replacing the hardrive of an ipod

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My brother Justin loved his 20 gig 4th generation ipod until he dropped it at the gym one day. It stopped working all together and would make clicking noises when he would try to start it.
He had gotten it as a gift and didnt have the reciept for it, so he couldnt take it back unter warrenty I guess. Apple said that it would cost $250 to fix. Instead of fixing it, he spend the money on
a 30 gig 5th generation. I asked him for the broken ipod so I could tinker with it. After I got it from him, I decided that it would be cool to own an ipod, and that if i could fix it for less then the
retail price, I would be a head of the game. I documented my adventure of trying to fix my ipod, check it out.

  1. When I would start the ipod, I would get an icon of a folder and a warning sign. The ipod would then make a bunch of clicking noises. That make me think that the hard drive was crapped out.
  2. Since it was already broken, why not take it apart and try to make it work. There was no clear way to ebter the ipod, so I decided to pry off the metal back using the thinnest screw driver I could find.
    It wasnt that hard to work the screw drive between the metal and the plastic. I worked the screw driver down the side of the case, until it popped off.

  3. I flipped the ipod over, and opened it up slowly, I noticed that there was a ribbon cable connecting the guts if the ipod to the jacks mounted to the metal back. I was careful not to mess this connection up.

  4. The ipod uses an ide harddrive, the connector pulled directly off without any problems. I now hard the bad harddrive free,

  5. The drive had blue rubber bumpers wrapped around it, and on the back, there was a foam mat that was glued to the drive.
  6. Removing the bumpers was no problem, they pulled directly off with out any fight.
  7. I tried to pull the foam off the drive by pulling on it, but that wasnt working, so I desided to get a razor blade scraper and screape it off. It worked well.

  8. Once I had the foam off, I could see that it was a toshiba drive. Model MK2004GAL. I looke dofr replacements online, but was only able to find the model MK2006GAL. I compared the MK2004GAL and the MK2006GAL, and didnt see any big differences, so I ordered one. 3 days letter I had my new drive. It didnt have the apple logo on it, but who cares, it was only $100!
  9. The blue bumpers went on with out a problem, and fit like a glove.
  10. To get the foam to stick to the new drive, I went super ghetto and reached in my desk, and came up with a glue stick! Hey, it goet the job done.
  11. The new drive went in, just like the old one came out. I connected the IDE connection, and I was ready to close it up.
  12. I put the back on, and pressed down on it evenly. The back snapped without any problems.
  13. Next, I downloaded the ipod updater (11-17-2005) from, and installed it. I hooked up my newly rebuilt ipod, and did a restore. It went really fast.
  14. After the restore, I had to hook up my ipod to the wall charger. I didnt have one on hand so i tried all kinds of methods of going around it. In the middle of me trying to hack around it, My buddy chris called, I told him to bring over his wall charger.
  15. 5 minutes later Chris showed up with a charger. I plugged in the ipod, it reset itself, and then I was up and running with my newly rebuilt ipod.

I was really supprised at how easy it was to replace the hard drive in a 4th gen ipod. Im sure that someone is going to call me an idiot for opening the case that way. I dont care though. I got this thing working and that all that matters, and I did it for under $100. Screw apple for wanting to charge $250 for 20 minutes worth of work and $100 worth of parts.

I hope that through my experience, someone else can bring back to life one of their dead ipods.

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  1. Impressive! I’ve been wondering how to do that in the quite likely event that my ipod dies (I drop it alot). Using elmers glue may not have been the best idea, since the hard drive does get fairly hot.

  2. nicely done. this is awesome for people like me who didn’t purchase any added warranty for their iPod. thanks for the info, josh!

  3. I’m bookmarking this for future reference…glad I saw it on the diggnation site…
    never know when I might need it.

    thanks for such clear cut directions, and pics.

  4. That is not a broken IPOD.. A Sad face will show you it is bad. i recently had that and the Hard Drive was clicking and what I did was put it on a computer that did not have ITUNES installed and used windows to format it like it was a regular hard drive. the when you plug it in just restore it and it should work.

  5. What size drive did you replace with? Did you find upsized drives available? If so, what sizes did you find? Can you provide us with some links to sites that sell the replacement drives?

  6. Cool, I’ll rember that, although it seems more likely that I’ll need a new battery sooner than a new harddrive anyone know where I can get one of those?

  7. Where did you get the new 1.8 HDD? I’ve been looking online, but can’t find a good, cheap source. Any ideas?

  8. Congrats on the fix. However, why can’t people who post stories take the extra ten seconds to make sure they actually spelled words correctly? It would certainly add some credibility to the post.

  9. i havew fixed ipods that have lost a connection with the hardrive. Even the sad face, ive fixed two!
    This involves having two ipods and switching their hard drives, this only works for 4th gens though i havent figured it out for the pile of 3rd gens i have. i swapped two 4th hard drives that each gave me the sad face and tried to mount with an apple and i got both mounted from the same computer, A folder icon on a fourth gen means it needs to be repaired and zeroed out with Norton disk doctor or disk utility on a macintosh.Both ipods were bought off ebay with HD problems. One i had to replace the mother board after constant unmounting and restoring. I think it was sat on for a long period of time warping the board and causing circuits to short. But I spent and fixed two Ipods with ”claimed HD problems” for less than a used or refurbished from apple.

  10. Not to say your way doesnt work, but mine was doing the same exact problem, showing either the pic shown above or a sad face on it, and I was able to fix it by either:

    A) Slide the hold button back and forth about 10 time quickly, and then Hold down: Menu/middle button/ button, this puts the ipod into some special mode with which I was then able to restore it via the itunes restore program. Problem is, a few weeks later the problem came back with the error screen and clicking noise, so…

    B) Simply hold it in one hand, and smack it with your other hand. I was told do try this by a friend online, and wa-la, it has not had a single problem since which was over 2 months ago. Saves a ton of time, not to mention the money for a new drive.

    While some may say beating the crap out of your ipod is a bad idea, it does work πŸ™‚

  11. Now I haven’t gotten a sad Ipod icon yet, but I have gotten the battery and far more often the folder icon. One thing that seems to be the biggest problem is that the unit continuously resets itself making it impossible to mount.

    Any ideas?

  12. Second grade teacher, you are not very helpful. You teach second grade. What happened to “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.” Or are you teaching them to be anal and annoying. This post obviously was meant to be helpful.

  13. 20 On Tuesday, 12-27-2005 @ 04:41pm, Ginger said…

    Second grade teacher, you are not very helpful. You teach second grade. What happened to “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.” Or are you teaching them to be anal and annoying. This post obviously was meant to be helpful.

    Take your own advice bitch

  14. Just to let you know in the beginning, I have had that folder come up before and that doesn’t mean that the hard drive is corrupt. All you would have to do it read the manual and it tells you how to bring the hdd back to normal. So you might have just wasted $100.00 for nothing when you could have just read the manual to see how to bring it back to normal.

  15. actually, the drive wouldnt spin up. if you shook the ipod you could hear something was rolling around in the hard drive. It made a horrible clicking / grinding noise. Trust me, I have been around computers enough to know when a HD goes bad. I wish i would have ripped the drive apart and document it. Thanks for all the responces!

  16. “if you shoot the ipod you could hear something was rolling aroun din the hard drive. ”

    Uh yeah. Shooting your iPod is not recommended.

  17. “if you shoot the ipod you could hear something was rolling aroun din the hard drive. ”

    Uh yeah. Shooting your iPod is not recommended.

  18. Great job!
    I have a 20GG ipod is an older model w/no vidio.Can i change the hard drive on it so i can download vidio music??

  19. Excellent! I got my iPod wet (not on purpose), and had to take it apart, dry off the circuit boards, etc. It worked for a few months, but slowly started acting up. First, it wouldn’t connect with the computer anymore. It would charge, but no detection on the PC. Next, it wouldn’t charge anymore, so I knew, a few more days and it was history. I gave it a decent burial, but kept the HD. So my Q is this: How can I hook up a 3rd gen 30GB HD to a standard PC IDE controller? Anybody have a linky?

  20. Holy Christ! Hold and Slap! I was ready to go out tomorrow and shell out 400 bucks on a new video ipod. Now after smacking my old one and it coming back to life — forget it!

  21. The price on iPod repairs by apple is so high, because they vary rarely repair them… they just replace them with the same model (a bunch of the replacements have been rebuilt, but not on site).

    This at least reminded me that I could put a bigger drive into a unit that is actually dead.

    Other than that…

  22. Getting a new 1.8″ drive is the hard part. Only two manufacturers make them: Toshiba and Hitachi, and the largest available size is 80GB. I recently bought a Toshiba through for my laptop, so they had them at one point.

  23. I agree with Second grade teacher – great article, but please take time to proof read it which will add credibility to the article.

    There are plenty of badly written documents on the Internet – Having one that is written well helps a great deal.

    Ginger – Its constructive criticism – you, however are not being constructive when you just insult people. Wake up and listen to others once in a while and you might actually learn something.

  24. My ipod same vrison 20 gig crashes when saving position form an podcast” resume playback form a podcast” and some times when playign a song and if i hit it hard enough it starts playing again. Think i’ll change the HD thanks for the instruciton to open it , could’nt find it anywere

  25. Yep, that one’s going straight to my account for safe keeping (as long as Yahoo! holds up their end of the bargain!).

  26. im had the whole broken hard drive/clicking sound problem… sucked i bought a new ipod video but i still have my old ipod if anyone wants it

  27. Hey Chris if you still got that broken ipod id like to mess with it send me an email at gotapinupgirl at

  28. Nice work. Wonder if it’s possible to find a harddrive with more gig then 20 and the same size of 4th gen tobisha harddrive πŸ™‚

    That would be like 2k5 awsome.

  29. Huh…my iPod photo had the same problem. All I did was bring it to the nearest Apple Center, w/o my receipt cuz I lost it, and they were more than happy to replace it for me. Got it 2 weeks later. Yes, a brand new 60gb iPod photo, free of charge. They even called me to say that it was ready for pickup. Now that’s good service. I’m from the Philippines by the way, so, I’m not sure if the same goes from other countries.

  30. I have a 64-year old Remington with a dodgy ampersand key, shredding ribbons ahoy. Now how to replace that little puppy?

  31. Interesting article. I pulled out my old busted 15 gig 3rd (or 2nd?) gen ipod. It’s the one before all the buttons were moved onto the clickwheel. I opened itu p and found no foam but plastic surrounding a hard drive, and weird copper tape to replace the IDE cable I’m guessing. The rubber bumpers are still there. The harddrive in these are Toshiba MK1504GAL’s, which I found online for 40 bucks! When I went to get it repaired they quoted me 300 so I just bought a damned new ipod and used my college acceptance letter to get a discount greater than the recycling program. What a rip off! I’ll probably order it and see if it’ll work. I dropped the ipod and heard similar clicking noises – both the Apple Tech Support and I believed it to be a damaged hard drive so let’s see what I can do with this. There’s slight damage with the dock connector (a noticeable dent) so we’ll see what happens. But damn, nice article and tutorial. I’m also going to check out the battery and see if there’s a cheap way to extend it.

  32. If you want to increase the disk drive size, you can do it without problem as long as you get a new back plate for your iPod to make room for the thicker Hard Disk Thickness. I think you can proably go up to 60 or 80 GB

  33. Thanks so much for this. Some guy dropped my iPod and it was rendered useless until I followed these instructions and fixed the connection from the hard drive to the motherboard. Minus a few dings, it’s as good as new once again.

  34. o



    thank you so much! i just posted a lenghty artical on ars’s forums about how i couldn’t get a replacement ipod because my computer had now way of getting usb 2.0 and now, through the many different solutions presented to me, its working, at least for now! i also have no fear changing out the hdd in the future, but lets hope it doesn’t come to that!

    thank you so much, for getting this conversation started!

  35. The connector on the toshiba hard drive is a 50 pin female connection that is specific to only the toshiba drives. I’m having a hard time finding one that fits it, so I can connect it to a standard 3.5 ide connection

  36. I upgraded my Archos 20GB with a new 100GB drive a year or so ago – works great! But 100GB is already feeling a little tight. Want 120GB next, heh.

    I am going to try to do the same to my little sisters ipod, make a 15GB become a 60GB or something!

