iPod Classic Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

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

Replace the hard drive in your iPod Classic.

  • Author: iRobot
  • Difficulty: Very difficult

Upgrade your storage with a new hard drive.

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Edit Step 1 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Apple designed their new iPods to be very difficult to take apart without destroying major components. Because of the metal faceplate, the metal backing, and the 13 (yes, 13) metal clips holding the case together, this is one of the toughest iPods to disassemble.

  • Proceed with caution and the warning that you may significantly damage your iPod beyond its present condition. Also, you may want a few extra pairs of plastic opening tools during installation, as they are easy to ruin when opening the iPod. Have fun!

  • Before opening your iPod, ensure that the hold switch is in the locked position.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Opening this iPod is challenging. Don't get discouraged if it takes you a few tries before the iPod is opened. One thing to notice is the angle of the plastic opening tool's tip while inserting it into the iPod. Ideally, the angle should be as vertical as possible while still clearing the edge of the rear panel.

  • Insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Insert another plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod, leaving at least 1.5 inches of space between the two tools.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • At an angle, carefully insert a putty knife about 1/8 inch into the seam between the two opening tools.

  • There are thin metal rails running along the inside of the rear panel, so take great care when inserting the putty knife.

  • Once the putty knife has cleared the lip of the rear panel, pivot the putty knife so that it is vertical, and carefully (but firmly) wiggle it straight down into the gap between the opening tools.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Push with your fingers on the rear panel behind the putty knife to minimize bending. Slowly flex the putty knife, as shown in the picture, to ensure that most of the metal tabs on this side of the iPod are disengaged.

  • The theory behind this method is, rather than attempting to not bend the rear panel at all, to bend it in a favorable manner that allows you to easily restore it later. Therefore, any bend in the sides of the rear panel should be drawing the lip of the rear panel away from the iPod, rather than pushing out on the curved surface. This method also disengages as many of the side clips as possible.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the putty knife from the iPod and reinsert it closer to the corner of the iPod, using the same wiggle method as before.

  • If at all possible, do not bend the corner of the rear panel.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Near the headphone jack, insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod.

  • You may find it easier to carefully flex the putty knife downward in order to create more of a gap for the opening tool, but be sure not to bend the corner of the rear panel!

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Near the center of the display, carefully insert a metal spudger into the gap created by the plastic opening tool.

  • It is easy to create a noticeable bump in the rear panel here that is difficult to repair. When prying the tab free, try to have the metal spudger pivot on the edge of the rear panel rather than bending the rear panel outward.

  • Using the metal spudger, disengage the single clip on the top of the iPod.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Near the other top corner, insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • On the other side, insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod.

  • You may find it easier to angle the opening tool stuck in the top corner in order to create a sufficient gap.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the opening tool from the top corner and insert it into the seam between the front and back of the iPod, leaving at least 1.5 inches of space between the two tools (as done on the other side).

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • At an angle, carefully insert a putty knife about 1/8 inch into the seam between the two opening tools.

  • Again, there are thin metal rails running along the inside of the rear panel, so take great care when inserting the putty knife.

  • Once the putty knife has cleared the lip of the rear panel, angle the putty knife so that it is vertical, and carefully (but firmly) wiggle it straight down into the iPod via the gap between the plastic opening tools.

  • Push with your fingers on the rear panel behind the putty knife to minimize bending. Ever so slightly flex the putty knife to ensure that most of the metal tabs on this side of the iPod are disengaged.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • The metal clips near the corners are notorious for tenaciously gripping the front panel. It is necessary to disengage these clips in order to open the iPod.

  • Carefully insert a metal spudger into the area near the stubborn metal clip.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Gently wiggle the metal spudger down so that it is all the way in the rear panel.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Gently begin to disengage the clip from the front panel.

  • It is easy to create a noticeable bump in the rear panel here that is difficult to repair. When prying the tab free, try to have the metal spudger pivot on the edge of the rear panel rather than bending the rear panel outward.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Continue to push up on the front panel with the metal spudger until the metal clip releases.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • There are two ribbon cables connecting the rear panel to the rest of the iPod. In the following step, be careful not to damage these ribbon cables.

  • Grasp the front panel assembly with one hand and the rear panel with the other.

  • Take a deep breath!

  • Gently (GENTLY) disengage the remaining clips on the rear panel by pulling the tops of the front and rear panels away from each other (think of the bottom of the iPod as a hinge), taking great care not to damage the ribbon cables holding the two halves together.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to slide up the connector holding the orange battery ribbon in place. You only need to lift the locking bar up about 2 mm to free the cable.

  • Slide the orange battery ribbon out of its connector.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Place the rear panel next to the iPod, being careful not to strain the orange headphone jack cable.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive up with one hand so you can access the headphone jack ribbon beneath.

  • Use a spudger to flip up the plastic tab holding the headphone jack ribbon in place. The tab will rotate up 90 degrees, releasing the ribbon cable.

