How To: Use your iPod on Mac & Windows computers
Here's a little known fact: Your Windows PC cannot read your iPod if you formatted it with a Mac.
I found that out the hard way today, when I wanted to transfer some files from a Windows laptop to my iPod (which was formatted on Mac OS X). But the iPod is supposed to work on a Mac or a PC, right? Well, that's correct, but Windows can't read the mac HFS+ file format, so… if you're using your Mac ipod on Windows, here's the how-to.
First and foremost, let me say that if you follow any of my advise, the world may split in two and swallow your entire town. Or other bad stuff could happen. It probably won't, but it could, so don't come crying to me.
Second, while I'm going to explain how to use your iPod on both Mac & Windows computers, there are software programs out there to do just that. I haven't used any of them and have no plans to, since the following method works flawlessly – for free.
Here we go….
To use your iPod on both Mac & Windows computers, you must format your iPod on a Windows version of iTunes.
Why? Windows will format your iPod with a FAT32 file system (which is readable by both Mac and Windows) whereas a Mac version of iTunes will format your iPod with a HFS+ file system (which Windows cannot read).
How do you know if your iPod is formatted for Mac or Windows? Easy.
To determine if your iPod has been restored for Macintosh or Windows, do this:
- On your iPod, select Settings > About. If you're using an older iPod with older iPod software (such as iPod Software 1.x), select Settings from the main menu.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the screen.
If your iPod disk is configured for Macintosh, the serial number is the last item you'll see listed in the About screen. If the disk is configured for Windows, the last item you'll see is "Format: Windows."
So, if you have an iPod that was formatted using Windows – you're fine. You're finished. Stop reading.
If you have an iPod that you originally started using on a Mac, you'll need to reformat it on a Windows PC if you want to use it on both types of computers. (Note: Apple says this will only work on iPod shuffles, but it does seem to work on most newer iPods.)
- Connect your iPod to a Windows PC.
- When iTunes attempts to sync the iPod, you will get an error message that it cannot be read and must be formatted.
- IF YOU PROCEED, EVERYTHING WILL BE REMOVED FROM YOUR IPOD. ALL SONGS, MOVIES, ETC WILL BE REMOVED OFF YOUR IPOD.
- If you want to make your iPod readable by both Windows and OS X, follow the prompts to format your iPod.
- Once your iPod has been formatted by Windows, you will need to remove the iPod, attach the plug, and plug it into the wall to finish the restore.
You now have an blank (empty) iPod that can be sync'd to either/both Windows and Mac computers. Simply plug it in to either your Windows PC or Mac, and re-sync your songs, photos, and movies!