  37. I recently bought a 5th generation ipod and my brother got 1 too so he gave me his old 1 (4th Gen) and before he gave it to me he stepped on the screen and (some how) managed to put that heavy A$$ thing in the washing maciene and got soaked, so i tried getting the ipod open to dry up the circuts and motherboared and change the screen, i tried to get it open the way it was displayed in this artical and the ipods plastic split in two pieces inbetween the screen and the click wheel… thanks alot… 1 question though, is there a way to hook the ipod up a computer and use it as an external Hard Drive w/o having the ipod?
    and another question does any one know a way to get an ipod mini open? (i have 5 ipod minis)

  38. I had the same problem with my 40GB 4G ipod not starting. I tried everything else, and the found these posts. After reading, I tried “smacking” the ipod.

    It actually did work.

    I held it in my left hand with the click wheel up, and with as much force as I could, smacked the side of it with my right hand

  39. Wow, Tried everything to get my 6 month old IPOD 60G working. Just smacked it on the back twice and it works like a champ. Thanks

  40. I did replace the battery in my iPod 2nd. gen. with success. My only advice is be prepared for a few new scratches. If you iPod is already scratched and well worn, it probably won’t matter that much. This article makes me want to disassemble and upgrfade my perfectly good 20GB iPod for the fun of it.

  41. I just tried smacking my ipod like others had suggested and it worked. I was doubtful at first but ran out of options. one smack and presto.

  42. First, it wouldn’t connect with the computer anymore. It would charge, but no detection on the PC. Next, it wouldn’t charge anymore, so I knew, a few more days and it was history.

  43. stan: you’re a genius! i had the same problem, a 4th gen with a sad face and clicking noise…was gonna replace the harddrive, luckily i saw your post…smacked it in my hand – it stopped clicking, then i ran the ipod updater, and it’s “good to go”!!!!

    thanks man!!!!

  44. yes my ipod is only hot when its running does this mean i need a new HDD or close to it?

    (it gets so hot that i cant hold it)
    (and the battery fully chared only lasts 5 minutes)

  45. Another satisfied IPOD spanker. My IPOD started randomly messing up, but all the built in diagnostics passed. I was having EXTREMELY long syncs that would ofter lock up my itunes and the CPU to some degree. It was definitely the IPOD b/c it happend the same on multiple CPUs. Anyway, I turned it off, and gave it a couple of firm slaps, and violla! Seems to be working. I can’t believe I have found any other threads on the “ball&peen” method of fixing ipods. But thanks!

  46. I can’t get my ipod 10gig 3g to mount. the drive seems to be spinning, tryed the slap treatment, ran the updater program but that just shows a spinning ball for ever? any suggestions?

  47. iPod slappers UNITE!

    I was soooooo sceptical when I first heard the “drop it” or “”Slap it” solution but as I was having severe dramaas the other day and no other fix seemed to work, I just held it firmly in my left hand and gave the back a slap. Connected to the pc straight away and uploaded the music without so much as a glitch.

    Today it crashed when plugged into the pc again (gonna have top check out my system I think) and I ended up with the sad icon face. Couldn’t even get the iPod into dick mode this time and was beginning to think I’d finally stuffed it for good after hours of tinkering. Even the same slap didn’t work this time.

    Then after hours of trying to charge it, reformat it etc, I toiggled the hold switch fast a few times (like someone above suggested) before giving it a slap to the back and a slap to the side (again like someone abovve suggested).


    I guess it’s all in the way it is slapped.

    Of course, it more than liekly means that there is a loose connection in there someowhere but thanks to this blog, should it ever really become unuseable, I now know how to open it up and check those connections.

  48. I won a 20gb photo i pod ,which I haven’t unwrapped yet … question is there anyway to format it to accept video or am i dreaming?

  49. Add another name to the list of happy slappers! My iPod clapped out recently, only a week after warranty. Horrible clicks and folder icons are no more, following a hearty slap on the back.

  50. this visual point of reference was quite helpful. i’ve had an out-of-commission 4th gen click-wheel 20G ipod just sitting on a shelf for several months. i was getting an array of “!” errors (both the front and the folder “!” as well as the battery exclamatory), and couldn’t reset the ipod or put it into disk mode. the most progress it would make would be to show the apple logo and then it would inevitable fail with an exclamatory error regardless of whether it was plugging into my powerbook or the charger.

    after reviewing the walkthrough, i just disassembled my ipod, disconnected the HD from the IDE connection and prompt reconnected it and reassembled and now it it working perfectly. It was quite easy and I just used a butterknife to separate the body of the ipod. I recommend everyone try this quick fix before investing in a new HD. Good luck.

  51. I dropped my iPod, and the ribbon wire came out of place, and disconnected from the back cover.. is there anything i can do to reconnect it, and still make it work??

    p.s. it’s a 20 gig

  52. GW:I won a 20gb photo i pod ,which I haven’t unwrapped yet … question is there anyway to format it to accept video or am i dreaming?

    anwswer is yes look up video mod for ipod picure/nano it works for both.

  53. Hey…

    If anyone has an ipod (working or not) they wanted to get rid of, i would be glad to take it off of your hands…

    figure it’s worth a try..

    if you have one, please email me at


  54. The happy slappers have another convert! After trying apple’s ‘five R’s’ to remove the sad icon I came across this blog and the slapping technique. Figuring that $250 for a fix on a 4th gen was a bit steep I gave it a go and hey presto! one healthy ipod and a happy bank manager. Well done for this blog, it’s now bookmarked for the eventual failure….

  55. my ipod nano broke and so i opened it up and tryed a few things, then i got out my trusty 9 volt baterie and randomly zoting places. i got it to work. (i was so happy i yelled it’s alive!)

  56. So five minutes after sending in a warranty repair request, I come to this site (trying to find out if bad harddrives on 40 gig ipod photos are common), and then try the smack technique. It works! Of course, I expect the thing to crash again tomorrow, but at least I can listen to it tonight!

  57. thanks guys for the video info … question – i-tunes has split up my limewire tracks allowing some music into my library and others staying into owner’s limewire tunes. the problem is that i can’t transfer all the songs from limewire to library to install into the i-pod . I’ve looked through all the settings but can’t quite figure it out – any hints?

  58. the 30gb 1.8″ toshiba drives are exactly the same dimensions…i got one for only $20 more than the 20gb online. once you go to 40gb, those are double-platter drives and will not fit. toshiba is just now releasing a 40gb single platter drive but it is not available in the states yet.

  59. any ideas way i get ipod sevice error when i’m trying the ipod updater after replacing u/s hard drive??

  60. great guide, thanks so much. replaced my 4th gen 20g broken hard drive with a mates 3rd gen 20g with a broken screen.
    the hard drive turned out to be exactly the same model (MK2004GAL). i found opening the ipod case easier from the cable/docking port end first rather than the sides though. get the screwdriver in and twist.
    And on a few posts, in my experience, a folder with an exclamation can mean a broken hard disk, it can also mean an unformatted harddisk. put your ear to the ipod when starting up, if it takes a long time and makes horrible clicking noises, then it’s gone, if the icon appears quickly and the hard disk is spinning quietly, then you simply need to plug it in and let the ipod software do a restore.
    hate to state the obvious, but hold and slap does not work.

  61. I have a U2 20gig ipod that will not turn on. I’ve tried smaking it which didn’t work. Before it broke it had half charge so i don’t think it’s the battery. When i plug it in its not detected and the screen doesn’t turn on. Any suggestions.

  62. we just tried the smack the ipod method to get an ipod to work that had been dead for months with sad face and whirring and what not, didnt work


    when smashed against a table it worked!!! so there u have it, if something doesnt work hitting it and throwing it actually fixes it

  63. Very good blog! I will maybe attempt an upgrade from 20 to 40 Gb .

    Q: Does anyone know how to take apart Ipod to fix the wheel? Mine is skipping from 12 to 6 o’clock on the wheel. Any info is welcome!

    Thanks again, great post.

  64. i got my ipod 20 gb 4th gen on xmas and i dropped it not long after, ive tried everything even the slapping and it still making clicking noises and showing apple icon and then the folder and ! icon. i don’t want to risk opening it up. any suggestions? or can i get it rplaced on my warranty? any help would be great

  65. I have attempted to reair my wifes ipod, without success. It shows the corrupted folder Icon. I tried using numerous disk utilities on bot Mac and PC platforms. The drive is not seen. I have used the slap method and hold method. I have opened the ipod to check for loose connections (this was way easier than I expected). My next step is to replace the drive. Does anyone know if a 4th gen HD will fit a 3rd gen Ipod?

  66. I just brought my old lady her first ipod for christmas off ebay I think I paid to much for it but anyway I tryed to reformat it for my pc and erase the old and put on her kind of crap or whatever she whould like on it and now it will not do anything but come on show the book then shut down I didn’t want to give it to her until it was loaded so she still don’t know I have it
    so like others above I would be interested in a cheap ipod of any kind that works when I say cheap it has to be cheap like I said above I paid to much for the first one when she see’s it on my bill she will probley shoot me if anyone cares or has one they dont want email me at PLEASE! AND THANK YOU…

  67. Let me tell you once and for all. If someone smacked their broken iPod into working, there is a loose connection and likely still loose. Hitting it will ONLY cause potential damage. If you think getting it to work by hitting is a better option, you are an idiot. You have a perfect guide right here to work from. Do it right the first time and it may work for a long time. Hitting it may make an intermittent connect work temporarily, BUT THE PROBLEM IS STILL THERE. Let me add that 95% of the posts ENCOURAGING you to bash it are from jokers trying to get morons to say “gee, maybe I should try that, I’m sooo desperate to make my iPod work again….God help me…make this smack work!” Ask yourself, “Am I really that pathetic?” C’mon people, think for yourselves! BTW, great tutorial, thanks!

  68. to Your Brain: while you are correct about the potential for additional damage, the quick test of one or two slaps to confirm that there is a losse connection is far less damaging than the number of drops that most pod users inlict on their pods. Stating that, I am a Mac tech and would NEVER have slapped my own pod. I did slap a “dead”, out-of warranty pod and it worked. So… it is not the best solution, but it is better than the $ given to Apple for the lay person to get it “fixed”. I do plan to crack the case and check the connectors to confirm your thoughts, but not everyone would.

    to Josh: Nice Blog. Thanks.

  69. Does anyone know if you can put in hard drives other than Toshiba into an iPod, as long as they match the specs of the Toshiba?

  70. I’ve read that upgrading the drive from ***4GAL to ***6GAL will cause the firewire update to stop working. Can anyone confirm this?

  71. just so you all know, slapping a hard drive, is actually a last resort technique i was taught in tech school for use with hard drives that have crashed and have no backup. the idea is that the head in the drive has become slightly out of place. it needs to be at a speciffic distance from the surface of the disk to properly read it. with something like an ipod, it’s basically just a hard drive and a screen that you put in your pocket, so it gets banged up a lot and the likelyhood of the head becoming out of place is much higher. giving the unit a firm slap sometimes vibrates the head so that it settles back to it’s original position.

    anyway, point was, in the future if a drive in your pc stops working, keep in mind that you can possibly use this same trick to get it working again, at least for long enough to copy essential files to a new drive.

    the way we were told to do it was to hold it levelly over a carpeted floor and drop it with the top facing down.

    it really is a last resort though…it runs the risk of making your problem [way] worse, especially if the head wasn’t the problem to begin with, and it was just corrupted data causing the problem, or a bad cable. in fact, when my professor started talking about it, the first thing he said was, “i probably shouldn’t tell you all this, but…”

    so don’t smack your ipod as soon as it stops working. make sure there’s no other solution, then give it a shot.

  72. Great instructions. I was ready to change out my hard drive when I read the first message on the slap. I figured what the heck… I have to spend the money for a new one anyway…. why not try it.

    Low and behold…. it worked…!!! I am not sure how long it will hold it but it worked and I am very happy for now …. thanks a lot…

  73. Let me start off by saying that the slapping method some of you guys are using is just a temporary solution to a problem that will not go away by spanking your ipods a few times. But u can do whatever the hell u want, i couldnt care less. Anywayz moving on to my success story. I bought a Philips HDD120 with a 20gb hard drive almost a year ago; it was a decent alternative to the ipod and it looked much better, but four months ago i dropped it and something got messed up in the circuit board so i couldnt repair it. Therefore i decided to buy a 3G ipod with a 15 GB HD on ebay. I’ve been using it without any problems ever since, i’ve also dropped it at the gym a few times but still, it always worked perfectly. All that changed last week when i bought one of those FM transmitters for my car- a waste of money dont buy that crap. I plugged it in the car’s cigarrette lighter and decided to listen to my songs on the way to school. Fifteen mins later the iPOD crashed , the folder icon with the exclamation sign appeared on the screen and i could hear the clickin’ noise so it was obvious that there was something wrong with the HD. I tried restoring it and then i ran the diagnostic thing. As i had suspected the HD test failed. I wasnt gonna pay $100++ for a new HD so i opened up my old philips hdd 120 and to my surprise i found out that both units used the same HD. I swapped the HDs and now i have a 20 GB ipod working like a charm.

