Why an iPod Skips Songs

By James Wright

A young woman is listening to music on her ipod.
i Janie Airey/Photodisc/Getty Images

Apple Inc.'s iPod started as an MP3 player, but gradually grew to perform a variety of tasks, such as browsing the Internet, playing videos and browsing images and other digital media. The iPod line now offers a variety of models, but they all run a similar system designed for audio playback. Occasionally an iPod may skip tracks, causing certain songs on your playlist to remain unplayable. This skipping can be the result of a number of possible errors, but most can be remedied without any need for technical assistance.

Reset Your iPod

An iPod is complex, and therefore can be rather delicate. Occasionally, system errors may occur that can be solved by resetting the device, much as you might restart a computer to fix a bug. Resetting the iPod is essentially a restart of the device's operating system, and can prevent the iPod from skipping over songs. How exactly you reset the device depends on the type of iPod you have, so look in the Resources section for a link that explains the process for each model.

Update iTunes and iPod

In the past, there have been some bugs that have caused iPods to skip songs and other audio playback bugs, but many of these errors were fixed in updates and patches to both the iTunes application and the iPod systems. Run iTunes to check for updates, then plug in your iPod to check if there are any available updates for that as well. Install any if available, as they may fix issues applicable to your iPod's skipping problem.

Re-Sync Your iPod

A botched or incomplete synchronization can cause certain audio tracks to register on your iPod, but not actually contain the data they need to play. This may happen if you unplug your iPod too quickly, in the middle of a sync or before iTunes says it's safe. This will result in the songs being listed on your playlists, but being skipped over once selected or reached. Re-syncing your iPod can correct the problem by putting the complete music files back on your device.

Check iTunes Songs

Occasionally, some song files on your computer might be moved or get deleted by accident. When this happens, they will remain on iTunes, but will not play. This will also mean that the songs on your iPod will be affected. Check the skipping songs in your iTunes library to make sure they can be played correctly on your computer. If you need to, relocate the song or re-import it into your library, then re-sync your iPod.

Restore Your iPod

Some problems cannot be fixed by anything short of restoring your iPod completely, which will wipe all the data on it, then re-sync it and update it. If your data has become corrupted, and a simple reset or re-sync won't help, restoring it is a valid option. While it does wipe your data, it will automatically re-sync itself with your iTunes library with settings intact, so don't worry about having to set up every playlist or image library again. Restoring an iPod is typically a last resort for many because it is a time-consuming process.