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Unknown error (-54) while syncing ipod

38020 Views 29 Replies Latest reply: Nov 27, 2007 10:35 PM by ilovemyapple RSS
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geoffs11 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Aug 13, 2007 8:54 AM
I just got a brand 30gb video ipod. I was syncing it up but I kept getting the message "Unable to sync "my ipod" an unknown error occurred (-54)."

I have searched support website but there is no mention of this error. Does anyone know why this occurred, and what I can do to fix it? Only about 2/3 of my music library has transferred over. I have attempted to both reset and restore my ipod to no avail.

Thank you!
Apple ibook, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • PhillyPhan Level 5 Level 5 (5,440 points)
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    Aug 13, 2007 9:14 AM (in response to geoffs11)
    I'm suspecting that something's wrong with your library. Hold down the Option (Alt) key while starting iTunes and follow directions to create a new (empty) library. Import one or two "safe" songs into that library. By "safe," I mean something that you've purchased from iTMS or copied from a CD. Then, try to sync that library to the iPod. If it works, our next step is to investigate your other library to find out what's wrong.
    1.25G eMac, Mac OS X (10.4.10), 10MP, iPod Gen-5
  • sarahbarcia2750 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 13, 2007 10:52 AM (in response to geoffs11)
    Yeah, I've run across a similar error. No matter which of my three authorized computers I've tried, I keep getting the error message: "iPod cannot be synced. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable." I've tried all of the troubleshooting "R's" except Restore because I have 3500 songs and really don't want to erase them all if restoring the ipod doesn't help. Can someone help me out?? Are there any other possible ways to fix this problem??
    Windows XP
  • David Runyon Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 14, 2007 5:49 PM (in response to sarahbarcia2750)
    I just had success resolving a syncing problem today. When iTunes told me it couldn't sync due to unknown error, I went to the "photos" tab, unchecked any/all syncing of photos. Then I hit apply. It warned me, then ERASED all of my photos on the iPod (a GOOD thing in this case). Instantly the sync continued of my tunes, etc. It finished successfully -- then I went back and re-activated the photo syncing, and it then re-imported all of my photos. Everything is good.

    Seems like there's a confusion of the brain involving photos.
    G5 Dual 2G PowerPC - 30G Video IPod, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • PhillyPhan Level 5 Level 5 (5,440 points)
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    Aug 14, 2007 5:52 PM (in response to sarahbarcia2750)
    Why not try the restore and then resync while eating dinner or watching TV?
    1.25G eMac, Mac OS X (10.4.10), 10MP, iPod Gen-5
  • sarahbarcia2750 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 15, 2007 5:59 AM (in response to geoffs11)
    I tried erasing all of my photos because it seemed as though as soon as i put them on, the trouble started. That didn't fix the problem unfortunately. And when it comes to restoring, i have 3500 songs on it and if i restore and it still doesn't fix the problem, I might as well just throw my ipod in the trash. i don't want to pay another $200 for them to fix it. But I guess that's all i can really try. I was just wondering if anyone else had that exact same error come up on them...
    Thank you for your help
    Windows XP
  • deggie Level 8 Level 8 (44,860 points)
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    Aug 15, 2007 6:47 PM (in response to sarahbarcia2750)
    Have you tried running Scandisk on the drive your iTunes Library is on? And while you are at it, run it on the iPod.
    PowerMac G5 Dual 2.5Ghz, Mac OS X (10.4.10), Powerbook G5 15", AEXs, US iPod set (Red Nano, White 5G, Blue Shuffle)
  • jclough Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 16, 2007 3:46 PM (in response to deggie)
    I am also having the same problem. When I connect my iPod, it will sync a few songs and then the -54 error appears, and it won't sync anymore.

    - I've turned off syncing for photos, videos (I was also getting an error when syncing video podcasts), movies, and TV shows.
    - I've restored and resynced my iPod a couple of times.
    - I'm using iTunes 7.3.2
    - A scan disk is run on my iPod every time it's connected.

