I have an iPod Classic from 2007 (Generation 5.5, 80GB hard drive).

Something that I've been noticing happening more and more is that some songs will play just fine but then at some point they'll just stop. The little time counter will jump to where it appears there is two seconds left in the song. And it will just sit there for several seconds and then then proceed to the next song.

And what I've noticed is that it tends to happen consistently with the songs that are problematic.

I've searched all over to figure out what might be causing this but I haven't had much lock, possibly because the symptoms are so vague ("some songs cut off", etc.)

My music collection, which is always pretty much filling the device, is 100% MP3 from a wide variety of sources (ripped, bought from Napster, etc.) and everything plays fine in Winamp on my PC so it doesn't seem as if the files themselves are completely corrupted.

My guess is that there is something about the files that the iPod is choking on but I can't figure out what that might be. If I'm lucky it's some weird tagging quirk (i.e., can be fixed in the individual files) but I really just don't know, and it seems to be happening on an increasing number of files, including files that played just fine before. Sometimes an entire album or artist will consist of files that cut off.

If this is just some known issue, do the latest iPod Classics (Generation 6, 160GB hard drives) still have this issue? I'm almost hoping that this is a sign of a dying iPod so I can upgrade :)

  • I am finding the same problem with my 80GB Classic. It is random songs that pause then skip to the next song. It does not mattter where the songs were purchased bet it iTunes, ripped from CD or acquired by other means. There is no set pattern for what songs do it. I plan to try some the suggestions. It is just annoying at this point.
    – user47161
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 15:40

5 Answers 5


The first thing to check is to see if iTunes has marked those specific songs to end early. Next, try re-encoding the song at a lower or different bitrate and syncing it to the device. Often a glitch in the file can cause iPods to skip to the next song, but the same binary file plays through on macs with better code for handling errors. Lastly, it could be error creeping into the filesystem structure on the iPod. Once you're sure you've backed up everything from the iPod, you can enter disk mode and use Disk Utility (on the mac - on Windows there are lots of disk formatting tools) to zero the drive. That will test the actual hard drive for errors and spare out any bad blocks.

enter image description here Feel free to edit this or comment if you find none of these helps narrow down the cause.

  • Last night I tried some of the stuff suggested here: superuser.com/questions/327410/… using a particular mp3 I knew had issues, but even though the utilities told me that this mp3 had issues and it fixed them, the file still cuts off. The "end early" thing is not the issue either. I'm now wondering if it's the filesystem creep issue you mention - I'll investigate that tonight. I guess the fixed mp3 was going right back onto my hard drive where the "broken" one was so maybe that's why the issue stuck around.
    – Tom Kidd
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 15:25
  • If you have a handful of songs that have the issue in exactly the same place and you can remove them and add them again to the iPod - FS issues are astronomically unlikely to be the root cause - repeatable ending is much more likely an issue in those encodings, but when all else fails, the filesystem gets blamed on the device or the computer. The other thing to try is upload that song for someone else with a similar iPod to check. That will rule out your device, HD, and filesystem in one step.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 15:53
  • I would still give re-encoding the file a try. It will rule out the file being the issue. In almost all cases the loss in quality wont even be noticeable
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 4:19

This happend to me in the past with the same model you have, though I dont think its neccessarly model specific.

The error is coming from a glitch in the music file, try converting the file to AAC and syncing the new file to your iPod, should fix the issue.

  • Won't that result in fidelity loss? I'd rather not have to convert files.
    – Tom Kidd
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 23:19
  • It depends on the original quality of the file, but strictly speaking: yes. You could convert it to a lossless format, or use an external program to convert the file to the same format & bit-rate. Unfortunately the issue resides in the ipod not being able to play a part of the song - the only way I can think of to get around this is to encode the song again (though it doesnt have to be to a different format)
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 0:20

I just posted this to the Apple support community, but thought I'd answer here, too:

I think I found a possible answer/solution: apparently the Nano can't handle 256kbps data rate. You need to covert the files from 256kbps to 128bps and the problem should go away. I've had this problem with audiobooks ever since I started getting them from Audible at the higher quality bps. At seemingly random times, the audiobook would pause for a few seconds, then continue. It had the feel of the Nano pausing or cutting off to catch up, so I can believe that this was the problem.

You can convert individual songs or audiobooks by going to Advanced>Create [Format] Version. That will save both versions of the song or audiobook.

You can also do this globally in iTunes by going to Edit>Preferences>General>Import Settings

  • 2
    No, the nano can handle any bit rate for AAC or MP3 files, and even 1411 kbps AIFF and WAV files. Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 6:56

Are these by any chance songs you either a) purchased from the iTunes Store, or b) downloaded from iTunes Match? There was a period, a few months ago, when there were lots of downloads from Apple's servers that were truncated. I blogged about it, and got lots of emails from people who had the problem.


I have found a bunch of these songs cut short and I thought maybe because I loaded too many songs at once. I have had a few that I checked on iTunes and they stopped at the same point. I deleted those and reloaded the song to the iPod playlist and that fixed the problem.

Tonight though, I found somewhere the iTunes version wasn't short, just on the iPod. So I resynched and it's fixed a few songs on the iPod, resynched again and fixed some others,... It's a 160GB classic that I got in 2012. I dont have any real answers but here's my experience with it. Frustrating because it seems like random songs to me.

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