iPod Classic Troubleshooting

The iPod Classic looks like the 5th Generation iPod, but with a metal front case and multiple case color options. Troubleshooting and replacing parts is somewhat complex, but we have made it easier below.

Note: There are two versions of iPod Classic: thin and thick. The thin version refers to the 80 GB, 120 GB, and thin 160 GB models. The thick version refers to the thick 160 GB model. If you are unsure which 160 GB version you have (as some parts are not interchangeable between models), perform the following steps:

1) Locate the serial etched on the rear panel of the iPod

2) Go to Apple's Online Service Assistant and enter your serial number and country

3) Look at the text under the picture on the left. If it reads "iPod Classic," you have the thick version. If it reads "iPod Classic (Late 2009)," you have the thin version.

iPod won't turn on ¶ 

No matter what you do, you can't get your iPod to turn on.

Hold switch on ¶ 

Before delving into the guts of your iPod, check to make sure the hold switch isn't activated. If the hold switch is on, the iPod will ignore any input on the click wheel and refuse to do anything. If your iPod's problem isn't so easily solved, read on.

Drained/bad battery ¶ 

If your iPod won't turn on, especially if it has not been used recently, you may simply have a drained battery. Plug your iPod into your computer or AC adapter and see if anything happens. Ideally your iPod will recognize it has been connected to a power source and charge its battery. If it will no longer charge, the battery must be replaced. We sell replacement batteries for both thin and thick iPod Classics.

Bad display ¶ 

It is possible that it appears nothing is happening because the display is bad. If you hold the iPod up to your ear you should be able to hear the hard drive spinning. If the iPod sounds like it is working properly but nothing is visible, it is possible the display is bad and must be replaced.

Bad logic board ¶ 

If your iPod does nothing when plugged into a computer, the problem most likely lies in the logic board. We stock logic boards, and we offer the instructions for installing them.

Bad click wheel connection ¶ 

If the click wheel is not seated correctly, it is possible that the iPod will not boot. Be sure that the bar on the click wheel is completely flipped down to ensure a positive connection.

No audio or distorted audio ¶ 

Your iPod turns on and appears to work, but when you plug in headphones or speakers, the audio doesn't play properly.

Bad headphones/speakers ¶ 

It's unlikely your headphones or speakers are bad, but it's worthwhile to eliminate these as the source of your problem at the beginning. Try your iPod with another set of headphones or speakers just to make sure that the problem is with the iPod.

Bad audio jack ¶ 

The most likely cause of audio output problems on iPods is a bad audio-out jack. We sell the thin and thick headphone jacks, and we offer free guides for replacement.

Restore icon on startup ¶ 

Your iPod displays the text "Use iTunes to restore" on startup

Corrupted software ¶ 

It isn't often that Apple gives specific directions about how to fix your problem! Restoring the iPod will erase everything on it, so make sure everything on the iPod is stored elsewhere prior to restoring. To restore, connect your iPod to a computer with iTunes installed. Upon connecting, a message may pop up, informing you that your hard drive is corrupted and/or in recovery mode. If one of these messages pops up, click the "Restore Now" button and follow the directions. If no pop up message appears, click "Restore" on the iPod summary page (click on your iPod icon on the left menu to find this page). Follow the directions to restore. If your iPod displays the text "Please wait. Very Low Battery," leave it plugged in. This charges the iPod enough to be able to restore. If the iPod hangs on this screen for long periods of time, you may need a new battery.

Bad hard drive cable ¶ 

It is also possible that the sad iPod icon is caused by a bad hard drive cable. In this instance, re-connecting or replacing the hard drive cable (thin or thick) first is a good idea.

Bad click wheel connection ¶ 

If the click wheel is not seated correctly, it is possible that the iPod will go to this screen. Be sure that the bar on the click wheel is completely flipped down to ensure a positive connection.

Bad hard drive ¶ 

If checking the connections does not work, you may have a bad hard drive. If no information is being sent to the iPod from the hard drive, it makes the iPod quite unhappy! Note: iPod Classics have unique connectors, and only specific hard drives will work in them. Browse our hard drives (thin or thick) and check out our iPod ID page for compatible drives.

Bad logic board ¶ 

If attempting to restore the iPod and diagnosing the hard drive and connections does not fix the problem, the issue is probably the logic board.

