Dear Lazyweb, what is the maximum number of tracks you can load onto an iPod 5?

I picked up a refurbished iPod 5 with 1TB of storage. I am trying this experiment because the iOS "Music" app just gets more and more annoying with every passing month. It barely seems to acknowledge that one might play music from files that one owns rather than whatever streaming clown nonsense.

Anyway, I got this iPod and then I immediately bricked it.

I verified that it was working with a few dozen songs; and then I copied around 67,000 tracks onto it, which took two days. This caused it to become permanently stuck at the white-on-black Apple logo boot screen. It would stay there for several hours, then run out of battery (even while plugged in), shut down, charge for a bit, reboot, sit at the Apple for several more hours, and repeat. The only way you can do a wipe-and-reset on these things is via iTunes / Finder, and it wouldn't even boot far enough to connect. Bricky brick brick.

Thankfully the person I bought it from let me exchange it, but I'm eager to not repeat that mistake, so my question is: how do I determine the actual maximum number of tracks I can load onto this?

If you do the same googling that I did, you will find some people saying "about 50,000", but "about" is not a real number. Further searching shows some people theorizing that the limit is based on the size of the files, not the number. These people are claiming that having album art inside the MP3 files reduces the number of files you can load. Presumably bitrate would as well?

I would like to avoid the scenario of, loading 49,000 tracks, then trying to load 5 more, then it's bricked again. If it was failing in a non-bricky way, some amount of trial and error would be fine, but this is a very unforgiving failure mode.

Anyone have experience with this?

Update: To spell out what I didn't think I had to spell out, a helpful answer here might take the form: "The actual limit is ██ MB of files. If you add up the bytes in the set of files you want to sync and it's more than that, don't." Answers of the form "buncha thousand, plus or minus 30%" would only be helpful if guessing wrong didn't permanently brick the device.

Update 2: With 32,000 songs:

  • Everything seems to work fine.
  • But Shuffle Songs takes around 25 seconds before it starts playing.
  • But Play and Next within the current shuffle set are instantaneous.

But with 33,000 songs:

  • Shuffle Songs makes it crash and reboot.
  • Play All from an Artist or Album page works.
  • Sometimes Next freezes the UI for a few seconds.
  • Play All, either via the All Songs or All Albums pages, freezes for a couple seconds then does nothing.
  • But at least it did not brick itself!

I still do not know how to determine this number other than by trial and error.

Update 3: Having used this thing for a month, I'm quite pleased with it! The sound quality is great and the battery life is gargantuan. The only downside is that it does not understand the inline buttons on my headphone cable to change volume and pause/play, so I have to actually take it out of my pocket and unlock it first, like an animal.. Still, it is 1000% less frustrating than the iOS "Music" app.

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