iPod not playing certain tracks
January 3, 2006 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Why won't my iPod play some songs that it used to play?

On a recent car trip I was playing my iPod (4G, 20GB, exactly 1 year old) on shuffle, and I noticed that it was skipping some songs. The song would come up on the display, think for a second, and then go on to the next song. The timer never changed from 0:00 when this happened.

Fooling around with it later (not in shuffle mode) I found that some entire albums wouldn't play, while on other albums only a few songs wouldn't play.

Here's the weird part though: I plugged the iPod into my PC and took a look at iTunes (because I thought I might have deleted the music that wouldn't play and just forgotten about it) and all the tracks play fine from there. Meaning not from my PC's music library, but actually playing them off the iPod through iTunes. And it gets better: after I've played a song off the iPod in iTunes, it works again when the iPod is on it's own. In fact if I play the first track from an album through iTunes, then about the first half of the album starts working again when the iPod is on it's own (but about the second half will still just skip through).

I have done a reset of the iPod, and the HDD check from diagnostic mode came up clean. These are all CBR 128 MP3's that I personally ripped from CD's.

What's going on here? Any help is appreciated.
posted by Who_Am_I to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Sounds tricky. I would do a full restore using the latest version of the iPod Updater software, and re-sync all of my songs if I were in your position.
posted by bwilms at 8:09 AM on January 3, 2006

Well, I can't really help but I can say I've noticed the same thing. At least with individual songs - haven't noticed it happening to whole albums before. Seems to me I've fixed it by re-loading the affected songs onto the iPod from iTunes. But I don't really know what causes it either.
posted by dnash at 8:11 AM on January 3, 2006

Something almost similar happened to me with the same model, at about the same age, and it turned out to be the start of a failing hard drive.
posted by easternblot at 8:14 AM on January 3, 2006

Definitely do a restore. That said, it sounds like your hd is beginning it's death throes.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:35 AM on January 3, 2006

I have had this happen before. I didn't investigate too much, but ipod's db is separate from itunes, so sometimes, the song may be there, but the ipod wont read it. This makes sense, but it DOES show the song for like a second, so then how does it get the song info.
posted by _zed_ at 8:57 AM on January 3, 2006

Well, I did an update of the firmware (I was one version behind the most recent), and I think the problem has gone away. A hard drive failure seems unlikely to me since I was able to play the tracks on the iPod through iTunes. At least that's what I'm hoping because my warranty expired two weeks ago. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
posted by Who_Am_I at 12:17 PM on January 3, 2006

Who_Am_I: the iPod gives up trying to play a track if the disk stops responding for more than a few seconds, while iTunes will wait until the OS-specified timeout interval (which could be several minutes). That explains the discrepancy.

A failing hard drive is most likely your problem, but if you use third-party software to load songs onto it (like EphPod), that could be a culprit as well. Some third-party software titles will copy the file to the iPod's hard drive without truncating very long file names, and this can sometimes cause the iPod to take too long to access the file and end up timing out as a result.
posted by helios at 12:41 PM on January 3, 2006

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