How Can I Fix Dead Pixels on an iPod?

By Brian Westover

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • iPod cable

  • Soft cloth

  • Sharpie pen

i Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images

The Apple iPod, in all its forms, is easily the most popular music and media player on the planet. With 76,800 pixels making up the display on the iPod Classic model alone, though, chances are good that one or two pixels will have problems. Pixel problems are common, but usually easy to fix. By following a few simple steps, most display issues can be fixed at home, without any special equipment.

Determine whether the pixels are dead, or just stuck. Stuck pixels will still display some sort of color, but won’t change with the picture. The result is similar to a dead pixel, making the two difficult to tell apart. A dead pixel is one that has stopped activating, and emits no light and no color. They appear to be dark spots on the screen. A stuck pixel, on the other hand, is still displaying color, but is stuck and won’t change. These appear as unchanging spots of one color.

Download a pixel fixer. Stuck pixels can often be fixed with a simple video that rapidly flashes several colors on the screen. The rapid flashing, more often than not, will fix any stuck pixels. There are several free versions of this program, and many work with every model of iPod. (See Resources for link to a pixel-fixing program.)

Find out if your iPod is still under warranty. If Apple’s warranty still covers your device, they will fix it for free, and the job will be done properly by trained technicians. When it comes to fixing dead pixels, this is the best option. If your iPod is out of warranty, consider trying the following steps.

"Massage" any stuck or dead pixels. Sometimes, a little light pressure to the affected area of the screen will bring a pixel back to life. This is done by first protecting the screen with a soft cloth that won’t scratch it. Then, make a note of where the nonworking pixels are, and turn the iPod off, so that the screen is off. Using a the blunt end of a Sharpie pen, the eraser end of a pencil, or a similar tool, gently apply pressure to the impaired pixel. Be gentle; too much pressure can actually damage the screen further. Once this is done, turn the iPod back on to see if it worked. If pixels aren’t fixed by this point, they may be permanently damaged.

Replacing the screen is the last resort. If you have tried the steps above, and gotten no success, then the screen is likely damaged for good. The only way to repair it may be to replace the screen entirely. This can be done at home if you are comfortable enough with electronics repair. Bear in mind that dismantling the unit may cause problems more severe than a dead pixel or two. If you are not comfortable performing the replacement yourself, consider contacting a service and repair technician.


Before attempting to repair it on your own, always check to see if your iPod is still covered under warranty.


When you massage a dead pixel, be gentle. Too much pressure can scratch the surface, kill more pixels, and even crack the screen.