  • Slide the orange headphone jack ribbon out of its connector.

  • The rear panel is now free from the iPod.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Now to repair the damage caused by liberating the internal parts of the iPod Classic! It is highly likely that at least one of the metal clips in the lower case has been bent upward. These clips must all be pointing downward in order to reinstall the rear panel.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Take the broad, flat side of the metal spudger and push the clip down, taking care not to tear the thin metal rail from the rear panel.

  • Be careful not to damage any of the headphone jack parts while shaping these clips!

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • On a clean, hard surface, lay the rear panel on its side. Carefully but firmly push down on it, rolling the entire lip side back into its proper spot.

  • It may be necessary to do this multiple times in order to achieve optimal straightness on the sides. It is better to have the edges of the case pushed in slightly too far rather than not far enough, because the reseating of the front panel will bend the rear panel into its correct alignment.

  • Now that the rear panel is back to a beautiful condition, you can move on to repairing the iPod!

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Rotate the hard drive out of the framework and place it so that the connector is facing up.

  • Use a spudger to flip up the plastic tab holding the orange hard drive ribbon in place. The tab will rotate up 90 degrees, releasing the ribbon cable.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Slide the orange hard drive ribbon cable directly out of its connector.

  • If you are replacing the hard drive in your iPod and it did not come with the rubber mounting brackets and foam padding, transfer these items from your old drive to the replacement drive.

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

For more information, check out the iPod Classic device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

1.5" Thin Putty Knife

$6.95 · 50+ In stock

Metal Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Opening Tools

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

The instructions worked like a charm. This is not for the faint of heart and requires some modicum of skill, but I saved a buttload of money by doing it myself. You will definitely need the recommended tools.

johannesdecruce, · Reply

It worked like a charm... Just need to follow the instructions carefully and you can avoid to spend 200 something € to buy a new iPod!

Thanks iFixit

Fanny Millon, · Reply

i couldn't get the plastic opening tool in between the 2 sections. i ended up using two razor blades instead of the plastic tools and the putty knife, i was able to replace the hard drive with very little struggle and almost no cosmetic damage(not that i care what the thing looks like)

algore2016, · Reply

Thanks for a highly useful guide. Slowly and methodically, using a single-bladed, razor blade, I was able to open the case, following this procedure. Patience is, indeed, a virtue, in this case.

I was able to successfully replace the hard drive and battery.

The only snag I encountered was that the headphone jack ribbon was glued to circuit board adjacent to the connector under the hard drive. (I just left this ribbon be, not wanting to risk damaging the ribbon.) It was a bit awkward straightening the case edges, but I managed.

Overall, I'd give this guide a grade of "A"....it was nearly perfect and very clear. Bravo!

rgstout, · Reply

Well I managed to get it apart, though it wasn't all that difficult with the right tools, but getting it back together has been a nightmare. Just saying "reverse the process" is reall not quite enough in this case. All the little pieces of shock padding keep falling off, it's almost impossible to get the two wires plugged back in as well as keeping them in place, but I got there in the end. Or so I thought . Now my ipod has no sound (except from dock output) - and on investigating I find I have severed the orange cable near the jack itself- either by bending it or catching it on something. So another part to buy. So it's a warning to be very careful.

James Skilton, · Reply

Yeah. I did it. It wasn't easy, and the results could have been prettier, but I did it.

On opening, I found my plastic tools to be useless. I ended up taking the blade of a cheap Gerber knife to the thing, being careful not to damage the rails. I found that thin grade guitar picks were a great thing to stick in the spaces!

It's a good idea to take a picture of the innards once you open it. The little bumpers can be a bit tricky to reposition when you put it back together. Also you'll want to remove the blue foam padding if possible from the old hard drive and stick it to the new one.

Don't freak out when you get to the ribbons. They're tougher than they look, and they seem to know where to go. I did have to use a pair of needlenose plyers to guide the headphone ribbon back into place.

If you're a stickler for aesthetics, then pay close attention to steps 21-23. Especially 23, or you'll have unsightly gaps along the edges.

The hardest part of this project is taking it apart. Take your time.

David , · Reply

If you're meticulous, the job can perfectly be done, without any of the recommended tools. I hadn't the time to order them, so I opened my iPod with the large blade of my Victorinox swiss army knife. By just following the instruction I succeeded in releasing all of the metal tabs all around the iPod, and didn't damage any of them. You can clearly hear them "declipsing". I think the blade of the Victorinox is thiner than the putty knife, the only thing you have to take care of, is not to cut the black or silver painting of the front of the case, but if you are used to cut with a knife, you should succeed. Just be aware that it is however a difficult job !

jcfsystems, · Reply

I have with luck (several times) used the metal spudger to create a small initial gap.

But be careful, it's easy to severely scratch the iPod.

rousp, · Reply

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