Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an iPod Nano 4G and it is slowly dying on me. I would thus like to make a backup of its user data contents (so as to drop them later on onto a SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip).

Can I do it from within Ubuntu?

share|improve this question
If I remember correctly, the iPods store mp3 files which are completely jumbled but have intact ID3 tags, which is all that really matters. Can you mount it? Do you get any useful output if you run something like find /media/ipod | grep mp3? – pzkpfw Feb 25 '14 at 15:10
It seems that gtkpod allows an easy way to do this, keeping intact the filenames (or re-recreating them). See posted answer. – landroni Feb 26 '14 at 9:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Following this rather outdated guide: How To Backup Your iPod Music on Linux, I used gtkpod 2.1.1 in Ubuntu 12.04 to export all the music files from the iPod to a backup folder.

I had to:

  • Connect the iPod USB cable
  • Mount the iPod device in Thunar (using its left pane)
  • Open gtkpod, then select the iPod, then right-click in the Playlist Tracks pane, then Select All
  • Either Tools > Export Tracks > To Filesystem or right-click > Copy > To Filesystem
  • Choose an Export Destination Directory, hit Save
  • Sit back and relax while the backup is being completed

You can check if all went well by looking at the number of files in the destination dir and the size of the files contained as displayed in the Thunar status bar, and cross-checking this with View > Repository information in gtkpod. I had a discrepancy of 11 items (1599 on the iPod vs 1588 in the backup dir) but, oh well, maybe there were some duplicates lying around.

See also:

share|improve this answer
Thanks for posting an answer. – pzkpfw Feb 26 '14 at 9:38

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.