Q: Last month my 1GB iPod shuffle showed 847MB of audio, 3.3MB of free space and 116.8MB of “Other.” A couple of days ago the “Other” category had increased to about 400 MB. I have tried deleting everything off the iPod and then syncing some new files on but the “other” remains. I am getting frustrated. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
A: The “Other” cateogry on the iPod shuffle represents files that iTunes cannot specifically recognize. This is normally an indication of files that you may have transferred onto your iPod shuffle directly as a USB storage device, however it can also represent “Orphaned” files on your device.
In short, when iTunes synchronizes content to the iPod shuffle, it copies the files themselves onto your device first, and then updates the database on the iPod shuffle to reference these newly-copied files. If for some reason the database does not get updated, either due to a failure on the part of iTunes itself, or a connection failure to your device during the sync, these files will have been copied, but not added to the index. Hence, iTunes cannot actually recognize them, even though they’re perfectly valid media files.
Likewise, simply removing all of the files from your iPod shuffle will not solve the problem, since iTunes doesn’t know that these “orphaned” files are even there in the first place, so it doesn’t know to remove them.
The only simply solution is to perform a completely “Restore” on your iPod shuffle, which basically reformats the flash memory entirely and returns the iPod shuffle back to its factory default settings. To do this, simply connect your iPod shuffle to your computer, select it in the iTunes devices list on the left-hand side of your iTunes window, and click the “Restore” button which appears on the main summary screen. This will erase everything on your iPod shuffle, including any “orphaned” files, and you can then reload it from iTunes as you normally would.