iPod shows only Other content

Q: I recently got a new PC and transfered my iTunes library from my old computer to the new one and updated iTunes to version 7.6. Now when I plug in my iPod the existing library of music is categorized as “Other” files as opposed to audio files. When I select Music under my Devices heading it shows nothing. I also tried to add a song from my iTunes library to my iPod and that now shows in the Music category but when I disconnect my iPod the song is not in the library.

– Jessie

A: Although the timing of your migration and upgrade to iTunes 7.6 is coincidental, the usual cause of this problem is simply corruption of the iPod database on the device itself, which should not normally be related to an iTunes upgrade or moving to a new computer.

Essentially, iTunes and the iPod use a library database to index the media content stored on the device. If this database is lost or corrupted, then you have an iPod filled with media files that cannot be recognized by the device itself, or by iTunes. This space is therefore categorized as “Other” since iTunes doesn’t actually know what it is.

Unfortunately, the only easy way to solve this problem is to do a full “Restore” on the iPod. This will erase everything on the iPod itself and return you to default factory settings. If your music is already stored in your iTunes library, this process is generally trivial since your iPod can be reloaded entirely from your iTunes library. In this case, the only real consideration is the time you will have to wait for your iPod to do its first sync after the restore.

If your music is only stored on your iPod and you do not have a copy on your computer, it is probably still very possible to recover the actual media content manually, since it’s likely still all there—it’s only the index to that data that’s been lost. The “Brute Force” approach described in our iPod 201 tutorial on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer provides instructions for how to do this.

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