Cleaning up content on iPod marked Other

Q: My iPod has a lot of ‘other’(orange part) but when I look at my sister’s, she has very little. How can I delete the excess ‘other’ so I have more space?

– Lauren

A: The orange “Other” section on your iPod indicates content that is not specifically recognized by iTunes as fitting into any of the standard media or application categories. It is normal to have a small amount of Other space taken up by things like album artwork and the iPod’s own operating files, but this should usually be no more than one or two gigabytes, even on a high-capacity iPod classic, and often much less on a lower-capacity device like an iPod nano.

If you’re seeing a lot of space being taken up by “Other” content and you haven’t specifically copied your own files onto your iPod in Disk Mode, then the likely cause is “orphaned” files on your device.

iTunes and your iPod use a database to catalog the content on the device, and if a file is on your iPod but not listed in this index, then iTunes has no way of identifying it as a media or application file. Since iTunes updates the iPod’s database after it’s already copied the files to your device, a failed or incomplete sync operation will often produce orphaned files. This can happen for example if iTunes crashes while syncing files to your iPod, or if you disconnect your iPod in the middle of a sync operation before iTunes has finished update its database.

Unfortunately, the only way to easily get rid of this “Other” space is to do a full Restore on your iPod, erasing everything on it, and then reload it from iTunes.

This is done by connecting your iPod to your computer, selecting it in the iTunes Devices list and then choosing the “Restore” option from the Summary screen in iTunes.

This essentially wipes you iPod clean, returning it to factory settings and eliminating all of the data including whatever is taking up the “Other” space. You can then reload your music back onto your iPod from iTunes. Note that if you have been managing the content on your iPod manually and do not have all of your music in your iTunes library you will want to copy this data back to your computer before restoring your iPod.