Only 140 songs fit on 4GB mini

Q: I have a 4 GB iPod mini, and when I tried to put 200 songs on it, iTunes said that the iPod didn’t have enough space, and made an iPod selection playlist. I don’t understand this. 4 GB iPod minis are supposed to hold 1,000 songs, but mine will only hold 140! They are all four minute songs. Can you explain this?

– Jewels

A: Apple says the following in its technical specifications for the iPod:

Capacity based on 4 minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding.

Our guess is that your songs haven’t been compressed enough.

Since you say your songs are all four minutes long, the question is “what type of encoding did you use?” If you imported your music at, say, 320 kbps, you’d get about 1/3 as many songs on the iPod. Or if you imported songs in WAV or AIFF format (uncompressed formats), you’d get about 60 to 80 songs. Using Apple Lossless format, you’d get about 140 songs. Sound about right?

Alternately, it’s possible that some (but not all) of your music is uncompressed, or that you use your iPod as a hard disk as well? If you have other files on your iPod, there is less room available for music.

You can read more about using the iPod as a hard disk in this recent article. Our simple advice would be to set iTunes’ preferences for Encoding to encode files as 192Kbps MP3, or 160Kbps AAC, select all of your songs at the same time, and right click (PC) or control-click (Mac) to select “Convert Selection to…” MP3 or AAC. The new files you create will most likely fit on your iPod and leave room to spare.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage.