It's easy to load your music onto an iPod. It's that ease of use that made the little player the industry standard. But you're locked out if you want to transfer your music off your iPod. Wired News examines a half dozen software solutions that allow you to retrieve your goodies from your iPod.
There are a number of legitimate reasons you might need to transfer songs from your iPod to your hard drive. For instance, suppose your hard drive crashes, taking all of your MP3s with it? Back up my music you say? But isn't that what my iPod is for? Why should I back up my music twice? What if the capacity of your iPod is larger than your computer's hard drive and, as you load music onto your iPod, you delete it off your hard drive to conserve space?
Sure, you could put your iPod in "disk mode," enable hidden folders and rummage around the thing's hard drive while negotiating a maze of meaningless file names and cryptic folder structures. But who wants to do that?
Thankfully, Apple did leave a back door open. There are no hardware or firmware restrictions that stop you from transferring music off an iPod, and so a number of non-Apple, third-party developers have released tools to help you reclaim your iPod's contents.