Install RockBox on an IPod (easy Steps)




This instructable i am going to show you how to install RockBox, an open-source operating system for iPod!

First things first:

Installing RockBox will void your warranty. Also I am not responsible for any damage and/or data loss done installing RockBox on your iPod.

Proceed at your own risk.

Ok now thats over with heres what you need.

-an iPod
it can be a nano 1st gen, ipod 1g,2g,3g,4g or 5g but not classic.

(if you dont have a clue which iPod you own have a look at this.

-The .rockbox build. get the appropriate one for your iPod here:

- ipodpatcher: this handy little program will patch the bootloader on your iPod so that it can load rockbox properly. get it here :

EXTRA: To enhance RockBox you can get extra fonts get them here

To run the game plugin "Doom" you'll need a base WAD

get it here :

That's it. Your all set.

Make sure to view the pictures and screenshots in high res

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Step 1: Extracting

Find the zip folder where you downloaded the zip for your .rockbox build.

If you haven't got one yet get the right one for your iPod here:

(Make sure you get the right one. Don't get the 30gb video and 60/80gb videos builds mixed up)

Extract the '.rockbox' folder from the zip to the root directory of you iPod's drive. (the root directory is the main directory of your disk. e.g E:)

If your iPod isn't showing up in my computer, it is because you haven't enabled disk use

You can do that by following these steps:

Now we can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Patching the Bootloader.

This part looks scary but isn't.

All you need to do is connect your iPod and open ipodpatcher

(available here: )

Once again I am not responsible for any damage, and/or data loss.

Proceed at your own risk.

It will show a black window with white text. If you have plugged in a supported iPod it will display some info about the iPod and ask you to enter i to install and u to uninstall.

type i and press enter

If all goes well this process should take about 10-20 seconds.

Step 3: Testing It Out.

Now for the fun part.

Now all you have to do is disconnect your iPod.

To reboot Press and hold menu+select (center button) for 6 seconds. Your iPod will show the Apple logo and then will show a RockBox screen. If you get back to the original iPod operating system reboot again without hold on.

Note: to boot into the Apple firmware (the original operating system) as soon as you see the Apple logo on the iPod's screen flick the hold switch on.

Also note: if you are using an iPod 1g,2g or 3g you will need to press and hold Play/pause+menu to reboot.

If you get an error and cant get to either operating system (apple or rockbox) and/or are shown a folder with an exclamation mark, you will need to boot into disk mode and restore your iPod.
Instructions on that here:

Step 4: Tweaking

These are some settings i have enabled to make the iPod last longer on a charge and to reduce the number of hard drive spin-ups required using RockBox.

settings>general settings> playback settings>Anti-skip buffer> set it to 10 mins or max

settings>general settings> database>load to ram>yes

settings>general settings> system>disk>Directory cahe>yes

These help the iPod to optimize it's ram and to buffer more efficiently.

(these settings aren't necessary too complete the installation)

Step 5: Extras

Adding a base Doom Wad, icons, fonts.

To add the font package:

Go to the zip file that you downloaded before.

Enter the zip file and go into the .rockbox folder and then extract the fonts folder to the .rockbox directory on your iPod that you installed before. Overwrite them.

To play the doom game you need to install the base wad. Get it here. Remember!

Extract the doom folder in the zip file to the .rockbox directory of your iPod (this is getting very repetitive isn't it)

To play doom go to the main rockbox screen and click plugins>games>doom>start game

for more info on using RockBox have a look at the manual.

I hope this tutorial has helped you in some way!

Happy RockBoxing! Enjoy the open-source jukebox firmware.

I would like to thank the RockBox team for making such an awesome piece of software!

Step 6: Uninstallation

If for some reason you are unsatisfied with RockBox, I will show you how to uninstall it from your iPod.

First, plug in your iPod to computer.

Load up ipodpatcher.exe

Enter U

ipodpatcher will take about 10-20 seconds and after it is done the bootloader of your iPod will be back the same way it was before the installation. (you cannot load rockbox anymore)

Navigate to the root directory of your iPod (the place where you put the .rockbox folder. usually E:\)

Delete .rockbox

Your done! your iPod no longer has RockBox.

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    46 Discussions


    3 years ago

    is there a rockbox version for Ipod nano 3rd gen???


    4 years ago on Introduction

    The Apple support link for identifying your iPod incorrectly includes a right parenthesis at the end and returns an HTTP 404 Not Found status code. You can delete the paren to get it to work or use this URL that the old link redirects to:


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wait. I have a Nano 4g, and RockBox only has the Nano 1g and 2g downloads. What do I get?

    1 reply

    Rockbox is safe to use and there hasnt been any reports of an iPod rendered useless by rockbox. But still use caution. And what iPod do you have?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey guys,

    Rockbox is sooooo cool.  I installed it and everything was fine.  Then I did something really stupid and copied over the contents of a new theme to the Ipod replacing the originals. 

    I suspect this is not the way you're supposed to install themes, and now my Ipod won't boot up, even when pressing Menu+Play to hard reboot it.  I have a 1st Gen Nano.

    My computer does not recognise it when I plug it in the USB port, have I completely screwed it?

    Take it easy guys keep up the good work.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     No, i doubt you've screwed it :)

    Just do a hard reboot and as soon as you see the apple logo, press and hold play/pause and the centre button.

    Then it should come up in disk mode, then you can plug it in and restore.

    Try reading this article:


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    omg thank u!!
    I was goin to comment and ask what to do coz i accidently uninstalled the base.
    Won't be making that mistake again!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That worked perfectly! Not sure what I did, but wasn't as terminal as I thought, amazing what panic will do to a person. ;-)

    Thanks so much for your help!

    The great thing about Rockbox is that it opens the Ipod up to Blind and partially sighted people who have to rely on very expensive accessible players, shame when this is free!

    Also, take that Itouch people! We can play videos as well.  ;-P
    Keep up the good work!

    I'm afraid not... Im sorry :( only nano first gens (black or white, 1gb,2gb,4gb) models support it so if you are correct and have a 2nd gen (a good way of describing it has a aluminum enclosure and is the same all around and doesnt have a chrome back and then a different coloured face.) Tin

    Dannnnngggg really?? So like if i get rockbox nothing will happen if i have a second gen? that sucks, does anyone know though if there's a rockbox type idea for a second gen nano?

    Well, its supposedly in development. Its very hard to crack the firmware encryption on the newer ipods and unknown hardware is also a problem

    sorry about that



    10 years ago on Introduction

    so did i miss the part where you can get your 1st gen ipod nano to play videos, or is that near impossible?

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Playing movies on an ipod nano is easy :D all you have to do is convert them to the right format i might make another step in this instructable on how to do it later :P -tin


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    got it, used WinFF to convert a .m4a file into .mpg (just so no one goes searching endlessly on the internet like i did)