How to Unfreeze an iPod Classic

By Aaron Parson

Updated February 10, 2017

When your iPod Classic stops responding, try to shut it off normally and restart it. If the device won't respond at all, force a reboot to clear up the problem and get back to your music.


Before resorting to anything drastic, check your Hold switch. If it's orange, flip it to release the button lock and "unfreeze" the device. Oops!

Normal Shutdown

First things first: try turning off your iPod normally by pressing and holding the Play/Pause button for several seconds. If the screen turns off, but then lights up again when you remove your finger, the iPod hasn't turned off. Try setting down the device and using your nail to press the button, since any motion prevents the command from working. If the iPod does shut down properly, wait a few seconds, and then press any button to turn it on again.

Force Reboot

When a normal shutdown doesn't work, use this method to reboot:

Flip the Hold switch on (colored orange) and off.

Press and hold both Menu (at the top of the wheel) and Select (the center button) for about 10 seconds until the the iPod reboots, displaying the Apple logo.


If nothing happens, try again from the beginning. Use the same trick as a normal shutdown -- setting the iPod down and using your nails -- to help.

Unfreeze After Syncing

When you sync your iPod with iTunes, the screen wisely displays "Do Not Disconnect," because removing the cable during a sync can cause lost data. However, sometimes the iPod doesn't stop showing this screen even after you click Eject in iTunes. If the screen doesn't change after several seconds, unplug the cable anyway. Usually, the iPod will resume normal function without requiring a reboot.


Disconnect the cable only after clicking Eject. Unplugging an iPod improperly can potentially damage its system, forcing you to restore the device.


If worse comes to worst and none of these methods work, there's one last way to shut off a frozen iPod, but it takes a bit of patience: unplug it from any charger, computer or dock, and wait for the battery to run out. After the iPod finally loses power, plug it in again and let it charge.