Sep 15, 2007

Fixing an iPod Hard Drive Problem

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I began to experience problems with my iPod, and my technologically-savvy wife began to search the Web for ideas. It appeared that there was some sort of hard drive problem with the iPod, and we considered sending it off to Apple for repair.

Then my wife came across a page on wikiHow that recommended smacking your iPod to fix it. Voila: after a few well-placed smacks she managed to get my iPod up and running.

I am not guaranteeing this method will fix every iPod, but it has been 24 hours since the smack-down, and my iPod is the very picture of excellent performance.

From the wikiHow page:

1. Turn your iPod on. Make sure the battery is charged up enough to turn it on.

2. The sad iPod or sad folder should pop up on the screen.

3. Put your ear up against the iPod and you will hear the clicking sound inside (it sounds like a car trying to start up, whenever it takes a few tries turning the keys).

4. While the iPod is still making these sounds, take the iPod in one hand, open the palm of your other hand, and smack the narrow side of the iPod against the palm of your other hand. [WARNING: This method is proven to work as an effortless way to repair iPod hard drive misalignment, but it may result in future hardware problems. This is only a TEMPORARY solution to fixing an iPod, and the problem may come back (experiences vary). Other methods of reviving a dead iPod are available below and may be much safer]

5. Continue smacking it on its side for at least 6 times, while the iPod is trying to turn on. The key is to loosen the hard drive.

6. After this is should resume normal function. If it doesn't, read on.
Anyways, it worked for me, and perhaps it will also work for you, and then you can break out the wine coolers in celebration.

49 comments:

microdot said...

Hmmm, do you think that would work with my iMac?

historymike said...

I wouldn't recommend it, Microdot, although I once fixed a starter on 1982 VW Rabbit by smacking it with a hammer.

ltlop said...

The story reminded me of the scene from "the longest day" where the british commander whacked the stalled army vehicle a couple of times and it started right up. I call it the BFH theory. The big frickin hammer will fix it one way or another.

historymike said...

LTLOP:

Heh. With enough Duct tape and a big enough hammer, many repairs can be effected.

mookatee said...

Thanks Mike you saved me $350 to fork out for another one like the tech guy at apple told me I would.
Cheers

Anonymous said...

yup, that did it. my 5th gen video is up and running again.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly what i discovered today!! However, I wonder how long it will last.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

it worked well for me. For further explanation look at the following link. It seems to be a problem with a connector.

http://lowendmac.com/zisman/06/0911.html

Anonymous said...

I tried this on an original first generation iPod and it worked just fine, let's see how much longer I can get it to last.

Anonymous said...

"Miraculously healed" It was like laying God's hand upon my Ipod. I still can't believe it actually worked. As absurd as it sounded, I figured, can't hurt an already non working Ipod. 7 slams did it. Amazing...thanks Mike.

Cattus said...

Actually, it wasn't the actual hard drive that you fixed but the connecting flat cable from the hard drive into the board. I've fixed 6 ipods that exhibited HD problems. I don't recommend smacking it, since you may then damage it - but if you are not capable of opening up the ipod then that may be your only hope.

But if you are willing to try have a read at the site where I found out how to do it. Thanks to Allan Z. for this. Remember, its quite a chore to open an ipod for the first time. You need plastic or wood tools to avoid damage. and you need a good sense of how micro electronic devices are assembled to be sensitive to how much force to use for any operation. Here's the site and good luck to all others who try this.
http://lowendmac.com/zisman/06/0911.html

Anonymous said...

It fixed my 3rd gen iPod.
I can't quite believe it but sometimes fixes are that simple!

Thanks a lot :-)

Hawk said...

Woohooooo! Thanks bunches! My 60GB 5th gen is up and running! It's making some nasty sounds every once in a while though... so I think it might die again soon.

Anonymous said...

totally worked. I can't believe it. I lost so many hairs trying to figure out how to fix it and was about ready to suck it up and buy a new one. As a last resort I tried this and it's up and running! Thanks a bunch!

Anonymous said...

I've been giving my 4th gen i-pod the "technical tap" for years and amazingly it still works.

Anonymous said...

I just repaired my i-pod with the help of the article that Cattus referred to,

http://lowendmac.com/zisman/06/0911.html

Now my i-pod works great! No more smakin' it around. It's a pretty easy fix and only took about 5 minutes. My mind is reeling thinking of all the cheap "broken" i-pods out there. 120g video i-pod here I come! Thanks to Cattus and Allen Z, you guys rock.

Anonymous said...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I RECOMMEND THIS REPAIR TIPS 100%

If you follow correctly the steps it worked for me...and on the 5th smack!!

