iPod 4th Generation or Photo 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.

Edit Step 1 Rear Panel  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 1 Rear Panel  ¶ 

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

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Opening the iPod can be challenging. Don't 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 towards 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. Press the tool into the corner, creating a small gap on the side of the case.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

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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.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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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.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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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 clips near the dock connector.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Run the iPod opening tool around the lower right corner and slide it down the right side seam to free the five tabs holding the iPod together. You may be able to free the tabs by gently wiggling the front panel of the iPod.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • 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 edge at the top, and lay the rear panel next to the front half of the iPod.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • 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.

Edit Step 9 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Grasp the hard drive with one hand and carefully disconnect the orange ribbon cable from the hard drive using your other hand.

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

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

For more information, check out the iPod 4th Generation or Photo device page.

Required Tools

Plastic Opening Tools

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

Comments Comments are onturn off

Just to let anyone wondering know: today I replaced the HDD with a 60 GB SSD - works like a charm. Maybe I can use this pod for another 8 years! :-)

Stefan, · Reply

Hi Stefan,

Iam very interested in replace my ipod photo HDD with a 60 GB SSD . What kind of SSD did you use?

Thank you

Luiz Bandeira

Brazil

Luiz Bandeira de Mello Braga,

What kind of SSD did you use? Did you use an adapter as well? Is it possible to install up to 480 GB SSD?

Heiko , · Reply

I have a 4th generation iPod color 20GB. I tried to replace the hard drive with KingSpec 32GB SSD it didn't work it had formatting issues. I then did what most people do and bought a compact flash (CF) to 50 pin 1.8” IDE adapter. The adapter I bought came with a case the adapter's circuit board is red and has a master/slave switch on it. The case looks like a hard drive so the padding and bumpers on the Ipod's original hard drive can be reused with ease. Some people have had success with the KingSpec's SSD it is a nice option because it doesn't need an adapter. I have seen talk on the internet about iPod logic board versions and drive compatibility so maybe this is why the SSD didn't work for me. The key to converting to solid state is having a good adapter with the right brand and model of CF. I used a Kingston Ultimate 32GB CF it was indicated on Tarkan's website to be compatible with all iPods. Everything works perfectly now after installing the CF card with adapter.

negichan, · Reply

Dropped in a 64GB SSD - this guide was excellent to get it all in place :-)

jonas, · Reply

I have a 30GB 4th-gen iPod with a color display. I had to replace both the battery and the hard drive (the battery had physically expanded when it died and crushed the hard drive). The hard drive I replaced with a Sandisk 32GB CF card mounted inside a CF to 1.8" IDE adapter from Micro SATA Cables. My computer recognized it immediately when it was plugged in and it is working fine.

mbta3247, · Reply

How necessary is it to have the HOLD switch in the locked position? On my iPod the switch is stuck in the unlocked position and I can't force it into locked.

Is locking the iPod for a mechanical reason or an electrical/software reason?

gabeshaikh, · Reply

Quote from gabeshaikh:

How necessary is it to have the HOLD switch in the locked position? On my iPod the switch is stuck in the unlocked position and I can't force it into locked.

Is locking the iPod for a mechanical reason or an electrical/software reason?

It is for an electrical reason. If the iPod hold switch is kept on, the device will not turn on, thus ensuring the device stays powered off while performing service.

trusty, · Reply

I have a 60 GB iPod photo that needs a new Logic Board. I bought a 30 GB used iPod on eBay and replaced the Logic Board. Now the iPod thinks the hard drive is only 30 GB, when it is really 60 GB. It works, but the hard drive is not recognized for its full size. Sites like this offer a 20 GB and 40 GB logic board...I apparently need 60 GB. Can I bypass this somehow, or do I really need a logic board that is specifically made for 60 GB???

Mark, · Reply

My 30gig drive shows up as a 16.4gig. I can not for the life of me, figure out why this is doing this. Can anyone help? Thanks!

Stephan, · Reply

Hello,

First thank you for this tuto and help.

I did follow your instructions and every step was ok but when I closed my i'Pod, it kept staying on the lock position even with moving the lock button.

Now it has charged but I could not make it run.

So I did a complete reboot by connecting it to my Mac with i'Tunes to restore.

It's still locked.

What can I do?

Than You for your answer

Thomas

Voisin, · Reply

Much quicker and far easier opening from the right side instead of from the top using the blue plastic spudger. Opened in under 10sec. Do not know why this guide asks you to start from the top and work it to the left corner. Perhaps it was meant as a challenge.

Edwin Seah, · Reply

Well, I did it! I am pretty mechanically inclined, but I don't work well with small stuff. Anyway, as others mentioned, this step was the hardest for me, the included tools, worthless (to start to separate the case) As another person mentioned, I used a razor blade on the side on the upper left corner pushing down toward the metal clips, 'pop' once the first came off, then I used the blue tools to release the remaining clips. I didn't want to remove the connector in step 8, but had literally no room to work, the connector is a square push in type that is attached to the ribbon cable, I pryed with the blue tool carefully at the connector base, it popped right off! (getting is back on was more challenging, but managed with a small pair of needle nose pliers.) Had to pry the old battery out carefully - it was really in there. Got it all back together, works like a champ! Thanks ifixit!

mikesnyder, · Reply

The plastic prying tools are pretty useless, but a 9/64-inch jewellers' screwdriver will pop the case very easily.

Human, · Reply

This is the most fragile piece to work with in the whole process. Make sure you have some glasses or something and actually watch the individual pins while you reconnect the cable. I can't see so close, and didn't see what I was doing clearly. Consequently I broke the pins.

Adam Logan, · Reply

Be very careful disconnecting. In fact may want to leave connected. I "removed" the entire piece pins and all from the board and had to replace the logic board to fix. A $15 fix turned into $65. Happy to say got it fixed with a new board but this was a crucial step that cost me big time! Again leave headphone jack connected if at all possible!!

tigers27408, · Reply

DO NOT remove the ribbon cable unless absolutely necessary. I also removed the black female plug from the logic board by mistake. However, in my case I was able to plug it back in and it still works (phew!). Lucky. I might have destroyed some soldering, I don't know ... but it works.

Paul, · Reply

At this point I damaged the motherboard irreversibly!!

This guide should be modified. You should not attempt this step. Either you replace the battery without disconnecting the ribbon. Or if you really want more room, you unscrew the other little board from the the metal half of the case.

Now I have to buy another ipod :-(

Guillaume Barreau, · Reply

Note carefully how the orange ribbon cable is connected, as there are more holes than pins (at least on my hard drive) which makes it a little tricky to put it back correctly. Not that difficult, but I had to do it twice...

osset, · Reply

Just a curious question, since the hard drive is quite fragile, can it be replaced with a lets say: 8 GB fast CF card with built-in ATA?

callmered, · Reply

It can with an adapter. I picked one up on ebay for $2 from Hong Kong.

Eric Rumsey,

The Hard Drive can be replaced with a CompactFlash to Toshiba 1.8-inch IDE Hard Drive Converter and a CF Card. It works! http://www.dx.com/p/cf-to-toshiba-1-8-in...

Lion, · Reply

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