Restore iTunes Library from Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Sparced, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Sparced macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2007
    Liverpool, UK
    I lost a couple of GB's of data today since I haven't backed up for a few weeks.

    Theres one film thats still stored on my Apple TV that was synced from iTunes before the external hard drive failed.

    Is there any way I can get it back on to my iMac? :(

    I know its possible with iPods but of course it would be much more work in this case.
  2. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    you have to patch it, enable ssh access and then you will be able to copy back to your mac.

    PM me for more info.
  3. nittany macrumors member

    May 21, 2008
    Can't you just sync your :apple:TV with whatever machine is running the associated copy of iTunes?

    I've always thought that the sync feature of iTunes / :apple:TV was designed to make sure that whatever is on one machine ends up on both machines. Seems to me that if you've got something on the :apple:TV that's not present in iTunes, then after syncing, iTunes will have the content that's now only present on your :apple:TV. If it didn't work this way, then how would people who purchase movies, music, etc. from iTunes directly from their :apple:TVs ever be able to get the content off their :apple:TVs and onto their notebooks, desktops, etc.?

    Before doing anything, confirm with someone in the know that the above will actually work. I'd hate for the process to delete what little content you didn't already lose.
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Nope: it's a one-way direction (iTunes to ATV). If the files are tagged, then you can ssh (a pain) or just pull the drive (easy as pie) and connect via a USB or FW to PATA enclosure or adapter, then drag and drop the media files back into iTunes (or copy to your hard drive). If they're not tagged...well, you're SOL.
  5. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    CaveMan, it seems we belong to different groups - while you say, patching is a pain, I would strongly recommend not to open the ATV and void the guarantee. Whereas you seem to be the hadware guy, I am more the software guy...
    Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages, and the user has to decide in the end.
  6. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    afaik caveman never said he *had* to pull the drive, he offered both options. Who knows if the atv is even still under warranty (mine isn't) . As to which is "easier" many people are less likely to brick their atv using a simple torx screwdriver than running commands in terminal. But I do agree the OP two routes to the same end.
  7. nittany macrumors member

    May 21, 2008
    So if I purchased a movie from the iTunes store directly from the :apple:TV, you're saying that with a standard Take-2 :apple:TV I couldn't then get the movie to be resident on (for example) the computer the :apple:TV is paired with by syncing?

    This doesn't seem to make any sense - especially when I might want to also put the movie on (also for example) an iPhone, iTouch or some other Apple product. Can you provide a link to something that describes the limitation?

    Thanks in advance.
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    That's different than what the OP's asking. OP wants to recover files he's sync'd to the ATV, not purchased from iTMS. As I understand it (I've never bought content from the ATV, only from my iTunes), if you buy something from iTMS from your ATV, then your sync computer will transfer it from the ATV to the computer. But content you have in your iTunes library cannot be recovered from the ATV drive without ssh'ing to the drive or pulling it and mounting it on your computer.
  9. nittany macrumors member

    May 21, 2008
    I realized his situation was as such, but never would have thought the sync process would work as you've described. Wow! That seems like a major flaw. Why would a sync program care which machine made the purchase? It should just stick to its knitting and get on with the business of syncing two machines. Bi-directionally, not uni-directionally depending on other variables like original purchase.
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Most people's content is not purchased from Apple, most is ripped from their (presumably) personal collection of DVDs. You cannot rip using the ATV, only a computer. If you buy something through your ATV from the iTMS, then it should sync back to your computer every time.
  11. nittany macrumors member

    May 21, 2008
    I don't want to beat this into the ground, but I do want to understand how this is all supposed to work.

    Are you saying that: ????

    1) For content purchased from iTMS from an ATV, that after syncing with its paired iTunes client, the content will be resident on both the ATV and iTunes? {I would certainly hope so, but just checking}

    2) For content purchased from iTMS from an iTunes client, that after syncing to an ATV, such content cannot be synced back to the iTunes client if the original file has been deleted? {I believe this to be the case posted by the originator of this thread.}

    3) For non-iTMS content resident on an iTunes client, that after syncing the ATV-supported content to an ATV, such content cannot be synced back to the iTunes client if the original file has been deleted?

    4) For content resident on an ATV that was (for example) put there via SSH or direct copy to its drive, that such content will not sync back to the paired iTunes client?
  12. Ronnie70 macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
    Restore my music lib from Apple TV

    I was able to restore my iTunes Music library from the Apple TV.
    I use an external USB hard disk connected with my Apple TV (and ATV-Flash software) to have more disk space. All music files are on this external disk.

    My iTunes library, with which this Apple TV was syncing, was stored on a Time Capsule. Not a good idea, because I got the dreaded "Disk Needs Repair" error from the Time Capsule. I also had no backup of this iTunes library (bad idea no. 2), because I assumed that the Apple TV contained an exact copy of my library.

