What's all this about iTunes erasing iPods?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by stevento, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. stevento macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2006
    Los Angeles
    What is this about iTunes wiping iPods clear?
    I have heard that iTunes would just wipe out an entire collection on an iPod. I have used many people computers to put music on my nanos, never once have I had anything erased.
    This scares me.
  2. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    If you have automatic sync selected, it syncs to the computer connected. If this isn't the computer that the iPod was filled from originally, data is erased, to be replace by the iTunes library of the second computer.

    Hope thats what you're looking for.
  3. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    psychofreak is correct.

    It's not like it will just randomly happen to people. For this to happen, you must do four things:

    1. Turn iPod/iTunes syncing to manual.
    2. Put music on your iPod by dragging and dropping from iTunes into the iPod.
    3. NOT have that music in your iTunes library (e.g. delete it from your hard drive).
    4. Turn iPod syncing back to automatic.

    iTunes is just dutifully following directions, wiping whatever's on your iPod so it equals the state of your iTunes library.

    That said, this happened to me shortly after I finished ripping ALL of my CD's to my first iPod (and removed the mp3's from my iTunes library to save hard disk space). I turned on automatic syncing by accident. Poof! All my songs disappeared. I was so mad, I stopped using the iPod, and sold it a few months later.

    I maintain that iTunes should have a "warning, are you sure?" dialog when you turn on automatic syncing on an iPod that's not empty.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    The iPod is just an extension of your computer. It just reflects what is on your computer. Connect an 80 GB iPod to a Macintosh with tons of music in iTunes, the music gets copied to the iPod. Connect it to another Mac, that music is removed and the music of the other Mac copied. Connect it to a third Mac with nothing in iTunes, everything is erased. Connect it back to the first Mac, all the music is back.

    And as you probably have been told about a few hundred times, make backups. iTunes->Preferences->Advanced->Burning->Data CD, then burn your whole library, preferably on DVDs. If anything goes wrong, import from those DVDs again.
  5. ps56k macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2005
    I know about the sync concern - manual vs auto -
    and how it relates to re-establishing the ipod music.

    How about this situation....
    A neighbor called, as their kid has a new shuffle,
    but their kid's computer is not on the Internet.

    So, we dragged our laptop over,
    and was showing them itunes.
    I downloaded the latest version to CDrom
    for the kid's computer...(no internet connection)
    BUT - told them that anything rip'd would not
    have the CDDB info - it would all be blank.
    Anyway - back to the story -
    I was about to load their shuffle with a couple of titles
    when my son "warned" me that he "heard"
    that the latest versions of itunes would "lock"
    a computer to an ipod.....
    and if I used my laptop to copy to their shuffle,
    then they would not be able to load from their desktop ?

    Anybody experienced anything like this ?
    or more of a convuluted tale of the sync'ing problem.

    tnx - and WOW - is that shuffle small.
    neighbor's kid should loose it in about a week :)
  6. tdhurst macrumors 68040


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    First of all, you can't turn on automatic syncing by "accident", you just weren't paying any attention to what you were doing.

    As for having that warning...oh hell no. That type of warning is definitely a Windows thing and annoys 99% of the users.
  7. Quboid macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2006
    I hate that feature. Damn who ever was inspired to allow this auto-sync ipod erasing function:mad:
  8. DaveP macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2005
    Ok, here's a question regarding this issue that I haven't researched enough to find the answer yet, but perhaps someone has a quick answer. My old HD died and I installed a new one. My iPod was set to automatically sync. If I plug in my iPod to my computer with the new drive do all my songs get wiped? If it makes any difference, I of course had to do a fresh OS X install.

    Thanks in advance for any insight.
  9. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Yes, if your iTunes is set to sync automatically.
  10. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I will choose not to take your comments as a veiled insult. I certainly was paying attention to what I was doing, I just didn't expect the results that followed. The specific dialog in question offers three settings: "Automatically update all songs and playlists", "Manually manage songs and playlists", and "Automatically update selected playlists only:" (with a list of playlists to checkbox).

    I had it set to manual. Then I decided it might be nice if I could manually manage the songs, but have playlists update -- for example, I would really have liked to have the "Top 25" playlist update itself (which it doesn't do in the manual setting). So I revisited those three options.

    When I choose "Automatically update selected playlists only", and select exactly one playlist (Top 25 Most Played), and click "OK", the one thing I do NOT expect iTunes to do is delete all the songs from my iPod. There was no warning, no confirmation, no bubble help or tooltips, the only thing that gave me a sinking feeling was the sudden flurry of hard disk activity on my iPod, which soon became empty.

