Ever been on a trip and tried to sync your iPhone/iPod with another computer? Ever set up a new system and wanted to easily pull the content off your iPhone into your new iTunes library? Ever lost your local hard drive and the data on your iPod or iPhone was all you had left?
If you answered any of these questions with a yes, you’ll probably know that copying files from your iPod into an iTunes library is incredibly confusing. iRip aims to solve this problem, making the entire process remarkably simple.
What is iRip?
iRip is a simple but effective tool that does what iTunes and Apple so far prevented you from doing: it allows you to copy all your files – music, videos, podcasts, audiobooks, ringtones etc – from your iPod or iPhone to your local hard drive. Before accusations of music pirating arise, the benefits of this solution and the most probable contexts of use should be considered:
- Your computer’s hard drive has crashed and now you need to set up a new music library. Your iPod or iPhone have never synced with this library before, so iTunes will erase your mobile device before it allows any syncing. Swoosh, your valuable content is gone.
- You are on the road with your second computer and have never synced with that iTunes library before. Now you want to transfer something onto your iPod or just want to use your laptop to listen to the music instead of having your headphones in your ears all the time.
- You have a lot of content on your iPod that you have digitalized yourself (from your own CD’s or DVD’s), which cannot be salvaged with the “Transfer Purchases” option.
You can always copy content purchased via iTunes from your device back to your hard drive. Just hook up your iPhone or iPod to iTunes, right click it when it shows up in the left pane and chose “Transfer Purchases”.
These three examples alone show that the option to copy content from your mobile device back to a computer can be necessary and sometimes the only way to recover data that would otherwise been lost.
Go to the official website and download iRip for either Mac or Windows – yes, it’s cross platform! Install by following the instructions. The following description focuses on the Mac version of the application, simply because that’s the platform I use most often. The installation on Windows is the equivalent of the Mac routine and the user interface looks almost identical.
Now, before you continue, a word of caution. If you still have an existing iTunes library that you are using, I’d advise to back up your library file or alternatively to create a new iTunes library. iRip should not cause any harm, but it can never be ruled out. Your data is valuable, so it’s always good to stay on the safe side. Also, take note of the instructions on the download page of iRip about how to hook up your device safely.
While connecting your iPod to your computer, be sure to hold down both the Command + Option keys to prevent iTunes from auto-syncing with your iPod. If you don’t do so, iTunes may automatically erase the contents of your iPod.
Alright, now that the sermon is over, you can go ahead and start up iRip (if it isn’t running already). In the preference pane you can decide where you want to put your imported files. By default, they are added to your iTunes library.
Also, the free trial version of iRip has a limitation of 100 tracks – that can be music, TV shows, movies, podcasts, audiobooks or ringtones. Apps are not listed since those are purchased or downloaded via iTunes can be backed up from the iDevice via the “Transfer Purchases” option.
Getting Your Music Off Your iDevice
Once you start up iRip, you will be presented with two choices: you can select either “Automatic Backup” or “Manual Import”.
Both options do exactly as they say. Automatic backup transfers everything (again, except the apps) from your iPod or iPhone back to your computer and shows you how many items are left. If you are running in demo mode, iRip will simply stop after 100 tracks.
If you choose Manual import, iRip will open a window that resembles a slimmed down iTunes window and lets you select the tracks you would like to import. You can choose either single audio or video files or you can download entire playlists at once.
And actually, that’s it. Hit the import button on whatever option you choose, lean back, pour a coffee and when you return, your valuable music and video files will be backed up to your local computer.
iRip is a really neat tool that is easy to install and comes with just the features you need without burdening you with too many options. It backs up your data safely and even retains your ratings and playlist structure.
Especially in data recovery situations, that is a great feature. It should not replace regularly backing up your music and video library, but if push comes to shove, it will do the job for you very reliably.