How To Erase Your iPod — The Super Fix for Most iPod Problems

If your iPod has a software problem, this will probably fix it. If the hard drive is damaged, then that's another story.

How to Erase Your iPod

Is your iPod acting funny? There are a number of things that can be wrong with it, but this super fix solution will cure most problems. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to totally ERASE iPod and then re-install the iPod’s software from scratch. If your iPod has a software problem, this will probably fix it. If the hard drive is damaged, then that’s another story.

In order for this fix to work, your battery must be functioning normally. See our battery support questions for more information with those issues.

WARNING: YOU WILL LOSE ALL MUSIC, CONTACTS, AND EVENTS ON YOUR iPOD. IF POSSIBLE, YOU SHOULD BACKUP THESE FILES.

01) Erase iPod

 To erase your iPod, just do the following:

ERASE iPOD (MAC OSX)


  • If you have OSX, you can use Disk Utility (Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities). If you have a PC running Microsoft Windows, then read the next paragraph.
  • Select your iPod in the Disk Utility window and press the Repair button
  • Then press the Erase button to erase iPod’s hard drive and select Extended Journaled as the format type.

Erase Your iPod using OS X Disk Utility Application

ERASE iPOD (WINDOWS XP)

  • Open “My Computer” on your Desktop
  • Select “IPOD”. It should be listed next to your C drive.
  • Right-click and choose “Format”
  • Select “FAT 32” and <Format>
  • Reboot Computer

ERASE YOUR iPOD (WINDOWS VISTA)

If these Vista instructions are wrong, please let us know. Vista was such a piece of crap we banned it from the office.

  • Open “My Computer” on your Desktop
  • Right-click on iPod
  • Click “Format”
  • Select “Restore Device Defaults”
  • Press “Start”

02) Restore Your iPod

After you erase your iPod, you’ll need to run the Restore function before your iPod will work properly. To Restore your iPod, do the following:

iPod Summary Screen in iTunes

  • Connect the iPod to your computer using the FireWire/USB cable that came with it.
  • Open iTunes. Make sure you are using the newest version of iTunes. You can download
    iTunes updates from http://itunes.com
  • iTunes may sense that the iPod is connected and prompt you to install any necessary software. If not, select your iPod from the Source column on the left side of your iTunes window. There will be several tabs along the top of the screen such as Summary, Music, Photo, and Contacts amoung others. You should select the Summary tab.
  • Click Restore. iTunes Restore Button
  • You may need to type in an Admin user’s name and password. An alert box will ask you to confirm the restore process. Say yes.
  • When the factory settings have been restored, unplug the FireWire/USB cable from iPod.
  • When prompted by the iPod, re-connect the FireWire/USB cable. After the iPod has updated itself and restarted, you should see the message “Do not disconnect” flashing on the screen.
  • You may be prompted by iTunes to type in a name for your iPod. Feel free to get creative.
  • The “Automatically update my iPod” option is selected by default. Deselect this option if you wish and click Done. The iTunes main window appears, and the download status is displayed in the iTunes display.
  • Wait until the iTunes display says the update is complete.
  • Quit iTunes.
  • Disconnect the FireWire/USB cable from iPod. After a few moments, the Language display appears on the iPod screen.
  • Select a language. If you screw up this step click here. One time I accidentally selected Chinese for the language. That sucked.

03) That’s It!

You should have now erased your iPod and then restored it. If you’re having problems, then keep reading.

04) Troubleshooting

If the iPod does not turn on at all, disconnect it from power and let it sit unconnected for approximately 24 hours. Then repeat this procedure.

If your iPod is still unresponsive, throw it away. Just kidding. If it is still under warranty, go to the AppleCare iPod Support Page to arrange for service.

If your iPod is out of warranty, then use our VIP Repair Service to get it fixed.

Congratulations, you did everything right when trying to troubleshoot this problem. One last thing, try hooking your iPod up to another computer. If you see the same problem, then you know the issue is definitely with your iPod and

not your computer. If you are able to get a stable connection with a computer, then erase your iPod. Otherwise, it looks like you have a bad hard drive. It might have gotten dropped. Since this iPod is only 3 months old, it is still under warranty and you should have Apple repair it.

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