iPod 3rd Generation Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

  • Author: iRobot
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Upgrade your storage with a new hard drive.

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Edit Step 1 Case  ¶ 

  • Before opening your iPod, ensure that the hold switch is in the locked position. The orange bar should be visible, indicating hold is active.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Opening the case can be challenging. Do not get discouraged if it takes you a few tries before the iPod is opened.

  • Insert a large iPod opening tool into the seam between the plastic front and metal rear panel of the iPod, near the headphone jack. The tool's edge should point toward the metal rear panel to prevent any accidental scratching of the plastic front.

  • Run the tool along the top seam toward the upper left corner of the iPod.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Push the large iPod opening tool into the upper left corner of the iPod, creating a small gap along the side seam.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • There are five retaining tabs on each side of the iPod.

  • With the large iPod opening tool still inserted in the top seam, press a small iPod opening tool into the gap you just created.

  • Run the iPod opening tool down the side seam, releasing all five tabs.

  • It may be necessary to wiggle the tool while working your way down the seam to free all the tabs.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Run the iPod opening tool around the lower left corner of the iPod and along the bottom seam to free the two retaining tabs near the dock connector.

  • Run the tool around the lower right corner of the iPod and along the right side seam to free all five retaining tabs.

  • The case of the iPod should now easily come loose. Ensure all retaining tabs are free before proceeding.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • The iPod case is now open, but don't separate the two halves just yet. There is still an orange ribbon cable connecting the headphone jack to the logic board.

  • Open the case like a book with the dock connector at the top, and lay the rear panel next to the front half of the iPod.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use a plastic tool or your fingernails to carefully disconnect the orange headphone jack cable. Be sure to pull straight up on the connector, not the cable itself.

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Edit Step 8 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Lift up the hard drive with one hand and carefully disconnect the hard drive ribbon from the logic board.

  • Lift the hard drive out of the iPod.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Peel back the metallic tape connecting the hard drive ribbon to the blue mounting bracket.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to carefully disconnect the orange ribbon cable from the hard drive.

  • If the cable doesn't come free easily, it may be helpful to gently wiggle the cable from side to side.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive mounting bracket and cable off the hard drive.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Lift the blue and white mounting bracket off the other side of the hard drive.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Hard drive remains.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the iPod 3rd Generation device page.

Required Tools


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Opening Tools

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

Comments Comments are onturn off

Works with iPod 3rd Generation 10GB also.

Xavier Delapree, · Reply

You want to push the tool against the top of the iPod case. The top will flex inward just enough so that you can push the edge of the tool down and run it along the seam

andylieberman, · Reply

I wore down my small iPod opener to a nub trying to loosen the tabs on one side of the iPod. After starting the process of wearing down another, I realized that using a second large iPod opener in place of the small one worked better.

jdcasey, · Reply

Remember to fold the backplate up the correct direction, otherwise you might break this cable.

iTronics Repair, · Reply

Be more than careful with the headphone jack, because I thought I was until I broke mine (I still don't figure how I did this). Those are hard to find after and if you do, it may cost you something around 20-30$

Tristan Gauvreau, · Reply

Also, when reassembling ensure the metallic tab/tape connecting the hard drive ribbon to the blue mounting bracket. As seen in step 9 is still on top of the mounting bracket.

When I reassembled mine the tab became folded down and was touching pins connecting the drive. As a result the iPod worked as a player but had difficulty charging, would not connect to iTunes or show as a mounted drive. After waiting along time it would be detected but would not work with iTunes. iTunes would report the iPod as corrupted or in recovery mode. Removing the tab/tape from the pins restored function.

Dan, · Reply

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