How to Fix an iPod Shuffle That Won't Turn On

By Scott Shpak

Updated February 10, 2017

The iPod Shuffle, with its limited controls and no view screen, may seem at first an unlikely candidate for developing problems. However, like its more complex brethren, the iPod Shuffle can become unresponsive. Also like other iPod models, there are several steps you can take to restore your Shuffle and get your groove back on.

On/Off Operation

The On/Off switch of first, third and fourth generation Shuffles has three positions -- Off, Cycle and Shuffle. The second generation Shuffle has two switches -- On/Off and Cycle/Shuffle. When looking at the switch, in all cases the On/Off switch should show a green color when the Shuffle is on. Make sure the switch is on before checking other possible causes.

The On/Off switch also serves as a software reset control. If your Shuffle is unresponsive and the switch is on, disconnect the device from the computer, if it's connected, and then turn the switch to the Off position. For first and second generation devices, wait five seconds. Third and fourth generation Shuffles require 10 seconds. Turn the switch back on and the Shuffle is reset.

Take Charge

Ensure your Shuffle is charged, since it's tricky to follow the battery level without an LCD screen. Connect the USB cable to your Shuffle and to either a USB port on a computer or to a USB power adapter. Depending on the generation of the iPod, it may take between two and four hours to fully charge your Shuffle.

Note that not all computer USB ports are created equally. If you're plugging into a USB socket on a hub or other device, such as a USB keyboard, you may not have enough -- or any -- power available for charging. Check that you are using a suitable USB port for this purpose.


You can check your battery charge using the indicator lights on your device. The charging status can also be stated in VoiceOver feedback when you're listening to music. The methods for checking a Shuffle's battery status vary by the generation of the Shuffle.

Restore and Rescue

When all else fails, restore your iPod Shuffle to its factory state using iTunes. This process erases all data and settings on your Shuffle. Restoring from the computer with which the Shuffle is regularly synced permits restoring your songs after the process is complete.

Update to the latest version of iTunes on your computer and launch iTunes. Connect your iPod Shuffle to the computer.

i Image courtesy of Apple

Select your iPod from the device icon in the upper left of the iTunes window.

i Image courtesy of Apple

Click the Summary tab on the left, if it is not already selected. Click Restore iPod. On the warning pop-up window, click Restore to begin the process. Your Shuffle is erased and the most up-to-date software is installed. You can then use iTunes to restore your music.