Something that’s been annoying me over the last few weeks is that a couple of movies I had rented from the iTunes Store were not deleting from my iPad’s storage space. They were not showing up within the iPad’s ‘Sync Movies’ panel in iTunes, which is where you can transfer films from computer to iPad or vice versa. They were still showing up within the iPad’s Videos app, though. Attempting to play them produced an error, as you’d expect – but attempting to delete them via the usual method (hold down for a few seconds then tap the black cross, as works for apps) caused the Videos app to crash with the movies still there.
The crash may have something to do with running a developer beta of iOS 5, but that’s not really important. What matters is that I had a whole load of unplayable content taking up space that could have been used for some more apps, photography or videos.
Googling around for a solution proved harder than it should be. I have found out how to rectify the problem, so thought I’d post about it here in the hope that others who end up in a similar situation stumble across the solution faster than I did.
In essence, it’s a very, very simple fix that works the same way for iPhones and iPads.
- In iTunes with your iOS device connected, click on the device in the source list.
- On the summary page, scroll down to the Options panel, and make sure that the option “Manually manage music and videos” is ticked. Click Apply to make the change if it wasn’t ticked before.
- In the source list, click the disclosure triangle next to the device. A set of subfolders representing your device’s storage space will show up.
- Navigate to Rentals. The movies will appear in the main part of the window.
- Select the movie(s) you want to delete, then select Edit > Delete (or use either the Backspace keyboard shortcut, or right-click for the contextual menu). The movies will be deleted – take care that you don’t delete a rental movie that hasn’t yet expired.
- Once they’ve been deleted, go back to the device’s information summary page, and untick “Manually manage music and videos” if necessary. Double check that in doing so, iTunes doesn’t try and add new content you don’t currently sync – for me, it decided it wanted to start syncing up music tracks, which I don’t currently sync to my iPad.
And that’s it. Simple once you realise how to do it, but took me an age of head-scratching to figure out.