When Your Flip UltraHD Won’t Delete Videos No Matter What – And You Own a Mac Computer

I just had a mini-terrifying experience with my Flip Ultra HD: no matter what I did, it would NOT erase the videos.  I wasn’t able to find documentation of this problem at the Cisco Flip Video Support Forums or through Google, which meant it made sense to blog it.

So I followed the standard procedure recommended in the Cisco Flip Camera FAQ.  But for the sake of those who haven’t gotten desperate yet, here’s the workflow (for an UltraHD–there are other process for the other Flip cameras like Mino, Share, etc.).  I did this on a Mac, so my instructions will apply to a Mac.

1. Try to delete your videos the normal, sane way–which is to press the delete button and then the “play” button to delete a video.

2. If that doesn’t work, press and hold the delete in hopes that you’ve just accidentally “locked” the delete function and can unlock it.  Once you verify that it’s unlocked, return to Step 1.

3. If it still doesn’t work, reset the entire Flip camera.  For an UltraHD, you do this by removing the batteries and leaving it un-batteried and powered off for 60 seconds.

4. If it still doesn’t work, and you’re on a Mac, try plugging in your Flip and emptying your Mac’s trash bin.  It might be a quirk of how Mac processes information on flash memory.  You can also do a Hail Mary and empty the trash in your iPhoto.

5. If it still doesn’t work–and this is where I started to freak out a little–open Mac’s Disk Utility. Choose the Flip camera’s hard drive.  Choose “Repair Disk.”

6. I finally got desperate and used Disk Utility’s “Erase” tab to completely erase my Flip’s memory.  I was worried that this would erase the whole Flip operating system and my camera would become nonfunctional, but it didn’t!  I erased in MS-DOS (FAT) format, which is what I assume the camera was already set to.

And at last, my Flip is back to normal.

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Jackie says

Holy cow, it worked! THANK YOU!!!

*Brb, nominating you for a MacArthur genius grant*

Rene Perez says

Thank you so much for this. I went through each of the steps with no success until I got to the step that said insert cam to Mac and then empty trash. Lo and behold, that worked. Much appreciation for the tips.

Gail says

Thank you, Jen! I had “lost 30 minutes of time” on my Flip, but camcorder was “empty” – so I did what you wrote (Disk Utility – Repair Disk) and voila! My 30 minutes returned – now have 2 hours! Thanks for sharing your insights with all of us!

Trisha Algood says

I had the same problem. I used Image Capture and changed Image Capture to be the application my MacBook used to link to the Flip Video camera. That way I could down load the videos and click to erase them from the camera right there. But I will also reformat like you did to see if that makes the camera start working right again.
Thanks for your post!

Niki Allie says

THANK YOU THANK YOU… I tried everything and NOTHING worked. Your suggestion to wipe the HD in Mac Utilities WORKED… Your post REALLY helped…. Very kind of you to take the time to post and save Me time… best regards

Peter says

I searched and searched for an answer to this problem. My camera showed 11minutes but it was empty. Plugging it back in and emptying the trash did the trick. 2 hours available again. Thanks for the post Jen. Awesome.

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