes won't do anything funky with your files like wrapping them in DRM, you don't have to worry about that at all. However upon installation make sure you choose to manually manage your collection or iTunes will try to copy every compatible multimedia file you have into the iTunes music folder. On another quick note there's a misconception that you have to use the iTunes store to use iTunes.. This is not correct at all.. iTunes will play unprotected AAC's, mp3's, and other common formats.. It won't play WMA's but you can choose to convert unprotected WMA's to any other unprotected format that iTunes supports. However I'd think if you can use other managers that can actually see the Touch, you should be able to just activate it then ditch iTunes altogether if you wish.

Last edited by Phoenixfury; 12-01-2007 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenixfury
I recall I couldn't even use my Touch until I activated it in iTunes. However once you have activated it, it's like any other iPod except Windows itself can't see the file system. However there's ways of getting around that. Also iTunes has to be installed in order to get the drivers for the Touch anyway.. But once it's activated this is a non issue.

On a quick note iTunes won't do anything funky with your files like wrapping them in DRM, you don't have to worry about that at all. However upon installation make sure you choose to manually manage your collection or iTunes will try to copy every compatible multimedia file you have into the iTunes music folder. On another quick note there's a misconception that you have to use the iTunes store to use iTunes.. This is not correct at all.. iTunes will play unprotected AAC's, mp3's, and other common formats.. It won't play WMA's but you can choose to convert unprotected WMA's to any other unprotected format that iTunes supports. However I'd think if you can use other managers that can actually see the Touch, you should be able to just activate it then ditch iTunes altogether if you wish.
I think the drivers should be a non issue since you should be able to find them in a sub folder on the install cd.. Initialization as you mentioned might be an issue.
The itunes trying to take over my media files and my media player is one of the reasons why I refuse to use it. There are many other reasons as well....

What I want to do is just enable disk mode so I can just simply copy the files I want onto the device without itunes.

You are correct, that just because you have itunes doesn't mean you need to use the itunes store (I have absolutely no intention of using it). AllofMP3 (and its successors) haves served me quite well...
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:04 PM
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iTunes will not copy protect or change your mp3s when adding to the library. It will change wma files since they will not play on an iPod.

The settings to keep iTunes from reorganizing your Music folders, is in the Preferences/Advanced/General. Remove the check from "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" and "Copy file to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" before adding the music to iTunes.

Enabling manually managing still requires iTunes. The touch does not mount in disk mode. Even files add to other iPods in disk mode through windows explorer will not be playable on the iPod. You need software to add the files to it properly so the iPod can see them.



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Last edited by Sparkee; 12-01-2007 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:07 PM
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IPod's are no longer sold with installation discs. This is likely because usually about the time you use that disc, a new update of iTunes comes out anyway and most people that use iPods are on the internet anyway. I'm sure they dropped the discs due to distribution costs as well. Unless there are hacked drivers out there seperated from iTunes, that is the only way otherwise to get them is to install iTunes.

Another problem is even if you get the drivers, Windows itself won't be able to see the file system as it's running OSX. However I've also heard something about being able to use special FTP clients to login to it.. I'm pretty sure you're getting into the murky waters of jailbreaking it in order to do those sort of things.
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:08 PM
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So you can use the iPod Touch like a thumb drive then if you enable disk mode?

Just drag and drop files you want into certain folders that house music/video/photos?

All through Windows Explorer without even firing up iTunes?
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asmallchild
So you can use the iPod Touch like a thumb drive then if you enable disk mode?

Just drag and drop files you want into certain folders that house music/video/photos?

All through Windows Explorer without even firing up iTunes?
No, please read my previous post to yours. The OS file systems are different.. Window's can't read the Mac OS, but Mac OS can see Windows. I'm thinking iTunes on Windows is probably doing some form of FTP in order to get files to and from it. This may account for the slower transfer speeds?? I could be wrong, but I'd put my money on that.

Last edited by Phoenixfury; 12-01-2007 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:21 AM
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So the question now is, can you initialize the touch without itunes?

What is murky about "jailbreaking"? As I understand it isn't jailbreaking just hacking it so you can add software that may not be "blessed" by apple? If it's my device I should be able to add whatever 3rd party software I want, period.


I have no problem with using an alternative program such as TouchCopy to enable disk mode. Anyone used this before?
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:52 AM
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To state it clearly, you cannot simply copy files to an iPod to play them, they have to be transferred with iTunes to add them to the database so that they will be seen and played.

