How To Backup Your iPod Music on Linux

As an iPod owner and Linux user, there are a few options I have on Linux for managing my iPod music library. In my opinion, the best option available is gtkpod. One great option of gtkpod is the ability to backup your iPod music to your hard drive for free. The purpose of this guide is to explain a little about gtkpod and show you how to backup your iPod to your hard drive on Linux. I am using Ubuntu to back up my iPod music with gtkpod. gtkpod is available for any Linux distribution that is running gnome libraries and has X installed.

About gtkpod

gtkpod is a platform independent Graphical User Interface for Apple’s iPod using GTK2. It supports the first to fifth Generation including the iPod mini, iPod Photo, iPod Shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod Video.

What can gtkpod do?

  • Read your existing iTunesDB (i.e. import the existing contents of your iPod including playcounts, ratings and on-the-go playlists).
  • Add MP3, WAV, M4A (non-protected AAC), M4B (audio book), podcasts, and various video files (single files, directories or existing playlists) to the iPod. You need a third party product to download podcasts, like ‘bashpodder’ or ‘gpodder’
  • View, add and modify Cover Art
  • Browse the contents of your local harddisk by album/artist/genre by adding all your songs to the ‘local’ database. From there the tracks can be dragged over to the iPod/Shuffle easily.
  • Create and modify playlists, including smart playlists.
  • You can choose the charset the ID3 tags are encoded in from within gtkpod. The default is the charset currently used by your locale setting.
  • Extract tag information (artist, album, title…) from the filename if you supply a template.
  • Detect duplicates when adding songs (optional).
  • Remove and export tracks from your iPod.
  • Modify ID3 tags — changes are also updated in the original file (optional).
  • Refresh ID3 tags from file (if you have changed the tags in the original file).
  • Sync directories.
  • Normalize the volume of your tracks (uses mp3gain or the replay-gain tag)
  • Write the updated iTunesDB and added songs to your iPod.
  • Work offline and synchronize your new playlists / songs with the iPod at a later time.
  • Export your korganizer/kaddressbook/thunderbird/evocalendar/evolution/webcalendar… data to the iPod (scripts for other programs can be added).

Go here to download gtkpod directly. For installation instructions on Ubuntu, see below.

Installing and Configuring gtkpod on Ubuntu

# sudo apt-get install gtkpod

Next, open gtkpod by navigating to the Applications > Sound & Video menu and selecting gtkpod.

Select gtkpod from Gnome Menu


Now with gtkpod open, plug in your iPod via USB to your computer and power on the iPod. gtkpod should load your iPod automatically.

Screenshot of gtkpod main screen

Next, select what tracks you would like to back up to your computer by highlighting the tracks.

Once you have selected the tracks (note: you can select All then highlight all of your music if you want to back up your entire iPod) select File > Export Tracks From Database > Selected Tracks

gtkpod Export tracks from database

You then will be prompted to select where you would like to save the tracks. Choose a directory and click Save.

Now sit back and let gtkpod back up your iPod music.

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