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Topic: HOWTO: Copying playlists from an iPod back to iTunes without copying music files

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Old 09-22-2010, 05:22 PM
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HOWTO: Copying playlists from an iPod back to iTunes without copying music files

I spent quite some time on this today. Via google, I located this post:
http://forums.ilounge.com/windows-ip...-computer.html

I intended to post this in that thread, but REPLY is not available for some reason.

scenario: your iTunes dies somehow or your OS install or hard drive croaks. You have your music on an external HDD or otherwise safe. You also might have used a free utility like Sharepod (love it) to back up your music from your iPod to recover it. You have copied all of your music back into iTunes. You have created many playlists in iTunes and sync'd them to an iPod and you really, really don't want to create them again.

You now have an iPod that you can't sync because iTunes will offer to kindly erase it for you.

1. Start iTunes (tested with iTunes 10 only)
2. Plug in iDevice (I believe this will work with any iDevice)
3. DECLINE when iTunes asks to erase your iDevice.
4. Click the arrow to the left of your device name to expand the playlists downwards.
5. Right click each playlist and select export - save them to a directory on your hard drive
6. Click menu File->Library->Import Playlist
7. Click each playlist and import it.

This is much easier than has been suggested elsewhere and worked FLAWLESSLY for me.

I really hope this saves somebody some time!
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:27 PM
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Hi and welcome to iLounge and thanks for sharing this.

The thread you've linked to is five years old and the ability to export playlists directly from your iPod was not available back then -- it's an addition in more recent versions of iTunes.

However, now that this feature is here this is definitely the way to go, and should work very well for most users. It's important to keep in mind, however, that the music in your library needs to basically match what is on your iPod for the playlists to collect all of the music properly. This can be a problem if you've retagged or renamed tracks in your iTunes library since transferring them to your iPod. If you're seeing missing tracks when importing your playlists back into iTunes mismatched tags are the most likely reason for it.



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Old 10-11-2010, 11:40 AM
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I ave an iPod with my favorite tracks on it spend lot of time put my favorite song on my iPod.
But i did not create a playlist, very dumb. All the Music s on my PC and in iTunes
Now i have a new iPod and would like to copy the same c song to the new iPod but do not want to spend a few weeks going through all my music again.
How do I create a playlist from all the songs on my iPod in iTunes?
After that i can copy the playlist to my new iPod and it would be set with all my favorite tnes.
Many thanks.
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgleon View Post
I ave an iPod with my favorite tracks on it spend lot of time put my favorite song on my iPod.
But i did not create a playlist, very dumb. All the Music s on my PC and in iTunes
Now i have a new iPod and would like to copy the same c song to the new iPod but do not want to spend a few weeks going through all my music again.
How do I create a playlist from all the songs on my iPod in iTunes?
After that i can copy the playlist to my new iPod and it would be set with all my favorite tnes.
Many thanks.
I got it, the first post did it, thanks.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:17 AM
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Great post! Quick follow-up. Is this now the recommended method for transferring playlists? I've come across tons of methods for backing up/restoring playlists, but many seem to be outdated.

I'm about to upgrade the HD in my laptop which will necessitate reinstalling iTunes, and I do not want to lose my playlists or album art. Will this method also handle the album art (where is that info stored anyway? the mp3 itself?)?

This method seems like it will work though. I'm just wondering if there are any precautionary methods I should take before giving this a go, or if this is pretty fail-proof?
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:32 AM
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That's probably the simplest method for recovering only playlists from the iPod, but the reality is that if you're looking to recover any more information your best bet is to use a third-party utility. See our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information on some of the options available.

If you're simply upgrading your hard drive, however, your best bet is to backup or copy over your entire iTunes library database. You may still need to reinstall the iTunes application if you're reinstalling your operating system, but you can copy the iTunes data back over from backup or simply directly from your original hard drive. This method is far better as it will definitely preserve everything exactly as it is in your current iTunes library. Restoring your data from the iPod is essentially creating a new iTunes library, which is not only a more complicated process but you may lose information such as ratings and play counts and will need to re-associate and re-sync your iPod devices with the new library.

See Transferring your iTunes Library for more information.



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Old 10-20-2010, 11:44 AM
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Cool. Thanks! Quick follow-up. When I originally added music to my iTunes library, I didn't choose that option that allows iTunes to make a copy of my music (sorry, don't remember the name of the exact option and don't have my personal laptop in front of me).

Will this cause problems when backing up my "iTunes library database", or does this file just contain a list of music files that were in my library? Is this just a matter of backing up the itunes library.itl file?

Also, what about album art?

Thanks again!
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:49 AM
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If you want to do a complete backup, just make sure you include your music files from whatever location they're actually in. The iTunes Library database (the ITL file, basically) will contain all of the full pathnames to where your music files are.

What's preferred, however, is to use the "Consolidate Files" option found in the article I linked to above to actually copy all of your files into a consistent music folder and let iTunes reorganize them for you. Unless you have a really specific reason to use your own file and folder structure, such as using other media management apps, it's really far simpler to just let iTunes organize your underlying files for you.

In this case, you could just copy/backup the entire "iTunes" folder from your "My Music" folder to the same location on the new hard drive. iTunes will pick it up and should just carry on, and this will include all of the artwork as well.

Album art that you have added yourself is embedded within the MP3/M4A files, and will travel with those files. Artwork that iTunes has added automatically is not embedded in the files but only stored in the "Album Artwork" folder which lives in your iTunes folder. Losing this is usually not a big deal, however, since if iTunes added it automatically once it can just as easily do it again in a new library.

However, if you use the "Consolidate" option to copy all of your music files into the default iTunes folder and then just copy that folder as-is over to the new hard drive everything should just work when you fire up iTunes.



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Old 10-20-2010, 12:41 PM
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Just the way that my backup software runs, I prefer to keep track of all my data files myself (e.g., music, videos, pics, etc.). That's the only reason why I don't want iTunes to do my organizing. I guess this means that I can't use the "Consolidate Files" option that you mentioned (sorry, I will read that article you sent when I get home so forgive me for repeating questions that it probably answers).

But it looks like my best option, like you said, is to copy the entire iTunes folder (which I'm guessing also contains the ITL file), over to the new HD into the same location. And this will preserve my playlists. Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:06 PM
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You've saved my lists!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!! I've always kept the OS updated on my iphone and always take the Itunes updates and recently rebuilt my computer with a new OS, and reinstalled everything from scratch, but didn't really want to rebuild by playlists. As you mentioned, I keep all my music and downloaded media on an external USB drive for ease of use and backup, and easily re-imported it the tunes.
I've searched for weeks trying to figure this out, never realizing it was SOOOO simple!
THANK YOU AGAIN!!
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:46 AM
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That's already solved.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:55 AM
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Thanks so much

This was so helpful! Appreciate it tons!
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:01 AM
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I intended to post this in that thread, but REPLY is not available for some reason. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:51 AM
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Awesome I had wondered if exporting/importing a playlist might work! Thak you so much!!!
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:36 PM
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thank you for the exporting playlist tip! i have a more detailed question now... i recently switched jobs and IT pulled my itunes off my previous computer, but did NOT pull far enough back to include all those weird metric files that store the meta data, or whatever. i just have my music files & folders. BUT, i do have my ipod with all the playlists, top rated songs, play counts, etc. if i sync my ipod to itunes with all the same music, will it be intuitive enough to know its from the same files and apply all that history to each song? im so BUMMED!

or maybe there's another way to go about it? i'd love your expertise!
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