Instructables

Upgrade Your iPod Mini With Flash Memory - No More Hard Drive!

Featured
Instead of a hard drive, your new upgraded iPod will use flash memory with no moving parts for faster boot up & access times and lower power consumption.

(I ran my iPod continuously for over 20 hours on one charge!).

You will also get enhanced shock-resistance! Thousands of iPods have died an early death because they were dropped and their hard drives were damaged as a result.

So, if you have an iPod Mini with a bad hard drive or just want to hotrod your existing unit this Instructable is for you.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 2: Opening Your Ipod Mini

Unlike the standard iPods which have two halves, the shell of the Mini is a single piece of aluminum with covers on the top and bottom.

Although you could use the "brute force" method of prying open your iPod with a screw driver, there is a little-known but very elegant way to open your iPod that will leave virtually no signs that it was ever opened!

First, put your iPod on "hold" by sliding the switch. Heat up the glue gun and place a small amount of glue on the top cover and glue the stick to the cover.

Don't worry, the hot glue, when dry will come right off without leaving a mark!

Step 3: Disassembly

Once the top and bottom covers are removed, taking the iPod apart is easy.

Carefully slide the complete assembly out of the case by pushing from the bottom with your finger.
msanstx3 months ago

Great tutorial. I couldn't get mine recognized in iTunes or in disk mode until I realized that the CF card fits "backwards". After opening up the mini again and flipping the CF card, it worked like a charm. I used Transcend TS8GCF133 8 gig and when inserted correctly, the orange Transcend label faces out from the board.

okusare8 months ago
Hi, will this memory card work with a 2nd gen?

http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-CompactFlash-Memory-CF-16GB-S2/dp/B000Y16TY6

Any help gladly appreciated
cody777 okusare5 months ago
Yes, but id suggest this because of price. http://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-1GB-2GB-4GB-8GB-16GB-32GB-Compact-Flash-CF-Card-Digital-Camera-Memory-Card-p-62876.html
gob157 months ago
Anyone have an issue with waking their iPod mini back up after it falls into a deep hibernation after performing this mod? I can't wake the iPod up unless I plug it into a dock connector for a brief moment. I should also state that the iPod also won't wake up from or complete a manual reboot (menu + center button hold.)
bullsbay9 months ago
Great work, I was able to follow along and had great success. I bought a 4g Ipod mini with a weak battery for a few bucks. A new battery, a generic 16gb card, and your Instructable brought it back to life. Thanks!
spin4981 year ago
I had mine 'professionally' serviced once before. Looks like the jerk glued the ends on mine back on. No amount of pulling on the stick would dislodge the top.
frackin b1 year ago
I advise that you don't try removing the top cover (step 3). Just slide the innards out with it on once you've removed the screws and the bottom cover. I say this because on the iPod I was working with the output jack was screwed in from the inside. Now I have a suped up mini that can't be listened to. :(
spin4981 year ago
Excellent tutorial. My battery is down to holding just 15 mins of charge. So new battery on order from Amazon. I have several CF cards from my photography kit so I'll give that a go too.
jacobsteel1 year ago
Good instructable! I've done it a few times and the only thing I would add is that covering (e.g battery) cables with a piece of cellotape makes them slide in/out easier.

I just put a 64GB Dolgix CF card and a new battery in the old FireWire iPod mini (1:st gen, I think). Works perfectly, takes about 1-2min/GB to fill it with songs.

Bought the card here: http://www.amazon.com/Dolgix-64gb-Compact-Flash-Card/dp/B006OIH07I/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1356811012&sr=1-1
Hello I got this to work on a 2nd gen 4gb Ipod mini with a 64gb Transcend 400x CF. I had several issues to get this to work. What helped is using Transcend Autoformat program. Then I restored the ipod and after reboot it froze up so I disconnected the cable and rebooted the ipod and put it into disk mode and reconnected cable and Itunes started to sync the music. And it is working great know. Now I ordered a Dolgix 64gb Compact Flash from Amazon for $64.95 shipped.
jmantoo2 years ago
I actually have upgraded a pink 2nd gen iPod with dead drive to a 32 Gig using a transcend 32gig CF card.

I actually found the iPod in the ditch while working in the field one day. it appeared someone tossed it out their window after it no longer functioned, due the the dead drive. After borrowing a power cord and a quick search of the error that was popping up. I figured out that the hard drive was bad. I found a site that similar to this one that explained how to replace the micro drive with a CF card. I happened to have a 1 gig laying around and tried it. The iPod worked great so a quick order on Newegg of a 32 gig CF card for $60 and a $12 power cord from radio shack and I was in business with a 30 gig iPod for only $72. Way cheaper than any 30 gig MP3 player on the market and it had no moving parts. Definitely couldn't complain.
I just installed a 32GB card (transcend) - before putting it into the Mini, I confirmed it was a 32GB card in my computer - but now it only shows up as a 4GB card after I restored the device.

Can anyone offer any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

GG
you may have a generation 2 Ipod witch from what i have found out has issues with CF cards. mine was a gen 1.
Woohoo!!!!

Initially it only recognized 4GB of storage (and the rest was sitting in Unallocated). I resized the primary partition using Partition Wizard, restored the device a 2nd time through iTunes and it works!

GG
I got everything working but the center button. I test it outside of the case and it works but when its inside it doesn't seem to properly make a connection to the main board. I'm just going to keep playing round with it if one knows how i should approach this problem.
nfemail2 years ago
Does this work with the 128GB CF card ??

I hear the adapter makes a difference .. what adapter would you recommend ??
rcontreras12 years ago
Hello!

Can you recover a 20gb ipod classic with this trick?
ichunddu2 years ago
I just did this successfully with an iPod Mini 1st Gen running OS 1.4.1, using a 4GB Transcend card bought for 15 Euros at Amazon. Thanks a lot for publishing this!

