Introduction: 10-Second IPod Repair

Picture of 10-Second IPod Repair

Not too long ago, Platform21 released their Repair Manifesto, an ideology to promote the idea of repairing things instead of simply replacing them in our throwaway society. It is with this spirit in mind that I present to you one of the simplest, most helpful repairs I've come across.

In the early 2000's, Apple presented the world with what has become the most popular mp3 player to date: the iPod. The device is sleek and user-friendly, and all around quite wonderful. That said, it's not without it's small share of problems. Before we continue on, however, it must be said that...


Got that? Good, let's go on.

Step 1: The IPod: What Could Go Wrong?

Picture of The IPod: What Could Go Wrong?

I personally own an 4th Generation iPod photo, and as such the instructions will directly apply to that model. Over the course of the iPod's lifetime (5 years and counting!), the following errors have arose. They are listed below for reference:

iPod Hardware Error: An icon appearing like the first image (below) appears, and the iPod is unable to start up.

iPod Software Error: An icon appearing like the second image (below) appears, and the iPod is unable to start up.

Media Deletion Error: Very rare error (has happened twice in the 5 years of ownership) in which the iPod starts up but all media data appears to have been deleted.

Of the above errors, this instructable is capable of remedying the Hardware and Software errors. Unfortunately, there is no magical way to bring your media back from the media deletion error, short of reconnecting the iPod to a computer and redownloading all of the content. Also, while this repair does immediately fix the hardware/software errors, it is not a permanent fix, just a way to prolong the life of your device (I've gotten 3 extra years beyond the warranty of my device so far).

Step 2: The Repair in a Nutshell

Picture of The Repair in a Nutshell

The iPod "repair" is extremely simple. To fix it, one need only follow the following steps:

1) Open the iPod case: this can be somewhat easily done by pushing down on the front surface (the one containing the clickwheel). Then, CAREFULLY pry at the case with a pocket knife or screwdriver. (Be very careful not to bend the metal casing).

2) Carefully disconnect the separate components.

3) Reconnect the components, snap the case back together.

And you're done! The iPod should be fully functional and ready to use again. Simple, effective, and saves many a mail in to Apple's expensive iPod repairs division.


DoctorEvil30564 (author)2013-06-23

that's probably why dropping a misbehaving IPod with a hard drive onto the floor so it lands on the side or bottom instead of the back or front usually works to fix them, probably moves the connections on the hard drive pins just enough to reseat them

blowitupjoe (author)2010-10-06

I had my iPod in a drawer for two years because it gave a "Bad Hard Drive" message. I read this tutorial and BAM!!! Good as new! Thanks for a great simple solution. I know it may not work for most problems- but it just goes to show ya- dont throw away any electronics until you are certain that its beyond repair.

ReCreate (author)2009-04-12

Ipods have hdds? Golly...

purduecer (author)ReCreate2009-04-13

Some of the old ones do. Nowadays you have to get the iPod "classic" to get an HDD-featured iPod.

ReCreate (author)purduecer2009-04-13

what do they have now that can store 80 gigs of songs?

purduecer (author)ReCreate2009-04-13

That's still a HDD-based iPod. It goes by either iPod classic or iPod video.

ReCreate (author)purduecer2009-04-13

So new ipods still have hdds?

purduecer (author)ReCreate2009-04-14

Only the classic, the iPod Touch and iPod Nano both feature flash memory.

Finally! Someone who doesn't say iTouch!

the abbreviation "iam not gonna say this crappy abbriviation."

toogers (author)toogers2009-06-24

is annoying.

How? I Hate when people say iTouch, as technically there is no such thing in existence.

exactly. there is no "itouch"

Derin (author)toogers2010-05-16

Just like there is no "Ipod", "IPOD", "ipod" or "iPOD". It's iPod.

ReCreate (author)Derin2010-05-17

I live in a case-insensitive world.

-Hulk- (author)2009-07-23

almost sounds like apple has put a planed obsolescence code in there and unplugging everything resets it !?

fordman15243 (author)2009-06-20

I have a zune. (i could stop right there ;D but i won't) I'm on my second zune actually (nothing's wrong with the first one, just 30gb wasn't enough) and throughout my years of using microsoft I have had no problems such as this. The only problem i have had with my zune was last year on new years day, when all the 30gb models froze for a day.

purduecer (author)fordman152432009-06-20

well...odds are good that, should your zune break for some reason, you could try this *shrug*

fordman15243 (author)purduecer2009-06-22

I'm not sure actually... I haven't taken apart my 120gb yet to see whats inside, so im not sure of what kind of connector it has in it, i know the 30gb models have ribbon cables... *shrugs*

gafisher (author)2009-06-08

I'd give you big odds that what's happening is scrubbing of surface corrosion when the connections are unplugged and reconnected. Insider secret -- the same fix brings nine out of ten bad CD and DVD players back to life if you just unplug and reconnect the connections to the laser.

purduecer (author)gafisher2009-06-09

Hmmmm, sounds good to me. Thanks man :-)

blackfister (author)2009-04-30

Exelent instructable!! My ipod was dead, and now is working. Thank you very much!! you saved me a new one

purduecer (author)blackfister2009-05-12

haha, no problem sir, glad I could help :-)

eisentrager (author)2009-05-08

Thank toy so much. I was ready to throw it away, but thought i can try this...and guess, it worked...yohoo

bye-cycle (author)2009-04-04

I have to assume that you live in a humid climate and that this is to clean possible corosion on connectors. I have a 4th gen also and in it's lifetime it has had just a hard drive issue...I live in a very dry climate. In the "for what it's worth", the 2nd thru 5th thumb nail are very fuzzy then clicked on.

purduecer (author)bye-cycle2009-04-05

Sorry for the fuzzy photos (haven't yet really done a good job with the macro mode, you see). Anyhow, all of my iPod repair to date has taken place in the midwest, which isn't particularly humid... My best theory for why this works is that the HD gets "stuck" in a certain place on the drive, and that somehow disconnecting and reconnecting it sort of "resets" the system settings. To be honest, I'm not really sure why it works, but it does.

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