Sad iPod icon on startup ¶ 

The iPod displays an image of a sad iPod when turned on

Corrupted software ¶ 

Sometimes, a reset and restore will fix a sad iPod. Connect your iPod to your computer and use iTunes to restore the iPod. Restoring the iPod will erase everything on it, so make sure everything on the iPod is stored elsewhere prior to restoring. Sometimes it may be necessary to restore the iPod several times before it works properly. If you are unable to restore your iPod using iTunes, you can hard reset your iPod. iPod Classics can be hard reset by booting while holding the menu and play/pause buttons. This should result in a quick dark screen followed by the standard Apple boot graphic.

Bad hard drive ¶ 

It is also possible that the sad iPod icon is caused by a bad or poorly connected hard drive. If no information is being sent to the iPod from the hard drive, it makes the iPod quite unhappy! Note: Video iPods have unique connectors, and only specific hard drives will work in them. Browse our hard drives (thin or thick) and check out our iPod ID page for compatible drives.

Bad battery connection ¶ 

Another potential issue is the battery's connection to the logic board (a bad battery should not cause this error, however). To test this, carefully detach the battery and re-connect it to the logic board.

Bad logic board ¶ 

If restoring the iPod and diagnosing the hard drive and battery connection does not fix the problem, the sad iPod is likely caused by a problem with the logic board. There's not much to troubleshoot here. Basically, the only option is to replace the logic board.

Folder icon appears on startup ¶ 

The iPod displays an image of a folder when turned on.

Bad hard drive or cable ¶ 

One of the best methods to diagnose a failing hard drive is to listen to the drive. If you put your iPod up to your ear, you should hear a smooth-sounding whirr of the hard drive spinning. Any loud clicking or grinding sounds may mean that your iPod's drive is failing. If you don't hear anything, the drive is not getting power or is very damaged and can't spin up.

One possible way of predicting whether the hard drive or cable is the culprit is to watch what happens when the iPod is attempting to boot. If the iPod goes from the Apple logo to the folder icon almost immediately, the cable is most likely at fault. In this instance, re-connecting or replacing the hard drive cable (thin or thick) first is a good idea. If the iPod hangs on the Apple screen for a few seconds before displaying the folder icon, the hard drive is probably the problem and must be replaced.

Note: Video iPods have unique connectors, and only specific hard drives will work in them. Browse our hard drives and check out our iPod ID page for compatible drives.

The iPod either boots to an Apple logo and freezes or continuously reboots.

Bad logic board ¶ 

This is likely the cause, and the logic board must be replaced.

Comments Comments are onturn off

Ok my ipod classic 160g only turns on when connected to the computer. When you unplug it, there's no response from pushing the wheel and it jus goes dim. Do you guys do repairs?

bedboy, · Reply

Quote from bedboy:

Ok my ipod classic 160g only turns on when connected to the computer. ... Do you guys do repairs?

No, we don't do repairs. But I'm sure you can fix it yourself! It sounds like you have a dead battery. Read the 'iPod won't turn on' section for more details.

Kyle Wiens, · Reply

Picture of circle with X in the middle. bottom of screen directs to ipod support etc? Did I miss this in troubleshoot or is it the same as Folder icon?

jperschino, · Reply

I put my IPod onto a speaker dock that I've used many times before with no problem. I heard a funny sound (sort of like a zzzt), and my IPod went dark and wouldn't work or charge. I reset it and it came on and played fine. But then when I tried to connect to the computer to synchronize, it went dead again. I reset it again, and again it was fine. But I can't connect it to sync and when I leave it connected to the computer, the IPod gets very warm. However, our wall charger works just fine with it. So I can play it and recharge it with the wall charger, but I can't synchronize or connect to the speakers. What's going on with it, and is it repairable?

Puzzled, · Reply

Quote from Puzzled:

I put my IPod onto a speaker dock that I've used many times before with no problem. I heard a funny sound (sort of like a zzzt), and my IPod went dark and wouldn't work or charge. I reset it and it came on and played fine. But then when I tried to connect to the computer to synchronize, it went dead again. I reset it again, and again it was fine. But I can't connect it to sync and when I leave it connected to the computer, the IPod gets very warm. However, our wall charger works just fine with it. So I can play it and recharge it with the wall charger, but I can't synchronize or connect to the speakers. What's going on with it, and is it repairable?

It seems to be either a software or logic board issue. Try doing a restore instead of a reset. If that doesn't work, most likely it's a faulty logic board. At that point, you can check out how to replace the logic board -- it's not for the faint of heart.

Apple also has a nice troubleshooter for the iPod Classic.

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

whenever i connect my ipod to my fm transmitter or use the headphones i hear a lot of static/distorted sound. i checked and the headphone or the fm transmitter were not the problem. i then replaced the audio-headphone jack and that didnt solve the problem. i still hear static.

the ipod works fine when i connect it to my computer. perfect sound, no static.

what could be the problem?

alexplainlater, · Reply

Quote from jperschino:

Picture of circle with X in the middle. bottom of screen directs to ipod support etc? Did I miss this in troubleshoot or is it the same as Folder icon?