Thanks...i just saved 200$ reparation...that was the amount that they wanted me to pay where i bought my Ipod...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

thanx so much mike!!! my ipod was like that for 5 months... i had to slam it like 14 times b-cuz im kinda weak but thanx saved memy b-day money

Anonymous said...

would it work with an ipod video that tells me to restore it but when i try the ipod icon dissappears

Ricky Tes said...

Wow! I've had a problem with my iPod for a few weeks and didn't want to bother with it because I was afraid of sending it in and spending too much money to fix an old iPod (ipod Photo). Plus I didn't want to fork out the money to replace it.

So...I just got finished reading this and did exactly what you said and in one smack...FIXED!

Thanks for putting up this page...awesome!

diegoBallacey said...

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW
MAN I LOVE YOU, YOU MADE MY DAY AND MY IPOD IS RUNNING AGAIN !!!
THANKS A LOT !!
IT´S A MIRACLE

CHEERS !

Anonymous said...

Thank you VERY MUCH!!!
What can I say, it WORKS!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. This actually worked. I'm astonished.

Anonymous said...

I was having a problem with my 3 year old Ipod, first it began with freezing several times. Then sounded like the hard drive had serious problems. I could hear it trying to spin up when I tried to sync, but the sync never worked, and then everying was gone from the Ipod, nothing.
I thought it was in need of a new hard drive.
Then I found this article and thought, hey, nothing to lose.
I never got any funny notice, the ipod would look normal, just not act it. It did freeze with the Do Not Disconnect message and I had to reboot it.
But I hit it against my open palm several times, then tried again to sync it. Before the Ipod had not been recognized by Itunes, but now I got a message telling me to run the restore. I did that, and was able to resync and restore all the songs back on the Ipod. It appears to be working now. I'm impressed.

Danny said...

OMG THIS WORKED!!! thank you!!! i have a 5th gen ipod THANK YOUU!

Anonymous said...

Another satisfied customer. My 4G has been sitting around for at least 2 years, and I was sure the HD was damaged. Opened the case last night, applied a little pressure to the connector and the drive came to life! It was even easier to open the case than I was lead to believe.

Anonymous said...

You are the man !!!!

It works !!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I actually would listen very closely to the wiki article. It describes this as a temporary fix, and doing it a repeated amount of times can (and will) erode the iPod's life. I didn't listen to the article, but I found that smacking my iPod worked as a fix for the hard drive. However, it says in the article that it is a TEMPORARY fix, and should not be done more than once. If your iPod is like mine, it will crash once a day, then (with the beatings adding up) crash so much that your iPod will freeze more than play music. So, I recommend this as a ONE TIME ONLY deal. Don't beat your iPod more than once - it's bad for its health.

tiredtonto said...

It's worth adding that if your iPod refuses to go into Disk Mode and you hear a noticeable clicking sound the problem might just be corrosion on the HDD cable and will need cleaned periodically.

ipod hard drive

Dave said...

Once again, the smack it around technique works. I was doing it wrong (as weird as that can be) because I wasn't smacking it on the narrow size. Once I did that, it started right up. Hasn't worked in about 8 months or so but it popped on just like new.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to spread this method, i dont know if im allowed to swear but it fucking rules, saved me $400 for sure, thanks so much...

McBrownie said...

You deserve alot of money for knowing this and should be the number one hit on google! thanks for saving my ipod

Anonymous said...

Replaced the Logic board in my 5th gen 60G for a battery charging problem. Fixed that problem but got the Sad Face on power up. HDD sounded bad so took it apart again and reseated the HDD conector on the Logic Board. Symptoms changed and got it working after a couple of smacks and a restore but it only lasted a few hours then started locking up. I believe the problem is the ZIF connection on the Logic Board and will dink with it some more to see if I can get it just right. I'm convinced, as others are,that the smacking is actually jarring that ZIF connection and temporarily allowing poor connections to work. I will try cleaning the flex as well as the connector on the board. There was a bunch of something like rubber cement holding the flex to the board and there is a possibility some of it got on the flex or the connector during dissassembly or reassembly.

sharrahl said...

wow, i couldn't believe it! I tried this method and it worked! No kidding. Thanks for posting this. I about gave up on my ipod when I came across this posting and read about and decided to trey it. What else did I have to lose?

Bernt and Erin Eidsmoe said...

I have had my iPod in my closet for years and just hadn't had to heart to throw it away. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! (Be sure to thank your wife as well.) ;)

Anonymous said...

