7G Nano says "no music," but iTunes disagrees


New member
iTunes shows exactly what I expect to be on my 7th Generation Nano—a whole bunch of music—but when I try to play from the Nano, the Nano says "No Music". When I check "About" under "General" in Settings, it shows 0 songs, 0 videos, 0 photos, yet only 3.1GB available out of 14.7GB capacity. So something's there, but it's not seeing it.

I have reset the Settings, and reset the iPod multiple times (hold Sleep/Wake and Home until reboot), but no change.

Seemed to be working fine just an hour or so before "No Music." In my last (properly working) session, I used Music Rescue to copy a couple songs to my Mac, then used iTunes to put a couple other songs on the Nano.

Any ideas?


Staff member
It sounds like a person who used to have a generic MP3 player tried to put music on an iPod using the same methods as the MP3 Player. As you can see this does not work.

With an iPod you can't just open Windows Explorer or Finder to drag music from your computer and drop it on the iPod, even though it lets you do that by default. The reason is the iPod has 2 modes. USB Drive mode, and iPod mode.

Dragging music or documents using a file manager and dropping them onto the iPod is taking advantage of USB Drive mode. Basically using the iPod like a thumb drive. This was useful years ago when thumb drives were small and files were huge. But the music that is put on this way is not accessible by the iPod. If you have done this, then you need to use a file manager to navigate to the iPod and remove the music that was put on this way. It uses space, but the iPod can't see it.

The correct way to put music on an iPod is through iTunes. The primary assumption is that ALL of your music is in iTunes, if it is not, then copy it to your computer now, and load it into iTunes.

There are 2 modes (technically 3) of use with iTunes. Manual management (drag from the Music section of iTunes and drop onto the iPod) or the Sync mode, where you configure iTunes to put music onto the iPod, and iTunes automatically syncs data between itself and the iPod.

I use the Sync mode which can be done as a full sync (sync all your music) or sync by specified criteria (Playlist, Artist, Album, Genre...the 3rd mode).

Plug your iPod into your computer that has iTunes on it. On the top bar of buttons you should see your iPod appear. Click on it. This will take you to the general settings for the iPod. Near the bottom there will be check boxes for Manually Manage Music and Videos and Enable Disk Use. I personally uncheck both of these. If you plan to use the drag and drop method make sure the Manually Manage setting is checked. Since we all have big thumb drives now, i recommend to uncheck Enable Disk Use. Click Apply. This may prompt you if it is OK to erase the data that is currently on the drive, assuming you have your music in iTunes already, it is OK to delete these files.

Now in the left hand column, under your iPod, click Music. The right side should have changed. Make sure that Sync Music is checked. Then choose whether you want to sync your entire library (all your music needs to be smaller than the iPod storage) or Sync specific Playlists, Artists, Albums and Genres. If you only have 17 GB of music in iTunes, then selecting to sync your entire library is good and click Apply.

Wait for the music to be transferred, you can see the progress in the top center bar of iTunes. Once complete, you can unplug your iPod and find the music and play it.

If you still don't see music on your iPod, let me know and we'll go through a Restore process.


New member
Whew, cjmnews, how generous you’ve been to dedicate so much time to writing this. Thank you.

To answer your implied questions: (1) No, I’ve never had any other MP3 device—only iPod since Day 1. This Nano is merely the latest in a string. And (2) No, I never drag files directly from my SSD onto the Nano.

Nor do I sync the Nano to my iTunes library, because I manage 3 iPods and 2 iPads from my Mac, and all of them have different stuff on them, and I don’t want all that stuff on my Mac. So it's manual all the time: I don’t drag files directly onto the Nano, but rather I drag files from my SSD onto the Nano via the left side of the iTunes window, never adding the files to the iTunes library. (I hope that's not a bad idea, because I don't like having more than one copy of a file scattered over my SSD, and that's what adding to the iTunes library does. I often need to do non-iTunes things with those files, so I need to keep the non-iTunes-library copies in handy places.)

I've been hoping there's some magic that will bring my Nano to its senses, but I sense you're saying that I'd better consider the Nano to be brain-wiped. So should I restore it to factory settings and recopy the files onto it? (They’re all backed up.) Not the end of the world, just an annoyance, I'm guessing (although I've never before done a restore). Is there more to Restore than clicking the “Restore iPod” button (which I’m not going to do until I hear it’s okay to do it)?

Thank you again for responding.


Staff member
OK, so you are using Manually Manage Music and Videos mode.

You never know if the poster is experienced, or not. You seem experienced.

Your method of dragging the music files from Windows Explorer or Finder onto the iPod is a perfectly good way to get your music on without loading it into iTunes. I just tried it out for my iTunes 12.7 experiment with the lack of ringtones support in iTunes and syncing to my iPhone.

The iPod seems to be brain dead and needs to be restored. All that is needed is to click the restore button and wait.
Then enable Manually Manage Music and Videos, disable Disk Use, click Apply.
Drag your music to your iPod in iTunes.
Disconnect and play.

The backup message is my signature. Lots of people do a variation of what you do, put the music on their manually managed iPod, then they delete the music off of their SSD (back then HDD) and then the iPod hiccups (like yours did) and they lose all their music.