Using your iPod as a Storage Device

How to use the iPod as a storage device

If you've ever had to move large files between computers, you know it's convenient to have an external storage device that can do the job. An external storage device is anything that can load up files and be transported to another computer. This is much faster than having to download files from email attachments or even send files across a network. If you've ever considered buying an external storage device that's more portable than a CD-R (you don't always have a writer handy), and has a much higher capacity than a floppy, look no further than your iPod. The iPod is a very fast external storage device. It can be identified (mounted) on your PC as a drive letter, turning it into a portable disc or a USB Flash Drive, if you have a solid state iPod shuffle.

The trick to turning your iPod into an external storage device lies in taking it out of the default settings. By default, iTunes kicks on as soon as you connect your iPod to a USB port; however, it won't see your iPod as a storage device. This can be easily accomplished following these simple steps.

Turn the iPod into a drive

  • Connect your iPod to the computer using either USB or FireWire
  • If you've kept the default settings, iTunes will now automatically open, if not open iTunes
  • If you're using iTunes for Windows, go to the Edit drop down menu and select Preferences
  • If you're Mac, go to the iTunes menu and select Preferences
  • On Windows go to the iPod tab. On Mac, it's the iPod button
  • Select the Music tab or button under your iPod listing
iPod Configuration

In this dialogue box the "Enable disk use" checkbox must be checked as shown. If you select the radial button "manually manage songs and playlists," it'll have the same effect. Selecting manual will cause the "Enable disk use" checkbox to grey-out so you cannot access it. This is because it's an automatic option of going manual.

As a storage device the iPod is reasonably fast. Data uploaded to your iPod as a file cannot be played back as media on the iPod. That means you can transfer music to the iPod as a drive, but it won't playback on the iPod. However, this is one way that your iPod will let you transfer music files back to your computer. Apple has this feature locked up, so you cannot do it through iTunes. For more details on transferring music back to your computer from the iPod check Move Music to Your Computer.