11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 4, 2011 5:05 PM by james039
james039 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
This topic pertains to iTunes for Windows version 10.1.1 and most likely all prior versions. At the time of this writing 10.1.1 is the latest version.

I have clearly identified a bug with the procedure iTunes uses specifically to copy Music over to the iPod and iPhone units. A detailed description with steps to reproduce follows, but first the summary: Space is gradually wasted by iTunes erroneously copying certain tracks twice! The 2nd copy is not recorded in the itunesDB file, and space wasted on these duplicate tracks is counted under "Other" in the iTunes capacity screen. It is impossible to ever retrieve this space from the portable device without doing a factory restore on the Summary screen, which of course will also wipe out all your Apps, Videos, Photos, Music, etc at the same time. Hardly an ideal workaround!!

Details:

When several tracks are to be copied to the portable device; either an iPod or an iPhone, and I have successfully reproduced this on both an iPod nano 5th Generation and an iPhone 4, sometimes a track is accidentally copied twice while, one of the selected tracks isn't copied at all. The user will notice when this occurs, that during their sync, one of their songs just seems to be missing. Syncing again will then copy the track which was missed during the last sync, but unfortunately, the 2nd copy of the track that was erroneously duplicated remains. The track which is duplicated appears in the hidden folder on your iPod file system as both the AAAA.mp3 filename structure and the <track name>.mp3 file name. Oddly enough, when this bug occurs, the itunesDB does not associate to the AAAA.mp3 like it normally would, but to the <track name>.mp3 and the AAAA.mp3 file is just wasted space on your device which cannot be recovered without manually deleting this file (a task which is impossible on an iPhone without hacking the device).

It is easy to reproduce this. This is very obvious if you start with an empty, new iPod. Sync a bunch of tracks to your iPod (the more the better), in fact this cannot happen if you only sync 1 track at a time, then check to see if the number of tracks is equal to the number of tracks that should be there. i.e. did the sync seem to just miss 1 or 2 tracks?
Make sure "Enable disk mode" is checked for your device, and browse to (Drive Letter):\iPod_Control\Music\ and you will eventually find that exact number of files which have actual track names instead of the standard AAAA.mp3 type filename. Next, in iTunes, remove ALL songs and any other forms of audio (such as podcasts), from the device. Your music folder techincally should now be empty, but as you browse through the hidden Music folder in the device, you will stumble upon a couple of files that remain. These are the orphaned files I've been talking about.

The effect:

Over time, with repeated additions and removal of songs from one's device, these files accumulate. The iPod owner, none the wiser, will start to wonder why "Other" in the iTunes capacity display is continuing to grow. I was highly suspicious after cleaning out my iPod entirely, that "Other" was still showing 1.6GB!! I browsed through the filesystem wondering why which led me to discover tons of various music files in the music folder which shouldn't have been there (after all, iTunes shows no music stored on this device).

The Fix:

Some sort of bug is causing this erroneous duplicate copy to be generated, and then the database to actually reference the erroneous copy instead of the AAAA.mp3 copy. One workaround iTunes could actually build in some sort of enumeration function that scans all of it's internal F## folders in the Music folder looking for these orphaned files, and simply erase them if they are not contained in the itunesDB. Pushing out this type of behavior into a new iTunes release would also fix the problem for all the people who've already racked up GBs of wasted space as that space would suddenly become available again for apps, tracks, and other files.

Asus M51 Laptop, Windows 7, iTunes 10.1.1 Sync Issue wasting iPod disk space
  • 1. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    Valyk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have the same issue with a brand new iPod Touch 4G. I'm using iTunes 10.1.1.4 on Windows 7.

    I now have .54 Gb of "Other" space allocated. There are almost only audio files on my iPod...

    Every time I do a Sync after adding new files to iTunes, there are some that are missing on the iPod and I have to Sync multiple times before all files are copied properly. The duplicate files are created at the same time...
  • 2. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    northamerican Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    i have an iphone 3g on osx 10.6 with itunes 10.1.2.

    i have this problem. it's come back even after restoring like new. i have this podcast that is quite long (4 to 6 hours per episode) and itunes copied a single podcast file 3 times into my F0, F1, F2 folders giving me 1.6gb of 'other space' that could not be removed in any way from itunes.

    i solved this by using 'iphone explorer' (mac freeware): http://www.macroplant.com/iphoneexplorer/
    and manually deleting the files. as soon as i returned to itunes, my 'other' space was freed right away.

    i know have a accumulated 0.62 gb of 'other' space. it must be my music library. although neatly arranged, it is a big music library. and with the way itunes and ipod sort out music databases (which appears to be very convoluted and kind of old) this isn't entirely unexpected.
  • 3. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    holdrege Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    This is a terrible Itunes bug that has been reported to Apple for at least 4 years now, but they don't seem interested in fixing. It's really bad for people who often listen to Podcasts. I sync roughly 6 times a week as new podcasts come out almost every day. Each sync adds roughly .02GB to my "Other" space on my Iphone. It's quite unprofessional for Apple to let a bug like this go on for so many years.
  • 4. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    geraldhe1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It doesn't seem as if Apple is going to address this soon.

