Introduction: Add INTERNAL Bluetooth Capability to Your IPod 4G

Picture of Add INTERNAL Bluetooth Capability to Your IPod 4G

If you're like me, you've often asked yourself why Apple has not added native Bluetooth capability to their iPod line up. Even the iPhone only supports mono Bluetooth!

Sure, there are numerous adapters that plug into the iPod's dock connector to give you wireless music, but they are clunky, they come off easily, can't use them with your case and you have to charge them separately!

So, here is my way to add "native" internal Bluetooth support to your 4G iPod. The same method may be used with other iPod versions, I leave that up to you.

You can also check out my new Bluetooth 5G iPod Video at

Required: A steady hand and decent soldering skills.
Oh, and you must be willing to live with the possibility that you will destroy your iPod. I'm not responsible if you screw up and burn up your iPod!

NOTE: I am currently selling this iPod on eBay (item 290199085046) so if you don't feel like doing your own, you can buy this one!

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

Materials and tools:

4G iPod
A few lengths of hook-up wire
Phillips screwdriver
Torx screwdriver
Xacto knife or razor blade
4G 20GB iPod
40GB/60GB iPod metal casing (optional)
Jabra A120S Bluetooth Music Adapter**
Bluetooth stereo headphones (A2DP compatible)

** make sure to pair the adapter to your headphones prior to starting this project, it will make testing much easier in the end**

Note: I am using a 20GB iPod which I have already converted to use Flash memory (see my instructable on how to do this). Removing the original 20GB drive gives me enough room to install the Bluetooth circuit board. If you want to keep your hard drive, you might want to procure a 40GB or 60GB backing for your iPod so that you have enough room.

Step 2: Open Your IPod

Picture of Open Your IPod

There are plenty of instructions on the web outlining the best ways to crack open your iPod so I'm not going to do so here.

I'm guessing that if you're willing to do this hack to your iPod, you already know how to open it. So, switch your iPod to "hold" and open it.

Once open:

- Disconnect the battery
- Disconnect the ribbon cable for the headphone/hold jack
- Disconnect and remove the hard drive.

Step 3: Modify Headphone Jack

Picture of Modify Headphone Jack

The Jabra unit usually gets its input through a standard mini headphone plug but we'll be connecting directly into the iPod's headphone jack circuit board so take your small Phillips screwdriver and remove the whole assembly from the metal backing. Don't lose the screws!

Using your tiny Torx screwdriver, remove the while plastic bezel from the circuit board.

Locate the Ground and Right/Left channel pins on the circuit board and solder three wires approximately 3" long. These will go to the Jabra Bluetooth circuit board.

Trim a small portion of the white plastic bezel as shown to allow room for the wires.

Step 4: Modify the Bluetooth Adapter

Picture of Modify the Bluetooth Adapter

Remove the two Torx screws from the Jabra unit and use a small screwdriver to crack open the case.

Carefully remove the battery from the back of the case and/or simply remove the two wires at the circuit board. We won't be needing the battery anymore since we'll be tapping into the iPod's battery!

Using your soldering iron, remove the three wires of the input cable.

If you're keeping your hard drive, you may need to remove the USB connector from the Bluetooth circuit board to give yourself a bit more room. The connector is only used for charging the unit so you won't be needing that either. Using the flash card I I had plenty of room so I kept it.

At this point you may or may not decide to keep the original pushbutton switch. I am sure you can replace it with a bigger separate switch, but I wanted to keep my iPod looking stock. Maybe I'll add a switch if I can find one that is small enough to put on top of the unit.

Step 5: Connect Your Bluetooth Adapter to the IPod

Picture of Connect Your Bluetooth Adapter to the IPod

If you haven't already done so, solder the three signal wires coming from the headphone jack to the circuit board. You did remember to make a note of which wires were which right?

Take another two 4" wires and solder them to the battery input terminals of the Jabra board. It turns out that the voltage of the Jabra battery is almost identical to the voltage output of the iPod battery so we simply need to jack into the iPod board for power. Although I would later like to wire into a switched-power location (probably from the HD adapter), I probed and found that the two empty pads next to the battery connector would work fine (labeled C22). I don't know what part of the circuit this is but I decided to take a risk and wire into it anyway since I figured the current draw from the Bluetooth adapter is not that great. It worked just fine.

Step 6: Modify IPod Case and Reassemble IPod

Picture of Modify IPod Case and Reassemble IPod

I decided to use the switch on the Jabra board by drilling a small hole into the side of the iPod case. Once closed I will need to use a pen or something in order to activate the switch, but that is OK for now since I will only need to use it every once in a while.

Reassemble the headphone jack and re-install into the metal case. Plug the ribbon cable for headphone jack back in.

