CopyTrans TuneSwift [rating: 3/5]
CopyTrans TuneSwift sounds like the perfect panacea for all your iTunes library backup needs. It offers iTunes to iTunes transfers of entire iTunes libraries between PCs or from PC to Mac. This is done via single file backup archives, which can also be updated incrementally as you add to your current iTunes library. Restoring an iTunes archive to a Mac is achieved by connecting a hard drive to your Mac with the PC archive on it, and using a dedicated restore utility, available as a separate app.
Over the last week I’ve been putting it through its paces to see if it really is the panacea for all of iTunes backup woes and for migration from PC to Mac.
Sometime ago we reviewed CopyTrans Manager from Copy Trans, and our overall impression of their iTunes alternative was very positive, so we had high hopes for CopyTrans TuneSwift.
iTunes, to many people’s chagrin, has become the Swiss Army Knife of media storage for those of us that are part of the Apple eco-system. So rather than just being a repository for music it is now the hub through which we manage a lot of our movies, books and iPhone data / apps. For this reason the thought of losing your iTunes library is probably a heart stopping moment for many. And moving from one computer to another might seem to some like a black art at times, with the ever present spectre of losing your favourite artists music and perhaps not even knowing about it until you get toe urge to hear them again!
CopyTrans TuneSwift is an attempt to mitigate some of that fear for PC users, at least. Note : CopyTrans’ website is a little confusing, not intentionally, but perhaps simply because the whole PC / Mac / iTunes scenario is a bit confusing. But it should be noted that CopyTrans TuneSwift is not a Mac application. So you cannot backup your OS X iTunes library with it. It is a PC only app that has a companion OS X app for migrating PC libraries to the Mac.
So with “TuneSwift” (we’ll drop the CopyTrans bit from now on as it’s a bit of a mouthful), you get a simple to install backup manager which runs on your PC. It offers a simpe big button interface which gives you the option to “Transfer”, “Backup” or “Restore” your PC based iTunes library.
“Backup” allows you to make an initial single file backup of your iTunes library to any storage device; USB sticks included. And to then incrementally update that backup over time as you add more to your iTunes portfolio. And that does include iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad data as well as all the other usual iTunes media.
“Transfer” offers a seamless way to transfer iTunes data between any PC, again including all flavours of iTunes data, and even between operating systems, such as XP or Vista and Windows 7.
“Restore” is the reverse of “Backup” and will restore the state of your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad as well.
I created some test libraries on my PC to test TuneSwift, as well as in Parallels on my Mac, and I also manually moved my entire OS X iTunes library to a PC (something I had been meaning to do for a while) so that I could test moving everything back to a Mac – the main “OS X” feature of TuneSwift.
For my test cases, everything went very well and was indeed seamless. Incremental backups also worked nicely on the PC, and I was able to move external drives from computer to computer and restore iTunes libraries conveniently. But these were contrived test cases, and not actually using TuneSwift on a day to day basis over a long period of time. The reason I mention this is that my final test with a massive iTunes library (that reflected the last 10 years of my hoarding of media and music onto my main computer) failed rather spectacularly when I tried to restore that to a Mac tower. Basically : A lot of files were missing. To be fair this was an iTunes library I created by manually importing everything from a Mac to a PC, and then using TuneSwift to move everything back to another Mac. So it was arguably not real world usage. But nonetheless it should have worked and the fact it didn’t is worrying. Obviously I didn’t lose any data as I still had my original, and my artificially created test library on the PC. But perhaps those of you with huge ageing PC iTunes libraries planning the move to a Mac via TuneSwift should take extra care when doing so. The age, and amount of time my library has moved around may have been a factor in that, and might be a factor in your case too. As with any backup or restore service, don’t delete originals until you know you’ve got your stuff transferred, and do make sure that “Restore” works for you on incremental backups from time to time, and long before you actually use the service for real.
If I hadn’t had an issue with my final big test with TuneSwift I would have rated this app much higher. But unfortunately a backup service should restore seamlessly every time, and TuneSwift didn’t. Having said that neither does Apple’s own MobileMe offer Backup utility, and the only service I really trust with my data is Mozy. But that is a story for another day.
- Free right now. (Until March 15th, 2011)
- Works great between all flavours of PC and Windows OS.
- Easy to use.
- Incremental backup, as well as single file archive.
- Restore failed rather spectacularly with a very large, diverse and quite old iTunes library.