I have recently added a number of songs to my iTunes playlist (all mp3s). When syncing them over to my iPhone I get an error saying that 'X track cannot be played on this iPhone'.

What could be the reason for this? The file isn't from the iTunes store so I don't think DRM on the track.

What could be the issue?

up vote 1 down vote accepted
+50

iTunes might be refusing to sync the tracks because they use an encoding format that it knows isn't supported on iOS devices. As an example, the iPhone 5s technical specification on Apple's website lists the supported bitrates for constant rate MP3s as "8 to 320 Kbps". If the bitrate for the files is outwith those limits that might be the cause of the failure to sync the files.

You could try using the "Create AAC Version" option on the right-click context menu in iTunes to create a copy in AAC format of one of the affected tracks, then attempt to sync the AAC copy, to see whether it is the format of the file that it is objecting to.

You can also confirm the bitrate of the files by right-clicking on them and choosing Get Info.

I had this issue this morning. I had to force quit iTunes, unplug my iPhone, reboot it, then reconnect it and sync the playlists that wouldn't sync earlier. It seemed to work, as I now have those playlists. I think iTunes experienced a technical issue somehow with its encoding process.

One way to confirm whether the files are really just MP3 files is to open them in QuickTime and then open the Inspector (hold ⌘ and tap I or choose from Show Inspector from Window menu). The Inspector will tell you the file type (if it recognises it).

If these are MP3 files it should say something that starts with "MPEG Layer 3" for the format. If it doesn't then either it isn't an MP3 file, or it is but one that is corrupted in some way.

Assuming these are simple MP3 files, having looked at other reports of people getting the same error message, have you tried removing the files from your iPhone and syncing them back over again. It seems people can get this error if the files are corrupted while syncing.

  • I've tried to sync it multiple times by unselecting the song and then reselecting it but it repeats the same error. I have just checked what file type it is through QT and it does say its a MPEG Layer 3, 2 Chanel – Imran Jul 5 '14 at 17:11
  • You can play the songs okay within iTunes? – Alistair McMillan Jul 8 '14 at 20:48
  • Yes on iTunes it plays without issue, but it cannot be played on any external devices – Imran Jul 9 '14 at 0:04

I'm syncing an old 2005 ipod to a newer MacBook Pro using El Capitan 10.11.4. I got this very same message. Solution was to simply quit and restart iTunes. Sync worked the second time around. Try this before creating lower bit-rate versions of all your songs!

If you're trying to get a song from your PC to your Phone, make sure you send the file (the song) to your desktop before syncing.

I had the same problem, however the problem occurred because i had moved the music to a different location (Documents to Music) within the computer,

I solved this simply by moving it back to where iTunes last saw it when i put it into iTunes and the problem seemed to be fixed.

The Following steps worked ​to fix the problem:

  1. Take a backup of the file.

  2. Delete the song from iTunes library.

  3. Sync your iPhone/iPad

  4. Replace the file at the original location

  5. Add the file back to iTunes and sync your device. ​​​​ 

Right click the song and click "make MP3 version".

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