  74. Thanks for the insight Mac Tech. I may have been a bit harsh, but hate to see some misguided folks ruin something that may not have been otherwise an unsolvable problem. I guess Josh and a couple others have previously added their caveats. Your probably very correct about how many times people drop those in day to day usage. Not a reason to do it on purpose, but a good point.

  75. my ipod gets the same folder icon with the exclaimation point! It continually resets itself everytime i turn it on. The only way i can keep it on is if i put it in disk mode. Even still, once i plug it into my computer to restore it, it’ll reset itself even in disk mode, so i can’t even restore it. I’ve tried the slap method, not sure if i’m doing it right because its not working. The hard drive looks fine, no scratches, no clicking sounds, but i still think its the problem. i switched the harddrive between one working 20gig 4gen ipod and this 20gig 4gen ipod that doesn’t work. when i switch the hd’s…the same problem transfers to the new housing. Anyone have this problem? Do I really have to replace the hd or is there something else i can do to reformat it ipod style?

  76. i had the same πŸ™ face problem and i just opened my ipod and disconnected the battery and hard drive for like 1 hour. i plugged it in again and my ipod 4g was working again. Anyways i have a 2nd gen 6gig ipod mini for sale at $125 dollars. Hit me up if u intersted.

  77. I followed the instructions to the letter and once again am the proud owner of a fully functional 4G 20GB iPod. Thanks to Josh and to Laythor for the info. I froogled the toshiba drive, the MK2006GAL, and found it on eWiz for only $88. Considering this drive costs upwards of $100 elsewhere, it was a great tip, thanks!!

    By the way, I used a silicon rubber (RTV) adhesive sealant to glue the foam on the new drive, considering the heat output of the iPod when functioning. Thanks to Bill Eberly above for the observation.

    Once again thanks to all!

  78. Well, I read all 100+ posts and had been experiencing many of the same symptoms (major one being the slow but constant clicking of the HD)with my 4Gen 20G iPod (Yes, I had dropped it by accident). Jumped thru all the regular hoops and was certain I’d have to send it back. Then I found this blog.

    I turned iPod to its side, held it in my left hand and firmly smacked it on the side. Can you beleive for the first time in weeks I actually got the menu. Plugged it up via USB to my computer and iTunes recognized it and automatically updated it. It’s charging right now as I type.

    I agree with an earlier poster that if my dropping the iPod caused something to become loose, than smacking it may only be a temporary fix. I may need to eventually carefully open the iPod and secure what may have become loose. However, I am puddle happy right now that all is not lost as I originally thought. At least I dont have to send it away (yet).

    Great blog, and great input from all.

  79. Cool blog. I can’t believe I scrolled through and read the whole thing. I was nearly in tears with all the “whoo-hoo!” pod-spanking comments. My 4G 40GB just went on the fritz, exactly 2 weeks after the 1-year warranty expired. WTF? I’ve tried everything, twice. When the dude at the Apple store told me the drive needed to be replaced at a cool $250, I nearly threw the crappy pod against the wall. Now I can’t wait to get home and spank mine to see if it helps. I’m not dumb enough to think a spanking fixes everything – duh – but when all else fails…

  80. i have an ipod mini. and whenever i press any buttons, put it on hold, or even try hold and slap, it appears with an apple logo and then a folder and ! icon. i don’t want to spend money trying to fix it and i really don’t have money to buy a new one. so does anyone know of a way it can be fixed for FREE?


  81. my ipod went kaput cuz i letf it in my moms car glove cabinet and it was for like 3 day and it just wont work like this error sign appears on it when i format it and i crie daily

  82. Well, I just tried to open mine up and give it a whirl. I waited two days, plugged it in really quick, and the screen’s light kept going on and off. I quickly unplugged it, and got in there with a box cutter. So, I opened it, cleaned it out, and now absolutely nothing works. Does anyone have any reasons why not? The battery was at full charge before getting inflicted with the H20. It does sound like something might have loosened in the HD. I can open it up and fix it (I know how), but I would feel better knowing that it was the problem…

  83. thanks guys,
    over the holidays my son and i restored his 4th generation ipod. (he got a video ipod) we read the blog and tried several of the suggestions. finally (as several posts suggested) i gave the ipod a spanking… and lo and behold it came back to life. thanks alot… we recovered the older ipod and loaded it up with songs for my wife and now she is happily using it. ah the power of beating the crap out of technology!!!

  84. Hey, I have the same problem and I want to do the same thing you did, does it matter if it is Hewlett Packard, or is it same hard drive? Thanks

  85. I’ve got the same problem, and I want to try it your way, so I need to know if it matters if you have an HP iPod or if it doesnt matter. Thank you.

  86. another convert. mine had the sad face so i gave it a quick slap after tring everything else and then it showed the folder with the exclamation and then another slap and hey presto it works again. Does this mean it was a harddrive problem and if so is it only a temporary solution. Cn anyone suggest a longer term one or will i have to buy a new one or replace the hard drive in the long-run?

  87. Great website – but before you change your harddrive try the blog tip #16 above.

    I had managed to demagnetize parts of my HD so that for weeks I couldn’t do anything – it would only click and click and give me the FolderExlamation mark picture.

    I was just about to take my 40GB iPod apart using this website and buy a new HD when I read that if my iPod did not show an unhappy face I could reset it by:

    push center and play button while
    lock and unlock the iPod 10 times

    this put’s the ipod in a special mode

    then run the updater, I had to leave mine for over 3 hours before it recognized the iPod, but when I woke up in the morning, my iPod was back to normal, and with the latest SW. Just had to resynch the whole thing.

    I probably tried 15 times what I just explained and it wasn’t until I just let the updater and iPod sit for several hours that it finally worked. So don’t give up!

    Great website, fantastic pictures! Thanks, PN

  88. 10 days after my 20 GB HP Ipod warranty ran out I dropped it. Even though I had a protective cover on it. I “lost” all my songs. The menus reverted back to the original setup but the songs were all gone. A look at SETTINGS ABOUT showed it stilled have 16.7 GB of data but I couldn’t access anything.
    HP email tech support was helpful but all they could do was confirm that the hard drive was kaput. Hp does not service HP Ipods anymore but they will sell you a replacement… for $265 – no thanks!
    So, I’m following your lead here. FYI the HP Ipod has the exact same hard drive – the Toshiba MK2004GAl. Thanks to a previous poster I went to and ordered a 30 GB hard drive for $102 (about $125 including CA tax and shipping). A whole lot less than a new IPOD.
    I should have it later this week. Anything I need to do to format the HD to accept photos and video?

  89. >> fantastic blog!!!!

    >> my 40 ipod would start up, then you could hear the hard drive clicking over and over again and then the dreaded *sad face* would appear.

    >>I tried everything and was considering buying the toshiba drive when i read ” turn it on, hold it in your right hand, and then bash it’s side into the palm of your left”



  90. Hold and Slap…Works Like A Charm. I am so glad that this site has worthy information. unlike apple support. OMFG. DO the 5 fucking R’s!!! If apple wants to be a competitive company, they need better troubleshooting guides.

  91. I too am a believer in smacking. I was putting my ear up to the ipod and could hear my hd spining and then dying every 10 seconds. I plugged it in and it was only transfering about 1 songs every 20 seconds. I held it in my hand, hit is as hard as I could about 3 times, and boom now it is loading songs like its new. Maybe the new hd is a long term fix but I thought mine was dead. Great blog.

  92. Awesome blog. I tried everything to fix my 30g iPod Photo with warning sign and folder, i was ready take it to Apple when i found your smacking technique. Man, it saved my iPod for free.

  93. I just wanted to throw my 2 cents in with the slapping fiasco.

    I opened up my ipod today and found that the ribon that connected the iPod HD to the main board was just a TAD bit out of place. The connector apparently is really easy to pull it out enough where it doesn’t create a good connection. All I did was push this little ribbon back in as snug as I could and BOOM the iPod worked like a charm. It is apparent that these iPods have hard drive connector ribbons that are easy lodged from their place. I never once dropped it, ever, and it still did that to me. Slapping it probably gives it enough force to make a slightly better connection to the HD and therefore start working again. This is why I think the slapping method works. In fact, i’d ask the original poster of this blog to remove the new HD he put in and put in the old one snugly and see if it works — I bet it will. Too bad I already bought a new iPod πŸ™ -RadiusMan

  94. I got my new 30 GB drive from in 2 days. My apologies, in my earlier post I said the 30 GB cost $102, it’s actually $109. Anyway, it took about 2 minutes to put it in, snap on the back and plug it in. It took a while for it to download the 4896 songs I have in itunes but it works great and I now have 10 more GBs of space!

    Thanks for the great post and for saving me $$. My check to you is in the mail!

  95. hi, im having the same problem as shamus. my battery only lsts 5min when fully chargeed and it get burning hot when i charge it. its a third gen ipod. hELP!!!

  96. Was about to take it apart, but thought to try the “slap the damn thing” approach. It worked. Only thing I figure is that HDD’s are sometimes subject to “stiction” and slapping it like this get the head to move freely again.

    Go figure….

  97. Spanked mine. It worked again. But could not help taking it apart and having a look. It was indeed easy to take it apart. 5 mins work.

  98. yo guys i just got my kuzins dead ipod n now i am goin to buy his for bout 20-30 bucks then buy the harddrive for another 100 or so
    yep yep

    dan el man

  99. My mate’s ipod had the same prob with the whirring HD and the clicking then dying, I came across this site while looking for help. I just checked out the fix at the top and didn’t even scroll this far down so I didn’t know about the slapping fix, anyways I read through the “replacing hard drive” and then decided to give it a right good shake as I thought he had nothing to lose and Bob’s yer uncle, one mate delighted and one free lunch for me….and he swears it’s working better than before.

  100. Well … I tried all the erase/restore stuff on the Apple website, attempted to reformat the hard drive on a PC without iTunes, took the iPod apart and checked the connections, did everything short of “the smack” and the hard drive replacement. Nothing would make the sad face go away. I didn’t want to do it, but I gave it a whack. I’m now happily listening to Dave Brubeck again. What can I say?

  101. I’d have to caution against using a screwdriver to open the ipod. The potential for damaging the ipod (deep scratches, bending or denting the case, or even damaging the internals if you’re not careful) are too great in my mind.
    If you can find something else to use, that is thin, hard (but softer than metal), and stiff enough to pry with, use that instead.

    The best thing that I’ve found for this are medium or hard plastic guitar picks. They’re perfect – the plastic won’t even scratch the ipod, they’re thin enough to slip in easily and not bend the back of the case, and they’re cheap.

  102. I held it with one hand… I smacked it with the palm of the other… and it worked!!! I searched everywhere on the internet (for around an hour) and found only one site that related to me, and no one knew how to fix the problem. Only here, where it wasn’t even the intent of the original posting, did I learn to show love to my ipod by giving it a good smack. That’s amazing!!!

  103. Excellent blog. FYI: for those who like me don’t have the correct plastic wedge for opening the iPOD…with a scalpel I shaved a plastic golf tee into a wedge shape and it did the trick for getting the back casing off. BTW: if the HDD isn’t spinning up then no amount of slapping will resuscitate the iPOD. As per a couple of other entries the real difficulty is sourcing an Apple branded HDD. I’ve got a 2nd Gen. 20Gb with 1.8″ Toshiba MK2003GAH – would love to know if there are any other HDD’s that will work; it would be great if I could increase the capacity too!

  104. I see that you used the MK2006GAL to replace the MK2004GAL drive. My gen 3 iPod used a 15GB Toshiba MK1504GAL. I wanted to replace it with a 20GB MK2004GAL, which I’m told should work. However, like you I can’t find one so I bought a MK2006GAL. It doesn’t work. The MK2006GAL won’t format using Apple’s disk utility. I tried it on 3 computers. In researching what the difference was between a MK2004GAL and a MK2006GAL, I see that the older one uses ATA-5 interface while the 2006 uses ATA-6 interface. The INCITS standards committee claims that the change from ATA-5 to ATA-6 involves speed and a few other features but should not affect backward compatibiity. Anyway, I’m now back in the market for an MK2004GAL. Not sure this is the problem, though, but I suspect that the gen 3 iPod only works with the ATA-5 interface.

