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Water Damage

Apple Notes By Mike Watkinson
Published December 2010

Don't panic if your iDevice has recently gone to a watery grave; your music may still be salvageable.

It seems that a common reason for people to visit a 'genius' at the Apple store is a faulty iPod, often as a result of water damage. This kind of damage invalidates any warranty and, unfortunately, the problem also afflicts iPod Touches and iPhones. Obviously, the smart thing to do is not get it wet in the first place but, if it does get damaged in this way, all is not lost. Maybe your iDevice won't function anymore, but you may still be able to rescue the data. This is especially relevant if you manually sync your music and other files to your device, as iTunes on your Mac will not have a mirror copy of what is on the iPod. So, resist the kind offer from the Apple Store's genius to wipe your device and perform a full system restore, and go home and try the procedures explained here instead.

Pod Rescue

As long as the device shows up in iTunes, you can select it and, under the Summary tab, ensure that 'Enable disk use' is checked (this will already be the case if you have chosen to 'Manually manage music and videos'). Now, when you check the content of the iPod in Finder you will see that the Music folder is conspicuous by its absence. No doubt there are copyright‑based reasons for Apple hiding this folder, but you can make it reappear by entering the following commands into Terminal:

  • defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE [press Return]
  • killall Finder [press Return]

The contents of the iPod in the Finder will now reveal a grey (previously hidden) folder called 'iPod_Control'. Inside this there is a folder called 'Music' that contains several folders beginning with the letter F. In these folders reside your music files. They will have strange names, but don't despair because, once returned to the iTunes Library, you will see that they still contain relevant information. You should drag and drop these files into a suitable temporary folder before dragging and dropping into iTunes. To return the Finder to its standard state, type the following into Terminal:

  • defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE [press Return]
  • killall Finder [press Return]

If your iPod Touch or iPhone has suffered water damage, don't despair: iPhone Explorer allows you to drag and drop files from your device while it is connected via USB.If your iPod Touch or iPhone has suffered water damage, don't despair: iPhone Explorer allows you to drag and drop files from your device while it is connected via USB.

In their infinite wisdom, Apple don't allow iPhones or iPod Touches to be used in disk mode when connected via USB. There are, however, a few Mac applications that will allow you to browse your device when connected in this way, and iPhone Explorer from Macroplant (http://www.macroplant.com/iphoneexplorer) allows you to drag and drop files from your iDevice to the Finder once you have located them.

Terminal Velocity

TinkerTool has the capability to show hidden files (along with other options) on your Mac without you having to use the Terminal application. Once you're done, you can easily reset it to the 'pre‑TinkerTool' state.TinkerTool has the capability to show hidden files (along with other options) on your Mac without you having to use the Terminal application. Once you're done, you can easily reset it to the 'pre‑TinkerTool' state.

If typing commands into Terminal is something you consider best left to the specialists in Apple T‑shirts, you will be glad to know that this functionality is part of a free‑to‑download application called TinkerTool by Marcel Bresink (available from http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html). In TinkerTools' Finder Options, you simply tick the box to 'Show hidden and system files' and then click the 'Relaunch Finder' button. TinkerTool also contains many other potentially useful options, such as a tick box to revert the iTunes 10 title bar to standard layout with horizontal buttons (the Terminal commands for which are discussed in last month's column).

Back To The Mac

Just to remind us that they are a computer company as well as a manufacturer of mobile devices, Apple recently hosted the 'Back To The Mac' event in San Francisco and took the opportunity to make several important product announcements. Perhaps most importantly for musicians, GarageBand has undergone significant tweaking.

GarageBand 11 gains Groove Matching, FlexTime, more amps and effects, new piano and guitar lessons and a 'How did I play?' feature for measuring your own progress when learning the keyboard. We'll look more closely at GarageBand 11 in a future issue.

The MacBook Air was the major hardware update announcement at the recent 'Back To The Mac' event. It's apparently part of the 'next generation of MacBooks'...The MacBook Air was the major hardware update announcement at the recent 'Back To The Mac' event. It's apparently part of the 'next generation of MacBooks'...Perhaps the major software announcement was Mac OS 10.7 — codenamed Lion — presented as OS X with a user interface layer borrowing much from the iPad iOS.

Also, opening before the end of January will be the Mac App Store: much like the mobile App Store, but for Mac applications — tell me you didn't see this one coming!

Lastly, not one, but two new versions of the MacBook Air were announced, with 13.3‑inch and 11.6‑inch screens, and internals that owe a lot to the design of the iPad. The world's most desirable notebook just became a size zero...

Published December 2010