Purpose: In this post we will learn how to configure and transfer music to your Apple iPOD from Debian Linux. I am not a very big fan of music players in general but one of my friend gave it to me and I thought I would try to use it under Linux and see how it goes. Anyone can configure in Windows I guess but sometimes in Linux it get be a little intimidating for a novice user to get going with iPOD. So let’s get started.

Step 1: Connect iPOD to your computer

Once you connect (mostly through USB port) your iPOD to your computer running Linux, give type in the following command to see if your computer detected your iPOD or not.

# dmesg
[  709.756067] usb 1-1: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
[  709.889606] usb 1-1: configuration #1 chosen from 2 choices
[  709.904333] usb 1-1: New USB device found, idVendor=05ac, idProduct=1300
[  709.904340] usb 1-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[  709.904344] usb 1-1: Product: iPod
[  709.904346] usb 1-1: Manufacturer: Apple
[  709.904348] usb 1-1: SerialNumber: 000A27001097900E
[  710.048896] Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
[  710.063716] scsi4 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
[  710.070243] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
[  710.070249] USB Mass Storage support registered.
[  710.098399] usb-storage: device found at 3
[  710.098408] usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
[  715.096186] usb-storage: device scan complete
[  715.096770] scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access     Apple    iPod             2.70 PQ: 0 ANSI: 4
[  715.147355] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] 1015040 512-byte hardware sectors (520 MB)
[  715.149290] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[  715.149295] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 64 00 00 08
[  715.149298] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
[  715.162429] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] 1015040 512-byte hardware sectors (520 MB)
[  715.163178] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[  715.163184] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 64 00 00 08
[  715.163186] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
[  715.163193]  sdb: sdb1
[  715.165124] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk

You should see something like above towards the end of the output. As we can clearly see the Linux kernel has detected your iPOD as /dev/sdb.

Step 2: Install ipod utility

Now we will install some utilities which will let you extract more information from your iPOD device. First we will install a package called ipod.

# apt-get update
# apt-get install  ipod

Now give the following command:

# ipod
Listening for iPod-specific HAL events...

Most likely you will notice that nothing happens except you get the above message. You need to disconnect/reconnect iPOD before you can get the information out of these utilities. I guess it’s just the way the utility works. It has to be installed before you connect your iPOD. Now you should be able to get output similar to this:

** Message: Device Added: /org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/volume_label_KUSHAL_S_IP
Path Info
Device Path:      /dev/sdb1
Mount Point:      /media/usb0
Control Path:     /media/usb0/iPod_Control/
HAL ID:           /org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/volume_label_KUSHAL_S_IP
Device Info
Model Number:     9724
Device Model:     Shuffle
iPod Generation:  First (1)
Adv. Capacity:    512 MB
Is New:           YES
Writable:         YES
Serial Number:    4H610QMTRS9
Firmware Version: (null)
Manufacturer ID:  4H
Production Year:  2006
Production Week:  10
Production Index: 30833
Volume Info
Volume Size:      519669248
Volume Used:      517572096
Available         2097152
UUID:             (null)
Label             KUSHAL'S IP
User-Provided Info
Device Name:      (null)
User Name:        (null)
Host Name:        (null)

As you can see the above output tells us everything about your iPOD – Name, Model, Number, Size, Manufacturing info, etc. We will need some of the above information in our later steps.

There is also another utility called podsleuth which lets you do the same as “ipod” utility above. Here are some quick steps for getting it:

# apt-get install podsleuth
# podsleuth

Although in my case it did not give much information as it thought that it is not configured properly so I ended up using “ipod” instead.

Step 3: Install gtkpod

This is our main program that we will use to transfer music files to your iPOD.

# apt-get install gtkpod

After installing this utility you should be able an iPOD icon on your Desktop like this:

Apple IPOD Icon

Apple IPOD Icon

As you can see if you double-click the icon you can access the root partition of your iPOD device and you can see the libraries and other meta information in it.

Note: You simply cannot start copy pasting your MP3 music files in those folders and thinking that you will be able to hear songs from iPOD. We need to use a iPOD aware music program which can create appropriate database and other information.

Step 4: Launch the iPOD manager

Now we will launch the actual program which will enable us to transfer files to/from iPOD.

# gtkpod

Now a graphical application will launch and will ask you to select the appropriate model number of your Apple iPOD.

gtkpod

gtkpod

Also by default it will pick a model number (like 0x9724) for you which usually is the correct one (at least for mine it did). If it doesn’t pick the correct model then you can select from the list. If you are not sure what is the model number of your iPOD then refer to the following excerpt from the output in Step 2:

Device Info
Model Number:     9724
Device Model:     Shuffle
iPod Generation:  First (1)
Adv. Capacity:    512 MB

Step 5: Start transferring your music (mp3) files

Once you enter the correct model number, you can start transferring files to your iPOD just like you would do in Windows. the interface is very similar to other music manger programs.

That’s it.

Happy iPOD’ing!

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