I have the same problem, I really dont want to send it in if I dont have to. Any advise?

johnnymiu, · Reply

Quote from alexplainlater:

whenever i connect my ipod to my fm transmitter or use the headphones i hear a lot of static/distorted sound. i checked and the headphone or the fm transmitter were not the problem. i then replaced the audio-headphone jack and that didnt solve the problem. i still hear static.

the ipod works fine when i connect it to my computer. perfect sound, no static.

what could be the problem?

That's quite the conundrum you've got there. We're speculating that it might be the battery (although we've never encountered a case where the battery caused interference). However, the fact that it works fine when plugged into a USB power source could mean that the battery is at fault.

The other potential problem may be the logic board. Given the same reasoning above, the board may have gone goofy and needs to be plugged in to work properly.

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

Quote from jperschino:

Picture of circle with X in the middle. bottom of screen directs to ipod support etc? Did I miss this in troubleshoot or is it the same as Folder icon?

We're assuming you're talking about this icon. You can troubleshoot this in the same fashion as the sad iPod icon.

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

my ipod boots up but says "no music" even though it says it has 30gb used on an 80gb hard drive. All the other functions work as they should and ive tried restore and reset. Whats wrong?

codypa, · Reply

Quote from codypa:

my ipod boots up but says "no music" even though it says it has 30gb used on an 80gb hard drive and i had nothing but music on it. All the other functions work as they should and ive tried restore and reset. Whats wrong?

codypa, · Reply

my ipod after i turn it on shows a red 'X' inside a circle and under it it gives me a website link to ipod repair on their official website... i went to geek squad in best buy and they realized it was a hard drive problem... when i hear my hard drive it sounds like its skipping.. similar to a record player skipping since the pin is out of place...... does a ipod hard drive work like that or is it just a big block like in the guide? I have a iPod 6th/Sixth Generation [A.K.A.: iPod Classic]... I'd appreciate any help.. thanks !

prazzylingam, · Reply

Quote from prazzylingam:

my ipod after i turn it on shows a red 'X' inside a circle and under it it gives me a website link to ipod repair on their official website... i went to geek squad in best buy and they realized it was a hard drive problem... when i hear my hard drive it sounds like its skipping.. similar to a record player skipping since the pin is out of place...... does a ipod hard drive work like that or is it just a big block like in the guide? I have a iPod 6th/Sixth Generation [A.K.A.: iPod Classic]... I'd appreciate any help.. thanks !

If it's a distinct click-click-click noise, 9 times out of 10 the hard drive's dead. The noise is a sure-fire sign for pretty much any non-flash hard drive that it is failing (or about to fail).

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

what would it be if not within the 9/10 probability?

Jose,

my Ipod is stuck in lock/hold. keep moving the switch on top and there is no change the closed lock remains onthe screen.

Pe3ter, · Reply

My 160GB ipod is stuck in the music menu, but shows no music, artists, etc. even though the memory is taken up. It locks up on a song, but will not play. Any ideas?

WantmyMusic, · Reply

My i-pod classic does not charge....when connected to the computer, the battery icon does not show it's charging then it goes to a screen that says "Connect to Power" with a battery symbol and a yellow triangle with an exclaimation point in it....can you tell me what's wrong? Thank you

NWF, · Reply

My Ipod has gray pixels on the left side of the display only when the backlight in switched on, and it seems to grow bigger. When the backlight switch off after 10 seconds, the gray pixels disappears. The display shows everything properly when the backlight is off. Is there a way to fix this or do I need to replace the display?

Also, it seems that my ipod has been showing signs of slowing down lately. It takes time for it to go from one menu to another. On the worst case scenario, it stopped responding to the clicker. I managed to fix it after using restore on itunes, but a couple of weeks after that, the signs of lagginess starts showing up again. I'm using a 80GB ipod classic.

bloodychaos, · Reply

my ipod got soaked in the rain. i havent opened it up coz im too afraid to do so and also its still in warranty. though i think its not covered because its because of the rain it was broken... do you think they will be able to retain the data inside if i send it to apple?

consing, · Reply

I don't know what I did, but my iPod's display is back to normal. You can still see 3 gray pixels but they're scattered. I notice it was gone a couple of days back after I charge my iPod overnight...hmm...

bloodychaos, · Reply

if I get a logic board from an 80 gig and put in a 160 gig would it be O.K

DK7250, · Reply

my ipod wont charge it will put up the apple logo then it will say wait extremely low battery then it will put up the sad ipod but the battery wont charge either could that be a bad battery connection to the board or what?

