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Computer hard drives, like everything mortal, eventually die. Your hope is that when they do you have a backup. If you don't but you have an iPad packed with media, you actually have some of your data backed up--it's on your iPad. All you have to do is find a way to get it off the iPad and onto your computer, once you've replaced that bad hard drive of course. Thankfully there are applications for Windows and Mac that can do this. So let's take a look at a couple of them. For Windows, there's Wide Angle Software's $25 TouchCopy.
Now this works on both Mac and Windows, and I am going to run it on the Mac, but it looks just the same as it does on Windows. So we will fire it up. We are using a demo copy, so you won't see this yellow bar once you purchase it. Along the left side of the window, you'll see entries to your media. That can be music, your videos, podcasts, and your playlists, for example. Now if you want to retrieve all the media that's on the iPad, just click Backup and everything will be copied over.
If you want to be more selective, you can just choose the media that you want, and then you can either copy to Mac, or it will say copy to PC, for example. Or you can transfer it directly into iTunes. You can also use the search field to look for specific media. What makes TouchCopy a little more powerful than some other utilities is you can look for other kinds of files as well. So up here I will click on Photos and it will locate any of the photos that are on my iPad. I can then recover those as well.
Now note that these photos are going to be the size of the photos that were synced to the iPad, so they're not going to be the original photos that were on your computer, but rather those that were converted and then put on the iPad. You can also go through the iPad's file structure if you want to find something in there. So, for example, if you've lost a book, you can find it in there. You can find your contacts and recover them. There's Magic Nick.
Get your Calendar Events if you like, your notes. We don't happen to have any on here, but you could get them if you wanted. And now we will go back to music. So it's very complete program that will allow you to get back a lot of the media that's on your iPad. If you're on a Mac and interested in saving $5 and working with an application that's more Mac-like, take a look at Ecamm Network's $20 PhoneView, and again we are running the demo copy. Like TouchCopy, it lets you choose different kinds of media and copy it to your computer.
So, for example, we'll look at Music. I can choose music files, and I can copy from iPad and that will put them on my computer, or I can again send them directly to iTunes. One thing that you can do with Phone View that you can't do with TouchCopy is you can copy files to your iPad, so you can use it as a virtual hard drive. So, for example, if I wanted to copy this file to my iPad, I could just drag it in. You see the Plus sign and I can then add it. Now let me show something particularly cool that you can't do with TouchCopy, and this is kind of for you gamers out there, but other people may be able to use it as well.
So we are looking at our iPad. I will go to Apps. I will make sure that Show All Apps is showing. So here's the cool thing. You go to Angry Birds and you go to Documents, and we are looking for this file, highscores.lua. This is where Angry Birds stores all its golden eggs and level information. So, for example, you've been playing this game on your iPhone and you've gotten all the levels done and all the golden eggs and everything is happening and it's great, and then you get an iPad and you want to play the game on your iPad and you start it up, and you've got nothing and you have to start all over because Angry Birds, like other games, doesn't sync your high scores.
So how do you get around this? Okay, well let's suppose this was your iPhone. You grab this file, you drag it to the desktop to make a copy of it. Then you plug in your iPad, you take that file and say you know what I want the high scores now on my iPad, let go, you replace, and now your highscore file from your iPhone is on your iPad. This is the same file. So if you then fire up Angry Birds on your iPad you will find that you have all your high scores, all your golden eggs, all the levels are complete, and you're a happy person.
For those of you on the Mac, just so you know, if you happen to have the Mac version of Angry Birds, you can look inside it as well by looking inside the package, and you can replace the file there too because again it's the same file. So sure, this may sound like a tip just for Angry Birds players, but there are some applications that have these common file types that don't sync between iOS devices. You can then copy these using a tool like PhoneView, and then you can copy your settings from one iOS device to another.
Now I know that not everyone is interested in becoming an Angry Birds champion, but this does show you some of the power in being able to copy files on and off your iPad.
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