  105. Ok I’ve tried everything I know how and nothing has worked yet, so I’m hoping someone has some more advice. 20GB 4th gen iPod was dropped, now has warning folder icon and clicking noises. I have taken it apart and disconnected then reconnected the hard drive, but that did nothing. I shook the hard drive and didn’t hear anything moving inside. And yes, I’ve slapped it, several times, to no avail. I can get it into disk mode, but the computer won’t recognise it so I can’t update or restore. It never appears in “my computer” nor in iTunes. It will say “do not disconnect” while it attempts to connect for about ten seconds, then it gives up. After a few seconds it tries again, repeating this cycle. For the ten or so seconds that it’s trying to connect, it will appear in the device manager under computer management as a disk drive, but still the iPod updater doesn’t recognise it. To PN who wrote comment 133, is this what yours was doing? The updater also gives up after a few seconds and says “can’t mount iPod,” so I can’t really imagine that leaving it hooked up overnight will do anything, but I’ll try it tonight anyway. If I can’t fix it, is there any chance of recovering the music? No, I don’t have it backed up on a computer. Thanks for any help.

  106. Sweet choice of tunes. I am going to try this and try to get my Piece of CRAP ipod working. Thanks for the info.

  107. I opened my iPod as the folder with exclamation mark kept appearing, and whenever I got it into Disk Mode it crashed.

    So i opened it and the tape had gone dry which conencts the hard disk to the board and it came off!!


  108. Awesome site!

    I’m beginning to believe that I’ll need to replace my HDD. However, the HDD Test feature in my iPod’s diagnostic mode says HDD Pass. Any suggestions? Explanations? I’ve tried almost everything, and I’m just too chicken to slap my iPod (it’s just so precious to me).

  109. Amazing! I was about to search eBay for some hard drives after getting the sad iPod face, but wanted to make sure that it was an operation I could handle. (This, mind you, LESS THAN A MONTH after the limited warranty ran out.)

    Read the smacking advice and it seems to work like a (temporary) charm! One good hit on the side while it was face up and it stopped making the horrible “the hard drive isn’t working properly” cycling noises. Menu loaded fine, nothing’s lost, and I’m a very happy person.

  110. Just for the record – 4th Gen 20 GB. The day my warranty ran out, it broke, got the sad face, the folder and the spinning drive that stopped with a clunk. Read all about the slapping going on and decided to give it a try – worked great – but I hit the side of the ipod against my kitchen table. Dinning room tables will probably work too. Good stuff.

  111. Great blog lots of great tips, others just random linkage whoring.

    So I was planning on upgrading my ipod’s harddrive to somethign with a bit more GB’s but I was wondering if this would my ipods battery usage?

  112. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


  114. Great work….I love the fact that people like you selflessly put these money-saving tips on the web. As much as I love Apple, I was not happy by the collapse of the iPod after 1 year and 21 days of buying it.

    Thanks !

  115. I’m sort of embarassed to say that in my stress, I became an iPod spanker. While I’m not proud of this, it did get my malfunctioning iPod to start normally. However, it still won’t connect to iTunes properly. I’ve done almost everything: restored, rolled back the firmware, installed an older version of iTunes. What else can I do? I’m getting pretty desperate here.

    MAYBE I’ll try to replace the HDD…

  116. Josh…you are mentioned in this blog–>

    This blog has a BAZILLION comments, including one from “Eddie”, who suggesting the “hold and slap” method. I was DESPERATE…as most of us are…and thinking I would have to change out my HD, spending lots of money in the process. So, I just slapped it a couple times…and the backlight pops on and I’m HAPPY AS HELL! Woo-hoo, it works! That’s what those Apple Store people probably do when they go into the back with your iPod… they’re all sitting back there slapping iPods…HA!

  117. My family has 30G, 40G & 20G iPods; the 30 & 40 are [warranty] replacements; my 20G (Dad gets the small one) is just out of warranty and I’m sweating. I treat this thing as if it were filled with nitroglycerine. It acts goofy sometime but I use the keypad combinations from the Apple site with success…BUT…in a weird way, I’m almost looking forward to popping this thing open after reading all this-! I have never slapped my iPod but remember owning an ancient Macintosh IIx with a giant 40 M drive–I began to get the sad face icon and learned from a mac tech that I simply had to lift the HD out of the box, hold it firmly at the level and rapidly twist it axially–jerking it, really–and the drive would free itself–damned if it didn’t work and I started that IIx like that every day for several years. Apple has about lost my business in the desktop area; their designers’ credo seems to be “function follows form”–I have a giant DELL that makes my G4 look like an Etch-a-Sketch by comparison. Nowadays Apple seems bent on making juke boxes. (Sorry for the editorializing.) Thanks for your great blog, son-!

  118. i’m actually about to do this, i’m just waiting on the hard drive to come in, i’ll come back and tell you if it worked or not. i really hope it does.

  119. I can’t believe it!!! My 60 gig iPod photo hard drive died during iTunes synch. After that it would only click and would not mount. I tried everything. And I mean everything. I read this post, turned the iPod over and smacked the crap out of it one time and it fired right up. Thank you!!!!!

  120. yeah i just got an apple 20gb fourth generation from my friend. he found it in a parking lot and didn’t want it. it has a cracked screen and the hard drive just craped out, but i’m going to try the “HOLD AND SLAP” to see if that will work. I hope it does, because i dont really have $160 for a new 20 gig.

  121. Can anyone tell me how i can fix my hard drive without slapping it. that didnt work on mine for some reason, so is there any whay to fix it?

  122. Following up on my earlier post above, I can confirm that the Apple branded TOSHIBA 1.8″ MK4004GAH 40Gb drive works (and fits) in a 2nd Generation iPOD – now I’ll upgrade the battery to the longer lasting 2200mAH and I’ll have a super-size-me 2nd Gen. πŸ™‚
    BTW – all this has been done at less than half the price (inc. battery & carriage!) Apple wanted to charge for a direct like-for-like 20Gb HDD replacement…

  123. Thank you so much! That sounds exactly like what’s wrong with my ipod. I’m gonna try to fix it. I hope it really is the same problem.

  124. A 3G 20gb ipod was making the terrible noise and showing the bad folder icon. I couldn’t resetting it or format it because it wasn’t recognized by the computer at all. I got a 30gb mk3006gal hdd from ewiz and put it in there. I reset it using the iPodupdater from and now it’s working just fine. 28.5gb available space.

  125. Oh my gosh. Hold and slap really worked for me!!!! I was laughing at the earlier post suggesting this. My brother’s ipod wasn’t working right and had the same symptoms described above. (hard-drive making noise and the bad folder icon. I tried everything that the ipod site suggested(reset, restore, etc.). I tried to do a restore, but the my computer gave me the error of “can’t mount the ipod” I saw this site and was planning on replacing the hard-drive. I thought, “what the heck” held the ipod firmly in my right hand and smacked it on the side. About 5 seconds later the menu screen appeared. If I ever need to change the hardrive out at least I know how from this site.
    Vinny from Salt Lake City, Utah

  126. I had the exact same problem… iPod was not responding, hard drive was clicking and I kept getting that sad little iPod icon. I couldn’t reset the iPod and my computer wouldn’t recognize it. I figured the hard drive had failed. I was ready to give up. Well, I tried the old trusted method of slapping the iPod and it miraculously started working again. This is obviously temporary, but for now I can listen to music! If it continues to fail, I will replace the hard drive just like Josh explained above.

  127. My iPod completely stopped, the Hard Drive was clicking and a sad face appeared on the screen. Well, after reading some messages, I finally tried the simple “hold and slap” move…
    …and the iPod was back to life!!

  128. My pod quit. So I read above comments and slap the shit out of it, like it owned me money. didn’t work. but i got new HDD like josh and now is like new!

  129. OMG, this is probably the 4th mistreated iPod i ahve seen. Recently, i bought an iPod 20GB 4th Generation from my friend PJ, which had the same problem; it would start up, show the file with the exclamation mark, then click a bunch and turn off. I brought it home, and ofter looking on the Apple Website, it states that that icon means it needs to be RE-FORMATTED! All you would have needed to do was plug it into your computer and re-format it with an old iPod update, or like me, use the installation disk that came with your iPod. This has always worked for, so try this before jumping to conclusions that the hard-drive is broken.

  130. Glorious day! Thank you Joshua for starting this thread! Bet you’re pretty popular with the honeys now…
    I have become a proud iPod spanker. It’s not all I spank, but I digress. >:-) My God! I can’t believe it worked! I will probably end up following the directions above to replace the drive (for

  131. hey jimmy sprinkle if you read the article correctly he cant mount the ipod onto the computer, the hard drive was entirely messed up. so even if you could reformat it, which in his case and mine we couldnt, there would be no point. i had gotten the same exact thing. that dreaded folder with the exclamation point and all it did was click whir die. the computer wouldnt even catch that it was there, i even was so desperate as to slap the damn thing. nothing. so i bought the hard drive 3 day shipping, came out to about 106.61 open the ipod, plugged it in voila. new ipod for me.

  132. I was able to disconnect the ide ribbon and do the hold and slap method, and reconnect it. i was able to do it twice, now im unable to do it for some reason. any reason why? i think you can only do it once. so now im stuck at square one again, and now i cant shake the hdd to make it work again. :/

  133. GREAT SITE!! Same story, dropped ipod in the gym, clicking confirmed dead HD. Upgraded to 30GB (MK3006GAL) from 20GB. New HD had no operating system and couldn’t update with’s updater. Took it to BestBuy’s Geek Squad, they said call 1-800-MY-APPLE. Didn’t have time to talk to them so I popped in the CD that came w/ my ipod. It reconized the ipod needed formatting and now it’s working great. Bottom Line…Upgraded a dead ipod to 30GB for only $118( in only 30 minutes.

  134. Excellent tutorial, I had a broken HD, do I took out the HD of my old iPod and threw it into my new one. Worked perfectly! Cheers.

  135. Where you bought the new Hard MK 2004GAL
    Do you have the internet addres for this eletronics Store?

  136. I dont Beleive it, my sisters 4th gen 40 gig had been dead for some months, with a €275 fee from apple to fix it! So she just bought a new one.
    she Slapped it yesterday and its back to life !!
    Excellent. Thats a bit crazy that that seems to be fixing ipods for so many people.
    is it the hard drive needle being freed again?
    or what is the slap actually doing to fix it?

  137. SMACK IT IT WORKS!!! My 40gb 4th gen ipod also showed the sad ipod icon so i found this site. however, as good as the tutorial was, I kept reading about people “smacking their ipods.” I figured mine is already broken so why not give it a shot. lo and behold the freakin thing works and all my music is still there!!!
    Hold it in your left hand with the click wheel up and smack it on the SIDE as hard as you can. Apple should give this out as technical advice, better yet you could send me $300 and I’ll “fix” your ipod for you.

  138. I smacked my 4th gen pod and it’s working better than it did when it was brand new ! NO JOKES. The smacking payed my bills.

  139. I was desperate and had already looked around for buying a new one, but thought what the heck IΒ΄ll give it a shot and smacked it hard twice. Now it works great again and who said that violence doensΒ΄t help

  140. My ipod, I think, is buggered. Fixable most likely with a lot of dosh. I have slapped it and all, but with no luck. It just keeps scrolling very fast past all my songs, not allowing me to play anything, and is very sluggish when slidding screens.

    Any ideas? It’s in warrenty, but of course I lost the bloddy thing.

  141. great help thanks!

    I held it in the left hand, smacked it twice, took hold off and low and behold – a working IPOD!!

    For people who are in the UK and have to replace drive, has them for Β£52 (model above) 20GB which is pretty cool.

  142. Thanks,

    I had the clicking, whiring sound and sad faced icon. I tried the five steps posted at apple to no avail. Ten slaps later and the pod is back to normal.

  143. I was about to sue Apple as my warrant was out of date by 3 days….got the sad face of death we all hate. Told it would cost almost Β£200 to fix….one firm slp later and holding down the 3 keys as above and its WORKING!!!! No technique required. Happy days!

  144. Clicky hard drive and exclamation folder problem was cured in one slap! Since then I’ve slapped everything. Broken toaster, alarm clock, whatever. Doesn’t work but sure feels good.

