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How Does The Hard Drive Feature of iPod Work?

As many of you know, your iPod can double as a hard drive for your computer. This allows you to transfer files and applications from your computer to the iPod and take them with you wherever you go. iPod is smart enough to keep your data files separate from your music collection so that they will not be accidentally erased when you are updating your music.


Personally, I go this route whenever I know I am going to be away from my computer for a couple days but want to make sure I have my most important data with me. It also works great for transferring files, although it isn't as easy as using a simple flash drive.

Using your iPod as a hard disk

You can use your iPod as a drive (hard drive or flash drive depending on your iPod) to store and transfer data files on (also known as disk mode).

Tip: To transfer music files to iPod, use iTunes. You can't see the songs iTunes copies to your iPod in the Finder or My Computer. If you copy music files to iPod using the Finder or an Explorer window, iPod won't be able to play them.

  1. Connect iPod to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes if it doesn't automatically open.
  3. Select the iPod icon in the Source pane.
  4. Click the Summary tab.
  5. For most iPod models (except iPod shuffle):
    Select "Enable disk use" or "Manually manage songs and playlists". Either one will allow you to use iPod as a drive. If you select "Manually manage songs and playlists," iTunes won't automatically update iPod with the iTunes library. If you want iTunes to automatically update your iPod, select "Enable disk use" instead.

For iPod shuffle:
Click the "Enable disk use" checkbox and set the Storage Allocation slider to indicate the amount you want to be used by audio files and the amount you want to be used for data files.

  1. The iPod disk icon appears on the desktop and in Finder windows, and in My Computer in Windows. Double-click the icon and drag files to or from iPod's window to copy them.
  2. Make sure to eject iPod before disconnecting it from your computer. Tip: The iPod display will say "Do Not Disconnect" when disk use is enabled (iPod shuffle's status light will continue to blink orange until after it is ejected). These are reminders for you to eject iPod first.
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kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
You can also do this on some of the Creative mp3 players. My Zen Photo stores music files, photo files and data files all separately.
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