From wikiPodLinux

Installing Linux on your iPod can be an adventure. At best you will simply need to reset your iPod, at worst you will have to restore it. Restoring wipes the iPod's hard drive clean, so make sure you have backups.

Table of contents

Basic use

How do I reboot / reset the iPod?

Hold down the appropriate Key Combinations. This will trigger a hardware reset.

Note: Do not reset your iPod while it's booting for the first time after a firmware update (using the Apple updater). This will abort the ROM flashing, and will render your iPod dead, meaning it's broken and you'll need getting it replaced by Apple (we can't help you there)!

But my iPod won't reboot

Ensure that the hold switch is not on. If it still won't work, switch the hold switch on, then off again and try to reboot again.

How can I start the iPod in disk mode?

First, reset the iPod using the above described techniques, then, once you see that the screen changes, quickly press and hold the appropriate Key Combinations until the iPod shows "disk mode" in its title. If it doesn't, you've been too slow. See the Apple article on Putting iPod into Disk Mode (

You need to reset the iPod to leave the diskmode (after you've ejected the iPod so that it shows "OK to disconnect", hopefully).


For basic information, see the general Installation and Uninstallation pages.

I tried to install iPodLinux on my 4g/Photo/Mini/Nano/Video! Help!

Don't worry, you're not the first person to excitedly install Linux on iPods that aren't quite ready for it. iPodLinux only changes files on the iPod's hard drive, so it is impossible to ruin your iPod no matter how bad things look. All you need to do is restore your iPod's firmware. See this section for more information.

I patched my firmware and now I just get the Apple logo!

This means the kernel isn't booting. If you find that the system is continually rebooting then there is a problem at the bootloader level, if on the otherhand it appears to have hung then its an early kernel problem. In either case you probably need to re-install the kernel.

I get "Error making firmware" while running the Windows installer

You may have a different version of Cygwin ( installed on your system. If that's the case try to run installer on another machine that doesn't have any cygwin installations, or rename cygwin1.dll of your previous installation and reboot the system. After installation you can rename the file back to cygwin1.dll.

How can I restore my iPod firmware?

(See also: Uninstallation)

First, put your iPod into Disk Mode.

Then, you can either use Apple's Restore Utility ( to reset your iPod back to factory condition (you can keep all of your data if you follow the note here.), or you can use one of these manual firmware modification methods:

Mac OS X: Use the GUI Installer ( or the dd command

Linux: Use the dd command

Windows: Use the GUI installer ('s uninstall function or the dd command after reading .

Note Windows users: If the Apple Restore Utility is not helping, try the HP tool. These tips might help here: open the HP USB program and select yor ipod (if your computer won't mount your ipod reset it(menu selet button) and then hold the play/pause and selet button so it's in disk mode. Now the HP tool will recognize it. Format it with the hp tool and run the ipod updater software and happily start using your ipod again.

Can I avoid losing my files on the iPod when using Apple's update tool?

Yes, see Uninstallation.

Apple has made a new Updater available. When I use it, iPodLinux disappears

Apple's updater replaces the firmware on the iPod. iPodLinux needs to modify the firmware again by adding a bootloader for iPodLinux.

To get iPodLinux working again, simply re-install a bootloader.

The installer has problems accessing the MBR, or the installer can't update the partition table!

If the installer says it cannot access the MBR, make sure you are running the installer as root user (su). If the installer says it cannot access or update the partition table you are out of luck with the installer. Try installing using a manual procedure. For linux users please use, this guide is still valid.

My iPod is really messed up how can I fix it

Your firmware is probably corrupted. Don't worry, you can use Apple's restore utility to restore your iPod to "factory" condition. Be sure to backup your data, THIS WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON YOUR IPOD!

  • First, connect your iPod to the computer and boot the iPod into Disk Mode. See the Key Combinations page to find out how.
  • On your PC, run the Apple iPod restore tool and click 'restore'. See your iPod's user guide for more information.
  • If that doesn't work, run the HP Format Tool (, then re-format the iPod with a FAT32 or NTFS file system. Also, follow Apple's instructions ( under the heading "Empty your Temp directory and restart". After that, start over with Apple's restore tool.
  • Another thing you might try is to use rohPod to erase your iPod's first block (MBR) in order to make it appear entirely erased to your computer:
    • It is possible to run rohPod on a disk taken out of an iPod (using, for example, a 1.8" > 3.5" disk adapter). However, it is worth remembering that if you fill the MBR with zeros then that disk will not subsequently be recognised as a disk by rohPod! (though you will be able to see it using software which deals with the disk on the hardware level, e.g. WinHex)
    • Download the latest version of the rohPod program (it's available for Mac, Windows and Linux)
    • Connect your iPod in Disk Mode
    • Launch rohPod (on Windows and OS X you need to be a user administrator rights, on Linux you need to launch it as the root user)
    • A window should appear listing your iPod as a disk, possibly amoung others. If no fitting disk appears, check if the iPod is in Disk Mode and properly connected. If you try this under Linux, retry it under Windows.
    • Once the iPod is in the list, select it with the mouse and choose from the menu: View Blocks (do not use the View button here!)
    • A new window should appear showing Block 0 of your iPod in hex view.
    • If it's a MacPod, the data is mostly 00 values, with "ER" in the first two bytes. If it's a WinPod, it usually starts with EB and ends with 55 AA, and has the text "Apple iPod" in there somewhere.
    • Now let's fill this block entirely with zeroes. For that, first choose Make Writable from the menu. If that does not work, make sure you have no windows or apps open that might access the iPod.
    • Once the disk is writable, click with the mouse anywhere into the hex or text field, then choose Select All from the menu. This should select all bytes in the window.
    • Press the Delete (or Backspace) key to turn all bytes into 00s.
    • Press the Save button to write this change back to disk.
    • Finally, quit rohPod, then eject the iPod, then plug it in again. Now try the Apple software to restore the software on the iPod.

