Review: iCloner offers reliable, but pricey, iPod backups
At a Glance
Note: CopyTrans has decided to discontinue this product in early 2013, as it does not support non-iPod iOS devices. It is still available at the time this review was posted.--Ed.
Thinking about loaning your iPod to a friend or leaving it with a tech guru for repairs? Or maybe you're letting your kids play with it. If you do, your iPod may come back to you missing a few key parts—like its contents. If you find that any of its data was accidentally deleted or lost, those contents could be lost forever. Unless you've backed it up with iCloner ($20, free demo).
iCloner installs as part of WindSolutions's CopyTrans Suite, which includes several different applications for managing various parts of your iOS experience, such as CopyTrans, CopyTrans TuneSwift, and CopyTrans Photo. While it's called a suite, you purchase the applications you want individually. All of the applications include a free demo version; you can try any of them and buy the ones you like. (The free version of iCloner allows you to create a backup of your iPod, but you can't use its restore feature until you spring for the $20 license.)
iCloner's interface is all business, with no color or animation to speak of. But its text-based layout is straightforward and easy to understand. It automatically detects an attached iPod, and lets you select that one as the iPod to backup. You can then point iCloner to the location for storing the backup, and if you choose the advanced options, choose a compression type (options range from fastest and fast to best). And that's it: yYu then start the backup and wait while iCloner does the work.
It works quickly, backing up the contents of my iPod (about 1,000 songs) in just about three minutes. Once you have a backup file created, you can use that to restore the contents of your iPod. iCloner warns you that it will replace all of the data on your iPod; click yes and you're in business. Again, it works quickly and cleanly. Its backups are all or nothing, though: you can't pick and choose which pieces of content you'd like to back up or restore to your iPod.
At $20, iCloner isn't cheap, especially when you consider that iTunes does have features that will let you back up your iPod for free. But iTunes isn't always reliable for backups, as I learned the hard way, when my seven-year-old deleted my favorite playlist from my iPod. I tried to find the playlist in iTunes, but the changes he'd made had been synced there. If I'd only used iCloner sooner, that playlist would not have been gone forever, and my seven-year old would be in less trouble.
Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the full CopyTrans Suite, which includes other WindSolution products as well as iCloner, to your system.