    This only started occurring after upgrading to iTunes 7.3
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.4.10), 5th gen video iPod 30g
  • tradclimber Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 16, 2007 10:55 PM (in response to geoffs11)
    OK. This has been wearing me out for a couple of weeks. I finally took the time tonight to figure out what's going on... Look at this link for the definitions of the error codes.

    Error code 54 indicates "Software lock on file; Not a subscriber"

    I figured out that there is a locked file somewhere that was causing the problems. As painful as it was, I restored my iPod and then unchecked all of the blocks so that nothing would sync. I created a new playlist, manually dragged about 4 or 5 artists at a time into it and then synced my iPod. After a while the error 54 popped up. I went into the iTunes folders of the last five that I just synched and looked for a locked file. Sure enough, there was 1 that was locked. I unlocked the file and kept going down the list 4-5 artists at a time to make sure there were no others. Turns out that the one file is what kept causing this error and prevented me from synching my entire library onto my iPod.

    I don't think a restore is necessary to do this but you'll probably have to remove all of the songs/pics/vids from your iPod. I imagine a locked file whether a photo, song or movie will cause this error. The whole process took me an hour to go through. I don't have a big library so I feel for those of you who do. It was a better alternative to checking each of the files in finder because the dreaded "54" would pop up when sync encountered the locked file.

    Anyway, worked for me and I hope it helps some of you.
    iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • byronbug Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 19, 2007 11:28 PM (in response to tradclimber)
    Yes - the locked files are the problem - for me anyway.
    I didn't have many - but they were upsetting itunes and in turn upsetting me beyond after (yet another) restore and 2 hours of search and destroy, I am able to sync all my ipods again...this only started happening after the last itunes update of course...

    I had nearly given up on itunes and ipods forever - until I read the above fix.
    Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • artain25 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 20, 2007 4:03 AM (in response to byronbug)
    I have the same problem... but I have a large library 4000 Songs +.

    This started happening since I moved my library onto an external HDD. I've gotten around it so far by hitting sync again after the error and it would keep syncing, but the error comes up about 100 times. How do I unlock all files or fix this without going through the whole library? How do files get locked in the first place?

    iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • jclough Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 20, 2007 9:07 PM (in response to tradclimber)
    Yep, I found some files that were locked. I unlocked them, and now my iPod syncs just fine.

    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Memo Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)
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    Aug 20, 2007 9:42 PM (in response to artain25)
    The locking happens when you transfer some files from different volumes, the easiest way to "unblock" but also a little time consuming (if you have large libraries) is to select the drive or volume where your music is, the use the command+f option to bring spotlight, thenin kind just leave music and it will display all your music, then by selecting 3000 songs and then command + I and deselect the block option. Keep doing it until you're done... I went trough 56,908 songs today in 2 hours in a MacBook Pro.
    iMac G5, Mac OS X (10.4.3)
  • Joe Eversole Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 22, 2007 10:59 PM (in response to geoffs11)
    If you are a Terminal geek like me, here's the easy way to find which one of your 3500 songs is the cause:

    just:~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music joe$ ls -loR | grep uchg
    -rwx------ 1 joe joe uchg 6881143 Feb 22 22:38 09 Wrecking Ball.m4a

    ls = List files
    -l = long format
    -o = show flags (immutable flag, in this case)
    -R = recursive, all subdirectories
    | = take the output from that command and give it to the next command.
    grep = searches for text
    uchg = the "Immutable" flag. This is "Locked" when viewed in Finder.

    Found the file in finder and unlocked it. Sync completed successfully. Only took 2 hours to find the cause of the -54 error...
    Black Macbook 2.16GHz (Mid 2007), Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • jzeitler Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 25, 2007 6:26 PM (in response to Joe Eversole)
    You, my friend, are a god among men. Tracked down seven locked files from an almost 19,000-track library in a matter of seconds, compared to the hours I'd already wasted on other theories. (Not without coincidence, it was Linkin Park that was causing my iPod to drive me to cutting myself.) Works like a charm now, and I can go back to using my byzantine Smart Playlists setup. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Mac mini (PPC), Mac OS X (10.4.10)
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