Q: I recently bought a video iPod and downloaded season 1 and season 2 of a TV show. I have watched a few episodes of season 1 and everything was fine, but my son watched a few episodes as well and now the episodes he watched are gone from my iPod. I can’t figure out why and how to get them back. They are still in the iTunes library on my computer and when I connect the iPod to the computer I thought it might re-sync but it doesn’t. How do I get these missing TV shows to go back onto my iPod?
A: By default when synchronizing TV Shows, iTunes is set to only synchronize content that you have not watched already. Therefore, as you watch content, either in iTunes or on your iPod, this content is removed from the iPod.
This can be a particularly useful feature if you have a very large library, since video content can quickly consume the disk space on your iPod, so old episodes that you have watched are automatically removed to make room for new episodes that you haven’t yet watched. In essence, iTunes is designed to “rotate” the content on your iPod to keep it fresh.
You can turn off this feature if you want to leave all watched content on your iPod, or you can simply reset the play count for those items that you have already watched, telling iTunes that they have not been played, and therefore causing it to place them back on your iPod during the next sync.
To simply reset the play count, choose the appropriate track in iTunes, and right-click and choose “Reset Play Count” from the context menu:
This will reset the play count for the track to zero, telling iTunes that you have not in fact watched it, and therefore placing it back onto your iPod during the next sync.
Alternatively, if you would like to keep episodes on your iPod in the future, even after they have been watched, you can change the synchronization preferences for your iPod to include all TV Shows, rather than just the unwatched ones.
To do this, simply connect your iPod, and choose it from the iTunes Source List on the left-hand side of your screen. You can find the synchronization settings for TV Shows under the “TV Shows” tab, from which you can choose to select only the most recent unwatched episodes, or all recent episodes regardless of whether they’ve been watched or not.
Once you change these settings, then the next time you sync your iPod, the appropriate TV Show episodes will be copied back onto your iPod. If you choose to sync ALL rather than UNWATCHED, then episodes of a show will remain on your iPod regardless of whether you have watched them or not.
More information on managing video content in your iTunes library and synchronization to your iPod can be found in our Complete Guide to Managing iTunes Videos.