What To Do If an iPod Won't Sync?

Updated February 21, 2017

The iPod from Apple is an electronic video and music playback device that syncs media from the iTunes software on your computer. Syncing is usually a painless process that performs automatically or with the press of a button on the iTunes software. If there are problems syncing your iPod, several troubleshooting steps are available to help remedy the situation.

Initial Troubleshooting

Make sure you iPod, Touch or iPhone is fully charged. Although your computer charges the iPod when plugged in via the USB cord the device will not sync if it does not have enough of a charge. If the iPod is charged, make sure the USB cord is working by trying another USB cord. Sometimes an iPod will charge from a USB cord, but will not sync if the pins on the cord, or the device itself, is damaged. Look at the bottom of your iPod to check whether the pins in the dock area are damaged in any way.

At this point, check that your iPod and iTunes software is up to date. If it is not, update the software before further troubleshooting.


If the iPod is not syncing after checking the integrity of the USB cord, reset the device. If you are using the classic style iPod or Nano, toggle the hold switch left and right then hold down the menu and centre button at the same time. The iPod will reset in 10 seconds. After the iPod has reset, plug the device into the computer. If the iPod still does not sync, try restarting the iTunes software, and failing this, restart the computer. Often background processes can cause a sync to fail. Shutting off the computer will stop these processes from running.


If the iPod is not responding even after a reset and restart, you may need to reinstall software. Reinstall iTunes first by going to the Apple website and downloading a new iTunes. If you are on a Mac, the installation button will open a .dmg file that you can click on. This will write a new version of the software over the old one, keeping all the music intact. If using Windows you will have to click the .exe file. The same sort of overwrite applies.

If the new iTunes does not solve the sync issue, you will have to restore the iPod through iTunes. Plug the iPod into the computer and click the restore button that appears in iTunes. This will erase all the information on your iPod. If using a Touch or iPhone you will be given the opportunity to back up the device. After the restore check that the iPod syncs to the computer.

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