Other issues

My iPod is frozen in Linux or the Apple Firmware

Reboot your iPod using the appropriate Key Combinations. If that doesn't work, try plugging in your connection/charging cable.

I booted into Linux and now my computer doesn't recognize my iPod

That's expected. Your iPod must be running the Apple Firmware in order to be recognized by your computer - Linux does not provide a Disk Mode.

I booted into Linux and now I can't get back to the Apple Firmware

If you can still scroll through the menus, go back up to the main menu in podzilla and then select the menu option "Reboot iPod." You will now receive a confirmation screen at which you need to select "Absolutely". Otherwise, reset the iPod using the Key Combinations.

When I boot my iPod, I see a folder icon with a warning triangle

The folder icon.
The folder icon.

The iPod cannot read a file on its hard disk. One of 3 things has happened:

  1. The firmware on the iPod has become corrupt
  2. You attempted to install Linux on an unsupported iPod
  3. The hard drive is physically damaged

For 1 and 2, you need to restore your iPod's firmware.

If the problem is still present or if you forgot to make a backup of the firmware partition, boot the iPod into disk mode. Backup the contents of your iPod if you have not done so already. Next use the Apple supplied iPod firmware updater to restore the iPod to its factory state. See also this Apple Technote (

In some cases, particularly those where the hard disk partitions still work, you may be able to use an update instead of a restore. Put the iPod into disk mode and perform a "Fake" Update using Apple's update tool. When (If?) the "Can't unmount iPod" message appears, eject your iPod and restart it. The firmware update should proceed normally.

I see a sad iPod icon

The sad iPod icon.
The sad iPod icon.

The iPod failed its power-on hardware test. Possible causes are:

  1. Most commonly, the hard drive has been physically damaged from too much abuse.
  2. The iPod's flash firmware has become corrupt.

It is extremely unlikely that iPodLinux will trigger these hardware errors. iPodLinux never even touches the Apple flash firmware, only the operating system on the hard drive. Further, iPodLinux software cannot cause the hard drive to physically fail. Your iPod will likely need repairs. Your best bet is to attempt to restore to factory state. If that doesn't work, see this Apple Technote (, visit this site 

I get "respawning too fast" on my screen instead of podzilla.

You probably got this because you copied a different build of podzilla into your /bin directory on your iPod. You need to make sure that the podzilla binary has the executable bit set. The following works from a Terminal/Shell in OS X or linux on your host machine...

% chmod +x /path/to/your/ipod/bin/podzilla

You might also get this message if you have SELinux configured with your linux build. Make sure you SELinux is disabled on your system and iPod linux should boot perfectly.

iPodLinux boots, but I can't read the screen

It seems that the factory contrast setting on your iPod is set really high, therefore making the screen appear as if it is black. If you look at the iPod from different angles you should be able to see the menu and from here navigate to the settings menu. In this menu there is a setting for contrast which you can lower. If the contrast is set so high that all you see is black, boot into linux and move the wheel clockwise until you hear two clicks. Next, click the action button and then rotate the wheel clockwise until you hear five clicks. Now press the action button again and scroll the wheel counterclockwise until you can see the contrast setting bar.

In podzilla2, scroll clockwise one click, select, clockwise four clicks and select again to access the contrast option.

There is no clicking, and I still only see black!

This is a known problem that can often be fixed by updating podzilla with the latest nightly build (nightly builds offline) (

My calendar says I'm way back in the '70s!

If you have a 1g or 2g iPod you are out of luck unfortunately, they don't have a hardware clock. Otherwise, you should be able to add the line

hwclock --hctosys

to your iPod's /etc/rc and have it grab the hardware time on boot.

My iPod does not turn on

If your iPod does not turn on after installing iPodLinux, it is because the firmware update causes the iPod to think that the battery is empty and therefore the iPod goes into a deep sleep. To fix this, plug your iPod into a power source (i.e. the USB cable) and perform a reset.

My iPod does not turn off

If for some reason you are unable to poweroff your iPod and are not in a situation to repair your iPodLinux installation, you can always use the sleep test in Diagnostic Mode. On a fifth generation iPod, navigate to the poweroff menu, select "Sleep", finally select "Sleep Forever". This way you can preserve your battery life until you can get your iPod to a place where you can repair your iPodLinux installation to allow it to poweroff normally.

My iPod can't be seen by (Windows, OS X, Linux) / The partitions are messed up!

Your desktop OS cannot mount the iPod's partitions while iPodLinux is running, You need to boot to Disk Mode, or AppleOS on the iPod in order to access them.

If after doing that, you still have trouble, you may need to restore/repartition the iPod and start your installation over. See here.

Unable to connect to MPD

If you get this message, it means that you are using podzilla 2 with the MPD client module installed, but the mpd daemon program is not running. If you can't figure out how to install the daemon, you can get at least rid of this error message by uninstalling the MPD module, e.g. by removing the mpdc folder from the /usr/lib directory. If you are using Windows, see Accessing ext2 to learn how to access such linux directories.

iPod Service Error

If you get this message when trying to use the iPod Software Updater utility, even when no iPod is connected, you need to re-install iTunes or the Updater before you access or restore your iPod under Windows again. See this Apple article (").

I need further help!

Please see the support page for more information on the mailing list, forums and IRC channel.

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