iTunes not showing full iPod capacity | iLounge Article


iTunes not showing full iPod capacity

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Q: I recently purchased a 30GB iPod with Video. When I connected the iPod to my PC and checked iTunes, the available disk space is displayed as 27 GB. Is this normal or should I log a complaint with Apple?

- Vaidy

A: Believe it or not, this is completely normal, and in fact is standard procedure for any hard drive based device.

The problem stems from the fact that computer storage measurement units are calculated differently between software and hardware. In software, a kilobyte (KB) is measured as 1,024 bytes, a megabyte (MB) as 1,024 KB, and a gigabyte (GB) as 1,024 MB. Therefore, from a software and operating system point of view, 1 GB is actually 1,073,741,824 bytes.

Unfortunately, a number of years ago, hard drive manufacturers started using a different basis for measuring storage capacity, presumably for marketing reasons. The result is that to a hardware manufacturer, a kilobyte is 1,000 bytes, rather than 1,024, and so forth. Therefore, 1 GB to a hardware manufacturer is an even 1,000,000,000 bytes.

So, when you buy a hard drive that is labeled as 30 GB, it is actually 30,000,000,000 bytes, give or take a few. However, to the software on your computer, 30 GB should be 32,212,254,720 bytes. Therefore, as far as your operating system is concerned, the “30GB” hard drive falls somewhat short of this number. If you actually do the math, the “30GB” hard drive actually works out to 27.94 GB of actual capacity. A little bit more of this is lost to some of the operating system format and internal iPod files that are placed on the hard drive, but for the most part, this difference is based on simply the difference in measurement between what the hardware vendors are selling, and how software calculates storage capacity.

Note that this problem is not in any way unique to the iPod, but rather applies to all hard drives in any computer system. If you check the hard drive in your computer, you will discover that the same discrepancy applies. For example, a MacBook Pro with a 100GB hard drive actually only shows 93.1 GB of space as far as the operating system is concerned.


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Is it just me or should iLounge and Apple post banners that explain that 30 gig iPod does not equal 30 gigs of space.. I am surprised you guys still address these questions!

Posted by gtrdlr in Toronto on June 14, 2007 at 4:17 PM (CDT)


there is an iPod storage calculator on iLounge, linked from the front page, at

it just seems that people would rather ask questions before doing minimal research

Posted by ehren in Toronto on June 14, 2007 at 9:56 PM (CDT)


Strictly speaking, “kilo”, “mega” are metric “SI” prefixes which have fixed meanings as “thousand” and “million”.  The original practice of calling 1024 bytes a kilobyte broke this.  There is now a movement to recognise the original mistake and promote new units: “kibibytes” (1024) and “mebibytes” (1024x1024) and so on.

Posted by AJ-in-NZ in Toronto on June 15, 2007 at 3:53 AM (CDT)


I noticed on my iPod that when I am searching for a particular Artist (That I know is on my iPod), the Artist does not show up. Yet, when I search under Song for a song by that Artist, I can find the song (with the Artist listed). For example, Led Zepplein will not show up under Artist (although I have 40 songs by the Artist), but will show up under Song, (ex. Dazed and Confused) and it will show the Artist as Led Zepplein! Is there something I need to do different in iTunes. I use the automatic update feature. Is it a space issue? I have about 9,600 songs on my iPod which is a 60G and seems to have plenty of room left. Thanks.

Posted by oly1 in Toronto on June 21, 2007 at 2:46 PM (CDT)


My second generation ipod nano 4g has exhibited the following problem twice in six months.  When I select a playlist, it won’t play a certain song and then begins skipping through all of the songs in the playlist until it rests on a song it will play, then skips some more after that song.  Sometimes the screen itself is split vertically.  There is no consistency to this problem, and the last time it happened, I erased everything and reloaded it, and it was fine.  Is this a hard drive problem?  Thanks.

Posted by Tobysan in Toronto on June 24, 2007 at 12:50 PM (CDT)


I had recovered my pc after it crashed but when I reinstalled itunes I was told I can’t add or keep the music that wasn’t downloaded by itunes. How can I save all the music currently on my ipod and add more from other sources ??

Posted by DTsound in Toronto on July 10, 2007 at 2:15 PM (CDT)

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