When you sync an Apple iPod with a computer for the first time, it automatically gets formatted. The process of reformatting comes into the picture when you need to sync it with a different computer that runs a different operating system.
The second thing that you need to know is that all the files that are present on it, are deleted. It is like wiping the entire device clean and starting afresh. Hence, it is advisable to maintain a backup of all the music, videos, images, and other files, that are present on the device. Doing so will ensure that you do not end up losing some data unknowingly.
The first thing you should do is check how your iPod is formatted. The only two options here are Windows-formatted or Mac-formatted. You should reformat only if you are sure you are going to be using it with a different OS in the future. In order to check the formatting, you must plug-in the device, go to Apple iTunes, and then click on 'Format' in the summary screen.
Now when the iPod is connected to iTunes, you will need to restore it. This is a simple process, and all you need to do is go to the summary screen and find the option that says 'Restore'. Clicking on this button will automatically start the process of restoring, or reformatting, and it will be restored back to its factory settings in a few minutes. iTunes will also go online and check for some bug fixes, and this will solve many niggling software problems as well.
A message prompt will appear when the process has been completed, and you are now free to plug the iPod into a machine, and sync it with your iTunes library. It will behave like it is brand new, and the formatting will then take place in accordance with the OS that is being used. This process is the same for iPod Classic, Shuffle, Nano, and Touch. Here are some more interesting points that you should be aware about.
- The iPod Nano always comes pre-formatted with Windows, so if you connect it to a Mac for the first time, it will automatically reformat itself before syncing.
- It will solve many small issues that you may be facing on the device. These could be caused due to some corrupted files or other problems, but restoring the device to factory settings will cure most issues.
- You cannot reformat without using iTunes. This is true only for the process of a soft reset (which is carried out through a computer). You can reset it if you see a blank white screen or if it does not switch on at all.
- If you have an unlicensed version of iTunes, or if you have not agreed to the terms and conditions, this process will not work with that version of iTunes.
- You can even check the formatting on an iPod by going to the Settings section in the interface. You can now go to the 'About' section and check what OS it has been formatted to.
With these pointers in mind, you can reformat iPods with ease in the future. The advantages of doing so are non-debatable, but you must ensure that you have a backup of all your content first.