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Copy iPhone’s iTunes Library to Windows

Use Winamp Media Player and the ml_ipod plugin to copy music, video and audio books from an iPod or iPhone to a Windows computer.

Use these two free programs to regain access to the music saved on an Apple multimedia device.  In short: copy your iPod/iPhone iTunes stuff to your hard drive!

The processes and programs discussed in this article do NOT remove any Digital Rights Management (DRM) or copy protection from the media files.  This is simply for copying the files as is from the device to a computer hard drive. The protected and unprotected files are copied without modification.

A little background: iphone and iPods can only be linked to one iTunes Library at a time. This creates a problem accessing and synching your device if you lose access to your iTunes folders. You might lose access to your computer based iTunes files for a number of reasons such as: old hard drive dies, upgrading to new OS goes badly, thought your iPod/iPhone was a real backup device, significant other is a dirt bag and stole your laptop, or whatever.

The plugin has a lot of configuration properties that may scare off some users.  I’ve found that other than setting the Destination Folder in “Config (button) -> iPod Support -> Transfers -> Download (tab)” I did not have to change any options.

All I had to do was:

  1. Create a new folder to hold the stuff copied from the iPhone. (I used: My Documents\My Music\iPhone)
  2. Download and install iTunes. (See the ml_ipod wiki for information about limited iTunes installation options.)
  3. Download Winamp and ml_ipod programs from sites listed
  4. Install Winamp program
  5. Install ml_ipod plugin
  6. Start Winamp
  7. Connect iPhone to computer with the USB cable
  8. Click on the iPhone (icon and name) under Devices in the left hand navigation pane
  9. Set the download transfer path by clicking the “Config” button at the bottom of the window
  10. Set iPod Support -> Transfers -> Download (tab) -> Destination Folder to folder created in step 1
  11. Right click on the either Artist – All (xxx artists) or Album – All ( xxx albums)  and select “Copy to Hard Drive”
  12. Wait for the transfer to complete.  You will not be able to access or use Winamp while the transfer is in progress
  13. You can now import or play files from the transfer folder into iTunes or other media player.

Subjects purposely not covered:

  • DRM removal
  • iTunes file/folder management
  • Media player sync options
  • Finding and removing duplication songs
  • Many other things I’m not currently concerned with

–Mike Wood