iPod’s free space indicator misbehaving

Q: I have a large playlist which I synchronize with my 20GB iPod (which has 18.5GB of usable space). Recently, I added album art to this playlist, which increased its size beyond my iPod’s capacity, forcing me to remove songs from this “iPod playlist.” After it successfully reloaded the revised 18.5GB playlist, the iPod’s “Settings->About” menu said that there was 5.7GB free on the iPod.  What gives?

Also, is there any way that I can synchronize the original set of music without the album art that I’ve added, so more music fits on my iPod?

– Zach

A: To answer your first question, the iPod’s own internal hard drive capacity indicator is for an unknown reason notoriously inaccurate, and we’d recommend you just completely ignore it. Use only the computer to determine the amount of free space on your iPod.

And for your second question… yes and no. You can disable “Display Album Artwork on your iPod” in iTunes’ preferences, but this will only delete the already-tiny iPod-optimized duplicate versions of your album art. On a 20GB music library, disabling this feature only saved us about 20MB. Unfortunately in this situation, the full-size images are embedded in the actual audio files, and are not affected by this setting.

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