How to Reset iPod Classics

by Scott Shpak

Sporting a retro-cool vibe that resonates with many, iPod Classic models remain in-demand at higher than list prices, even though Apple retired the brand in October 2014. Though generally a reliable media player, all models of iPod Classic are prone to occasional freeze-ups. Most can be cured with a simple on-device button sequence, while more serious issues may require a complete restore to return to factory settings.

On-Device Reset

Toggle the Hold switch on the upper left top of the device. Move the switch to the locked position -- exposing the orange stripe -- and then return it to the unlocked position.

Press and hold both the Menu button and the center button on the click wheel for up to 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears. If the logo doesn't appear in 10 seconds, repeat both steps again.

Connect your device to a charging source if there is still no response. The iPod's internal battery may need charging.

Tip

    • Placing the iPod Classic on a flat surface may improve accuracy when pressing click wheel buttons. 
    • Resetting starts the iPod's operating system, but does not affect your songs or settings. 

Factory Restore Using iTunes

Install the most recent version of iTunes on your computer. Open iTunes and connect your iPod Classic.

Wait for the iPod Classic to appear in the source list. If it does not appear, put the iPod into Disk Mode.

Click on your iPod Classic in the source list. The summary page will appear. Click the Restore iPod box.

Choose one of up to four options which may be presented. These options may be:

  • Restore - Restores with same iPod Software version already on iPod.
  • Use Same Version - Restores with same iPod Software version already on iPod even though a newer version is available.
  • Use Newest Version - Restores with the latest iPod Software on your computer.
  • Restore and Update - Restores and updates the latest iPod Software on your computer.

Tip

  • You may not see any of these options if both iTunes and iPod are on the most recent software versions. Proceed to Step 5.

Accepting the warning.

Accept the warning by clicking Restore to begin the process. The iPod Classic will go dark during the reset. Leave the device connected until the iTunes setup assistant appears and asks you to enter your name and other information, as with a new iPod.

Tip

  • Restoring your iPod Classic erases all songs, photos and data. However, this data will be reloaded to your iPod during its first sync with iTunes.

Items you will need

About the Author

As an operations and technical projects manager in the photofinishing industry, Scott Shpak is also an experienced audio engineer and musician, as well as Editor-in-chief, feature writer and photographer for Your Magazines Canada.