Transfer music to your iPod via the command line

Mar 29, 2007 - 9 Comments

Most of us use iTunes to transfer files to and from our iPod, but apparently you can also use the command line. Sasha Ingbram writes in with this tip: “I realize this is a controversial position to take, but I’m not always thrilled with iTunes and how long it takes to get things done. For me, going through the command this is much faster and more efficient rather than launching iTunes and waiting for the store to load and everything else. I found that you can transfer data to your iPod through the terminal though by using the following command:
cp -R /Volumes/YourIpod/iPod_Control/Music /Users/YourUserName/Music
of course you have to fill in your iPod name rather than YourIpod and your username rather than YourUserName.”

Thanks Sasha! We haven’t been able to test this one right now because we don’t have an iPod laying around at the moment, perhaps someone else can try it out.

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

9 Comments

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  1. Matt Swain says:

    Yeah, this seems to work, but takes ages for me – I think might copy every single music file instead of syncing the ones that have been changed since your iPod was last updated.

    I also had problems with the name of my iPod – “Matt’s iPod”. It seems it doesn’t like punctuation like apostrophes in the file path. I’m sure there is a way around this that regular command line users will know, but I just temporarily renamed my iPod to try out the command.

  2. anon says:

    Works, but it does seem a bit slow to me too, so I don’t know how great of a tip this really is. Maybe it’s just percieved slow because theres no status bar

    @Matt:
    There’s probably a better way but I just put double-quotes around something that has a apostrophe in there, so in your case it would be cp -R /Volumes/”Matt’s iPod”/ or whatever. I’m no command line expert though so I’m sure someone will come along with a better way

  3. MariusTh86 says:

    @Matt You can also put up apostrophes around the entire path like: “/Volumes/Matt’s iPod/”, this puts the whole thing in a single string and feeds it to the command line.
    Or you can escape characters by putting a slash in front of odd characters and spaces like so: /Volumes/Matt\’s\ iPod/

  4. Nick Brogna says:

    @Matt: You hit the nail on the head. ‘cp -R’ in UNIX-land is a recursive copy, so all that is happening is the contents of your music folder is being copied to the music folder of your iPod. Nothing more, nothing less. And to get around spaces and punctuation on a command line escape the special characters and spaces with a single backslash, like so…

    /Volumes/Matt\’s\ iPod/

  5. LKM says:

    Uhm… Doesn’t that transfer *from* the iPod *to* the Mac? Weird.

  6. hgger says:

    How to transfer video to ipod? ITunes?

  7. liz says:

    This transfers from ipod to computer, not computer to ipod. What is the corresponding command-line argument to do it the other way around? I tried simply switching the from/to locations. But that doesn’t work. Perhaps not only does the ipod require the files to be in those directories, but also requires some listing system file in order to display them. Where do I access that file, and what is the format of the names of songs stored in it so that I can not only transfer the mp3 file but also tranfer its info so it can be accessed by the ipod to listen?
    Thanks!

  8. jaripody says:

    Transfer and backup iPod/iTouch files to computer hard disk and iTunes directly
    ipod transfer has step to step guide easy to use

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