    Well, it turns out it does, although it is stored a bit differently. Instead of storing it with the Artist's name, Album name, Song name structure (e.g. /Deep Purple/In Rock/Child In Time.m4a), it uses something different, like /Media Files/F01/T87YH4.m4a.

    What I did was connecting the external hard disk to my Macbook. In iTunes I then created a new library and by using File -> Add to Library, I selected the Media Files directory on the external hard drive of my Apple TV and it imported everything, with the correct Artist name, Album name, etc. It also seems to still contain everything I added, like Grouping and Comments, Cover Art etc.

    If you don't have an external hard disk connected to your Apple TV, I suggest you do and buy ATVFlash. It will add some cool features to your Apple TV and a lot more storage space. When connecting the external drive for the first time, all the Apple TV data that was on the internal drive is first copied to the external one. After this you can disconnect it and do the iTunes library restore as explained above.

    Maybe this was obvious to others, maybe not. Just thought I'd share it with you. Maybe it can help you out when you are tearing your hair out because you lost 200 GB of music...
  13. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Yes. I think what usually happens is ATV tells your computer what it has purchased and then your computer will download that purchase from the iTunes Store...although I have also seen a movie/show file being transferred from the ATV to the computer before during sync. I don't know the reasoning behind why each file showed up on the host computer differently.

    Correct...AppleTV bases what resides on it by what resides on the host computer.

    Correct...for the same reason as above. AppleTV is not designed as a back-up or storage device, it just mirrors what's on the host computer with the only exception being in the case of ATV purchases.

    Correct...although I can't imagine anyone doing this (although I bet we will hear from someone who has :) )

    I avoid all this by only syncing my content...nothing resides on my AppleTV drive except for ATV purchases.
  14. sarahdvm macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2010
    Items purchased form iTunes on the ATV

    Sorry to beat a dead horse all, but I can't seem to get the shows I bought on the ATV off of it. My ATV memory is now full and I have no back up! This seems crazy... It used to sync straight to my time machine. Any help would be awesome!
  15. the3rdParty macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2010

    Hmmm. I just lost 200gb of media due to a power fluctuation that killed off my external storage (& back up...). The solution above sounds v interesting for recovery of (at least) synced items - simply copying media off the aTV is hopeless due to the way in which it is re-named & stored during the sync process.

    However if iTunes can decipher the aTV's storage system automatically, then there may be light at the end of the tunnel. My synced media is on the aTV's updated internal HD and from the above I think I will be able to mount it via the finder/ftp (i have atvflash installed) and simply create a new media library on a local disk via iTunes.

    Fingers crossed
  16. PapaSteve macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2010
    Sorry guys, but my hard drive crashed within a few months of buying my iMac and I lost everything...The only thing I have is my music sync'd to my Apple TV. Ive been trying my best to research on a way to restore the file to iTunes...but Im not really that knowledgeable on most of what I come apon. Can anyone help me out,...with maybe a step by step instructions?

    I would really appreciate it...thank you.
  17. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    you have to patch it, enable ssh access and then you will be able to copy back to your mac.

    PM or email me for more info.
  18. the3rdParty macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2010
    PapaSteve, I have just managed to do exactly what you need to do. Steps I followed were:
    1. Open an SFTP (ssh) link from my mac to my aTV using Transmit. I already had ATVFLASH installed on the aTV which lets you make FTP and SFTP connections
    2. Navigate to the folder /mnt/Media on the aTV. This folder contains all your synced media in the subfolder 'Media Files' but renamed and re-organised in a way that only the aTV understands.
    3. Copy entire contents of /mnt/Media to a separate hard drive (took ages)
    4. Open itunes on my mac, set a new location for my itunes media folder (preferences, advanced). I chose a new folder on my internal HD. Make sure that the option to copy files to itunes media folder is ticked.
    5. In itunes populate the library by going file/add to library and then pointing at the folder /mnt/Media/Media Files in the copy you made under 3 above.
    6. Wait......

    Itunes managed to copy all my media back to the new library, and reorganise & rename the files as they had been on the original set up. Under itunes the music comes up as before, including comments, artwork etc. The films were not all correctly re-named and although they appear in the correct place under movies in itunes, about one third still have odd the odd names given by the atv's sync process (such as DKYG.m4v).

    I could not mount my aTV as an external drive via FTP and still get access to the root directory (necessary in order to get at /mnt/Media) - an FTP mount always started at /mnt/Scratch/Users/frontrow which was not in the correct part of the file structure to be able to get at the Media folder. If I had been able to work out how to get the aTV to mount via FTP at the root level I think that it would have been possible to skip step 3 above and simply re-create a local copy of the library under itunes as in steps 4-5 but indicating the files on the aTV as source rather than the copy made under step 3.

    Whatever the case it is definitely possible to get back synced media, though patience and disk space is necessary.

  19. jfoerch macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2010
    Holland, MI
    Is there any reason these steps won't work on a PC running Windows XP?

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