Apparently I am the only one that this method hasn't worked for. I also went tohttp://lowendmac.com/zisman/06/0911.html
And took my IPod apart. Same clicking and sad face persists. Guess I'm up a creek.

Anonymous said...

Fair play the thought was there and i did enjoy the smashing fuck out of my i[pod but sadly it didn't work. But on a plus side i feel a lot less stressed!

Anonymous said...

Thanks... worked with my 160GB classic.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this tech tip. This managed to save my vintage 4G ipod, right when i thought it was giving up the ghost. Cheers mate!

Anonymous said...

Thank you sooo much...now i wonder how long it lasts...but thanks alot!

dvd to ipod said...

I think this is just like what happened in my iPod. I must try this one. Thank you for sharing this. I am sure this will work on my iPod too.

Anonymous said...

the problem being 'solved' is called stiction. it has been around since the first harddrives and was more an issue prior to (auto)parking heads outside the landing zone. yes banging heads in this manner damages the platter. however in the case of stiction you're trading stuck heads damaging a bit of data to recover use of the rest of the data which when faced with a dead drive, is a viable temporary measure for most.

melgirl said...

You are my hero! This worked after 2 smacks. I plugged it in and 2 smacks later my screen came up and voila! Working like a charm.
I went to the store only to be told I can donate it and I'd receive 10% off a new one. Sure I want to spend money on a media device in a bad economy. Nope, my friend (big hugs to my friend for finding it) found your blog and within seconds by iPod 1st gen is fixed. Yippee!!!!!

"3rd Party" said...

So... I thought this was completely retarded and those that it supposedly worked for were just lucky. I ran a check in diagnostics mode and I couldn't read or write to the hdd. The infamous 'throw your hard drive in the freezer to recover data' worked for the tests but still not to boot. So, I smacked it ;) It worked. While it wasd working I figured I'd restore it and charge it up all the way. After it is finished charging I plan to open it up to figure out what is really going on. This is a 40gb 4G btw. Still my favorite over newer ones I have purchased because it is exactly what I want it to be.. a digital audio player. Who would watch movies/etc on an ipod? My phone plays movies with bluetooth audio and has a much bigger screen and I still never play movies on it (other than to show off) Thanks fo blogging the tip though, it has given me some hope!

Bryn said...

I've been doing this for years with my 4th Gen iPod. None of my friends understand why it works, so I've even seen them trying it to hurry up their Nanos! It does seem to damage the hard drive, as I've had several, and they gradually seem to get worse and worse, but it really does get them working temporarily quite quickly, although it does drain the battery, as it really has to struggle to get the drive spinning, and I get some funny looks doing this on the bus or train!

James Rogers said...

I have a Kenwood KDC-MP439 with iPod connector (iP500) hooked up in my glove compartment. I got given an iPod Photo 60GB (Photo) by a colleague in exchange for an iPhone 4 cover. She told it was busted and that the Apple Store had told her it was a goner. When I got it from her, I did an update (restore basically, these things haven't been updated in years). Mad rush around trying to find a place where I could get mains power from. Found a docking station at the Apple Store that got it past the power picture. Anyway, I started looking online, because I was still getting the unsmiley iPod. I saw this back then and have had to do it several times. My Kenwood often came up with an E-90 error, so I would stick my hand in the glove box and whack the iPod against the side of the glove box. Last weekend, I was like, no, I'm going to try fix it. Well, I didn't, it wouldn't read/write for the sync. I plugged my iPad 2 charger in it and left it on charge the whole weekend. I left it alone the whole week. Tonight, I decided to look up again and saw your article again. So I fired her up, plugged it into my MacBook Pro. I whacked it a few times when the HDD head started crashing and have now coaxed it into being synced. With new HDDs costing $70-80, I am immensely grateful for your article. It is syncing now, I heard the head crashing during the sync, so I quickly whacked it a few times. It's still going *touch wood*

Thinking about Rabbit's, I have a 2004 VW Citi Golf, it's what we call them here in South Africa and they were still being made up until 2008/9. That's where the iPod is hooked up. Some useless info, but yeah, anyway ;) I had to whack my solenoid on my Jetta every now and again :)

Thanks again, Historymike :)

Jessica said...

Yeah... this does work. I have done it many times. So many that it doesn't work at all anymore. Ha ha. It did fix it a good 20 or so times, but now I can't get it to work and it makes a lot of newer weirder noises. I got a new one. ha ha.

Anonymous said...

You just saved my life with tis.

Anonymous said...

guys ,doesnt work for me. if there's someone skilled in repairs i can send him video (opened disk) and how needle is trying to read a disk however ipod doesnt start no matter what.