Introduction: Home Button Repair on 1st Gen IPod Touch

About: I run a small design studio focusing on web and print, working with clients worldwide.

Recently the home button on my wife's 1st generation iPod Touch stopped responding.  Everything else worked fine.  As usual I immediately jumped on Google to see what I could find and it turns out there is common issue with the spring under the home button.  The glue holding it in place can come loose and the spring can shift.  This seemed like the exact issue my wife was having.

Since the iPod was out of warranty I knew Apple wouldn't do anything.  A quick call to Apple support confirmed that I was completely out of luck and one of their technicians told me I'm better off buying a new one.  Not happy with this response, and not willing to shell out another couple hundred dollars for a new iPod just yet, I decided I would try and fix it myself...

*One quick note: I do not claim responsibility for any damage incurred from following these steps.  You are disassembling a device that was not meant to be taken apart in your home.  If your iPod is still under warranty then do not follow these steps.  Contact Apple for the approriate support.

Step 1: Remove the Casing

This is the first and probably the hardest part.  You can use a variety of things to take the case back off.  Any thin metal tool (as thin as possible but not too brittle).  I didn't have a special tool to remove the panel so I used a small flat screwdriver and a razor blade.  Do be careful though.

There is a seam all the way around the outer edge of the iPod.  Place the iPod face down and using your tool of choice, pry around the edges.  Go completely around the outside of the iPod except for the top because it's possible you can damage the power button.  The case will start to lift eventually.  It can take a bit of work and please note that unless you are really careful you will scratch the metal casing.

The back casing will pull completely off.  There is nothing attached to it so don't worry about pulling it off.

Step 2: Remove the Battery

The next step is to get the battery out of the way.  Use a thin piece of plastic and slide it under the battery to separate the glue.  In my case I just happened to have a Staples gift card sitting on my desk that worked like a charm!

Once the battery is free it should just be connected by a few wires.  They are soldered to the board so just lift the battery and swing it around to the side.  Don't pull on the wires too much.

Step 3: Remove Screws

With the battery out of the way, you're next step is to remove the four screws holding the board on the bottom.  There is a black piece of tape covering the bottom two screws.  You can peel that back to reveal them.  The remaining screws are on the left and top-right.  To remove these you'll need a fine Philips screwdriver.

Step 4: Remove Metal Cover

Using a flat screwdriver, pry up the metal shielding.  It should pop up fairly easily.  Set it aside for now.

Step 5: Removing Top Screws

Using the screwdriver, remove the top two screws.

Step 6: Disconnecting Ribbons

There are two ribbon connectors that need removed.  Using a flat screwdriver, pry up the connector on the bottom left.  The second connector is on the top right.  Be careful when disconnecting these so you don't damage them.

Step 7: Removing the Top Board

The top board needs lifted.  It will lift up fairly easily on the right but it is attached to a second board on the left which is held down with some glue.  Use a flat screwdriver to pry this up carefully and lift the boards.  The board will remain attached to the large ribbons.  the largest of the two is attached to the bottom board.  Gently lift up the top board and ribbon and pull back the bottom board being careful because it is attached to another board beneath it.

Step 8: Removing the Bottom Board

You're getting close now.  The board beneath the bottom board will be held in place by some glue.  Carefully pry this up.

Step 9: The Solution!

With the board removed you will now be able to lift everything out from the case.  Set it aside and look at the iPod.  You will see a small white disc.  That is the home button.  Below the white disc is a gold ring.  When the home button is pressed the disc pushes down and creates a circuit with the ring.  In my case the white disc had shifted to the side.  I found while searching on Google that this was quite common.  There is a bit of glue that holds it in place and this simply had let go.

Align the disc with the ring and if needed apply a small piece of tape to hold it in place.  Reassemble all the parts and you should be all set!

It took me about an hour to disassemble and reassemble the iPod, but I managed to save a few hundred dollars doing it and the iPod works flawlessly now.  Hopefully this will help others that have found themselves in the same out-of-warranty situation that we were in.  Cheers!