How to Replace an Apple iPod Hard Drive

How can you replace your Apple iPod hard drive? It’s almost guaranteed that in the life of your iPod either the hard drive or battery will fail. Apple expects you to contact them, pay an exorbitant amount of money, ship it in for a few weeks, and get it back working like new again. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

iPod Repair

It’s very easy to replace either a broken hard drive or dead battery with a little ingenuity and some side cash. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and money by doing it yourself and the experience is invaluable. So, let’s go step by step to get your hard drive replaced!

(Note this guide is for iPods with hard drives such as the iPod Classic and previous click wheel generations. Not the Nano, Mini, Shuffle, or iPod Touch.)

Replace Ipod Hard Drive

  1. The first thing you’re going to need to do is remove the iPod backing to access the dead drive. The metal casing that holds the iPod back together is easily removed. To pry it off you’ll need a very thin flat head screwdriver. If you look closely at where the metal joins the colored plastic, you’ll see there’s a very thin crevice and gap where the two are affixed. Gently slide the screwdriver into the crevice and push down and outwards as though you’re trying to force the screwdriver head into the bottom. Much like prying the lid off of a paint can, you’ll have to work your way around the entire iPod by gently prying and pulling to remove the steel casing.
  2. Once you’ve made your way into the iPod, you’ll see a silver, rectangular, drive that lies on top of all of the other components. It should be encased in a rubber border with a piece of felt cloth glued to the back of the drive. Before you move any further, place the steel backing next to the iPod like an open book. The next step is to take the hard drive, gently of course, and “flip” it over so it lies in the steel casing.
  3. Once you’ve made the “flip” you should see the rest of the innards lying in the iPod, a small cable that connects the hard drive to the innards, and the hard drive resting on the steel casing. The cable looks like a computer IDE cable. Carefully remove the  cable from the back of the drive and take the drive aside.
  4. Your next job is to remove the rubber and cloth that are attached to the drive. This can be done fairly easily so do what you have to do to get both off.
  5. On the back of the hard drive, printed on the old drive under the cloth, is a drive model number. This guide will not cover how to obtain a new drive but a quick Google search for the model number should yield plenty of results. You can also look around for larger drives that have more space and capability if you’re so inclined.
  6. Once you have the new drive in your possession, it’s time to put everything back together. From here on out we’re going to essentially reverse engineer the previous steps. First you’ll want to reattach the rubber casing and the cloth to the back of the hard drive. This can be done with a little bit of tape or work glue you have lying around. No need to get fancy. Just make sure both parts are reattached properly.
  7. Next, reconnect the IDE cable to the back of the hard drive and put the drive back into the iPod housing on top of the rest of the components just like how you took it out. Now, we’re home free.
  8. Take the metal backing and simply pop it back into place on the back of the iPod and… Bam, we’re done!
  9. All that’s left to do now is head over to Apple’s website to download the latest firmware and drivers for the type of iPod you have. Once the drivers are downloaded, hook your “new” iPod up to the computer, let it charge for a little while, and run the firmware installer. With all of that done, your new iPod is good to go and ready to use.

Guest author Uttoran Sen ( a webmaster and a professional blogger, and you can follow him on twitter. You can also share your tips and hacks by writing a guest article on QOT.

WARNING: Use this tutorial to open your ipod at your risk. It may void your ipod warranty and may permanently damage your ipod.  We take no responsibility for your actions. Seeking Apple professional support is always the best way.

Share with friends

About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.