Basic question about using iPod as a USB 'mass storage device'

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by sandman42, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. sandman42 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    I'm thinking about getting a new iPod, and the thing that _was_ clinching it for me is that, in addition to its primary function (music, of which I only have about 5Gb on my computer), I can use the remainder of the memory to back up the data on my iBook (w/ only 18Gb HD).

    But the thing that's suddenly REALLY appealing to me is the possibility that I can use it to transport large-ish files (more than one CD's worth, say ~2-3Gb) between home and my work computer. At work they make me use a PC w/USB only (no firewire), but it accepts devices that conform to the USB 'mass storage device' standard. Will the iPod work this way? I mean, should I expect to be able to plug it into my work PC with the USB cable and have it show up as a 'drive' on my desktop?
  2. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    Good and Bad news

    USB 1 or 2? That will make a huge difference.

    The iPod is supported by Apple for one platform at a time only. So, technically you cannot use it as you wish officially.

    That said, as long as I am not syncing music between the two and only data, a Mac will read a PC formatted iPod just fine. A PC cannot read a Mac formatted iPod.

    Since you have the iPod on the Mac with music from the Mac, I do not see how this can be done. Like I said a Mac can read the PC format but not vice versa, however Mac iTunes won't play nice with a PC formatted drive.

    So, you can use it as a data storage device but not MP3 device.

    Maybe invest in a 512 meg USB Flash disk. I use those and for simple files it works great. For typical Office docs a 256 should do you well, and works out of the box with both systems.
  3. sandman42 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    Dang, that's bad news. It woulda been pretty slick -- I record TV to my iBook a lot using EyeTV, but it creates files that are too big to transport via CD or CD-RW (plus that's a little bit of a tedious process). If I could just save them to the iPod, then just plug it in at work and have those files available, I could be watching the Tour de France in a little window while I work.

    Unfortunately, because the files are too big for a CD, they're also too big for a 512Mb card or equivalent -- they're often too big even for a 1Gb microdrive. I have a 256Mb card and card reader, and that works fine for transporting files that will fit, but it's only good for about 25 minutes of TV so it doesn't really work for that.

    Thanks for the info, although you've spoiled my justification for finally springing for an iPod!
  4. sandman42 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    ...might work after all?

    Sorry I asked the question before I saw this thread, but now I wonder if I could use the iPod as I want if I had the Macdrive software installed on my work PC?

    In other words, what I want to do is:

    - Buy an iPod and format it for Mac

    - Sync it with iTunes on my iBook, but also store files on the space left over

    - Use 'macdrive' ( to read the files on my PC at work

    Anyone have any experience with using Macdrive to read files from a Mac-formatted iPod?
  5. Ilikemacs macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2004
    I've run into a problem with transferring large amounts of data using an iPod. I have a 3rd gen. 20 gig iPod that will not read certain characters, one being a question mark, others I'm not sure about. So unless there are none of these characters in the file names I can't copy the files. This may not be a problem with the updated iPods, it also may be solveable.
  6. PHARAOHk macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2003
    Couldn't you partition the iPod drive and choose windows format on one of the partitions for cross platform file transfers?
  7. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    MediaPlay - third party software solutions

    If your compnay isn't too strict about it, you can install a third party solution that lets Windows machines mount Mac hard drives.

    I use their flagship Macdrive, but MediPlay has a program XPlay just to let Mac formatted iPods be seamlessly read by Windows boxes. I think it's about $30 (MacDrive is $50 and well worth it).

    oops... forgot the link

Share This Page