  145. LOL Stan is tha man!!!! Every one hold your ipod and give it the smack down. I havent used my ipod for 4 months and i was giving up until today i gave it the slap. this is so freakin funny. slap slap slap

  146. Great site. Have 30G ipod photo out of warranty and recently dropped. No amount of software reinstalling would help the key hold was stuck and the device useless. Having seen you sight I decided to take the back off. To my pleasant surprise the cable attaching the key hold to the motherboard had simply come unplugged. Stuck that back in and hey presto it works again.


  147. I had all the same issues: Sad face, ala Sex and the City, and that file folder kept popping up. The drive sounded like it wanted to ran but it only geared up then clicked and crashed. I read all these posts, hit it twice and it works! Im convinced Apple only makes these things to work for a certain amount of time knowing that we will just run out and by new ones. Bastards! Thanks everyone.

  148. Since November, my ipod loads the apple symbol, the hard drive clicks and clicks and clicks, and then I get the exclamation point and folder. I had recently given up on it until I saw I was about to pay a few bucks to get a guide on how to fix my ipod myself….until I saw this site. I opened up my ipod using a nail filer. I looked to see where the harddrive was connected to the motherboard, pressed down firmly, then resealed the ipod. To my joy, the ipod works PERFECTLY. I am so happy I didn’t have to pay $300 bucks(Ipod broke three days after warranty).

  149. My son’s 4G 40GB ipod went bonkers about a week out of warranty. Add to the mess that it was one that was co-branded with HP, and there seems no way to get straight answers from either company, which sent me looking for a way to fix what he has. I’ve dabble with the insides of all my computers over the years, and felt that it was the hard drive, and that I could probably replace it when I googled onto this site. Wow! I teach, but I would never complain about the typos since your presentaion was very complete, laid out with excellent pictures (a picture is worth a thousand words!), and for the most part, the posts have had important perspectives, and added more knowledge about the whole process. The son is a music major at KU, and uses the ipod for presentations, etc., besides living with it in his pocket. He was so distressed when it failed that I sent him the shuffle that I received for Christmas, feeling that some music was better than none. I forwarded this blog to him late last night, and he tried the slap with his ipod and it seems like new, leaving him with both ipods and me with none. My feeling is that the slapping will buy you time, but the hard drive is showing the signs of wear, so I will probably purchase a new hard drive for the ineveitable phone call that says the ipod has really given up the ghost for good. I think that the successful slapping is a kick in the seat for owners who have not backed up all of the music on the ipod, keeping a copy safe in the event of hard drive failure, or total ipod loss. What I wish I could figure out is a way to replace the hard drive with flash memory, even if it meant having 6 – 10 gigs, since I know that my son changes his programs frequently and that 10 gigs would be ample for the day to day use. Personally, I think any time you can eliminate a moving part you will increase durability. If anyone can figure out that conversion, it would be a godsend!

    If I had known then what I know now, I would have purchased the ipod from Best Buy with the three year extended warranty, something that I believe is the best advice I could offer anyone. In my research, I found that ipods with hard drives have about a 20% failure rate at just over one year and that the larger hard drives seem more susceptible to failure than the smaller ones. I believe that Apple is happy with that, as it becomes a stimulus for the buyers to upgrade, but I think that $300 – $400 for one year of service is a bit steep. My hat is off to you for providing an excellent tutorial on a common problem. Even though you could have replaced the hard drive with a 40GB without a problem, it seems wise to me to try the $100 aproach first. If, at the end of a year or so you need to replace it again, you will already have saved $40 – $60 dollars towards hard drive #3. If the mystique of opening up the ipod is removed, then these need not be totally disposable, though expensive, gadgets. Josh, first rate job, and you have my gratitude and thanks!

  150. Me again. I just wanted to let everyone know that yes, I Shawn, was an avid IPOD slapper. Out of frustration of getting the exclamation and folder icon, I slapped my ipod. It was a hard day at work! My ipod didn’t have my music ready when I got home so I had to unleash my frustration! Anyways, that was only a temporary worked for a while, but then stopped working until I did the fix that I stated a couple posts up.

  151. My 20 Gig ipod died, sounded like the hard drive. I found this page and did exactly as you did and behold, for $90 I have my ipod back working beautifully!


    Now though, I am wondering if the old hard drive could be reformatted (didn’t try while it was in the ipod), anyone know if these drives can be stuck into a G4 powerbook?

  152. Dude! I can not believe it, the SLAP WORKED!!!

    Tried lots of stuff to relieve the iPod of its click clicking sad faced moment.

    Then, holding it in the left hand flat, slapped it hard with a flat right hand, first on the front, then on the back. Plugged it in. Bammm. It works. AMAZZZZZING.

  153. My 40 gig ipod gave me the sad icon with exclamation mark symbol also . The clicking noise too . Couldnt restore it , windows wouldnt recognize it , nothing . I Opened it up , disconnected the hard drive , waited 10 minutes , re-connected it , put it back together and its working like NEW . Screw Apple and their 200$ fee to fix it .

  154. I just bought a used/broken ipod off ebay. Had the usual symptoms ! + folder icon. Slapped the bad boy and its working just fine. Thank you all for all the great info that Apple seems to not want anyone to know.

  155. Hey just so u guys know i had a problem very similar to josh’s on my ipod (30gb photo). my brother had the same problem and when the tech guys at best buy fixed it they said his hard drive was loose. so as long as you have ur ipod open just pop the hard drive out then back in and see if it works. It worked on my ipod and i didnt even have to spend another $100 dollars on a hard drive. Just my 2 cents. Hope that helps you guys save a little money

  156. I have told a couple of people who were selling their “broken” ipods on e-bay and at least one person got it working again.

  157. I had similiar problems to everyone else,except mine started after the last update came out (dated 10-1-06) I thought I must have screwed something up or it was bad software. After reading all the posts I thought I might try opening up the Ipod and checking the HD connection instead of slapping that sucker.A few pushes and all is well again in Ipod land. The slapping has the same effect however I think that opening up and firmly reseating the connection will provide a longer term solution. Many thanks to Josh for the info.

  158. Well I was having serious Ipod Issues.
    This was my 3rd Ipod under warranty…geeesh…and now this one was clicking and whirring and dying…and out of warranty! Couldnt see them (apple) repairing it…so I took it to my car, and was going to bring it to Apple…but first…I help it in my hand and gave it a good whack against the padded inside of the car door!
    As with all the other posts above, the thing has been working like a dream for 2 days now.
    Will keep you posted when the trouble returns….
    Short term or long term fix…who the hell knows!

  159. My wife’s Ipod just got the sad face icon, and we tried everything. We read your article and all the posts. Tried whacking it a few times. No luck. So we were prepared to pull the hard drive. I opened the back, and I disconnected the drive. Then I figured, what the heck, maybe the plug was ajar, let me plug it back in and try it one more time. And it worked! My wife is ecstatic! It’s fixed!
    Now, suppose I had sent it back to Apple and paid the $250 or whatever to get it fixed. Does this mean that they easily could have pushed the cable plug back in and charged me $250 for 5 minutes’ work?
    – Gary

  160. I just wanted to know whether, for all those who have tried it, when you replaced the hard drive in the iPod, you can retrieve the songs that were on it before. I have some tunes that I may never hear again now that my iPod has popped its cork. Don’t care much about the iPod but I want my songs.

  161. If you have been using iTunes you will still have all your songs on the computers that they have been saved on BUT if the computers HD is shagged you will have lost all of it…i lost my first iPod in a fire and what makes it worse was that it was connected to my computer!

  162. STAN YOU ARE THE MAN! I was getting ready to give up on my ipod that i just recently bought used. I suspected that it was damaged in the shipping or something and I was so close to throwing it away until I stumbled on this site. I read all the comments and just for luck I banged it against my leg and waaalaaa! it works!

  163. Hey, can you tell me where you bought the 40GB drive from, I have the same problem, and I am gonna try this now …


  164. Thanks a million for the info. I was able to repair my wife’s iPod, which had the same problem 1 month after the warranty expired.

  165. ok while the slap trick worked temporarily, roughly 1 week later it’s having problems again. did the slap trick work as a permanent fix for anyone?

  166. I followed this guide cause my HD was whirring n clicking so i took it apart and the IDE pins weren’t in the HD any more im not sure how often this happens but b4 you go out n buy a new HD try unplugging and plugging in the IDE cables again. Worked a treat thanks a million. Oh and isn’t it shit how a tiny dint voids your warranty >_

  167. Holy crap! #16 by Stan worked. Stan is the man!!! I had the same sad face smile happen to me. So I shopped for the hard drive after finding the repair info above. I cringed to the prices of new Toshiba drives. I decided to read on people postings here and Stan’s was it! I figured I could couldn’t make it any worse by hitting it. One thing I want to add to his posting is that after I smacked mine it made a chirp noise very briefly. Then the light went on. We’ll see how long before it goes out again (if it does) but at least it works! Thanks again Stan!


  168. How do I repair my click wheel? Everything works except scrolling and volume control. Very annoying. I’ve restored, deleted, reinstalled, updated, charged, and restarted. Even tried the hair dryer on it (as suggestion I saw on another site). Sometimes, if I go round & round on the wheel, it will advance one item for every 6 or 7 times around. Makes me think it’s a software problem, not a hardware problem.
    Any ideas?

  169. Dude, you totally rock

    I had the same problem, was about to condemn to the fate and buy a new one when I saw your guide.

    I opened up the ipod using a piano screw, straight out the ribbon cable a little, now, it works like a charm, dude, u rock!@

  170. if you wanna find out if you ipods drive is knckered you can test it, just hold down menu and the middle button at the same time which resets it and then when you see the apple symbol holf the center button and the back a track button and you get the config menu on the second page you can scan the hardrive for bad sectors, or just bang it on the side works for me.

  171. my 20 gig harddrive is done for. I followed these instructions and popped it open and tried fiddling with the connector, but to no avail. My question: if I have a 4th gen 20gig, can I buy a 30 or 40 gig and have it fit as well, with no hassle?

  172. oh my god.

    when i was a child, the only way to get the 8bit nes working was to blow in the cartridge, for some magical reason…

    15 years later, and the only way to fix my state-of-the-art ipod is too SMACK IT.

    it REALLY does work. amazing.

  173. To Nick.

    Yes, you can. I followed the awsome instructions here and – voila – works perfectly.
    I had a 4th gen 40gig iPod and bought the 60 gig toshiba MK6006GAH (cheaper and available directly)
    No hassle at all!

    Bought the disc from: (German store, sorry…)

  174. Thanks for the tip! I did the same but it still doesn’t work. I can’t update the Ipod it still shows the sign of the defekt hard drive. Any idea what went wrong?

  175. Just tried a Toshiba MK3006GAL in a 3rd Gen ipod. It doesn’t work. The drive is recognized by disk utility but cannot be formated or partitioned and is therefore not accessable for restrore. Any attemps to put the right partition map on it with pdisk also failed. It cannot be recognized correctly when in the ipod and attached through firewire. Any suggestions are welcome.

  176. Someone mentioned an note book drive to ide adaptor from tiger direct which would not be helpful. iPod drives are 1.8 inch. Does anyone know the source of 1.8 inch drive to IDE or USB adaptor?

  177. I am typing this on a braille keyboard because now I have gone blind because of all the spanking I have been doing. But it truly does work. I happened upon this blog after I had, as a last resort “spanked my ipod” The ipod had been acting strange for about a week. It was skipping songs menus were freezing, I was resetting it a lot. I restored the software and tried to update it and it locked up. After resetting it I got the !folder icon and the hard drive was clicking, in my frustration I gave it a good smack, reset, did a software restore and reloaded my library. All is well so far!!!

  178. Great blog guys I had a cracked screen and didnt want to mess with it ( or just didnt have the stones )but I sent it to a place in Canada and they replaced it for 80.00 and sent it back like new maybe yf my drive goes or should i say when I might try it myself ( Unless the price to buy the drive isnt much less then the fix I can get from the same company ) Keep up the great posts.By the way these guys were super helpful via email if you need to speak to a tech or sell your broken one to them.


    I can’t beleive it. Saved my 4g 40gb that I haven’t used in months because of a sad ipod icon

  180. I’ve whacked and smacked and the HD clicking whirring sound stopped. This is after I took it apart (thanks much to Josh for making it possible to even think I could do such a thing)disconnected the HD and put it back together. I plugged it into the computer and got the same visuals he posted as far as updating and re-formatting/re-setting. But all I get when I try to DL music is the circle with the slash flashing “do not disconnect” which is what I got before I took it apart. It does not recognize it in the source column on itunes. Date and time and screen works fine. Updater keeps saying there is a service error now. At wits end….anybody got any ideas? Is a new HD emminent?
    Thanks to anyone in advance who responds!

