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iPod Special Report: Data loss -- Music disappears from iPod

iPod Special Report: Data loss -- Music disappears from iPod

There is a fairly widespread problem where iPods lose access to all data stored on its internal hard drive - though the storage space still appears to be occupied.

Joe Paolino's case is typical:

"After charging my mini overnight, I found that the next morning all of my songs and playlists were missing.  I went to the About setting in my iPod and found that the available capacity was the same as it had been the previous day.  After connecting to iTunes, the capacity indicator at the bottom of the screen also showed that something was still on my iPod.  However, iTunes detected no music or playlists either.  Out of curiosity, I loaded one song on the iPod to see if it would show up in iTunes list.  The song loaded fine, but then did not appear in iTunes when I had the iPod selected or when I disconnected it and scrolled through the iPod directly.

"I also noticed one more interesting thing.  I opened the iPod in the finder to see folders for contacts, notes, etc. As I clicked on each folder to look their respective contents, the folders disappeared."

Potential Causes

Third party devices involved? One report of iPod mini data loss concerned a reader whose songs were lost while an iTrip (an FM transmitter manufactured by Griffin Technolgy) was attached. There are a handful of other data loss (or data becoming invisible) reports indicating that a third party device - the iTrip in two separate cases - was attached when the problem occurred, though a firm connection hasn't been established.

David Calica writes "I had a similar problem. I leave my iTrip attached to my Ipod and leave it in the dock. One day I tried use my Ipod. All of my playlists and music were gone and I was not able to access the unit via Itunes. I reloaded the Ipod software and was able to use the iPod."

Matt Fusfield adds "I've had the same problem once, while I was using the iTrip as well. Removing the iTrip and then resetting the iPod restored all my music. I didn't think much of it at the time, it has only occurred once thus far but it is interesting to hear I'm not the only one who has had the problem."

Potential Solutions

Manual reset Aside from formatting the iPod mini and reloading all songs (which some readers have been forced to do), resetting the iPod mini seems to be the only successful workaround we've discovered so far:

MacFixIt reader Mike O'Neil "I had an experience with my iPod Mini losing all of its songs. I turned it on and noticed none of my browse categories had anything in them. I went to the info area of the iPod interface and it said '0 songs' and Volume Format 'Unknown' almost as if the hard disk had died, but I suppose the interface wouldn't work at all if that were the case. Anyways, before I completely panicked I did the "menu select" reset option and all of my music was magically back."

Instructions for resetting the iPod mini (from Apple) are as follows:

  • Connect iPod mini to the iPod Power Adapter and plug the power adapter into an electrical outlet.
  • Toggle the Hold switch on and off. (Set it to hold, then turn it off again.)
  • Press and hold the Menu and Select buttons until the Apple logo appears, about 6 seconds.

Format and re-establish Robert Goulet was one of the unfortunate readers who had to format and re-establish all data on his iPod mini:

"I had a similar problem when I was downloading an audio book and connected my iPod mini. It didn't show any music and as I would push on the right button it would look like it was spinning to my on the go playlist but would just continue to read on the go without showing the music. When I connected to the computer it would show how much storage but wouldn't show songs. Resetting did nothing. The only source was to download ipod mini restore and place all my music and references back in. Since then it's worked better than before."

Apple's stance The iPod one-year limited warranty states, "Apple is not liable for any damage to or loss of any programs, data, or other information stored on any media contained within the iPod or iSight product, or any non-Apple product or part not covered by this warranty. Recovery or reinstallation of programs, data or other information is not covered under this Limited Warranty.


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