My wife's Mac died. We sent the hard drive to a data recovery service, but the platters are damaged beyond repair or recovery, nor do we have a usable backup. Now she has a new Mac.

Her iPad 1 (iOS 5.1.1) still has important data on it, for example audio and video that she worked hard to create herself (as opposed to purchasing it from the iTunes store). In many cases the only remaining copies of this audio or video are trapped on this iPad.

My vague understanding is that if we were to connect the iPad to the new Mac, iTunes would permanently delete all of this data.

Is there any safe, foolproof, credible way to copy non-purchased audio and video from the iPad to the new Mac, without accidentally destroying it in the process?

It would be nice to get purchased music and apps back too, ideally without having to locate and pay for everything again, but the irreplaceable original content is the more immediate concern here.

Although I consider myself to be fairly tech-savvy in general and I've used a Mac for years, unfortunately I'm not at all familiar with the iPad or even with iTunes -- basically I have zero experience or knowledge of either of those things. We don't have access to another identical iPad to play with, and I'm extremely reluctant to experiment now and possibly destroy this important data.

2 Answers 2


Your personal, i.e. non-purchased, media can be copied from your iOS device using Macroplant's iExplorer.

If you could mount the iOS device's filesystem directly, you could find your media in Media/iTunes_Control/iTunes—if you had a Linux system handy, for example; I don't know of a way to do this directly on OS X. The files stored in that area are renamed seemingly randomly, but should be able to be imported into iTunes since their media tags should be intact.

  • iExplorer looks extremely promising! I will try to remember to report back about how that goes. The Linux suggestion is also potentially very helpful -- as it turns out I do have access to an Ubuntu box at work. Not sure what software would be needed to get the iPad to auto-mount like that, but I naively imagine Ubuntu might be able to do it out of the box, or the necessary bits might get installed as a prerequisite for some easy-to-find music-related software?
    – zaphod
    Apr 2, 2013 at 18:36
  • It should work out-of-the-box on Ubuntu, mounting directly in the file browser. I used to mount my iPhone that way. Don't try to use the music managers, though--unless things have changed very recently, they can't deal with modern iOS devices.
    – Mattie
    Apr 2, 2013 at 18:41

Hi you should try this iflash drive which allows transfer from ipad to mac via bluetooth https://itunes.apple.com/fr/artist/salecalc-software/id307563356

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