Skip to main content

iPod 3rd Generation Troubleshooting

The 3rd Generation iPod has four touch buttons above the touch wheel. Troubleshooting and replacing parts is fairly straightforward.

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 touch wheel or buttons 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, it must be replaced with a new battery.

Bad logic board

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

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.

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 (10/15/20 GB) and thick (30/40 GB) headphone jacks, and we offer free guides for replacement.

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. 3rd generation iPods 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 logic board

If restoring the iPod didn't work, 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. In this instance, replacing the hard drive cable first is a good idea. Then, if the problem persists, replace the hard drive. 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.


3rd gen ipod replaced main board restored said connect to external power to complete did that but nothing happens apple logo appears then charger plug appears plug it in and does nothing helpppppppppppppppppppppp

tnegley - Reply

You need a firewire to 30 pin cable not a standard usd to 30 pin cable

Connor Atkeson -

Same thing happened to me, - was faulty cable, re-wired it & away it went!

rayak - Reply

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

originalmachead - Reply

If I replaced the logic board and still get nothing past the Apple logo, how do I know it's a faulty cable and which one... ? Is it possible that it's the hard drive ? The hard drive seems to be active and spinning when listening to it close up against my ear. Not sure which way to go here.

herman428 - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 17

Past 7 Days: 41

Past 30 Days: 204

All Time: 78,652