It can only play MP3 and AAC music files, anything else will be converted for you by iTunes provided you have codecs installed.

The same is true for video files.

iTunes will not make any changes to your files at all, it will simply convert them onto the device for non MP3/AAC files.

If you don't like this, then an iPod is not the device for you.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:06 PM
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Alanjc, this doesn't apply to all iPods, just the Touch and the iPhone. All other iPods can have disk mode enabled because they are formatted with the Windows FAT32 filesystem. The difference is other iPods are seen like an external drive, the Touch and the iPhone are seen as another computer altogether.

Donvanj, what I meant by murky waters is as you said.. You'll be running software that wasn't blessed by Apple.. However that also means you could potentially install something that can do very bad things to your iPod Touch. Can you honestly say you completely trust the iPod Touch / iPhone hacker community that they are playing nice? I've already seen all over this and the Apple forums a lot of cases where Jailbroken Touches have various problems. I understand that's not necessarily malicious intent, just bad coding that breaks things really.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenixfury
Alanjc, this doesn't apply to all iPods, just the Touch and the iPhone. All other iPods can have disk mode enabled because they are formatted with the Windows FAT32 filesystem. The difference is other iPods are seen like an external drive, the Touch and the iPhone are seen as another computer altogether.

Donvanj, what I meant by murky waters is as you said.. You'll be running software that wasn't blessed by Apple.. However that also means you could potentially install something that can do very bad things to your iPod Touch. Can you honestly say you completely trust the iPod Touch / iPhone hacker community that they are playing nice? I've already seen all over this and the Apple forums a lot of cases where Jailbroken Touches have various problems. I understand that's not necessarily malicious intent, just bad coding that breaks things really.
I appreciate all the information. I With my PC and electronics hardware background, I don't have a problem at all messing around with the code or even (gasp) physically opening it up. I am willing to take full responsibility for the device if I screw it up. On that subject, thats one thing I have never really agreed with historically on the apple side of things. The thought that only a certified, approved, overpriced apple tech is the only person allowed inside any apple product. I mean, anyone that can operate a screwdriver has the skills to add memory to a computer! Opps, sorry thats opening up a whole different conversation!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanJC
If you don't like this, then an iPod is not the device for you.
That may be very true! I am in process of doing research into what device would suit me best. I travel a lot in my job and I really would like an entertainment device for those long flights and layovers. I am not a fad driven person, so my buying a product has nothing to do with whats fashionable. I will buy the best device that fits my need no matter what the "brand" is....

I am very intrigued with the touch. It seems to have most (not all) of the features I want. I was not at all interested in the iphone, for example, as it has major shortcomings as a phone (like battery life, no replaceable battery, locked to a provider, no expansion to name a few). The lack of memory expansion, battery and the lockdown of the touch are still problem areas for me. I just need to weigh all the pros and cons and see what device fits me best...
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:50 PM
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You might want to take a look at something like the Nokia N810. If the Touch is a jack knife, then that thing is a Swiss army knife. It supports more formats than you can shake a stick at. However it's main purpose in life is an Internet tablet. There are some catches like it only comes with 2 gigs of memory but it's expandable. Maybe this is something more in line for you.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:49 PM
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donovanj, I used to have a similar philosophy to you. I despised iTunes as well. After using it with my touch and my wife's classic its not that bad. You can drag-n-drop your media files just fine but its got to be done via iTunes. iTunes is a bit bloated but it performs ok on most machines nowadays. iTunes also handles your podcast wonderfully. The playlists are implemented fairly nicely and if you've got a large library, it can re-introduce you to stuff you forgot you had! iTunes wasn't written by Satan. Try it out before you condemn it.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:20 PM
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You may want to look at a few of those sites that have done teardowns of the iPod Touch. Its a pretty tight page and not something that most people could hack. Do some search on Make Magazine - the got mp3 player kits and media kits that might be a better fit for a real hardware hacker.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:31 PM
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Here's the Nokia N810 I mentioned earlier.

http://www.nokiausa.com/A4626058

I've been hearing nothing but rave reviews about it on some of the tech podcasts I listen to. Heck the things got GPS for goodness sake! The slider keyboard might also be another perk although I think the N810 may have a virtual keyboard as well.. Not sure about that.

Last edited by Phoenixfury; 12-02-2007 at 10:03 PM.
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