Introduction

Upgrade your storage with a new 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.
  • 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.

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

Thank you for these instructions - my dead iPod classic (that died whilst attached to an ipod dock during a heavy thunderstorm which took out the dock too) is now working again. Opening the case took me 40 minutes and 7 plastic case openers not to mention very sore hands but the rest of the process worked fine. thanks again

Stuart Hutchesson - Reply

Opened it up with MANY super thin nylon guitar picks in less than a minute starting from the two tabs on the bottom - I used the putty knife in my shop for wood filler and patching walls :)

cmguitar - Reply

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.
  • 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.

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

right here, you should insert a picture of the little clips on the rails inside the back of the ipod, so that we can visualise what we're trying to undo, & get a better idea of which way to bend, which way NOT to bend the tools.

duncanrmi - Reply

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.
  • 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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At an angle, carefully insert a putty knife about 1/8 inch into the seam between the two opening tools.
  • 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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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.
  • 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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Remove the putty knife from the iPod and reinsert it closer to the corner of the iPod, using the same wiggle method as before.
  • 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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Near the headphone jack, insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod.
  • 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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Near the center of the display, carefully insert a metal spudger into the gap created by the plastic opening tool.
  • 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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Near the other top corner, insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod
  • 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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Deck the Halls
With tools and Fix Kits
On the other side, insert a plastic opening tool into the seam between the front and back of the iPod.
  • 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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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).
  • 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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At an angle, carefully insert a putty knife about 1/8 inch into the seam between the two opening tools.
  • 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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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.
  • 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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Gently wiggle the metal spudger down so that it is all the way in the rear panel.
  • Gently wiggle the metal spudger down so that it is all the way in the rear panel.

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

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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.
  • 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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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.
  • 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.

If the small battery black/white connector pumps out of the ipod when you are trying to unplug the cable...REMEMBER the "U" black shape is meant to be just in the same direction as the blue plastic "U" beside it. If you plug it back in the wrong way it will display "Charging please wait..." forever!.

:)

riverate - Reply

How did you get the black battery piece to stay in after it popped out?

Katrina Frantz -

I knocked this little bit out too! Any tips to get it back in? Soldering?

David Ewing -

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

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Lift the hard drive up with one hand so you can access the headphone jack ribbon beneath.
  • 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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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.
  • 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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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.
  • 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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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.
  • 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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Rotate the hard drive out of the framework and place it so that the connector is facing up.
  • 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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Slide the orange hard drive ribbon cable directly out of its connector.
  • 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.

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Conclusion

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

230 other people completed this guide.

iRobot

Member since: 09/24/2009

1 Reputation

726 Guides authored

31 Comments

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

This is great instruction.

Could you please add the list of compatible hard drives.

I have a need for larger hard drive and plan is to install 512GB SSD drive for my iPod Classic 160GB 7th Gen. Do you now is there some limitation in HD size in iPod?

The plan is to replace original 160GB hard drive with Samsung PM851 512GB SSD drive

Based on my understanding this adapter works

Mini PCI-E Msata SSD to 40pin ZIF Adapter Card

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-PCI-E-Msata...

with Samsung PM851 512GB mSata Internal Solid state drive SSD

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-PM851-51...

I guess that I need also new wider back cover for iPod classic.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/upgrade-iPod-Cla...

I'm not sure how much space is needed for Msata to SSD adapter and ssd drive

Any comments?

Jari - Reply

@Jari

Have you considered using a Compact Flash instead of SSD? i.e. check eBay for "CF to Zif 1.8" HDD SSD IDE Adapter"...

htk - Reply

I tried to install Samsung PM851 512GB SSD drive for iPod Classic, but iPod does not detect the drive.

I formatted SSD drive to FAT32 beforehand, but finally I had to intall original 160GB drive back.

Jari -

This was indeed a tough shell to crack! The plastic tools can bend easily and become weak so be careful as you are trying to create the initial gap for the putty knife. Once you get one side unhinged, the rest moves much more quickly!

Upgraded my 80 to a 120 and did the battery while I was at it...now hopefully I can squeeze another 5 years out of my iPod which should be long enough for a Apple to release Touch with a large enough hard drive for all my music!

doomius - Reply

The guide is very good. Take your time and with patience and perseverance it can be done. I used a kitchen palette knife to prise open the case. I replaced the hard drive and after several attempts at fixing the hard drive cable in place given that the flimsly retainer clip broke first time on the new drive. I used a piece of paper in the slot to keep the cable connected and secure which was then curved back and taped into place to keep the pressure on. Fiddly but sucessful. I now have my ipod up and working. Not bad for a 7 year old piece of kit which has has a few knocks and bashes on the way. So it is worth trying!

Paula Pompei - Reply

Had great success using 6 guitar picks instead of the putty knife. Allowed me to move in smaller sections and caused zero damage to the iPod. Didn't even bend any metal clips mentioned in Step 21! Replacing a damaged drive with 128 GB of flash memory using StarTech 1.8-Inch ZIF to CF Adaptor and Komputerbay Dual Micro SD to CF adaptor. Can use two cheaper 64 GB SD cards to achieve a solid state 7th Gen Classic!

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B001CC3N...

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004WKIG...

Sea Pea - Reply

Don't know much about memory technologies but why did you use 2* micro SD cards instead of a 128gb CF card?

matt donovan -

A very useful guide -I read through a couple of times before starting. I did not have spudgers, but used a variety of other small tools. It came apart more easily than expected, and the case only needed one clip bending back. There are some minor marks at the joint between case and front, but all works fine.

