My MacBook was stolen a couple of weeks ago...along with my iPad, ThinkPad, wallet, and all I hold dear (besides my wife, thankfully). Also stolen was my 2TB backup hard drive...yeah they got ya boy good huh?

Anyway, I got a new MacBook, and on my iPhone is all (most of) my media. Not all of it was purchased in iTunes, so I can't download it from the store. I can SSH into the phone, or use iPhone Explorer to steal my files back....from myself.

Here are my issues:

Music - easy. Copy from device, then import to iTunes. The funky file names don't mean anything since the iGods speak ID3.

Also, when I DID hit "Transfer Purchases" in iTunes, it put all my purchases on my MacBook, but now they won't show up on my iPhone. They're still there though. I can tell because the space is being used (feels kinda like "I know you're there; I can hear you breathing, fool...")

Pics - They're all in weird folders (F00, F01...Fxx). Importing to iPhoto doesn't organize them as nicely as iTunes does music. Does anyone know of a script that will put them all in one root folder? Then I could go from there. I'd rather not navigate through hundreds of folders, or have hundreds of unorganized iPhoto events.

Contacts - This is probably the easiest one, I admittedly just haven't researched how to reverse sync contacts. Seems possible, since they sync contacts in the Apple Store without attaching their computer to your newly-purchased iDevice. ::Alt+Tabs to iTunes:: Yeah, I actually just figured this one out. Checked "Sync Address Book Contacts" duh, Thomas. I've actually never seen the "Merge Info" option before. Maybe because I've never had my syncing computer stolen before.

Anyway, thanks for partaking in my ramblings. Any suggestions for my actual issues would be greatly appreciated.


  • 2
    You have three distinct issues here that need to be separated into different questions as the answers will vary for each. Jul 7, 2011 at 0:28

3 Answers 3


I am so sorry seeing your two questions about stolen data and property. Ugh.

I would recommend PhoneView to get the songs back (as well as all sorts of other structured data) - the free download works for a limited number of songs, contacts, etc... You pay to unlock the entire iPhone's worth of data once you are sure it's what you want for the job.

I have had good luck getting pictures, contacts and songs off an iPhone that iTunes insisted was corrupt and needed a restore. The OS on the phone needed a restore, but my data was luckily still fine and salvageable.

Lastly, you didn't ask, but I also really like CrashPlan which also has a free trial period for off-site backup of your data.

  • 2
    +1 for PhoneView, I've had the same happen to a client and that saved them some grief. For future reference I would suggest synching your contacts and things with an online service such as google. There are quite a few cloud services that also provide free storage, such as Dropbox, spideroak, jungledisk and more. Jul 6, 2011 at 22:40
  • 2
    I like PhoneView. Am a paid user.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 7, 2011 at 15:10
  • I forgot to mention that the photos that are stored in the F00 directories and organized in a database file are not the original pictures, but down-sampled versions. Getting them back is better than nothing, but don't be surprised when they all are JPEG and reduced quality/size for smaller storage and faster syncing to the iOS device.
    – bmike
    Jul 7, 2011 at 15:51

What I use to copy music off iPods is DeTune – freeware. Works really well!

For the photos... copy all the Fxx folders to a folder on your hard drive, and spotlight for "all photos in this directory".
Spotlight searches recursively, so it will list all your photos. Then, you can drag them to yet another new folder (so they're all in one folder, obviously), and import them to iPhoto from there. After that, you can delete the two temporary folders.
Won't restore your events, though.

  • Perfect! Dunno why I didn't think of this. Thanks!
    – Thomas
    Jul 11, 2011 at 0:35

You may not have a machine with this OS, but Windows Photo Import Wizard on Windows XP may be able to get your photos back.

  • Yep. I still have my Windows desktop as well. Thanks!
    – Thomas
    Jul 11, 2011 at 0:35

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