Migrating an iPod or iPhone to a new computer

Posted by Admin on May 02, 2010

So I mentioned in a previous post that I recently upgraded the hard drive and reimaged my MBP with Snow Leopard.  There have been a few headaches along the way, but none that couldn’t be worked through with google and a little tenacity.

The latest issue is: how to sync iPhone and iPod to the newly imaged computer?  Thanks to parasitic organizations like the RIAA, the manufacturers of mp3 players have to design the devices so that music can be uploaded to, and not downloaded from the device.  This has been standard operating procedure since the aforementioned parasitic RIAA sued the Diamond corporation after it introduced the first commercial quality mp3 player.  They claimed that it could be used to distribute copyrighted materials.  They used the same argument used against VCRs in the 1980s, but Diamond settled by making the device writable to by not readable from, so they would be able to release their product.  I digress.

The point here is that Apple conforms to this “write to only” policy as well.  They actually take it a step further: apps can only be written to and not read from as well. That’s why when I plugged my iWhatever into my re-imaged MBP, it pretty much gave me the choice of either backing up or nuking the device.  Not cool.  I did some digging around (thanks again google 🙂 and found this site where a fellow sysadmin figured it all out.

First of all, please tell me you backed up your whole user folder before re-imaging or nuking your old O/S.  Second, when you get going after doing the stuff listed here, make sure you “authorize” your new installation.

So now that I’m done with my soapbox against the parasites, I’m going to shamelessly cut and paste the relevant instructions from someone else’s blog page.  Hey, I’m giving credit where I found it!

  • Make sure that iTunes is not running on both Macs.
  • Disconnect your iPhone/iPod from both Macs.
  • Copy your iTunes folder.
  • Copy your iPhone/iPod backups.
    /Users/username/Library/Application Support/MobileSync
  • Copy your iTunes configuration files.
  • Open iTunes on your new Mac and verify that Applications and Ringtones appear.
  • Connect your iPhone/iPod to the new Mac and accept any new authorizations.
  • Use iTunes on your old Mac to de-authorize the computer.

If you choose to keep your MP3’s separate from iTunes (and not in the library), this will only copy over the references to the MP3 files themselves.

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