Reasons for an iPod Not Working

By Michael Garrett

Reasons for an iPod Not Working
i Photo courtesy: pvera

Although it is the top-selling MP3 player on the market, the Apple iPod is not without its fair share of malfunctions and problems. For a variety of reasons, you may find yourself holding an iPod that seems to have stopped working. There are some top reasons as to why iPods stop working and solutions on how to correct those problems.

iPod is Frozen

IPods run a small, lightweight operating system similar to those found on PCs (like Windows and Mac OS). Occasionally, the iPod operating system may lock up or freeze, which makes the iPod appear to not function at all when any button is pressed, despite the screen still being visible. If this seems like the problem, check that the hold (or lock) switch is not activated, as this would also result in no functioning buttons. If the iPod is indeed actually frozen, the simplest way to get it working again is by resetting the device. The steps to doing this vary depending on the iPod model. The current 4th generation iPod Nano (and most with the click wheel) can be reset by toggling the hold button on and back off, then pressing and holding down the Menu and Center (Select) buttons together for about 6 to 8 seconds, until the Apple logo appears.

iPod Does Not Turn On

If an iPod appears not to turn on, check the hold switch on the device. If this switch is activated while the device is off, it will not power on again until the hold switch is turned off. If that is determined not to be the problem, the battery's charge should be checked. When the battery is no longer holding a charge, the device will not power on, but will show a battery icon on the screen for a few seconds. If you see this icon while trying to boot up the iPod, just connect it to the USB cable and allow the battery to charge, which can sometimes take up to 30 minutes before the iPod becomes operable again. If no battery icon appears when trying to turn on the device, try resetting the iPod. Once reset, the device should turn on, but if it does not, the battery may need to be drained first (by leaving the iPod disconnected from power for up to 24 hours), and the reset procedure tried again.

iPod is Not Recognized in iTunes

Sometimes an iPod may go unrecognized in the iTunes software while connected to a PC. If this is the case, be sure that the battery icon on the device shows that it is being charged. If the iPod does not appear to be charging either, then the problem may be with the cable or with the USB port on the PC, and not with the actual iPod. In this event, either try using a different cable or using a different USB port or PC. If the iPod is charging, but is not recognized in iTunes, try resetting the PC and reloading the iTunes software. If the iPod still fails to show up, the iTunes software may need to be re-installed.

iPod Does Not Sync Media

When an iPod is recognized by the PC and by iTunes, but will not sync, the problem can sometimes be with the iPod (requiring a restart of the device), but it is more often within the iTunes software. Most users who experience this problem will get an error message reading, "Attempting to copy to the disk failed. An unknown error occurred (-69)." When this happens, it is usually due to a missing source destination for one or multiple files that are trying to be synced with the device. If media is moved or relocated on a PC outside of iTunes, the software no longer knows where to look for those files. This can be solved by either relocating any files you moved back to their original folder or by pointing iTunes to the new location of the files. To do this, browse through your iTunes library and click to play any songs that show a small exclamation point (!) next to the name. As you click each of these, iTunes will first ask you would like to relocate the missing file manually. This can be time-consuming if you have a lot of missing media, but it is the only way, and it works.


When trying to resolve any problem related to the iPod, Apple recommends that all users first implement its "Five R's" policy one-by-one, which involves Reset, Retry, Restart, Reinstall and Restore. If none of these solutions works to solve an issue, the Apple iPod Support website can easily be searched for solutions to a wide array of specific problems that other users have reported. If all else fails, and you have a local Apple store nearby, the store's Genius Bar can provide help and insight into solving what is wrong with any iPod.