jbridgm, · Reply

If you'd like replies to your comments go to Answers!

machead3, · Reply

Quote from bedboy:

Ok my ipod classic 160g only turns on when connected to the computer. When you unplug it, there's no response from pushing the wheel and it jus goes dim. Do you guys do repairs?

that maybe your battery

DK7250, · Reply

what's up with the iPod if its really slow, wont charge, and shows the apple icon for a long time after i reset it

????

bridgette, · Reply

I accidentally formatted my 160 gig iPod. now it shows i have no memory, but when its plugged into a computer, it shows 148 gigs of memory. how do i fix this problem so i can put music back onb it? email me at preacha_mane@hotmail.com

Lucas, · Reply

My 5g 30GB Video iPod will not charge. I get "Please Wait, Very Low battery." So, I ordered a new battery (and headphone jack) to replace the old one thinking it was a bad battery. The iPod still will not charge, or turn on and isn't recognized by a computer. Do I need a new logic board? Please Help!!

Brittney, · Reply

Quote from Pe3ter:

my iPod is stuck in lock/hold. keep moving the switch on top and there is no change the closed lock remains onthe screen.

you need to carefully prise open the case next to the switch, then you need to see that the switch is lined up with the slider, at this point you could also test the switch works by moving it back and forth with the same small flat headed screwdriver that you used to open the case,then carefully ensure they still line up before closing

mark bown, · Reply

I have an iPod classic 80gb. started out just skiping songs on shuffle. restored it. not the songs wont sync back

kasey, · Reply

After calling the (800) corporate Apple customer service number, holding 5 minutes to speak to someone, inquiring if the "dead battery no longer holding a charge" on my 60G 6 year old Ipod could be replaced, I was given 2 options proffered by the Apple rep: 1- mail in the iPod, or 2- go to the closest Apple store to have the battery "replaced on the spot while waiting." I was provided the closest retail Apple store location (20 miles from me), given the address & phone number, and advised it s/b approximately $50-60.00 and no more than 15-20 minutes of service time. An appointment was strongly recommended. I was fortunate to obtain an appointment for 5:10 pm that same day.

Upon arrival at the store, one has to register with a floor attending "receptionist." I was 15 minutes early, the store busy, but taken on time. The service rep entered the model/serial #'s into Apple's database, and was promptly informed on their system that Apple no longer supports that model (their most popular model for music, videos, etc).

I was offered a 10% discount if I would trade-in my 60G model and purchase the newer 150G model retailing @ $249.00. No transferring of content could or would be performed. I explained I no longer kept the "library" on "the computer associated with that IPod" as the library took up too much room in storage.

It was suggested that third parties could replace the battery and/or transfer the tunes w/a third party program that "was out there somewhere." A friend suggested (later) that I go to Batteries Plus as they have "batteries for everything!" After calling to confirm that statement, I was on my way to Batteries Plus, only 10 miles from my residence. They were most courteous, understanding, and accommodating. While their battery inventory system appeared to only support a 30G and 80G IPod, the service associate said he would try either (@ $28.95) and install it for merely an $19.95 additional fee. If neither battery eiuld work, there wiuld be no obligation to pay anything, either opened packages or labor for installation of s battery. In 10 minutes the Ipod not only worked, I was happily on my way.

I find it interesting that Apple does not support its initial products of faithful, longstanding customers, but is more focused on and primarily interested in their own marketing of/upgrading sales; whereas a third party can be and do much more accommodating!! Kudos to Batteries Plus!!!

Sent from my iPhone

ez12get2@aol.com

Geoffrey Fradin, · Reply

My iPod has crashed and it apparently completes the display of the "apple" logo and then displays a big red cross, and further below shows the link to the support website of apple; www.apple/support/ipod I've tried the site and haven't read anything useful as such. I've seen many videos n youtube stating that one should just simply tap it, or even drop it to the floor, and it should probably work. I'm not satisfied with that, and haven't tried it. I wanted help with this, but I do wish to keep my files (music, videos and photos) without losing the from the iPod.

Athul Manojkumar, · Reply

Hi guys, I used your teardown instructions to replace the screen on an 80GB iPod. It works, but now there is no backlight. I noticed on the replacement screen that there were two ribbons (one fat and one skinny with two connectors) and the skinny ribbon wasn't connected to anything. On the old screen, there is a similar smaller ribbon that is soldered to the fat ribbon. Do you know if this is the connection for the backlight, or what the problem is if not? Thanks!

John, · Reply

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