Esbjorn - Reply

I don´t have the plastic tools, which I believe are meant to open the device without scratching it. I still haven´t repaired my iPod Classic, but I followed the instructions to open it and identify the hard drive model so I could order a new one. I opened it with a round blade knife and two coffee spoons. :) I wasn´t afraid to scratch the dang thing as it was already badly scratched. It will be my "backup" Classic, as I already got myself a new one (one of the last ones).

Ubirata Silva - Reply

Is there a drive bigger than the 160 Gb that will fit? I just need more space. :)

Orcinus Orca - Reply

I have a 512gb flash memory iPod Classic. It has a Tarkan adapter in it. Paid $400 for it. Didn't do the work myself. Just paid for, basically, a new iPod.

Chris George -

I would like to try this because my iPod classic died and I'm very upset that it's been discontinued. I have no want for a Touch and I listen to too much music for a low GB. I must ask though where you got the new hard drive? Or what kind of hard drive it is. I've only ever installed a hard drive in an XBox 360 slim and that was just opening a panel and slipping it into a port. Thanks.

CyanideBreathmint - Reply

Do a flash memory upgrade. Mine is at 512gb now. Replaces the hard drive with flash memory. It has no moving parts and it's lighter!!!

Chris George -

Everything went smoothly. I replaced both the drive and the battery at the same time. I suggest you invest a little $ and buy the necessary tools as I did. Makes everything sooooooo

much easier. Took about an hour but what the heck.....I wasn't doing much else. Now I have my Tunes back! Thanks iFixit.com!

Kenny From San Clemente, CA

kenwinters1 - Reply

Great guide, just take your time and make sure you use the proper tools. Used this guide for my iPod and you can't tell it has been opened whereas I used a different guide in the past for the Mrs's iPod with no where near as good results.

Michael Gregory - Reply

This is a great guide, I was able to change both my hard drive and my battery in a simple 30 minutes since my package arrived. My iPod always worked really hard just to stay powered on, it felt like it was going to explode every time I picked it up, now the iPod is running quietly and smoothly with no problems. And for once I am able to sync all of my music from iTunes onto it.

Patricia Princivil - Reply

A few weeks back I saw someone selling a 160 gig Classic on LetGo for $35 and decided to get it. Got home and discovered why the price was so low, the disk could not be accessed when I tried a restore. So I ordered up some parts from Amazon, a ZIF to CF adapter board and a CF to SD adapter. Ran about $20 for the pair. I went to Harbor Freight Tools to see about a putty knife but decided to get a razor blade with handle that I found in the paint scraping aisle where the putty knives were. Turned out this was the only tool I needed to get the clips undone while not uglifying the iPod. I pried on the edge of the back case like the instructions show using the putty knife to do, then a very small amount of persuasion by placing a small flathead screwdriver in the gap and a bit of twisting got it apart.

Randy - Reply

(cont'd) I put a 32 gig SD card in the adapter for testing, then put the adapter into the ZIF adapter and slid it in. I had a 32 gig solid state Classic to show for my efforts. I synced some music and tried playing through some headphones to see what I got, after all this was a cheapie secondhand 'Pod so had to find out if it'd work. Works great.

I see that Other World Computing has a more elegant part going straight from ZIF to SD, I think I'll try that. The slim 7th gen doesn't look like it'll hold the adapter contraption in there now. I haven't tried closing it yet since I need a bigger SD.

Randy - Reply

Thank you for the guide! It is indeed very difficult, but not impossible. I followed the directions as closely as possible. I had to use a utility knife to open it. The seam was too tight for the plastic tools. Everything else went fine. If you use extreme care and follow the directions exactly you should be able to do this with no damage to ribbon cables. I did, at times, feel like I was performing microsurgery. :-) All went well in the end and I once again have a working iPod classic - at a fraction of the cost of replacing it. Thanks again for the guide and for the great customer service when ordering the parts.

Richard Tracy - Reply

The instructions were absolutely clear( even if I deduced some of the words from the context) :-) The only difficulty for me, was to put as much power on the putty knife as necessary. Too little and too shy at the beginning. ... but then you get the necessary feeling! Again it's not as difficult as it seems in the beginning. By the 25-th fixing you can open a little fixing shop :-D. Thank you iFixit!!! Thank you all enthusiasts who post here!!!

laureantudor - Reply

I was able to successfully install the physical drive, however the volume is not working well-it can be heard faintly if the volume is cranked all the way up-but its all very distorted. Any suggestions?

Alexander Mathew - Reply

I was able to do this with an 4" icing spatula without bending the case at all. Great guide. My classic is now 250GB of storage, faster, and lighter. Thanks!

azcodemonkey - Reply

Hi I have 2 questions.

1) I accidentally broke the (brown) connector holding the battery cable to the logic board. What is it called and how can I get a replacement?

2) I exchanged the LCD Color display between 2 ipod classic (one and A1238 80GB with broken screen and the other A1238 160GB perfect screen) the result was a blank whote screen but if i switched it back to the broken screen, I could see the apple logo n startup. How can i solve this problem? Should i buy a new LCD Color display? Are there any difference between the parts?

Please help....

epatmos - Reply

Just replaced my bad hard drive, so far so good. This site was a lifesaver

john maibauer - Reply

Great instruction, had two iPods- one with screwed battery, the other one with damaged hard drive: Made one out of two- was easy even though i didn't had the plastic tools, a hair clip is perfect for this job! the iPod is dead, long live the iPod

Bep Straßenkehrer - Reply

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