Using piece of foam tape, attach the Jabra circuit board to the inside of the iPod case as shown.

Connect the iPod battery and make sure nothing is smoking.

Step 7: Testing

Picture of Testing

Before you close the case, turn on the iPod and play a song. Turn on the Bluetooth adapter and verify that you get the blinking blue light.

If all went well, you should now be hearing the song through your wireless headphones.
I am using Sony Ericsson's HBH-DS200 bluetooth headphone receiver module but you can use any A2DP-compliant stereo headset such as the Motorola S9, etc.

Close the case and enjoy.

SUCCESS!! I introduce to you the world's first stereo Bluetooth-Enabled iPod.

Note: Once you close the case you really don't need to use the switch on the Jabra Bluetooth anymore unless you're planning on pairing another set of headphones. If you turn off your wireless headphones, the Bluetooth module will go into standby/sleep mode. According to Jabra, the tiny stock battery is good for up to 250 hrs of standby time. Hooked up directly to the iPod battery, I imagine you'd get over 500 hours standby (that's over 20 days!).


flipflopsking (author)2017-03-08

hey would this work for an iPod Classic?

hstntxns (author)2013-04-17

Has anyone tried bluetooth an old iPhone

chua_erei (author)2012-04-05

Does the iPod's stock earpiece jack still work?

Doctor War (author)2009-07-30

Can the iPod function in disk mode over bluetooth? And be used as a discrete 20gb external wireless hard drive? :D

roland985 (author)Doctor War2011-07-15

No, the bluetooth adaptor is wired to the headphones output. Besides, the adaptor probably would only support A2DP, not the OBEX file transfer protocol... Would be handy if it was though!!!

mitchbw (author)Doctor War2010-11-16

Hey there Doc. I'de imagine to do that would be far more complicated than this hack demonstrates

kevinsarasin (author)2011-03-06

i have a 4G touch and a jabra BT2080 and i cant listen to music on the BT, they paired fine. thanks

DeLorean4905 (author)2008-01-10

lol "make sure that nothing is smoking" ...nice. DON'T LET THE GENIE OUT!

Rocket Boy (author)DeLorean49052008-07-19

ahh...we call it the "magic smoke" in my computer repair shop. lol

911TargaSC (author)Rocket Boy2009-01-10

ah yes, smoke. the secret ingredient that allows all electronics to function. this can easily be proven by noting that once you have let the smoke out of the electronics, it no longer functions. it must be the silicon version of fairy dust.

tinkerC (author)911TargaSC2009-03-03

New machines keep their smoke for a few days, unless they are computers. Old machines keep their (purple) magic smoke for a few decades.

mitchbw (author)tinkerC2010-11-16

True and truer by the day

kiwiguy (author)DeLorean49052009-05-17

LOL, also known as 'the factory packaged smoke'

Badetise (author)2009-09-04

hey. ive been looking all over but to no avail.. i have a motoralo h300 headset and am wondering if i can use it somehow to add bluetooth capabilities to my laptop. i dnt care whether its internal or not. some help would be much appretiated...

Lance Mt. (author)Badetise2010-06-06

Ebay will have mini-usb adapters. I got mine for $2.15 AU with postage.

Robert.Springer (author)2009-07-25

Hey, I am looking at modding either a 5G or 4G ipod with the compactflash internal ssd and then adding a FM transmitter. My problem is though that I can not find the internal voltage that the ipod runs on anywhere on the internet. I need this because as I have the larger version of both these ipods I wish to add an internal fm transmitter (belkin tunecast 1 or equivalent) for use in the car. I know that most electronic devices run at 5v and was wondering if the ipod has a dc-dc transformer in it to transfer the voltage from the 3.7v lithium cell. Am I right to assume that the dc-dc converter only turn on when the ipod is on? If so I will just use a voltage divider to supply my 3v input for the FM transmitter. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Robert Springer

brandonham8 (author)2008-08-06

can you use a bluetooth headset on that?

toogers (author)brandonham82009-05-29

yeah, but only to listen to music on it. no phone or recorder.

UbuntuNinja (author)2009-04-25

Does anyone know how to do this on a 5G ipod classic?

drad1s (author)2009-04-16

I've been thinking about doing this to my ipod before I sell it on ebay, and I was wondering if it would be worth it. How much did yours sell for?

sushiwill (author)2009-01-18

everything installed and blinking (no smoke - whew), but I have no idea how to actually pair my headphones with the internal Jabra. Should they automatically pair?

deaukema (author)2008-11-03

could anyone help me? I can't find the c22 pad :S

deaukema (author)2008-11-03

could anyone help me? I can't find the c22 pad :S

punkatsub (author)2008-10-04

this is for a ipod classic isn't it?

