How do I Enable Disk Mode on an iPod?
By David Weedmark
If you are having problems with your iPod or want to transfer files manually to and from your computer, you can put the iPod into disk mode. Getting into disk mode varies depending on the model you are using. For example, the process is a bit different between the iPod Nano 6th generation and 7th generation, as well as models with click wheels or older models without a click wheel. The iPod Touch has no disk mode.
Before Using Disk Mode
Before putting an iPod into disk mode, you should make sure it has a good charge if not fully charged. If the iPod is insufficiently charged, it could run out of power while going into disk mode, which can harm the device. When using disk mode on older iPod models without a click wheel, you will lose your customized settings, but the data on the iPod itself, including your music files, won't be affected. After connecting an iPod to a computer while it is in disk mode, remember to eject it from the computer by clicking the "Eject" button next to it in Windows before physically disconnecting it. To get an iPod out of disk mode when you are finished, simply reset the device.
iPod Nano (6th and 7th Generations)
To put an iPod Nano into disk mode, first locate the Sleep and Home buttons on an iPod Nano (7th generation). If you have an iPod Nano (6th generation), locate the Sleep and Volume Down buttons instead. When you press these two buttons at the same time, the Apple logo appears on the screen after about 8 seconds, indicating that you can release the buttons and then immediately hold down the Volume Down and Volume Up buttons at the same time. You can release the volume buttons when the Disk Mode screen appears after a few more seconds. While the Disk Mode screen is displayed, you can connect the iPod to your computer using its USB cable. Once connected, the screen iPod screen displays a "Do Not Disconnect' message.
iPods with Click Wheels
If your iPod has a click wheel, you can put it into disk mode by toggling the Hold switch on and then off again and then holding down both the Menu and Select buttons at the same time for at least 6 seconds. When you release the buttons, watch for the Apple logo to appear on the screen and then immediately hold down the Select and the Play/Pause buttons at the same time until the Disk Mode screen is displayed. When you connect the iPod to the computer with its USB cable, the iPod screen displays a "Do Not Disconnect' message.
Older iPods Without a Click Wheel
For older iPods that don't have a click wheel, you can put it into disk mode by toggling the Hold switch on and off and then holding down the Play/Pause and Menu buttons at the same time. When the Apple or iPod logo appears on the screen, release the buttons and then immediately hold down the Previous and Next buttons at the same time. You can release the buttons when the Disk Mode screen appears and connect it to your computer. Waiting for the Apple or iPod logo to appear may take several seconds. That part of the process resets the iPod, which erases your customized settings but doesn't affect your music and data files.
Apple iOS devices, including the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad don't have a disk mode. When you connect an iPod Touch to your PC, you can only access its photo folders in File Explorer, but that's the extent of its access. There are third-party utilities you can install on your computer to access the iPod Touch folders, including iExplorer, iStonesoft and DiskAid. These offer limited functionality for free and full features, like accessing notes and contacts, when you purchase the software.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.