Using your iPod for PS3 backups

You’ve done your internet searches on how to do this, but, can’t get your PS3 to recognize your iPod, and, you want to use your iPod as a backup device for your PS3. But the PS3 won’t allow you to, it says that you attached an unrecognized USB device. What to do?
The Apple iPod can serve as a “free” (sunk cost) backup device for your PS3. Until you grow your PS3 to a size that cannot be stored on your iPod, why not use it for a backup device? You can! The iPod model you have must support being used for “disk use”. This includes many models, one we know that cannot work is the iPod touch.

If you have an iPod that supports disk mode, then, you are in luck, as long as you have enough space. On my brand new PS3 320GB, I have around a dozen downloaded games (and their addons), and, my backup was just over 9GB and around 20 minutes of time. So, this easily fit on my iPod classic 160GB (I knew there was a good reason I got the larger drive)!

So, the easiest way to get your iPod into disk mode is to simply connect it to your computer and run iTunes.

One the device shows up under devices, click on your iPod within iTunes, and, on the summary page, click “Enable Disk Use” near the bottom of the page. Apply it, and, you are ready. Essentially, this is what all the sites we found say, but this is missing one very important detail that may be quite obvious, but, depends how well you read the requirements in the PS3 guide!

The rather important missing fact is if you are using an Apple computer to manage your iPod, and, the iPod was not a Windows formatted one. How can you tell? On that same summary page listed above, you’ll see a field labelled “Format:” If it says Windows, you are in luck, if not, not so lucky. If it says Windows, then, the device can be used as is for the backup, just hook it up to the PS3 via USB and the iPod cable and backup.

If yours is formatted for Mac OSX, then, you can still get it to work, you just have to convert it to a Windows formatted iPod. Windows formatted iPods work just fine on Macs with iTunes. There is no difference really. However, Mac formatted iPods do NOT work in Windows (easily), or as a backup device for the PS3. You will get the dreaded unknown USB device attached message.

The easiest way to convert it is to first make sure you have all the stuff that is on the iPod in iTunes or elsewhere as you are going to format it and lose all contents of the iPod. After making sure all content is in iTunes or otherwise copies to a safe place, the easiest way to do this is to find a Windows computer (or Virtualbox, Parallels, Boot Camp, etc.) and load iTunes onto the Windows machine, and, on that same summary page mentioned above (but this time on Windows), click on restore which will destroy all contents of the iPod, but, format it for FAT32 which the PS3 requires. Once that is done, don’t sync with the Windows machine of course, you are done with it. Simply manage it with iTunes like you always did before, all your content will come back from your Mac copy when you sync the next time except for stuff you might have added outside of iTunes that you remembered to keep a copy of as suggested. Like magic, the iPod now works not only as it always did before, but as a backup device for the PS3. There are more complex methods of getting the iPod formatted for FAT32, but, you can also wipe out your iPod is you are not careful. So, search elsewhere for those instructions if you want to gamble.

If you don’t like keeping the file there, after the backup, you can copy the PS3 folder from the iPod using the Mac finder to an alternate place and then delete that folder from the iPod. Perhaps you have a better place to store the file, or, maybe you want it backed up to a more secure location.

Though the PS3 manual does mention the FAT32 requirements, I did not put 2 and 2 together, that the iPod of course was not FAT32 (except for the iPod Shuffle which is always FAT32 and Windows format). Of course, the shuffle can’t be used since the capacity is too small.

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