My iPod never finishes syncing and only syncs audio, not pictures or video. Any ideas as to how I can fix it?

My iPod classic 160GB worked well for a couple of years. I used to sync a lot of photos at full resolution to it, but this recently stopped working after I moved to Windows 7.

  • iTunes is on latest version -
  • iPod software is up to date - 1.1.2
  • Windows 7 is fully up to date and patched

The symptoms are that the iPod will start to sync, all audio (music and podcasts will sync successfully) but the syncing will then just appear to continue - itunes message: Syncing iPod. Do not Disconnect. This sync never completes - I have left it trying for days.

I have tried resetting the iPod using the Restore button, whereupon it restarts sync from default options and again will sync audio, but nothing else.

I suspect that something has gone wrong on the hard-drive - either a bad sector or some corrupt data. Is there a process I can go through to fix this? E.g. SpinRite or a format? If so how do I go about formatting an iPod and will it be recognised as an iPod after format and work as normal?

Any advice on what to try next much appreciated?


I have eliminated problems with the files, PC or iTunes as they sync fine to other iPods. I have also eliminated the cable by trying different cables which work with other iPods.

What I'd really like to know is if there is any way to more fundamentally wipe the iPod safely, attempt to repair any bad sectors on the hard drive and then start from scratch. Anyone ever managed this?

  • try buying not-evil products :P – o0'. May 7 '10 at 9:37
  • 2
    Thanks, but not much help in my current situation. – Sam Meldrum May 7 '10 at 11:22

Maybe this will help:

  1. Make backup copy of your music, pictures, anything you were syncing.
  2. Remove itunes using the add remove feature.
  3. Delete all your music files, pictures ect. (the whole thing you backed up)
  4. Restart computer.
  5. Copy music and pictures ect back from the backup copy.
  6. Reinstall itunes, do updates.
  7. Re import all your music and pictures (These might be handy instructions:http://ipod.about.com/od/itunesbasics/ss/adding_folders.htm)
  8. Download anything you have purchased on your ipod and is not in your itunes.
  9. Then try and sync.

If this does not work, remove your pictures from the sync process and try again.
If this does not work, music/app might be corrupt and you might want to delete all your music (again) and download it, I have read they let you do this ONCE (http://www.theinternetpatrol.com/yes-you-can-download-all-of-your-itunes-purchases-again/)

The process is about trying to isolate the problem. This is what I would do if you asked me to come over and fix it for you.

Hope this helps!

  • Not really practical. I have other devices which are syncing fine to itunes so I'm pretty sure it is the iPod, not iTunes, the PC or the content on the PC. I really need a solution that addresses the issues with the iPod itself. – Sam Meldrum May 7 '10 at 13:05
  • Wow, there are other ipod using same data and sync configurations successfully, and you have done a factory restore? Try using same cable as the other successfully synced ipods? – RandyMorris May 7 '10 at 13:24

So, I found the answer on wikihow

Steps to format repeated here for posterity. I haven't yet tried this, so will update depending on what success I get.

Formatting an iPod classic

First put your iPod into disk mode. Then...

For Mac OSX:

  1. Open the disk utility, find your iPod (left hand side) and highlight it
  2. Go to Tab Partition, click either Delete or Partition, if fails, skip this step and go to 3.
  3. Go to Tab Erase , choose Volume Format as MAC OS Extended (Journaled), and click Erase, again if this fails, skip it and go to 4.
  4. Same as step 3. but open the Security Options.... and choose Zero Out Data before clicking Erase. It will take 1 to 2 hours to complete or more, depending on your iPod capacity.

For Windows:

  1. Go to folder My Computer
  2. Find your iPod there and right click on the iPod
  3. Choose Format. Ensure the settings are at Default and that Quick Format is not checked
  4. Now select Format
  5. In case you do not manage to do a Format on a window computer, try to use some 3rd party disk utility software, Such as Partition Magic.
  6. If Formatting through MyComputer does not seem to work, try going under Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management. There you can select the Volume (iPod) right click and format it.


This worked in so far as it didn't kill my iPod and allowed me to do a restore. The iPod still never completes its sync however.

For Crazy People only

You may want to try the hit it with a hammer approach...

Disclaimer: You have to be crazy to try this. Treating precision electronics in this way may appear to make a difference but will almost inevitably lead to worse problems in the long run... NOT RECOMMENDED


I've tried a few methods - from running checkdisk in windows, to creating a new fat file system in linux. for some reason nearly everything seems to fail. To make things worse, the 'old' 160 gb ipod uses a non standard drive which can't be replaced easily.

You're free to try whatever methods you wish, but chances are you'd be wasting your time, unfortunately. If something DOES work, let me know.


Well, I've done some research seeing as though I'm in the same boat as you. Obviously you can use a third party utility to fix (or attempt to fix) these bad sectors. However, if you restart your iPod classic ( Menu + Center Button at the same time) then as soon as you see the Apple logo hold the center button and the back button and then you can check the pending sectors on your iPod.

enter image description here

I found out that if you have pending sectors they are just waiting to be re-mapped so there kind of pushed to the side.

  • Are the pending sectors going to solve them selves? If no, how can I solve them? If yes, does the iPod need to be booted in the iPod os (or however it's called) – tim687 Apr 6 '15 at 13:04

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