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.


  1. hdmi says:


    thats the cool way of doing your doing your work by yourself, i m looking to change my ipods battery but didnt getting time to go to service center, now i will give a try by myself at home, i hope it will work for me.

    Thanks for posting, keep doing similar posts.

  2. kenny says:

    dont do it people, I guareentee that when you open the back cover, you will damage the screen, once the screen is damaged, there is no turning back.

    • Robert says:

      Naaa…really simple to do.

      be careful an you wont damage anything

      • Hugh says:

        I agree, this really is very simple to do. Apple quoted £160 to replace the hard drive, I bought one for £50 and did it myself follwing these instructions and had no problems. My ipod now works perfectly and the screen is fine!

  3. magic says:

    i swapped my hard drive from 80gb to 160gb in my ipod video, before the swap my battery was fully charged so why would it need charging again? when i plug my ipod into the computer it doesnt even realise its plugged in and it keeps telling me to go to

  4. tim says:

    my ipod is always rebooting itself.. when i went to a store and asked the repair guy to check it up, he said that it was a hard drive problem…

    what should i do? do you know how to fix this problem? i have this ipod for just a year and one month and im not ready to give o=it up just yet! my ipod is my life…

    your reply would be very much appreciated

  5. Dave says:

    lets say i have a 20 gb ipod photo hard drive, can i use this for my ipod touch?

  6. Bryan says:

    I would rather pay the extra bucks to get it done right than do thos and break it!!

  7. Melissa Sarajo says:

    Thank you for sharing!
    Short list of pros and cons about the iPod touch
    -Slick,small and light device
    -Great touch screen
    -The BEST web browser on a portable device
    -Amazing video/music playback
    -App Store (Too many cool applications for Free)
    -Display screen is clear and bright
    -No bugs and annoying stuff a very reliable hardware
    -64GB Flash based mp3 player

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