    I have tried the "restore" function in iTunes without success. I wonder if reformatting the drive via Windows would work? That assumes that the sludge buildup is occurring in the pod and not in the files on the laptop/pc. Is that right?

    Where exactly is the sludge/file build up? Is it on the Pod or on the computer?

    So "manually deleting the files" might be the best option.

    From the link you sent it looks the "explorer" tool is for iPad/Phone/Touch tool and not for iPods. Is that right? Is there an iPod version?

    Whether that's right or not can you help me figure out which/what files to delete? I was thinking of a file search in Windows using your advice on what gets deleted.

    Thanks
  • 5. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (46,590 points)
    Deleting everything via Explorer or reformatting the iPod's hard drive before restoring should be safe and will recover all the space used by orphaned files. Note that you should still expect to have some "other" over time as iTunes doesn't count the space used for the library files, artwork and other supporting files within any of the other categories. What would be nice is some form of garbage collection that could also repair the artwork cache without needing to restore the device.

    tt2
  • 6. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    holdrege Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Yes, restore works for me. But should I have to restore every few weeks? I did a restore a 2 or 3 weeks ago and already my "other" space is .82GB. I hope Apple can address this terrible bug.
  • 7. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (46,590 points)
    holdrege wrote:
    Yes, restore works for me. But should I have to restore every few weeks? I did a restore a 2 or 3 weeks ago and already my "other" space is .82GB. I hope Apple can address this terrible bug.

    How much data is on the iPod? Expect to have 1-2% of your data as other to accommodate the library, artwork cache etc. If it is significantly bigger than that then there would seem to be a problem. Make sure your AV software is ignoring both your media folders and the iPod's drive and if possible disable write-behind caching.

    tt2
  • 8. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    holdrege Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It's a 16GB iPhone4. And like I said above, the "other" space grows quite a bit after every sync. This is the bug this thread is referring to. Not legitimate file space.
  • 9. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    geraldhe1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hey Turingtest2, thanks for weighing in.

    I think the problem lies inside iTunes. Earlier today I took the pod to an Apple store. They were flummoxed and their best suggestion was to "let" me buy a replacement 120GB.

    Rather than mess around when they had no idea I agreed.

    Armed with a brand new pod I started syncing the 20,000+ songs onto the new pod. On a first pass I added play lists with about 70GB of music and it seemed to work. I saw a miserly 0.2 GB of other.

    I then ticked some more play lists and it all went sour - the capacity bar now telling me that I was over capacity and had 2.2GB of "other.

    It certainly seems as if the issue is with my copy of iTunes rather than the hard drive of the Pod.

    Any suggestions?
  • 10. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    geraldhe1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Two steps forward - one step back.

    Thanks to insight from others here I enabled disk use and went to [drive letter]/iPod/control/music

    There I saw a long list of folders called F00, F01, F02 etc.

    In my case there were 49 of them with roughly 400 files in each folder.

    The bulk of the files were named ABCD.mp4 down to ZYXW.mp4.

    In each of the fifty folders were, as predicted above, a handful of song files labeled as such - ie borntorun.mp3 or iseered.mp4

    I opened each and every one of the folders, deleted the files with real names and synced the pod.

    On my 120 GB the yellow "other" fell dramatically, down to under 1 GB. Which is under 1% of the total. Not great but acceptable.

    So far, so good.

    Now that I had fresh space I set about adding new songs to the pod.

    Imagine my disappointment when I rechecked the F00 to F49 folders and saw that song name files had crept back in. Not as many, and I was able to delete them quickly and keep "other" under 1 GB. But still. It's like having crab grass or rodents.

    Is there any hint that iTunes might address the underlying cause?

    In the gripping process of deleting four or five files from each folder I noted that some specific files came up again and again. Just for laughs I'm going to delete and re-add those songs in case that helps.
  • 11. Re: iTunes sync bug causes space on iPod/iPhone to be gradually lost over time
    james039 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It would appear that iTunes 10.2 now scans devices automatically and cleans up this mess. I just synced my iPhone 4 and Other dropped from ~2GB to 370MB!!

    I can't say for sure if the origin of this problem was resolved as well, but at least iTunes is now cleaning up after itself.