I have several videos that are taking up a lot of room on my iPod Classic, and I would like to delete them.

The problem is that these videos do not show up in any of the listings from which I can delete them; this "listings" I'm referring too are Music, Movies, Podcasts, and Books. (They do show up in playlists, but this does not help my cause; selecting these videos through such at list at most lets me delete them from the playlist.)

FWIW, the media kind for all these videos is iTunes U. I am not able to change this media kind in the Get Info > Options dialog, because the option is grayed out. (For no other item in this iPod do I see a grayed out Media Kind option in this dialog.)

My question boils down to:

How can delete these "zombie" videos?

Possible complications:

  1. The version of iTunes I'm using is 9.2.1. (Version 10 was hatred-at-first-sight for me, and I have never given it a second chance.)
  2. The iPod is hugely out-of-sync relative to my main iTunes library. I have disabled automatic sync-ing, because my main iTunes library is far bigger than I could fit in this iPod, even though, over the years, I have deleted stuff from my main iTunes library that I still have in my iPod. (In general, I find iTunes' sync-ing behavior too bewildering, therefore disabling automatic sync-ing is the only alternative I consider safe.)
  3. If I select the iPod icon in iTunes, and choose the iTunes U tab, all the controls on the resulting screen are grayed out. (This is possibly related to [1] or [2] above)1.


1 Complication #3 above suggests that I may be able to get some traction if I were to enable synchronization, since this could (conceivably) result in a re-enabling of the currently disabled iTunes U tab. Unfortunately, doing so would, of course, set off synchronization, which I most definitely do not want. One possibility would be to create a new empty iTunes library, start iTunes with this empty library as its library, and then enable synchronization. This would ensure that nothing gets copied from my laptop to the iPod (or so I would hope), but it does not guarantee that the contents of the iPod would be left untouched. (How do I know that the sync-ing wont cause the entire contents of my iPod to be wiped out?) Of course, in any case, even if I can turn-on auto sync-ing safely, it's anyone's guess whether this will lead to an ultimate solution to the problem of deleting the unwanted files.

  • You don't state what kind of iPod this is (Touch, Shuffle, Nano, Classic, Mini), what generation it is, or what version of the OS it is running. This can make a difference.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 19:16
  • @MarkThalman: iPod Classic (160GB). Sorry for the omission.
    – kjo
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


On an iPod Classic there is no way to delete them from the device. It needs to be connected to iTunes to do it the official way. The problem will be that it has been so long since your last sync that it may make too many changes to your iPod. You could connect it to iTunes and cancel the sync, then go to the iPod's main page and select to sync manually. At that point you should be able to update the media on your iPod in a more controlled way.

  • Thanks, that's very helpful! Syncs worry me, frankly, because they can easily result in loss of data... Is there a way for me to cancel the automatic sync before it does any damage? More importantly, I've never done a manual sync, so it's not obvious to me how to maneuver a manual sync into deleting the unwanted files. My guess is that I'd have to start iTunes with a library that did not contain the files I want deleted, and somehow telling iTunes to "sync" (i.e. delete) only those files in the iPod. Is this what you were thinking?
    – kjo
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 20:28
  • 1
    A manual sync is just dragging files from the library to the iPod or deleting them from the iPod using the iTunes interface. You can't keep the automatic sync from doing anything, but you can minimize what it does by canceling it while it is starting the sync. You need to watch the top status view in iTunes and press the circled X on the right of that view as soon as it appears. You are better off using the iTunes library it was last synched to, otherwise it will ask if you want to delete everything from the iPod.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 20:37

On iOS devices, iTunes U content is managed through Apple’s dedicated iTunes U app. Downloading it to your device is your best bet for getting rid of your “zombie” videos if they are of iTunes U type (which you can’t change, as it is a category entirely under Apple’s control – the “U” stands for “University”, and adding content is limited to registered education partners).

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