Dealing with the iPhone 3G and iTunes 7.7.1 disappearing media bug

After being told by a friend of their frustrations with their iPhone 3G and the disappearing media when using iTunes 7.7.1, I myself was hit with the bug.  I think they jinxed me with Schroedinger’s iPhone bug:  once I knew about it, I was sure to come across it myself.  Just my luck, yesterday morning my 16GB iPhone suddenly showed no music or any other media of any kind, but still showed that I had only 1GB free.  I don’t know if this is isolated to Windows, but this is how I dealt with it.

Once upon a time, you were able to mount an ipod as a drive letter and play with the files.  This seems to be no more.   I was able to delete some movie files I had on the iPhone and was able to sync music onto to it!  Lo and behold the media appeared on the iPhone.   So how to get all that music off the iPhone to resync it and get the music recognized again?  Enter iPhoneList.

Before starting any of this, I deleted any music from my Library (they were just links to a network share after all) that was not checked, and then unchecked all the remaining music.  This cleared the database from having any references to the music files.

The iPhoneList software seems to be directly related to another program called iPhoneBrowser.  The latter is newer stuff, while the former seems to be an earlier version of the code.  The iPhoneBrowser software, which I ran across first, allows you to view all the folders in the iPhone’s filesystem and edit.  I was able to select and delete music files, but the software seems to backup every music file it touches, even for deletions.   It’s a pain to do this folder by folder as it waits about 2-5 minutes for the sync, and there were 50 folders on my iPhone.  After 3 folders I couldn’t take it anymore and found a few things that promised to mount as drive letters, but which only ended up crashing without getting to a GUI.  Once I found iPhoneList, it was a matter of doing a Select All in each of the 47 remaining folders and then Delete.  Still tedious for 50 folders, but much quicker than waiting all that time.

Then just start up iTunes.  Before the sync takes place, I can see that the space taken up on my iPhone is now just a few hundred MB.  Go ahead and check all the songs again, and sync the iPhone to get everything back on there!  Voila, it works!  Honestly, this beats screwing around with reloading iTunes and wiping the phone with older firmwares.  try this out for yourself if your iPhone suddenly decides not to play nice with the media files.  As I understand there are utilities for managing the files on the iPhone for MacOSX, so you should have a solution on that platform as well.

Meanwhile, let me take the time to recommend a really great app for accessing files on the iPhone: Datacase.  I’m really loving all these wifi enabled apps, like 1Passwd, Stanza, and now Datacase.  I like it so much, it is honestly the first iPhone app that I have paid for.  Had I been quick enough, I would have grabbed NetShare, too!


16 thoughts on “Dealing with the iPhone 3G and iTunes 7.7.1 disappearing media bug

  1. By most reports this problem is bigger than just losing media files. So while your fix maybe good for media, it may not be very helpful to folks who also cannot get their third party apps to work anymore too.

  2. The problem seems to vary widely. Some of us have crashing apps and music is ok, some the other way, and some have both awry. My fix is certainly only for those just missing the media files, but note that iphonelist also shows some of the application directories. There may be a fix in there somewhere involving removal of those files and allowing it to resync. Worth a shot for some?

  3. Problem: None of my 80 plus Apps downloading from the App store would work. Also, none of my music or videos would appear on the iPod part as well (even though iTunes (on my PC) could see them.Solution: What ended up working for me was to:1. Delete 1 app (just pick any 1 app) from the Library –> Applications section of iTunes on my PC.2. Did a Sync with my iPhone (thus removing the app from my iPhone).3. I then re-downloaded that same App I just deleted from the iTunes store on my PC.4. Did another Sync to put the app back on my iPhone.At this point all my apps were working on the iPhone and all the music and videos I had on my iPhone were now visible.The latest version of iTunes may be the issue so a temporary solution may be to go back to 7.7.0 (7.7.1 is the latest)

  4. Well my solution did not last long. Tonight my apps totally stopped responding. Restoring from a backup made 8 hrs ago.

  5. Darkfiber's suggestion worked like magic. As to what causes the problem, I am not entirely sure. Hopefully an update to either the firmware or iTunes will fix the bug. Cheers.

  6. For the record, Darkfiber's directions didn't work for me. I think we are getting different problems on the iphone that seem to manifest in the few limited ways that it can, and thus appear to be the same thing. In my case the solution disappointingly seems to be a full wipe and start from scratch. In the end it did not matter that I was on iTunes 7.7.0, although the new 2.0.2 firmware may have made it worse. Ideally I'd like to be on the 2.0.1 firmware as that ensured that my 3G worked.

  7. So now some time later, after trimming down the 75 apps on my iPhone 3G to 18 plus a 10 web links on the home screen, my backup time is much shorter and I'm not having any issues with the apps crashing. It seems like there is a bug in here somewhere, but for now my full love of the iPhone is back.

  8. I just got my wife an iphone and my son purchased one so we could all be on a single family plan and save on the monthly rate compared to the plans we had now which were spread across three different carriers. Without ever syncing to iTunes 7.7 or 7.7.1 they saw this bug with the first app they installed. However, following Darkfiber's instructions with 7.7 I was able to fix this. Thank you!

  9. iTunes 8 is out. I'm staying behind on this one for about a week, including the iPhone 2.1 firmware, just in case there are any gotchas. I'll be interested in seeing whether the issue with apps starting goes away forever and if not, then if iTunes 8 can stil help resolve it, or if we will have to still stay on 7.7 to see stability.

  10. Hi I was wondering if someone maybe could help me or is experiencing the same as me. When I delete music files thru ITunes from my I Phone the files are still visible in my I Phone and have not been deleted from the phone its self but only in ITunes! Is this a bug, and is there a fix for this?

  11. What happens if you uncheck the box next to the song and then sync? You should see the song disappear from the iPod if you have manual selection turned on for your library.

  12. none of these are working, and i cant restore, i have lots of game saved, lots of contacts, lots of notes etc etc :/…. apps work fine, its just music and videos, and the filled up with 'others' please help 😦

  13. Make sure you are on the latest firmware. This should no longer be a problem.And of course if you've Jailbroken, you're on your own.

  14. i had a great number of problems with my Appple phone.. however i tried to download these Itunes for it nothing works!!

  15. AAAAHHH! it has happened to me also! on a jailbroken firmware 2.2.1 with itunes 8!!! What to do?!?!?!

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