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My iPod 4th Generation stopped working a few years ago and I decided that I wanted to start using it again. I was getting the folder icon and exclamation mark in the display window upon start-up. Following the iFixIt recommendation, I decided to try replacing the hard drive cable first before ordering a new hard drive.
Generally the repair went well, and the iFixIt guide for the hard drive cable replacement was accurate and easy to follow. I still see the same error message in the display so I now need to replace the hard drive. I found the plastic opening tools to be weak and the end of the larger of the two tools broke as I was trying to open my iPod. I ended up using one of the tools on my Swiss Army knife to complete the opening of the iPod case, and I was able to do this without damaging the iPod case.
Be careful with the plastic opening tools; they are not as strong as you might think.
The iPod Photo is now a pretty old iPod. Like many classic models, the numerous hard drives in it over the years all failed over given time. I finally figured to try a Compact Flash mod to get it working again. All went smoothly until I tried to get the iPod to restore. It would reboot, go into safe mode, and after 10 seconds, reboot, and repeat the process over and over. I figured it was my CF card since I saw online others had issues with that model, so I tried another card laying around the house. Same issue. After inspecting every part of the iPod, i noticed the hard drive cable had some pins unsolder due to my carelessness of yanking hard drives out and putting new ones in over the years. As soon as I installed the new cable from iFixit, iTunes saw the iPod and restored it. Now instead of a 20gb iPod Photo, it is 32gb and the battery life improved.
It was far from my first time opening the iPod Photo up. Repair was very easy. Just a quick swap of a cable and everything worked well!
If you are trying the CF mod, be careful pulling the cable from the hard drive out. You still need it for the adapter to connect to the CF card. I got excited when I was able to start this project and not taking the proper steps made it several days longer and a bit more pricey.