How To Use Your iPod As a Hard Drive

Using your iPod as a portable hard drive is a great way to carry around your important files and documents without carrying (and having to keep track of) another device.

Here’s the simple steps to make it happen (written for Mac users, but should also work for Windows users):

  1. Plug your iPod into your computer as you normally would.
  2. In iTunes, under Devices in the left hand column, click on your your iPod.
  3. In the large main screen of iTunes, click on the Summary tab.
  4. Under Options, click the box next to “Enable disk use” (this box should be checked).
  5. An information screen will pop up that says “Enabling the iPod for disk use requires manually ejecting the iPod before each disconnect, even when automatically syncing music.”
  6. Click OK, then Apply in the bottom right hand corner.
  7. Once your iPod is done updating this configuration setting, your iPod will appear on your desktop as a portable hard drive (or in Windows Explorer for Windows users).

Some handy tips:

  • The capacity gauge at the bottom of iTunes when your iPod is plugged in includes file storage you’re using on the iPod (under “Other”).
  • Make sure you eject the iPod from within iTunes or from the desktop before unplugging it from your computer.
  • It’s best to leave the folder structure on the iPod in tact and create your own folder structure for storing your files.
  • I’ve noticed that an iPod formatted for Windows works on both Windows and Mac as a portable hard drive (just don’t click “Okay” to reformatting your iPod when plugging into another system), but Windows won’t recognize an iPod formatted for the Mac.
  • When you plug your iPod into a system it doesn’t normally sync with, you will be asked if you want to sync the iPod with that system. You’ll want to Cancel this unless you want to lose everything on your iPod.