macgeist (author)2008-01-05

Great job on the hack, gonna try it on a busted 4G iPod I've been keeping for just such a project. One question, does this hack add the control of the BT Headset or just audio transmission? Thanks...

fstedie (author)macgeist2008-01-05

This hack is only for audio transmission. If you want to be able to control the iPod you'll need to find a AVRCP compatible adapter that plugs into the serial (top) of the iPod and hack into that. However, most of them are dock-connector based and there is no practical way to solder into the dock connections (not that I've found anyway). That will be my next hack...

tkmura87 (author)fstedie2008-08-03

Just curious, any progress on the the AVRCP support mod? Love the mods, followed your guide for the CF mod, works perfectly! Thanks!

cdubnbird (author)2008-08-02

could you add an AM/FM radio receiver in there? i have a mini could i put a flash card in, bluetooth, and AM/FM all in? as far as the push button would adding an electronic switch wired to the area on the ipod next to the audio jack with i think three ports, ya know for changing songs using the headphones and what not, anyways could you just turn it on using those ports?

Rocket Boy (author)2008-07-19

I can't find this item any more. :( any other choices you know of?

paoloo (author)2008-05-21

is there a biger Backplate for a Ipod 20GB 4Generation? Can I use the Backplate of the Ipod Photo 4Generation? What is a tiny Bluetooth except the Modul Billionton iPod Mini bluetooth adapter or the jabra A120s? Is there a tiny Modul what automatical connect to a BT Receiver without a switch? The Modul have to pair with code 0000.

robots199 (author)paoloo2008-07-08

You Might be able to find one on

kerry63 (author)2008-05-05

Do you think the Jabra A120S would pair with another A120S, and act as a transmitter and receiver? So you could listen to music over your car stereos head unit with no wires.

pstretz (author)2008-03-21

i am really confused. I got an 8GB Transcend flash and the adapter, restored the ipod and pushed music to it through winamp. all is well so far. i tested the jabra while it was in it's case to make sure it worked. i install the jabra like your instructions and it won't turn on. i hold the switch and no blue light. the ipod works fine, voltages are fine, if i unsolder the jabra and hook it back up to it's original battery it works. i am really confused. any help or ideas would be appreciated. i do have an aftermarket ipod battery. were you using the stock battery?

fstedie (author)pstretz2008-03-21

Are you tapping power from my suggested location? You say the voltages are fine, but if it works with the original battery then something is not right. Double check to make sure you're getting the correct positive voltage and if necessary try another spot on the motherboard. Aftermarket battery or not should not matter.

pstretz (author)fstedie2008-03-25

i got it to work connecting it to the power connector on the motherboard but still had to hook up the other battery in parallel to get the jabra to start. once it started the first time, i could hold the button down to suspend it and turn it on again without a problem. very strange. seems to work now so i'll see if it continues. very cool mod, thanks again.

pstretz (author)fstedie2008-03-22

yeah, i pulling power from C22 and my polarity is correct. I'm reading 4.1V when the iPod is fully charged. i'll try tapping power from the power connector on the motherboard. this is just really wierd.

Quix (author)2008-03-24

Hey! Fantastic explaination of everything...cheers for the instructable! One question you think it's possible to apply this same method to a 3G ipod and still keep the hard drive?

fstedie (author)Quix2008-03-24

Only if you can find a larger backplate. Otherwise there is not enough room.

fstedie (author)2008-03-03

Hey guys, check out the new and improved (but still in development)

cotton (author)2008-01-17

ok but you should have used a 16 gb flash to have more space and i love it

thegreenson (author)cotton2008-02-20

you took the words right out of my hand...

fstedie (author)cotton2008-01-17

That's the beauty of it, I can go back and change it to whatever I want later. the 16gb is still a bit expensive but it will come down in time..

cutelo (author)2008-02-15

Hi ! Very interesting the adaptation. It´s possible paring with any another one receiver.? How to make pairing with receiver? If this not to possess the keyboard for password? Thanks. Carlos

fstedie (author)2008-01-16

By the way, I am currently selling this iPod on eBay (item 290199085046) so if you don't feel like doing your own, you can buy this one!

maxpower49 (author)2008-01-16

do you use the ipod nano or i pod video

fstedie (author)maxpower492008-01-16

This particular instructable pertains only to the iPod 4G

Yerboogieman (author)fstedie2008-01-16

theres tons of 4 gigabyte ipods

fstedie (author)Yerboogieman2008-01-16

that's right, the one shown here is the 20GB 4th generation iPod. The iPod video is the 5th Generation. Thanks grant0.

grant0 (author)fstedie2008-01-16

4G means "4th generation". =)

cotton (author)2008-01-11

what did you do with the hdd and why

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello, my name is Eddie. I'm one of those people that can't leave well enough alone so I'll inevitably take things apart ... More »
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