A kid down the road asked me to update his iPod Touch from IOS v3.1.3 to v4.2.1.

I was doing this on my Windows 7 with itunes. This was a fresh install of itunes. I connected the device and the first thing i did was right click & back up. It took a while because he had filled all 7Gb of the device. Sure enough, I could tell that the music was now listed in my itunes library.

Then i started the update (which decided to do its own back up again, which seemed identical to the previous because of how long it took). The new IOS downloaded and installed and lastly it said it was restoring the apps and music. That restore process was quite quick and to my horror, ended up with almost 7Gb free. So the music and apps were gone! I look in the itunes library and the music is all gone too.

These apps and music were not purchased content (AFAIK). In particular i think the apps were free ones (little games), but all these apps will need to be re-downloaded. Plus save game files may be gone.

I do not know if the device was jail broken or anything. I am not an Apple Pro.

What went wrong?


I also tried to do a restore and there was a drop down list. In that list was:

<Name's> backup 20/Nov/2011 5:20pm <-- correct time of my backup
<Name's> backup

I did the restore using the 1st backup. However, the data did not restore and version of iOS remained at 4.2.1

3 Answers 3


An iOS device's backup typically contains just applications' settings & data. So, if you have just made a backup without saving app or music, you've lost everything. Sorry :'(

  • I dont know why you were Neg'ed. As i believe you are correct.
    – Valamas
    Nov 20, 2011 at 23:34

Was this iPod ever synched with your computer? If not, then your iTunes tought this was a new iPod you acquired and erased the contents to put yours instead.

As for apps, they can be redownloaded from the app store. But as for music, unless they were bought from the iTunes Store, they need to be redownloaded onto it.

I know all this looked like it should not have happened, and this is why iCloud exists: to liberate iOS devices from having to be linked to a computer to get any content whatsoever.

Do you see anything on the iPod main screen? Does it look like a fresh new install?

  • I only right clicked and did backup. Do you think that non-syncing was the issue? It looks like a fresh install.
    – Valamas
    Nov 20, 2011 at 22:06
  • Yes, not synching the iPod properly with the computer it was attached to or not doing a "special" sync with a new computer before erased everything on the iPod, sorry.
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2011 at 0:04
  • But all the thngs that were bought on the iTunes Store and App Store should in theory be re-downloadable. Just log in with the Apple ID the iPod's owner was using and see what appears in the Update section of the App Store. There should be a "bought items" section from which apps can be reinstalled. But as for personal data like game saves and prefs, all that is gone, sorry.
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2011 at 0:08
  • What model is this iPod? Perhaps you could upgrade it to iOS 5 right now and redownload everything then, since it's completely erased anyways. if you go to this address: support.apple.com/specs/# and enter the iPod's serial number right after the #, you will get the specs for this model. If it says it's a 3rd or 4th Gen iPod touch it can be upgraded to iOS 5, otherwise it can't.
    – Fred
    Nov 21, 2011 at 0:11

Sometimes iTunes thinks that the iPod is yours but has stuff on it but it was synced with a different computer and a different iTunes so iTunes needed to format it.

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