To cut a long story short — I want to get my MP3 files out of the iPod (5th generation) and on to the hard drive on my laptop. This can be done by re-syncing the iPod, but I’m only taking a brief break from the desktop system and I don’t want the hassle of syncing back again in a couple of weeks.
For some reason, Apple has made it slightly difficult to access my MP3 files by making the directories containing the music invisible. So they don’t appear in the Finder at all.
However, they do show up in the command line terminal. If you want to get your MP3 files out, just connect the iPod to your Mac and open up a Terminal window (click the Spotlight icon and type in “Terminal”; it should be the top hit. If not, look under Utilities in your Applications folder).
At the Unix prompt, type in the following:
cd ~; mkdir mp3-files-from-ipod
This will create a new folder called “mp3-files-from-ipod” in your home directory. Now you need to navigate into your iPod’s file system. Enter the following to list the volumes attached to your computer:
cd /Volumes; ls
Your iPod’s name should be in there somewhere. Let’s suppose it’s “Your iPod” for the sake of argument. Copy it to the clipboard, and then paste it into this command (replacing “Your iPod” with the text you copied):
cd "/Volumes/Your iPod/iPod_Control/Music/"
From here you can enter the following command to find all the MP3 files on your iPod and copy them to the folder you created earlier:
find . -type f -name '*.mp3' |xargs -n1 -I x cp x ~/mp3-files-from-ipod/
The filenames will be garbage, but iTunes should still be able to identify them from the metadata tags stored inside these files. So now you can drag all the files to iTunes and it will file them away for you. Sorted.