Screenshot of iPodReader window


Mac OS X application

System requirements: Any computer running Mac OS X. Tested with 10.2 (Jaguar) and 10.3 (Panther).

Download iPodReader_3.0.dmg (120 kb)

Perl script

For the command line Perl script: Any computer supporting the Perl interpreter. While OS X and Linux have been tested, other systems should work. Please let us know about your stories of success or failure.

Download (8 kb)


iPodReader is an application built to easily convert text files (mainly eTexts like found at Project Gutenberg, but it is theoretically applicable to any kind of text file) into files readable on Apple's iPod.

It exists both as an application running on Mac OS X and a simple Perl script which can theoretically be run on any operating system with Perl installed (OS X and Linux has been successfully tested).

Tim Fox has contributed support for Generation 3 iPods and has built a Windows version of the command line tool. It can be found on his website:


For the Disk Image: Open the disk image if you have set your system to not do so automatically. Open the mounted volume and double-click on the ipodreader_2.0.pkg file. This will guide you through the installation. It will ask for a password at one point to obtain permission to copy the script to the right place. You can unmount the volume and delete the disk image afterwards if you like.

For the pure script: You will have your reasons to install the script this way. You might want to copy it to /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin and issue the chmod 755 ipodreader script to make it executable. Your mileage may vary.

A photo of the iPod


To use the OS X application:
- Launch the program by double-clicking on it or any other way you want.
- Click the "Text File" button to select the text file you'd like to convert.
- Choose a target directory with the "Save Into" button. As the name implies this will put all files directly into this folder. You should create a folder either in the save dialog with the "New Folder" button or through the finder.
- Enter the title to be displayed inside the text files. You may want to choose something short in order to leave as much space as possible for the actual content. The allowed file size is quite low, which is why the text has to be split into small chunks.
- Select your iPod version. If your iPod came with a docking station you probably have a 3rd Generation iPod. If you are not sure which version you have, this FAQ from may help you.
- Now convert your text file by clicking on the "Generate" button (or simply hit the enter key). A message will notify you when the application has done its work.

The "Clear" button resets the application to a "clean" state. The "?" button displays the help page.

To leave the application select the "Quit" command from the iPodReader menu, hit cmd-Q or close the window.

When you have generated the text files you have to copy them to your iPod. If you own the generation 3 iPod, copy the files into the Contacts folder, otherwise put them in the Notes folder.

To use the Perl script in the Terminal:

If you have installed the script on OS X with the installer, just follow the directions below.
If you have installed it by hand (either on OS X or Linux or anything I didn't think of) you'll have to know where you put the script. The rest still applies.

Open in MacOS X (it usually resides in the Utilities folder)

Note that the way the text files are handled has changed between the 2nd and 3rd generation iPods, so you'll have to follow different routes.

If you have a generation 3 iPod, execute these commands:

cd _[Directory where the textfile is located]_
ipodreader -3 -d _[New foldername]_ _[Name of textfile]_
cp -r _[New foldername]_/*.txt /Volumes/_[Your iPod's name]_/Notes/

If your iPod is of the older versions, use this:

cd _[Directory where the textfile is located]_
ipodreader -1 -d _[New foldername]_ _[Name of textfile]_
cp -r _[New foldername]_/*.vcf /Volumes/_[Your iPod's name]_/Contacts/

Another photo of the iPod


  • iPodReader v3.0 is the first release of the OS X interface. This is based on the ipodreader v2.0 Perl script.
  • ipodreader v2.0 offers support for generation 3 iPods and has a new installer based on Apple's package installer system.
  • ipodreader v1.0 is the first public release. There were a couple of minor version before it, but they came and went hours after each other.


Concept and specs: Jesse Endahl (

Programming (Perl and OS X): Lasar Liepins

Changes for generation 3 compatibility, Windows version: Tim Fox (