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iTunes : How to fix error message that video file cannot be copied to iPod / iPad

I recently bought an iPod Classic and since this iPod has a large capacity, you can easily store movies on it. So I added a .MP4 video file to iTunes which was able to play the movie without a problem. So I decided to Sync the iPod but to my surprise an Error Message window showed up stating:

…was not copied to the iPod … because it cannot be played on this iPod

In this article you will learn how to solve this problem in two different ways.

Video file sync error window in iTunes

What causes the error?

iPodIt could be that iPod / iPad lacks codecs support in which movie file was encoded. Another possibility is that the resolution of the video is too high for your device to handle. Whatever the reason, the solution is to convert the video files to the appropriate format.

There are two ways to accomplish this and we are going to examine both of them. One way is to install third-party converter software but focus of this article will be how to convert video files directly from iTunes.

Convert with third-party tools

First lets briefly examine third-party converter software. There are many you can choose from, some free others not so much. Personally I have been using Free MP4 Video Converter. Whatever software you have chosen, you have to accomplish three simple steps:

  • First you convert the movie file using that tool
  • Then add that file to the iTunes library
  • Finally you have to Sync the library to your Device, just make sure that under Movie tab you have selected appropriate checkboxes so the video files will also be synced.

Convert with iTunes

Converting video directly from iTunes is very similar to the 3 steps above.
You have to do the following:

  • You add the video to the iTunes library. Then in iTunes go to the menu bar and select File > Create New Version and choose either Create iPod or iPhone Version or Create iPad or AppleTV Version depending on the device you are having.
    Option in iTunes to Convert video
    Option in iTunes to Convert video

    Whatever option you have chosen, iTunes should start converting the file as shown below:

    iTunes converting video file
    iTunes converting video file
  • After conversion has ended, you will have both video files in iTunes. Select the original video and remove it from the list.
    After iTunes conversion of the video file
    After iTunes conversion of the video file

    If you cannot tell which one is the old original file, add a Date Added to the column. Right-click on header row (where you have Name, Time, Genre, Rating,…) and select Date Added.

  • Now all that is left is to Sync your iPod / iPad.
    Note: If the video is not added after the syncing, with Device selected go to Movies tab and check if you have checkbox selected for Sync Movies and that the movie file has also been selected.

If you prefer some other third-party converter tool, drop a comment and tell us about it.

I hope you have found this article useful.


  • Thanks for this. I have had this problem for years and using the itunes converter worked perfectly. First website i’ve ever seen that actually offered a working solution.

  • What version of iTunes was used for this article? I have 10.7 and “Create New Version” does not appear on the File menu.

      • I have the same problem. The only things I see when I go to file are: New, Library, iTunes Store, Add file to Library, Get info, Switch to Miniplayer, Preferences, Show Menu Bar, and Exit. What do you suggest I do? : )

        • Option “Create New Version” is under File in Menu Bar, so from options you see right now select “Show Menu Bar”. Menu Bar will appear.There you should find “Create New Version” under “File”.

  • I have a new Nano 7th Gen, iTunes ver
    I am unable to copy mp4 or m4v videos to Library.
    I’ve converted the file with AnyVideoConverter.
    All attempts result in the error “fileName was not copied to the iPod…”
    Part of the problem may be the fact that this Nano is my first purchase from Apple.

      • I recreated the mp4 file using the suggestions, but the file still would not transfer to the Library. I failed to mention I’m using a Windows Vista pc that contains the mp4 file. Does this make a difference?

  • thanks it helped me a lot other than those websites which offered me A CONVERTER to download. i was using an old computer of mine and other itunes i can’t find the Create New Version in File, but found it in Advanced. thanks for helping me:)

  • After long time of search survival worked for me, I think problem is black of ipad is not compatible with the mp4 file you are using to transfer to your ipad and that is why it is giving an error,

    all you need to do is
    1- download any converter, I have used format factory free tool.
    2- convert the mp4 movies to .MOV Extention
    3- open Itunes- click on On this ipad tab
    4- locate the file and drag and drop
    5- apply

  • In case anyone else got the issue I had, I had to add the side bar. It seems selecting video by icon did not work as the create iPad option would be greyed out. Adding the side bar (view->show sidebar) did the trick when selecting the item that way. Very weird.

  • I’m currently running iTunes

    Under ‘File’/’Create New Version’, it is greyed out. I was going to try Genie’s suggestion but I do not have a sidebar option under ‘View’. Anyone else run across this without downloading a 3rd party converter?

      • My p90X video is converted already by third party software. I added my library. It is under my home video list. But I can not either drag the video to my movie list or chose create new version( it is greyed out)

        • Try adding the file manually by going to File > Add File to Library in the Menu Bar. Then when video is added to the library, select it. Options in Create New Version should now be available.

  • Thanks for the iTunes conversion solution. I’m glad I found a website that offered the key to the problem.

  • Thank you so much for your help. The iTunes Conversion worked very well for me. Apple should reward you as an iTunes expert.
    Best wishes, Pat

  • The information you provided cleared up the problem I was having with some of my videos. Thank you for sharing. All the best to you! Mary :)

  • Hi

    I am trying to convert some itunes to the correct format for my ipod classic. when I choose the convert option in itunes, it is grayed out, even though I have the video selected? any suggestions?

    • Hi

      Were those movies purchased from the iTunes Store? If so, it is possible that you have a HD version but iTunes expects a SD version instead. I suggest try getting SD version and try again.

      I found this article explaining how to download SD version of your movies from iTunes Store. You might find it helpful.

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