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Upgrade your storage with a new hard drive.


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  1. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement, Rear Panel: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • Before opening your iPod, ensure that the hold switch is in the locked position.

    Boy, are these cases hard to open! I got nowhere with the spudger, but I did have success using duct tape. This is worth trying as it reduces the likelihood of scratching the case. Make a tab by sticking duct tape to the metal case starting on the side down by the scrolll wheel and ending up where the metal case ends on the firewire side. Fold excess duct tape back on itself so that it is 2x thick anywhere it isn’t stuck to the iPod. This is where you are going to grab it. Rub the duct tape with a spudger or a fingernail where it touches the iPod to make it stick better. Make a similar tab on the other side. Now grab the iPod in your right hand with your thumb at the 1/8” audio connector, squeeze gently, and pull on one of the duct tape tabs. (I stared with the one of the lock button side, but I don’t think it matters.) It is smooth sailing once the case starts to open up. Clean off any duct tape residue with alcohol wipes before re-assembly.

    R Calhoun - Reply

    Well, maybe for you because you have baby hands and, it Took me less Then a minute to do it

    Matthew Cabanas -

  2. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement: step 2, image 1 of 1
    • Opening the iPod can be challenging; don't get discouraged if it takes you a few tries to get the iPod to open.

    • Insert a plastic iPod opening tool in the seam between the white plastic front and metal back of the iPod. It helps to hold the iPod at top and bottom as shown and squeeze to help pop out the edge. Once you've inserted the tool, run it along the seam to free the five tabs holding the iPod together.

  3. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • Continue to run the opening tool along the side of the case until all five tabs have been released.

  4. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement: step 4, image 1 of 1
    • Work around the corner of the iPod and release the two tabs holding the iPod together near the dock connector.

  5. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement: step 5, image 1 of 1
    • Free the five tabs holding the iPod together on the other side. You may be able to free the tabs by gently wiggling the front panel of the iPod.

    • Lift the rear panel away from the iPod.

  6. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement, Hard Drive: step 6, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the battery up from the adhesive holding it to the iPod.

    • Lay the battery next to the iPod (it is still connected to the logic board).

  7. iPod 1st Generation Hard Drive Replacement: step 7, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

    • Lift the hard drive out of the iPod.


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

8 other people completed this guide.


Member since: 09/24/2009

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646 Guides authored


Where can I get a HDD that will fit/work in this model? 1st iPod 5GB capacity. Larger capacity would be nice but not needed.

kevin - Reply

I'd like to know the same Kevin.

rgcastreg - Reply

Kevin. Theydon't make hard drives for it for anymore, but they make adapters for CF card and SD cards. Of Course you can put whatever size you want in it

David Robitaille (robitaill3) - Reply

CF adapters do not work in 1G iPods. You can find old 1.8” drives on eBay, but they must be single-platter drives. The largest I know of is 40GB.

M Smith - Reply

1st and maybe 2nd gen sync and charge only over firewire and need a hard drive. I tried a comact flash and a zif ssd in the format of the newer hard drives and it finds the drive, but wont format. It stops half way. The newer ipods (3rd gen and up) that sync over usb can use solid state alternatives (2nd gen is the same ipod with a bigger drive and a touch scroll wheel). If you can find a zif ssd smaller than 32gb it might work, but dont forget about the zif to 50 pin adapter.

ZIF SSD KingSpec ZF18-32

razor353 - Reply

Has anyone replaced the 5GB drive with the 10GB (original model)? Any issues?

Rusty Lingenfelter - Reply

Am trying to resurrect my old 5gb scroll wheel ipod. Keep getting the folder+exclamation. Makes a weird electronic buzzing noise as it tries to reboot. Occasionaly springs back to life only to freeze after a few minutes. When I do get it connected disk utility says the drive is fine. Am wondering if I can swap out the drive for a Toshiba MK3006GAL 30gb 50pin single-platter drive; it’s the only potential match I can find for sale. anyone tried this?

Allan Hughes - Reply

Am sorry to say that I folded a bubblegum card over and placed it inside the case at the end near the drive connector. The iPod has worked flawlessly ever since. I suspect my HDD is fine but that there may be a loose contact somewhere at the connection between HDD and board that the extra pressure has helped rectify. Not really a ‘fix’ but it seems to be working.

Allan Hughes - Reply

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