  181. Hey great job, i opened mine up today to see how i could replace my broken screen. If you have any help let me know, i got as far as you did with the hard drive out and the ipod open and such. But i can’t figure out how to get to the screen. Any help would have me closer to jamming again.

  182. If you got that far, then taking out the screen will be just as easy…

    First disconnect the ribbon cable connecting the back part of the case to the mainboard.
    you’ll need a #6 torx bit, unscrew the 6 screws that hold on the mainboard. lift the mainboard gently and disconnect the touchwheel ribbon by lifting the black lever ( its some sort of clasp), and pull out the cable.

    now the mainboard should come out easily and you disconnect the lcd ribbon cable the same way as the ribbon cable; just lift up the black part of the clasp and it will slide right out.

    Ive been fixing ipods for a few months now, and i cant believe how easy it is
    I hope this helped

  183. For 4G iPods with Folder+Exclamation Point icon and/or clicking HD sound, I’ve had success with a couple of ideas mentioned here above:
    1) mount the iPod as an external Firewire HD (iTunes not set to launch), then reformat the HD (in my case, I used Disk Utility from Mac OS 10.4.4 and reformatted in Mac OS Extended), then apply the latest iPod Updater (from Jan. 2006). This brought a dead 4G iPod back to life; it had been used on a PC. No idea if the “switch” in OS used had any bearing.
    2) the “whack the iPod” method. As many others have said, the clicking HD that won’t mount CAN indeed be fixed by whacking the iPod into the palm of your hand. Here’s what I did:
    – leave iPod turned ON (in my case, it wouldn’t get past Apple logo, then folder with exclamation mark, all the while clicking like mad)
    – hold iPod on its side, in right hand, back of iPod against your palm
    – whack it “fairly hard” (this will vary depending on your wild side) into your left palm.
    That’s it. In my case, the iPod kicked in IMMEDIATELY and started to boot up, finished booting and went to songs. From that point, I mounted it on the desktop via Firewire, the battery started charging, and I used Restore from iPod Updater Jan. 2006, which wiped all the songs off, but now the iPod has been working fine for weeks.

  184. Oh my god I hate my iPod. I read every single post, and thought, what the hell, I’ve tried everything else, why not give the smacking method a go? I was 100% sceptical of it but as soon as i’d practically thrown the iPod with rage at my desk (admittedly a step further than smacking),the first time i ran iPod updater after that, it worked again! I can’t believe its success and would also like to say that I loved your blog, thanks!

  185. Hey! Was looking on the internet one last time for help before going out and buying a new iPod. Found this site, read the comments, smacked the crap out of my iPod… voila! working again! Many thanks.

  186. Josh, I applaud you for taking the time to post such a detailed pictorial of this process. I have a suggestion for everyone. First, however, my story. A month short of warranty expiration itunes stopped recognizing my daughter’s 20G HP + ipod. Everything else about the ipod was normal. I assumed it to be our glitchy computer and/or it’s software – to be dealt with after the holidays. Well, I spent 2 days uninstalling/reinstalling software, resetting, restoring, etc. the ipod multiple times. Now of course it’s out of warranty, so HP wants $45 to help try to troubleshoot (with no guarantees). I elected to try the free email support. Their troubleshooting ended with a disc scan that reported normal, however it took only 14 min which they said was much to fast. The result was that they couldn’t help since I hadn’t called during the warranty period when the problem first occurred. However, even their tech guys agreed with my logic that the symptoms pointed to a computer/software problem and not a problem with the ipod itself. Turns out to be a bad hard drive, which they don’t fix. They offered me a reconditioned same replacement 30G for $270. I felt insulted and cheated. Anyway, I opened it up per this blog, unplugged the harddrive, reinstalled it and now finally after this latest restore/reformat, it now is recognized by itunes. In the interim, I ordered my daughter a new video version, so it looks like “I” now have an ipod.

    Here’s my suggestion to everyone and I’m going to do it with our new ipod. Make sure you call in while your ipod is under warranty for any and every glitch that occurs. (got the folder icon, but it cleared, everything OK now; momentarily froze, OK now; skipped a couple of times, OK now; etc. Get it in the records. Get a case number. These things obviously have hard drive problems. Might be able to make a better case when it does fail outside of the warranty.

  187. So check this out folks. I have had my ipod for a little over a year and all of the sudden the hard drive crashes when I am trying to upload a song. (sad face, folder w/ exclamation point etc, apple symbol etc.) I take it the apple store and the employee says, “sorry man but your hard drive is finished and it will cost $250 to replace it.” Even if I had $250 to spare, I would not pay on principle. So I go home and find this site. Slapped my ipod a couple times, did a restore, and now I am uploading my library to my ipod. Thx guys!!!

  188. Josh perhaps you could help me also!
    I have a 4G 40GB Ipod B&W and appears exclamation mark and folder.
    I followed this site comments and orientation but no success.
    I smashed the Ipod and after a few trials only noise of HD changes a little bit.
    Even when I remove the HD same icon appears on screen. ( It means something?, may be that is not a problem of the HD and can be the motherboard?)
    Do you think if I buy a new HD may solve the problem?

  189. A little update (no pun intended). My ipod’s HD somehow crashed again when I was transferring music after a total restore. I waited a little while and went through the same routine as before, reinstalled itunes, ran the updater, spanked the ipod a couple of times etc. Now I can say, LO and BEHOLD it is playing music again! I have my entire library on it now. Rejoice!!!

  190. holy crap, my ipod has been out of commission for three months now and my roommate sent this blog to me. My ipod was giving the broken folder symbol and making those horrible clicking noises when I was trying to start it. I smacked it for a few minutes and it decided to work again. THANK YOU!!!

  191. HOLY CRAP! I got the folder icon last night when trying to update my firmware and it came up with a disk write error when I tried to update it. Essentially, the ipod was bricked. I tried everything…put it in disk mode, try to run chkdisk on it, nothing. I figured I had nothing to lose so I gave it a smack after reading this blog and tried to update it again. WORKED! Unreal….now to reload my ipod.

  192. ive been getting the sad face and all that. ipods been out of commision. i read this, i gave it a nice smack, it then went to the main ipod menu. i started screaming and yelling, got all excited. i had my ipod updater program up and ready and instead of doign the smart thing and restoring , my excitement got the best of me and i hit update instead. it appeared to have updated, it then told me to plug it into the external av box to finish charging. now my ipod wont respond at all ? help ??

  193. I was about to follow the directions to purchase and install a new hard drive since I’ve been getting the clicking noise for a few days, and having exhausted all of my options. But I decided to read on and ultimately concluded (successfully!) that all it needed was a few good smacks. Thanks.

  194. LOL, I agree with the 2nd grade teacher, but thats a dude for you and the nails were a bit gross, but overall, this was the only tute I could find online and it was very helpful. I’m scared to try it, but I guess I’ll have to. Thanks kid! ;o)

  195. ive got a 4g 40gb ipod.i used to get the sad face icon but after a wile it started to work again.but now it turns on and gets the apple logo and the turns off again.any advice?

  196. Just as i was about to give up and throw my 3rd generation 15gb ipod in the bin. Now, thanks to your detailed work, i have ordered a 20gb hard drive on ebay and am going to try the same. Fingers crossed all will go well. Thank you for the information. Much appreciated

  197. HELP!!! My I have a 4th generation iPod (40gb) and it hasn’t worked for a while now… it simply dislpays the apple symbol on the screen. It makes whirly noises when I try to do anything with it, but that’s it. Luckily I saved my music a few days earlier, but can anyone save my little baby!!??!!

    I live in Thailand now too and therefore getting parts or whatever may be tricky. Is it a case of buyng a new one?

    Any help, please email

  198. Thanks for saving me some cash! I stumbled upon this website after debating whether or not to invest more money on a new IPOD. An employee at the Apple store told me that my IPOD was shot after it was giving me the same problems others have mentioned above after only 13 months.

    After disconnecting the hard drive, I was curious to see what would happen if I plugged it back in. To my amazement, it worked like brand new! All for free after disconnecting and then reconnecting the hard drive. Now when I plug it in, my computer recognizes it, it no longer freezes up, or skips whole albums.

    Thanks again.

  199. Excellent work there, I have a dead iPod at the moment so I think I will follow up on this and get one of those drives. Great!

  200. Wow- I just gave my dead-for-a-week-now ipod a smack on its little behind and now it’s working. It had given me the sad face and whirling sounds, but no real startup. I’m so happy now I think I would give you a kidney!

  201. Fantastic tutorial. I followed the instructions line by line and was finished with my new Ipod in under 30 mins. Thank you for saving me a lot of time and hassle. As for the grade school teacher that wanted the grammar changes… well those who can do those who cant … you get the picture.

    Thanks again

  202. Sad IPOD. Tried the 4 R’s that Apple recommends (including reset & restore) with no luck. Finally held it in one hand and spanked it with the other … Success!!! Time to bring back corporal punishment. Thanks for the tip.

  203. Glad I found this thread. My daughter’s 20gig just went off warrenty and had the sad face. It was purchased from HP and the only option they provide is to buy a replacement for $319.00.

    I was reading through this in preparation for replacing the HD and I figured trying the slap wouldn’t hurt. After many reboots and trying to connect to the PC we had given up.

    I gave one slap on the back, set it down, and it booted up fine.

  204. thanks alot for this step-by-step guide. I followed and it worked fine! Once again many thanks and I suggest if others have same problem follow this it works!!! saves forking out another Β£200+ for a new one.

  205. Awesome blog… i have just gotten a new 5th gen ipod but will bookmark this for if i happen to drop it down the way… always have been a butterfingers.

  206. Anyone know how to replace a iPod 60G display, and where to purchace a display? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  207. ..and you can really not just use it as an external hard disk, but also play music?
    There are rumors in some forums that you would need to kind of preformat it before you could use apple’s updater. or that you had to “apple brand” it somehow. There is also some repair service who does this job for you. But I guess that are just rumors and the apple updater + 4 Gen ipod + mk2006gal are really working without a trick…. right?

  208. IF IT DIDN’T WORK you might wanna try that:
    I read a suggestion (in German) that if the new harddisk doesn’t get recognized / cannot be formatted with apple’s updater, it’S probably because it’s in raw format/not formatted at all. This guy could make it work by connecting the iPod with the broken drive to apples updater. Then waited till the disk didn’t make a sound. Then connecting the new drive and click on “restore” at the updater. if the new is bigger than the old, you have to restart pc and now you should be able to run apples updater again and it should work… according to this dude…

  209. My 40GB Ipod went bad this morning, and I have a Best Buy 4 year warranty. Trouble is, I have a lot of personal data on the drive. I would like to remove the drive, erase it, then reinstall it and get the Ipod replaced at BB.

    Question: how can I erase the hard drive to make certain all data is gone?

  210. can anyone make a list of harddisks that work for the respective ipods of the third and fourth generation.
    thanks, Alex

  211. Hey all, opened my 4th gen 40gig ipod up, cause I dropped it and am getting the clikcing noises. Have a model MKH4004GAH will the MKH2006GAL work? If anyone knows please let me know. Great directions by the way also!!!

  212. Great idea Josh, I got a Toshiba MK2006GAL to replace my 4th gen 20 gig drive model MK2004GAL.

    Did as shown above, and works πŸ˜€ Just restored it and giving it a good recharge.

    I found the ipod where I worked and used it a lot for a year til the drive took a dump. So $90 for a new drive was a great fn deal.

  213. GREAT SITE!! So even though the MK2006GAL HDD does not have that little apple logo on the bottom corner, it should still work if i use the ipod updater?? Cuz i thought only the original apple toshiba HDD had some sort of special apple ipod files.

  214. Hey Josh, thanks for posting this and all the follow up repsonses are great, too. One of the best sources of input I’ve found on this iPod problem (which seems to happen quite a bit). I have an iPod that was showing the folder icon and was acting like the hard drive just froze. So, after reading this, I decided to do a little surgery. I didn’t want to smack the whole iPod, since there are some senstive components in there, so I took it all apart and checked everything separately. Yep, the hard drive was frozen, so I smacked it… but that didn’t fix it. So, I did what they all tell you not to do and I took out my electronics tools and cracked open the hard drive. There’s not much too them, just a basic platter and a read arm with some electronics on a breadboard. Using a small screwdriver, I turned the platter using the indentations on it’s hub. It was tight. I wiggled a few things, lifted the read arm with my screwdriver (careful not to touch anything sensitive) and wiggled it around gently and then it all the sudden freed up!!! With the iPod and the hard drive open, I plugged everything back together and could see the hard drive platter spin up, the read arm wiggle back and forth as it got it’s bearings, and Voila!!! It was all up and running again. Been running perfectly since.

