iTunes syncing questions answered here. Reformatting your computer? Switching computers? Worried that iTunes might erase important data? This is what will be saved, what won't, how to backup and trasfer your iTunes media, and how to save and transfer your iPhone/iPod backup file. I find myself answering questions such as these about every day here, so I figured why not try to consolidate everything into one post? Will iTunes import ______ from my iPhone/iPod? Contacts: Yes (only on the first sync... see Step 5 for details) Music: NO Videos: NO Pictures: NO Bookmarks: NO Apps: NO App data: NO Email: NO So you can see why it is important to BACK UP YOUR DATA REGULARLY. What to do before you sync to the "new" iTunes: 1) Save your iTunes Music Folder to secondary media (external Hard Drive, DVDs, or a Shared Network Folder). iTunes has a feature built-in where it will backup your Library to DVDs without much hassle, but it might take a while to burn the DVDs depending on the size of your library. To do this go to File->Library->Back Up to Disc. It is also relatively simple to copy the iTunes folder to an external Hard Drive. The default locations are in the locations listed below. Keep in mind, these are NOT necessarily going to include ALL of your iTunes media. If you import music from many different locations (limewire, for instance), these files may not be in your iTunes folder. To make sure, Go to File->Library->Organize Library->Consolidate Files. This will grab all files not in your iTunes Music folder, and put them there. OSX: /Macintosh HD/Users/UserName/Music/iTunes XP: C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Music\iTunes Vista/Win7: C:\Users\UserName\Music\iTunes What to do if you cannot access this folder (as in the case of a dead computer). You have two options: If your hard drive is still functioning, you can extract it and hook it up to another computer using an "external hard drive enclosure". Hard drives vary too much for me to provide a link to one specific device, so it would be best to post here with your dead computer's details for assistance in choosing an enclosure. Acquire 3rd Party software that will transfer what media you may have on your iphone/ipod to your computer. I don't think I can link to this software in the forums, but you should get plenty of hits if you google "iPod [or iphone] to computer transfer". 2) Perform a Backup of your iPhone/iPod, and save the backup file to secondary media. If you haven't synced your device in a while, do this in iTunes so it will save your most recent settings and data. This file includes all of the data on your phone that iTunes needs to recover it to the exact condition it was in at the time of the last sync. This includes (but is not limited to) App settings and data, SMS conversations, Springboard layout, iPod/iPhone Settings, etc. You can find the file here: OSX: Macintosh HD/Users/UserName/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup XP: C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup Vista/Win7: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\AppleComputer\MobileSync\Backup Note to windows users: The "Application Data" and "AppData" folders are both hidden from the user by default. To make them visible follow the directions here. 3) Place these backed-up files (iTunes music and iPhone/iPod backup) in their respective locations. If you are moving to a new computer, this means copy that stuff to your new computer. If you're reinstalling Windows or OSX on the same machine, then put it back where it was. 4) Make sure you are signed into your iTunes account in the iTunes application on your computer. To check, go to Store in the menu bar. If you see the option to "Sign out", that means you are signed in. If you see the option to "Sign in" then do it! If you are moving to a completely new machine you will also need to "authorize" your computer to use any media purchased from the iTunes Store. This includes music, videos, and Apps. To do this, Go to Store->Authorize Computer. In total, you can have 5 computers authorized for one itunes account at a time. Unfortunately, you can only de-authorize them on the machine that you are wanting to de-authorize. If you find yourself in the situation where you are at your limit of 5 authorized computers, and do not have access to some you need to de-authorize, follow the instructions here to "deauthorize all computers associated with your account". You will then have to reauthorize the computers you use. 5) Connect your device and sync. To ensure that your contacts are transferred to your computer, select "Merge" when iTunes displays this message: Note to MobileMe users: Do not worry about this step. Simply follow the MobileMe setup instructions here to sync your contacts (and everything else that MobileMe syncs). Any comments or corrections are welcome, and I will try to update/edit this as necessary.