    You imply that confirmation dialogs are a Windows-ism. But, name me one other place in the Mac experience where the default action is to let you destroy that much data in a single click, with no possibility of undo, and no confirmation. The Finder warns when you empty the trash. So do iMovie and iPhoto. iSync gives you a chance to review mass changes before you apply them.

    Whether or not the sync-songs-when-I-only-told-you-to-sync-playlists thing was a feature or a bug, a simple "Are you sure?" would have made it abundantly clear that this feature did not do what I thought it would, and would have saved me a big headache. You claim it would be annoying, but I see it as a safety net, and certainly consistent with the Mac experience.
  11. kea30 macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2007
    This all seems contradictory to information I got in another thread posted yesterday, where people said that a new mac, even if I have entered my apple username and password in the set up wizard, will first ask whether I want my ipod to be associated with it, before wiping. Is this not the case?? To recap I have a new 80gb ipod vid and was using it with my work mac, had my itunes library established and all on ipod, had it set to automatic synch, and then that computer died and I've bought my own macbook and want to get the songs from my ipod on to new computer. People offer advice about using senuti which sounds great but how does it prevent itunes from opening up and it wiping it if that is what happens??
  12. tdhurst macrumors 68040


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    You're right, it DOES ask you a few times before it wipes them out. It's the people who don't bother with reading the warning windows who wipe their stuff out.
    It's NOT immediate and NOT automatic.
  13. kea30 macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2007
  14. gojeff1953 macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2007

    we just bought my step daughter a apple ipod for christmas and after downloading quite a few songs on it a few days later all the songs were gone and the ipod was wiped clean...how does this happen and how can you get them back without buying another itune card.
  15. mooncaine macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2004
    Almost correct. For it to happen to you, you only need to do one thing:

    1. Plug your iPod into someone else's Mac, someone who set his iTunes to automatically sync his iPod.
    2. Smack your forehead or just cry, because your music collection is gone, mate.

    I agree that it should warn you first [with a check box so you can tell it to stop warning you], but I add that the warning should ALWAYS appear when a new iPod, that's never been connected to this computer before, mounts.

    Apple prefers it as it works today, of course. In their opinion, it serves you right for having the nerve to even try connecting your iPod to someone else's computer so you could steal some music from the poor, shivering and starving record company excecutives who are driven to such poverty that they are reduced to burning only $20 bills to keep warm. The Benjamins used to keep the manor house so much warmer .... Yeah, them poor old bosses need all the help they can get.

  16. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    I don't think that's true at all. I routinely hook up 4-6 foreign iPods to my PB everyweek, and they have never been erased.

    They DID have some issues if their iTunes was 6 and mine was 7, but never erased. Every single time iTunes asks if it should sync with the new computer. I say no (or cancel, I believe) and go from there.

    Is setting iTunes to automatically sync a setting of the software or of the iPod?
  17. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    There's one huge use case where this behaviour falls on its ass. When travelling, it's a lot easier to charge your iPod by plugging it into the USB or Firewire port of other people's computers, rather than trying to plug it into an outlet and buying power adapters wherever you go. In this case, the intent is not to steal music, but just to recharge the battery. And worst of all, you're typically a thousand miles away from your home computer's copy of your music collection, when your iPod has been inadvertantly erased.
  18. Cinematographer macrumors 6502a


    Sep 12, 2005
    far away
    Well, you could connect the iPod to the computer where you bought the songs. Start iTunes and copy the songs from the iTunes library to the iPod.

    I hope you didn't erase the songs on the computer, because that wouldn't have been a very good idea. :eek:
  19. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    If you did, note that Apple makes it very clear that iTunes on your computer is the main place these should be kept and now offers you many ways to back up any purchased files within iTunes, so the excuses to lose a purchsed tune are limited.

    That said, it has been reported that Apple will often let you redownload content ONCE if you were unfortunate enough not to have backed them up.

  20. erlebach macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2007
    Setting automatic iSync (or not)

    I have read the entire thread, and there is a lot of confusing information. I have not found a way to select iTunes to sync or not the iPod WITHOUT first hooking the iPod up.

    I have two macs at home and wish to transfer music back and forth from my iPod. Computer A should sync automatically. Computer B should not. I start by setting computer B to not sync. Then I set up Computer A to sync. I load some music. I disconnect the iPod, go to computer B. Guess what? Computer B has changed to sync automatically.

    That is not the behavior I want.

  21. tdhurst macrumors 68040


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    That's because the syncing functions you're trying to change reside within the iPod, not iTunes. Each iPod can be set to manual or auto-sync, not iTunes itself.

    You can't have it auto sync to say, your computer and have it manually sync when you "borrow" music from your friends.

    And I really don't feel sorry for you if you can't figure out how to get multiple people's music collections on your iPod. Pretty sure that's not right.

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