    So, when ya’ll smack your hard drive, it’s probably just freeing up a bound platter/arm. For some reason these hard drives have a tendency to lock up at times and just need a little something to free them up. For those hard drives that don’t respond to a whack, getting into the drive and loosening it is probably needed. Everything on here makes sense as far as the ‘smacking method’ after what I saw in my iPod.

  215. Please make me a member of the “hit-the-shit-out-of-the-ipod-if-you-want-it-work club” IT WORKS!!!

  216. I’ve had a dead 20g 4th Gen Ipod since Christmas – the Apple store told me it was a fried hardrive offered me a nice 10% discount on a new Ipod if I gave them the carcass.

    So I’ve been looking for a replacement hard drive, stumbled on this site, and decided to give the corpse a smack.

    It worked. For the first time in three months the Ipod is back. Why doesn’t Apple tell us a smack may be better than $30 off another Ipod?

  217. Would a 3G 15gb hard drive work in a 4G 20gb ipod. I hope so because I just bought one off ebay… Please respond sooon please!!!

  218. my 3rd gen 15 gb went bananas the other day for no reason.. all i can think is i left it on pause for a full day… anyway everything works, the lock, pc reads it when i connect usb, but none of the touch buttons work anymore. anyone ever tried switching out the button sensors?

  219. Just tried the smack fix for a dead ipod with a sad face and exclamation mark and it actually works!!!!!!!!! saved myself a lot of money sending it for repair. Thanks

  220. Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful and informative site. I have learned a lot from your site. Thanks!! I think you have done an excellent job with your site. I will return in the near future.

  221. My 4G 40GB iPod was just hankerin’ for a spankerin’. Crashed three times in a week, then wouldn’t mount to the desktop or to iTunes. I lost a ton of songs reformatting it. So on the 3rd crash, I poked around online and found this post in the hopes that something out there could save me the cost of buying a new iPod. I figured slapping it wouldn’t make much difference if it wouldn’t work at all, right?

    One knuckle sandwich to the “sad iPod face” later, it was behaving like a dream! It sounds ridiculous, but it actually does work! Thanks!

    I’ll get around to cracking it open to check the connections, but in the meantime it knows who’s boss.

  222. HAAAAA!!!!… i have a first gen ipod, been working great for couple years… bout 4 months ago the screen went dead… tried everything, searching on net to find others with this problem, no luck… went to apple, no luck… talked to others, no luck… was about to throw it away when i came across this website, was to be my last activity before chucking… came across the guy who said that he WHACKED IT to see what would happen…. i thought, what the hell i’m only going to chuck it… HEY PRESTO, IT WORKED!!!!… i held the ipod and whacked it on the back with my other hand really hard… the screen reappeared!!!! haaaaaaaa it workd

  223. I got a 2ND generation ipod for 40 bucks off ebay. But the audio jack dont work.. DO i need to buy the jack or the whole thing (board)?

  224. Thanks – I replaced the motherboard, and in so doing I think the hard drive got messed up. but I’m writing to let you know an alternate way to open an ipod: a ‘thin’ .033 or .05 guitar pick! work it around the inside, its perfect.

  225. It works. Whack your iPod as hard as you can and it’ll kick back into action. Great blog, by the way.

  226. one question. did ipod updater just found your newly installed hard drive? i mean i have one totally formatted for FAT32 (windows file system) and computer doesn’t recognize it at all. however when i get out the hard drive and plug it with a usb adapter computer does recognize it like an external usb hard drive.

    so, are you sure that you’ve just assembled ipod with a totally new unformatted drive and updater found it?!?! (by the way why there’s U2 ipod on a screenshot?)

  227. Another happy Pod Spanker!! (HDD clicking)

    My ex-gf left her old broken 40GB 4G iPod in my letterbox with a note explaining her “new partner” had bought her a replacment iPod Nano and I could have her old broken one back (Wasn’t that a nice gesture?!). Naturally, holding the unit, and whacking the shite out of it seemed like the perfect solution to trying to make that sad little face happy. And guess what?!! IT WORKED!! (and guess who has 20 times the storage capacity?)

    I think I will format the drive though. The way she used to delete and re-upload albums – I’m sure it’s fragmented – which can’t be good for the drive.

  228. Any thoughts on this one? While digging around in an old flower pot in the backyard of an investment property we have, we actually found a pink IPOD mini. It was there for who knows how long, wet, not working; dead. I opened it up, charged it and it worked for a moment then stopped. I then carefully cleaed all the contacts, fixed a shorted headphone board and let it dry out for a few days and it works! I updated the software.

    But………I can’t put more than about 219 songs on it; they just won’t load. I disk checked it and rebooted it; no dice. Disk checker said all ok. Only 219 songs, not one more.

    What do you think, buy a new Harddrive or what?

  229. Thanks for the instructions. My iPod was displaying a sad face and I could not get it to start up, go into disk mode, or connect to my computer. I took it apart, jiggled some wires, and blew on the hard drive connections like an old school nintendo game. Not very technical, but it fixed my iPod. It works just fine now. I imagine it was simply a loose connection to the hard drive.

  230. You’re the man i would say. However i just got curious…as you changed the harddisk in there. How would the ipod be able to detect it as a ipod again. Get what i mean? Imagine when you plug it in your com, it detects as a mass usb device and lets you use it as a harddisk and able to detect in your itunes etc…it is just the chip components in the ipod that detects or? So it seems that it looks a 2.5″ harddisk. Imagine you placing a larger size other than the original 20gb in there..i wonder will it work or not…imagine your ipod running on 120gb instead of 20gb…its a whole lot of whooping experience to bring it ard…anyway my ipod’s been giving me heaps of problem recently. I still can play my songs, use the ipod as per normal, but as i plug it into my computer running windows xp w/sp2, it hangs there and all i see in MY COMPUTER after a while is (E:)Removable Drive tat’s all. Can’t even open it up to view the contents..sighz..anyone has any idea…btw..i test on 4 computers running windows xp and got the same error.

  231. thanks for the tutorial. did a hdd switch and the 40 g machine is working again. others suggest the 40 g machine is a lemmon. anyone figure out a solution for a dead click wheel? great fotos!

  232. The disk drive diagnostic software said it couldn’t be repaired,
    the noise the drive was making was pretty discouraging as well,
    but I found this blog, and a couple of solid whacks along
    the side of the ol’ pod with my palm and now perhaps it’ll last
    ’til the next generation comes out. Thanks!

  233. So my 4G 40GB iPod died two weeks ago. It showed me the folder icon and sometimes the sad ipod face and made a loud clicking. I ordered a new new hard drive but it still won’t work. My Computer doesn’t regonize the ipod and I can’t reset or restore it. The strange thing is that the new hard drive is making a loud clicking noise when I try to start the ipod. It sounds exactly like the noise the broken hard drive used to make…..any suggestions what i could do. By the way….I tried “smacking” my ipod but it won’t work for me…..

  234. Wow, better than television!
    Great blog,
    I can not even begin to tell you my whole ipod drama but I can tell you how it ended…
    SLAP!(firm and confident) and instead of the clicking sound the harddrive made and sad ipod icon it showed the harddrive does Whizzzzzz without clicks and showed the folder exclamation point icon which allowed me to restore the ipod (after a 10 months rest) but why does it not show the right capacity size ? it says 19,6 GB while it’s a 60GB and I can only put 19,6GB worth of mp3’s on it.
    Anyways better than nothing right?!
    So in case of no other option;
    Slap your pod up πŸ™‚

    For the post about uninstalling iTunes and iPod software and just addressing the iPod as if it was a normal drive. It worked! My iPod was giving me the folder + exclamation point + screen, and repeat attempts following all instructions on their website, including multiple restores, left me with only option of sending the thing in to Apple. I uninstalled the iTunes and iPod software, and after restarting my iPod just was a normal drive. I used Norton Utilities Disc Doctor, with the Fix Errors checkbox checked, and it fixed whatever the problem was. This would always be a good thing to try before sending the unit back to Apple. Thanks again for making the world a better place. Long live my iPod!

  236. I have been taking my 5thgen video ipod ebay buy apart. Bought it with a broken sceen. It works but I can’t see anything. It is pretty much taken apart the same way. Start at headphone side and work around with 2 prying tools.Be careful because the headphone jack and battery has to be disconected by pulling conectors away from the motherboard. drive conector should be removed from drive side. To get the screen out, remove 6 phillips screws on the side and pull the aluminum chassy away from face. then you should see how to remove the screen. Don’t lose the any screws like i did. Lost one somewhere. I put the rest in plastic zipbag. DOes anyone konw if the 30gb video can be expanded with the 60 gig drive? I know the others model can be expanded this way. Anyone find a drive/ipod model cross referance? My 30gb video has a toshiba mk3008gal. It works so I don’t have to replace it.

  237. no chance nobody will ever answer those posts anymore… just too much replies on this blog. BUT, i have to say that, with CrackinUp, things recently got a whole lot better!!!! i’m miserable since, after having red (most of all) those comments (yeah, well, my job’s boring), i’m quite convinced indeed that slapping the shit out of an ipod works. and yet, it didn’t work for me… (and i ‘m obviously not the only one) But, what the hell, CrackinUp is right, let’s open the goddamm HDD! once again, it is, after all, “broken”.
    now, the same way josh pictured the process of simply opening the ipod, i would have really liked to see some pics for the HDD. coz i’m no computer expert, i’m ready… but scared. THAT, my dear CrackinUp, would be VERY INTERESTING !!!

  238. ipod slap seems to work but I assume that the the IDE cable or something needs attenion so will open up and check. But saved the day. Forget the spelling guys this is a really useful place for those with ipods that have given up!!!!!


  239. This is the exact problem I am having and the “geniuses” at Apple told me the same thing they told you. I couldn’t find this problem anywhere troubleshooting, so I did a Google for “folder warning sign ipod problem” and this was the first link that popped up. I’m glad you documented it like that, you have solved a major problem for me and I would imagine, eventually, quite a few more people. Thanks.


    TRY IT

    i had the dead ipod / folder icons appearing plus whir then click sound

    4th gen ipod

    what a great site

    saved my day

  241. Hey: for everyone asking where you can get hard drives? EBAY. Mostly 3rd/4th gen, anywhere from 5-60 GB. Not a lot of any one type, but at least one for almost every capacity. Lots of helpful info in the ads too; the item descriptions will mention stuff about different size HD vs. case, etc. I’m buying a HD afflicted 3rd gen 20GB iPod & refurbishing it myself; all in all, it’ll cost about $130, if I have to buy a new HD. If I don’t have to, it’ll be $70 & I get all the music that the person before had on the iPod.

  242. Hey, for people who were wondering which drive sizes work for what, here’s the explanation of iPod drive labels.

    Ex: MK4004GAH (on 40GB drive)
    GAH(40GB+) is thicker than GAL(20GB>), and replacing a GAL HD with GAH will probably mean that you need to get a larger backplate.
    4004: 40 is the size of the drive. so 2004 is 20 GB, 3004=30 GB, etc. Don’t know what the last 2 digits stand for, but I think they are linked to the series of the HD or the year the hard drive was developed.. If anyone else knows for sure, I woule love to find out.
    Don’t know what the MK stands for but I think it has something to do with the drive being iPod compatible. Other Toshiba drives that I’ve seen have different letters & label formats.

    To whoever was asking where to get screens: eBay. There’s all kinds of stuff on eBay, search under mp3 Players & accessories. It’s cheaper than and House of Computers, and easier than Froogle/Google, with a larger selection than anywhere else I’ve seen(I’ve been researching this). Screens, HDs, main boards(a few) and HD connectors(the little ribbon things). Haven’t seen any batteries yet, but there is at least one large lot of iPod parts on sale, and you can buy cheap broken iPods.

    Make sure to see if the item has been tested, some have & some haven’t, but the description should say.
    Check to see what gen the drive is compatible with; usually the seller will put that in the description somewhere.

    I hope this info helps somebody. I’ve been wanting an iPod but was scared off by the expense until I saw this post & realized I could get a broken iPOd & fix it for less than half the price of a new one.

  243. After getting the frowny face and/or folder icon error message on my 4G 20GB ipod (plus the whir and click noise others have described when it tried to boot up), I was poking around this site for info on how to get at the hard drive. It is out of warranty, so I figured what the hell.

