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Copy/Transfer Music without iTunes – Part 1

January 16, 2010

I have a MacBook Pro at home and a PC in the office. Never as a fan of iTunes, I didn’t use iTunes until now I got an iPod Touch and felt reluctant to install it in my PC (since the MacBook Pro already has). Therefore, I started to look for a solution to replace iTunes for copying/transferring music or video to iPod Touch (or iPhone) for PC.

There are many solutions using free or paid apps. I did some researches and tryouts. Below is my test result (for Windows OS).

Requirement – Method I:

  1. copy Apple device USB driver “USBAAPL.SYS” to Windows\System32\drivers
  2. install Apple Mobile Device Support for Windows

I followed the instruction here, where you can find the USB driver, but made some adjustment since it didn’t work on my PC for 2.

For 2, if you never use any Apple mobile device before nor install iTunes, it’s likely that you don’t have this service on the computer. To get it,

  • Download iTunesSetup.exe, and use 7-zip to open the archive (just right click at the file and choose 7-zip/Open archive).

  • Extract AppleMobileDeviceSupport.msi to elsewhere and run the installation.

(Note that installing iTunes and removing it would remove the USB driver)

Then you can install any software that lets you transfer music from you computer to iPod Touch or iPhone. For example, check this list here.

To see whether this method works on your computer, download Sharepod and unzip the software elsewhere (it doesn’t need installation). Plug your device to the computer’s USB port. If everything works fine, Sharepod will recognize your device.

Method I works on my MSI U100+ notebook. [Update on 03/09/2010: Method I also works on my new Windows 7 system. Just download iTunes64Setup.exe, and then extract and install AppleMobileDeviceSupport64.msi.]

However, for some unknown reason, does not work on my office computer (about 3-4 years old; not sure that this is the reason). 😦 If you also have the same problem, then your only solution is to install iTunes without the bloated stuffs. See below.

Requirement – Method II:

The minimum installation is

  • AppleApplicationSupport.msi
  • AppleMobileDeviceSupport.msi
  • iTunes.msi

if you have QuickTime Alternative installed (the latest one) or QT Lite (without Media Player Classic).

Extract them and run the component installation individually. If there are errors, open a command prompt (Windows key + R and type “cmd”) and run the installer with a passive switch. eg:

C:\> iTunes.msi /passive

Or, the easy way is to get the switchless installation from MSFN forum.

My experience:

I first tried Method I but it didn’t work on my PC, so I gave up and installed the slim-version iTunes (Method II).

Then I tried Method I on my MSI notebook and it worked like a charm. So, I came back to my computer and tried Method I again (note: uninstallation will remove USBAAPL.SYS after reboot so you need to save this drive elsewhere). Still failed! 😡 Don’t know why. 😕

The software I used to copy and manage music in iPod Touch is foobar2000 + iPod manager. Since I already use foobar2000 to manager my music library (mostly in flac + cue) in my computer, it is naturally to use iPod manager. It is really handy for foobar users. 🙂

Check the documentation & FAQ first. If you have question to ask, post it in this discussion thread (already 100+ pages! 😯 ).

You can also install iPhone Explorer to copy or transfer files to/from iPod Touch or iPhone. For instance, I use it to transfer ebooks for Stanza or copy screenshots (in “Saved photos”) to my computer. Pretty handy too.

However, I still don’t know how to copy photo albums to iPod Touch without iTunes so that Phones app can recognize them. 😕 Some paid softwares can let you do so but I want a free way. 😛 Well, That will be the project for Part II.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2011 12:53 am

    How about if I am using Vista in my notebook, is there any alternative to copy music from iPod to pc without iTunes? I had used free trial version of iPodRip to transfer my files; as of now I’m satisfied since I’ve done it well. I think there a lot more applications out there; I just wonder which is best.

  2. June 5, 2011 4:42 am

    You can try iPhone Explorer.

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