Review : iRip

Recover files from iOS devices quickly with easy to use iRip.

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Product Manufacturer: The Little App Factory Pty. Ltd.

Price: $19.95 US

The Good

  • Easy to rip songs off any iOS device.
  • Can choose which song(s) you want to rip.
  • Copies items quickly.
  • Rips songs off a PC formatted iPod connected to a Mac.

The Bad

  • Does not support copying photos off iPods.
  • Song preview sometimes results in wait cursor.
  • Copy Selected Items to iTunes needs a confirmation dialog.
  • Cannot copy play list lists.
If you have ever lost all your music files because of an unexpected hard drive problem, you no longer need to panic. If you have your files on your iPod, you can recover all of them. A variety of events can cause this common problem, from a corrupted hard drive to a system failure, or maybe, you just loaded your iPod from someone else's computer and want those files on your machine. Well, there's an app to solve the problem, and there is no need to wring your hands in despair.

iRip, from The Little App Factory, lets you quickly and painlessly copy your files from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad back to your computer. As a consultant, I have recovered a variety of music libraries from PC and Macintosh formatted iPods, and think iRip works the best. You can transfer files bought and loaded directly onto your device with iRip, which is a feature missing in other programs I've tried.


Opening Screen With Instructions

When you first open iRip, make sure that you hold the Command and Option keys down as you connect your iPod, iPhone, or iPad. If you do not, and have auto-sync turned on, iTunes opens and starts the sync process, and iRip may get confused. If you set your devices to manual sync, you need not worry. The opening screen reminds you how to connect your device, as shown below.

If you have more than one device attached to the computer, you select from which device you want to copy from the pop-up menu.

iRip2 Choose Device

Device Pop-up Menu

iRip, updated in early January, no longer offers the dialog with an option for an Automatic Recovery or Manual Import. Now, you see your whole iTunes library in a similar window as appears in iTunes. You choose your desired transfer method from the Transfer pop-up menu or from the File menu.

iRip2 Choose Device

Main iRip Window

As you can see in the menu above, you have three options for copying your files. You can copy them to a folder you select on your computer, send them into iTunes, or sync your iPod to your Mac. When you need to preview the file to make sure you are choosing the right one, iRip includes a preview window on the lower left, in which you can play a title of most types. You can see the open preview window in the screen shot above.

A word of warning: If you have any items selected in the iRip window and choose the first item, Copy Selected Items to iTunes, you get no further warning. Music, movies, podcasts, whatever is highlighted copies into iTunes. Even if the iRip window is closed and you choose that option from the File menu, you transfer files. I made that mistake a few times while testing the program.

When you choose Copy Selected Item to Folder, you decide in which folder you want the file saved. When you choose Sync your device to your Macintosh, another dialog appears. You can choose which files to copy or sync from this second dialog.

iRip2 Sync

Composite iRip Sync Window with Pop-Up Menus

As you can see in the dialog above, everything will sync on an iPhone - but when I choose this same option for my iPod, books and photos are never selected, nor can I click those boxes, even if I check "Transfer all media and content from device." A FAQ in the Support area on The Little App Factory site sends you to an Apple support document on how to copy photos off your iPod. Your iPod must be in Disk Mode (not auto-sync) to work.

iRip2 iPod Sync

Composite iRip iPod Sync Window

When you select items to copy to iTunes or your Macintosh, the copies progress quickly. If you copy only one song, a blink may miss the progress dialog completely. Obviously, larger files, such as movies or podcasts, take longer to copy. Even with its impressive speed, plan on iRip running for quite a while if your device is loaded up with gigabytes of files and you want to copy everything off your device.

iRip Copy Dialog

iRip Copy Dialog

The copy dialog no longer shows you how much time remains to copy multiple songs, nor can you choose a playlist from a menu. To copy a whole playlist, you click the one you want, and use Select All from the Edit menu (or Command-A). The one item I want to copy is not available: The playlist itself. I hope the ability to copy the actual playlists is added in the future, because that is the one piece of information I seem to lose most often.

If you want to try iRip, The Little App Factory lets you recover a number of free songs before you have to buy a license for $19.95 for iRip 2.x. You can also purchase a family pack to use with 5 computers for $30. While iRip 1.x works in Mac OS X 10.4, you need at least Mac OS X 10.5 for iRip 2.x. A Windows version should be coming out soon. This is one utility you should have in your tools arsenal.