Frank
iroque2 years ago
Thank you for this tip, it worked perfect, i replaced the microdrive with a CF ADATA 8 16 GB and replaced the battery, the ipod its working as new.
jchioda2 years ago
This worked for me. My daughter dropped my iPod mini about three years ago and it never worked again. I could tell my hard drive was probably the culprit because when I turned the iPod on, I could hear a small "spinning" noise turning on and off. As for the instructions, I followed all of them, went to Wal Mart and picked up a 4 GB compact flash card for $24.99. I installed it and as soon as I connected the iPod on to iTunes, I received a message about restoring my iPod. Was shocked that I could actually do all of this myself. Works great and battery still holds a charge even though I haven't plugged it in in over three years!
This process works with the first gen running 1.4.1
daiatlus792 years ago
great tutorial. i used a cheap Fidelity 4 gig and it worked fine. as long as the card is ATA compatible i think things should work well
why wont this work on the model 1 mini? since you have it stated you must use the model 2
fstedie (author)  sillyzombie6662 years ago
Firmware issues, it just doesn't work.
is there any work around to this like using ipod linux or rock box
thestar0072 years ago
I have successfully replaced the HDD with a transcend CF. The iPod works and the songs will play but every now and then the iPod would crash with the folder and exclamation logo on it. iTunes would then ask to restore the iPod. Any idea what i am missing here?
fstedie (author)  thestar0072 years ago
Whenever that happens to me I simply reboot it by holding down the Center and Menu buttons for a few seconds. Don't know exactly why it happens :(
Thanks, but it can be quite a PITA to do it every time you want to listen to the iPod. I was looking for a more permanent solution. The fact that it works with the flash card tells me that the iPod is more or less ok but its more a file system issue, I could be wrong though.
vanprez2 years ago
what battery do you recommend? brand etc.
there are no "brands" every thing i've found is just a cheap nock off from china just buy from a seller or site with good reviews, i just bought on on ebay with a screwdriver kit for $6 so i wont know how good or bad it is till i get it
vanprez2 years ago
my sister just gave me the" pink " Ipod. Is this 1st gen. or what?
look on the back if it says 4 or 6 then its a second gen, if it doesn't state the storage than its a first gen.

i just got a free hot pink ipod (lol) so im looking to upgrade and paint it
eboehm vanprez2 years ago
That is the one that I am using. Pink 4gb mini. Got it from my daughter when she upgraded to an ipod touch. Works great with this procedure. Upgraded it to a 16gb with a transcend 16gb cf card(Amazon.com has it for $23). Also had worked with a 8gb Kingston CF card. Also upgraded battery while I was in there. Can find one on ebay for around $5 by doing a search on ipod mini battery.
pkhare32 years ago
This worked for my second generation mini ipod (4Gb.) I installed the 16 gb transcend card which i bought off amazon and i also replaced the battery at the same time which i bought off ebay.
eboehm2 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Orkekum eboehm2 years ago
Probably your players software is built to notice only 8GB, so how big you ever put, it will only find 8GB
eboehm2 years ago
Found out that changing the "name" of my iPod after doing a restore gave me the extra 8gb. I guess it was restoring my iPod to the last saved configuration. Bingo 16gb. Sweet!
dpierri2 years ago
Thank you for your instructions! first I thought it was the battery - got a cheap replacement that came with a set of tools to open the iPod mini 2nd gen. The hair dryer trick is actually easier since it melts the adhesive on the plates. After changing the battery I still had the sad face - bummer. So I got a CompactFlash card (Kingston CF/4GB) at my local Micro Center for $17.37 with tax. Knowing to be careful with the ribbon helped, I used a razor to cut all the tape off the micro-drive which has a rubber bumper. Once all the tape was off, I pried carefully the old HD from the tiny pin board with a mini flat head screw-driver. It helps to disconnect the battery to avoid having any electricity accidentally running on the board. Once the drive was separated, I taped the rubber bumper to the CompactFlash card and carefully connected it back carefully making sure that the CF card was face up. It fits snuggly in the same space where the HD was. Replaced the battery and carefully connected it to my Mac Mini. At first it gave me a folder image with an exclamation point, no more sad face (that is a good sign). After iTunes opned, it read (do not disconnect) and recognized the iPod right away. It reset the name and now works like new.
I took a gamble with the Kingston CF, and read all about how ATA was automatically added to all CF cards prior to adding accelerators. I also looked at the Dane-Elec 8GB that Wallmart sells but you need to order it online and have it delivered to your nearest store. They don't carry the card. I checked Dane-Elec's site and it is an ATA compatible card. Not bad for $20 bucks. BTW, I used my Nano Mini's cord to connect the 2nd gen iPod Mini, my iPhone cord would not work for me.
Thank you for the instructions once again.
kingston_4gb.jpgDaneElec_8gb.jpg
bchiang12 years ago
I have an ipod mini 2nd gen with a sandisk 4gb ultra and whenever i look at the screen it has a sad face and whenever i connect it to the computer itunes doesnt pop up and whenever i put it into disk mode it just goes bacc into the sad face ive tried everything even taking the cf and formating it seperate from the ipod and reconnecting it but no good my computer is also windows 7 =[
Coggz4 years ago
I have tried this previously with a 6GB 2gen Mini, and a 16GB Kingston Pro Elite x133. Unfortunately I seem to be having the same issue as a few others online in that I need a copy of the ipod control folder to get iTunes to recognize the drive. The original drive is broken so there is no way of getting the folder off the original ipod, so can anyone on here possibly give me a rip of your system folder. All i need is the parts of the control folder which contain system things. Please could someone send me a zip/rar of this please!
i.am.luke08@gmail.com
Thanks,
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!