Rebuild an iTunes library from an iPhone or iPod with Senuti

SenutiiconWhile James has been sharing his new MacBook trackpad experiences, I’ve actually been doing some maintenance on my MacBook Pro. Most of it was cleaning up stray files, removing applications I no longer use and wiping out local data that’s stored in the cloud. I also moved my iTunes library to a 320GB USB drive. On one hand, I hate to have a USB port always taken up since the MacBook Pro only has two ports to begin with. On the other hand, I’d rather not use space on my notebook hard drive for my media. The one thing I absolutely didn’t want to do was accidentally wipe out the iTunes library in both places, so of course that’s what happened.

I’m not one to back up my iTunes library as 98% of it came from ripped CDs and a few Amazon MP3 purchases. I could have re-ripped the CDs but that’s as much fun as watching long YouTube videos over EDGE, so I went a different route. I moved the songs back onto my comptuer from my iPhone using a free application called Senuti.

Notice what Senuti spelled backwards is? iTunes! That’s because the free application for Mac OS X conceptually reverses what iTunes does: it takes music from your iPhone or iPod and puts it on your computer. By contrast, iTunes sends music from your computer to your iPhone or iPod and of course, can send or sync other data as well.

I simply downloaded and installed Senuti on my MacBook Pro and connected my iPhone to the USB cable. I made sure that iTunes wasn’t set to auto-sync: if it were, it could have wiped out the music on my iPhone and I really would have been up the creek.

Once you connect your iPod or iPhone, Senuti shows all of your playlists, albums, and songs. At that point, it’s simply a matter of choosing what you want moved back from your mobile device to iTunes on the host Mac and then clicking the Transfer button. Senuti will show a blue dot if it finds a track that’s on your MP3 player and in your iTunes library.


My entire library was rebuilt on the USB drive connected to my MacBook Pro and near as I call tell, all of the data is there as well. There are options to skip songs already in iTunes, where to save the music files, and what metadata you want pulled in. All in all, I see very few limitations and even if there are any, the ability to rebuild my music library directly from my handset is worth overlooking any missing advanced features.

What I like about Senuti is that it doesn’t require you to jailbreak your phone and that it’s simple to use. What I don’t like is that it lacks a version for Windows users. Those folks will have to a better job than me in remembering to back up their iTunes library.