Problems Copying Data to iPod shuffle


Q: I’ve got an iPod shuffle and I want to use it as a hard disk with my Mac. But when I copy files to it, I get a message saying that some files cannot be copied. I click Continue, presumably to copy the rest of the files, and the copy stops; nothing gets copied. Am I doing something wrong?

– Henry

A: The iPod shuffle is formatted in FAT32 format (a Windows disk format), to provide both Mac and Windows compatibility. Since Macs can mount Windows-formatted drives this is not a problem. However, this type of formatting means that you cannot use the following characters in the names of your files:

* . ” / \ [ ] : ; | = ,

If you have files with any of these characters in their names, they will not copy. It seems that rather than copy the non-offending files, Mac OS X often just copies nothing.

You have two solutions: either find the files whose names contain these characters and change their names, or create a Zip archive of your files. To do the latter, select a folder, then select File > Create Archive of [Folder Name]. You’ll be able to copy the archive to the iPod shuffle.

If you plan to copy files to your shuffle often, make sure you don’t use any of the characters mentioned above.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.