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Other space on iPod

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Q: iTunes shows space being taken up by something called “Other” on my iPod nano?  How can I delete this to free up more space?

- Lil

A: The orange “Other” category shown in the iPod capacity bar in iTunes normally represents data stored on the iPod that simply does not fit into one of the main categories: Audio, Video or Photos.

This will normally include anywhere from 50-100 MB just for the iPod’s own operating files and library database (depending upon how much content is stored on your iPod), and may also include album artwork (around 24 KB per track for the iPod nano), and iPod Games (which vary in size depending upon the game itself). Further, any files you may have stored on your iPod directly in “Disk Mode” will also show up in the “Other” category.

Some of this information, such as the iPod library database, cannot be removed, and will always take up some space. Other information such as iPod games, album artwork, and data files can of course be removed from the iPod by modifying the appropriate sync options (note that the pre-installed games on the third-generation iPod nano cannot be removed, however).

The amount of space taken up by album artwork and the iTunes library database will be directly proportional to the number of media files that you have stored on the iPod. More files means more database entries and more album artwork.

Normally, on an iPod nano, the “Other” category shouldn’t grow much larger than around 300 MB—perhaps a bit larger if you’ve loaded on a lot of purchased games. On a full-size iPod (iPod classic or fifth-generation iPod), this category can grow significantly larger, however, since not only can you store many more tracks on an 80GB or 160GB iPod, but the album artwork images are also larger (100KB per track) due to the larger screen. It is not abnormal for a 160GB iPod classic to have over 2GB of storage showing in the “Other” category.

Note that there is one other possible source of “Other” content, and this is in the form of “Orphaned” tracks. These are audio or video files that have been copied to the iPod by iTunes, but are not listed in the iPod library database. Since iTunes (and the iPod) cannot identify these files based on a library entry, they show up as “Other” space. This problem can often result from disconnecting the iPod without ejecting it, particularly immediately after you’ve transferred tracks onto it.

If the “Other” category has grown disproportionately large, this may indicate that you have a problem with orphaned files. Unfortunately, the only reliable way to deal with this problem is to perform a “Restore” on your iPod via iTunes, which will erase everything on the iPod, and then simply reload your content back on from your iTunes library.

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