    Ran across the various posts about the “smack” technique (hold your ipod in one hand, smack it with the other).

    I laughed … that can’t possibly solve the problem.

    But, it did solve the problem. Back up and running like nothing ever happened. Not sure how long it will last, but it’s better than the $300 paperweight I owned last week.

    Thanks for the tip.

  244. 286 On Monday, 03-06-2006 @ 11:20am, David said…

    My 40GB Ipod went bad this morning, and I have a Best Buy 4 year warranty. Trouble is, I have a lot of personal data on the drive. I would like to remove the drive, erase it, then reinstall it and get the Ipod replaced at BB. Question: how can I erase the hard drive to make certain all data is gone?

    Reformat the HD, that should wipe all the data.

    294 On Thursday, 03-09-2006 @ 06:44pm, jlafds said…

    Would a 3G 15gb hard drive work in a 4G 20gb ipod. I hope so because I just bought one off ebay… Please respond sooon please!!!

    Yes, it should work. HD ads usually say “3rd or 4th gen”, so I imagine one will work in the other. To make sure, pop open the iPod & check the connector cables to see if the ports(where the cable connects) is the same.

  245. Hey, I have an iphoto 20 gig. i’ve tried the smack technique, it worked. Then it broke about 2 months later again. I smacked it again at it worked, then it stuffed up again about a month ago.
    As i got it from Cash Converters (i’m an aussie) i had no warranty, but it only cost me $290, so i decided ‘what the hey’ and i cracked it open. I also cracked open the hard drive. Pretty cool.

    I decided to hold the little arm thingy down in place (cos that’s what actually makes the clicking noise) and it started kicking again! Lucky me! Then, it died again about 3 weeks ago and i’ve tried everything and it won’t work.

    Should i just buy a new harddrive? Anyone know where the best place to purchase one is?

  246. If any of you are wondering what’s going on inside your ‘clicking’ hard drive, here’s a peek at what the guts look like: …a hard drive is just a data platter and a read arm. Some hard drives have multiple platters. The speed the platter spins is indicated on the drive and the little reader are is often controlled by a linear motor. It can move up to 50 times a second, and it’s freakin’ sensitive… so sensitive it can tend to bind up, which is why smacking it helps free it up. When they truly go bad, though, there’s not much you can do to repair the platter nor arm. On the 3G iPods (most of what I’ve worked on), the hard drive circuit boards are easily interchangeable, but you aren’t going to be swapping out platters any time soon. Plus, the torx screws are so small it makes these hard drives difficult to get into.

  247. stumbled across this blog when searching for solutions to an iPod which was giving me the folder with exclamation point, the sad iPod face with exclamation point, not being recognized by the computer, and the geniuses at Apple offered me a new one for $250. no thanks. i figured i’d try the smack technique although i was skeptical. whaddya know…toggled the hold switch about 10 times fast, one swift spank to the side and one to the back and it started to show signs of life, but i still couldn’t see my music. i plugged it into the computer and a message popped up saying it was a volume mac couldn’t read and gave me the option to initialize…chose that option and about 3 seconds later an icon popped up saying it was repaired. i unplugged it, plugged it in again and it was working like the day i got it.

  248. This is a follow-up to post 155. I am replacing a 15GB hard disk with a 20 GB hard disk in a 3rd-gen ipod. After trying a MK2006GAL that wouldn’t partition in the 3rd gen iPod, I was finally able to locate a new MK2004GAL. The difference is the older MK2004GAL uses the ATA-5 interface. I had a theory that the 3rd gen would only work with the older ATA-5 interface even though the ATA-6 is supposed to be backwards-compatible. This seems to be the case. The MK2004GAL works fine where the MK2006GAL would not. I was concerned that the iPod would not recognize a larger disk but it has no problem. This disk shows an 18.5 GB capacity. Did a restore and everything is working. While I was at it, I replaced the battery, so it should be good as new (even better since the disk is larger).
    Conclusion: If you want to upgrade your 3rd-gen iPod to a 20GB disk, don’t buy the MK2006GAL, try to find a new MK2004GAL. (A refurbished or used one is going to be very risky.) There are new ones out there. I found one vendor who has them in stock (new) but would only sell them in lots of 100. The nice people at found a MK2004GAL for me. It’s new and came with 1 year warranty for $113. New battery came from for $17.

  249. Holy Shit Man, Just Holy Shit. I tried jumping through loops to fix my friends ipod, new drivers, linux, the works. Turns out all I needed was to throw the damn thing against the wall. Just Holy Shit.

  250. I’ve just done it myself, for half the price of paying someone to do it for me, and it was as easy as you made it look.
    Many, many thanks!

  251. I just wanted to thank everyone who said to smack the crap out of your ipod. I have a 3G 40gb non color that has been fixed twice already and its not even a year old. Well it broke down again and this time, before sending it to Apple, I decided to look for an answer on the web. Well I found this site and since everyone was saying to just smack your ipod, i decided to smack mine. Guess what it works. It is even recognized by the computer now yay.
    So once again I would just like to say Thank You

  252. smacking your ipod KICKS ASS…..I couldn’t figure out how to open the thing so i started reading the comments and gave it a couple big whacks and it finally connected…THANK YOU

  253. In England you can just take it into the shop and they will replace it straight off! Ive had 3 replacments already! ^_^

  254. seriously…I’m really freaked out. The smacking method truly works. I found this blog looking for help with a clicking ipod. Noisy drives usually need replacing and I’ve changed many many regular drives. I thought FOR SURE the smacking method was a troll having fun, but I thought wtf? I probably have to replace it anyway…and it worked! Great ipod hack, sir, and great blog.

  255. My problem is different still.
    My 4th generation 20GB ipod fell onto a treadmill, and then flew off the back. Everything works perfectly, except for the sound output. Is there any way that I could fix this? The battery and HD are working perfectly (well its an ipod battery so ‘perfect’ is not exactly perfect).

  256. Sorry- no need to answer that, i used the guide to remove the cover and found that a cable had come out- if only i had known how to take the cover off 3 months ago!!!!

  257. Yeh last few times m iPods frozen i was in town. I just smakced it against a lamppost and it worked fine! πŸ˜€

  258. Another satisfied smacker!

    40gb 4th gen ipod works fine for 1 year 2 weeks. Ipod suddenly starts not working. Wierd clicking noises coming from ipod along with hearing the hard drive starting to spin again and again. Thinking a new 30gb video ipod might be nice. Read this article and start thinking about replacing hard drive. Decide to give ipod a smack. Ipod now recognized by itunes and the updater. Booya!

  259. Can anyone help? My girlfriend purchased an ipod off ebay for me for my birthday. I think she bid to quickly and didn’t see that it had the folder icon and was β€œsold as is.” I tried to reformat it using the ipod updater but my computer will not detect it so I bought a hard drive off ebay. I am still having the same problem however. The computer will not detect it and ipod updater stops responding. When I place my ear at the bottom of the hard drive it sounds like a clock ticking and a soft whistle sound. In diagnostic mode while trying to test the hard drive it said β€œstart….” For 4 hours so I gave up on that. Does anyone have any advise? And yes I even tried the β€œslapping” technique.

  260. Very helpful post. I dropped my iPod photo into our icy cold swimming pool this morning, staring in abject horror as $300 settled gently on the bottom. Racked with despair, I fished it out, went straight to the ‘Net, and was fortunate enough to stumble on your fine instructions. Might as well give it a shot… I cracked open the case, blow-dried all the components, pulled the hard drive, and let everything sit on top of a warm 1TB hard drive for a few hours. This evening I put everything all back together, used iPod Restore to reformat the drive… Miraculously, it works! Thanks, pal.

  261. For ARev, try poping it open and pulling the plug on the battery for a few minutes, plug it back in and see what happens. I had a friends that we doing pretty much the same thing and it is working now.

  262. STUPID-ASSED SPAMMERS!! I used the “smack the hell out of it” remedy, and while it worked for a while, it eventually turned into a horrible whining sound that resembled a banshee!! The only remedy was to open the Ipod and remove the drive (or battery) So to all you smackers out there, I say “Good luck”!

  263. Just dropped my ipod in the toliet at work and now it just shows the apple logo and the drive doesn’t move. Its dead inside. Can anyone help me to figure out if it is the board or the hard drive? I would really appreciate it.. :))

  264. I couldn’t read anymore about spanking I’d much rather replace a hard drive. I have an ‘antigue’ 1g that I got as a hand me down from my brother. Obviously it has about 5gigs of space. I’d love to upgrade it to a much larger capacity hdd and possibly give it a few more capabilities, like photos for example.
    Any advice? Can it be done?
    Just curious.

  265. wow. so My ipod died recently. I looked at this. hit it on my knee a couple times and the clicking became the whirring grinding noise. :|. So i took it apart fiddled with stuff put it back together an dhit it on the side. Now it works just like new except for that annoying grinding noise. It’s probably onyl a temporary solution but hey I’m leaving for a trip in two days so thank God. πŸ˜€ You are all geniuses.

  266. un $%^&ing believeable!!!
    SMACKing my ipod that had the clicking hard drive worked!!!

  267. Before you buy a replacement HDD, try this: once the foam is off the disk, put it in a sturdy freezer bag, squeezing as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it. Put the bag in the freezer for 24 hours or more. Try putting the HDD back into your iPod now. The back may still be sticky enough that you don’t need to use any glue to get the foam to stick.

    I tried this five weeks ago, and the iPod is working better than ever. I didn’t even need to do a Restore on it.

    Josh’s photos are great. The only difficulty I had was getting the screwdriver in initially. I managed to slip a Swiss Army knife blade in, which then made room for the screwdriver–problem solved. Thanks Josh!!!

  268. Great site. Here’s another one for hitting it. My college age daughter had the folder icon, warning sign, etc. and was crying (yea, she’s too old for that). She insists that everyone in the dorm has problems and that iPods only last 1-2 years (I have had mine 4 and replaced a battery without problem). The discussions about rebooting were helpful, but did not work. I told her to SLAP THAT THING, and it worked. I was looking forward to a home repair project, but not this time. Thanks for the great discussion.

  269. yeah, i have been having the clicking problem since a week after i got my ipod. i instinctively started hiting it and found that it worked, but today i went online to see if that was safe, cuz today i beat the shit out of it, but the clicking stopped. but i guess its ok, cuz other people are doing it. oh yeah, and i reccomend doing a full format in disk mode in windows after u get it to work again. the itunes reformat doesnt seem to last as long. and if anyone cant get it to work after hitting it, hit each corner on a table, and try it again. thats what i found works the best.

  270. I posted a couple of months ago when my son’s ipod was in the process of dying. Since then I have done quite a bit research, some first hand, into the ipod hard drive problem. As I suspected, slapping only bought enough time to guarantee that all info was backed up before the eventual doom. I found to be the best source of replacement hard drives, in price as well as service. They have the Toshiba hard drives from 20gb and up for the last three years, although the oldest are being discontinued. Those last two numbers refer to the year of manufacture. A word of note: The most current or newest hard drive has a DIFFERENT PLUG TYPE FROM THE ONE NEEDED FOR THE OLDER IPOD!!! It has a ZIF plug and there is not a way, YET, for this hard drive to be used in 4 G or older ipods. It IS the hard drive in the 5 G ipods. It is smaller in every way from it’s earlier versions, but the plug is not in common use yet and there does not seem to be a way to make it work in older machines — yet.

    I have to say that I decided to buy my son a new ipod after researching the critters. I did, indeed, buy it at Best Buy with all of the extended warranty they offered (2 more years). Having dealt with them before, I felt that their extended warranty was better than Apple’s, because in the end, if it can’t be fixed (outdated technology), they give you the purchase price back, allowing you to buy the most recent version. The prices on these things don’t seem to be going up, so it seems like a good deal, and easy to use anywhere.

    I grew fond of my Shuffle and decided that I would enjoy the original ipod; face it, they are addictive! I have replaced the hard drive in the old ipod, putting in a 30GB where there was once a 40GB, and I think that hard drive was $112 at All seems well. The hard drives carry the factory warranty for 1 year from them, and they guarantee no DOA, giving you 15 days to return it if it is defective coming from them.

    Last thought about hard drives from eBay, which I normally love. Most of these HD’s are being pulled from ailing ipods. There is no way of knowing how many hours are on the used HD, or even if it is a HD that has already been slapped a few times. These hard drives are intricate pieces of engeering and more fragile than most people realize. Static electricity can fry them, and you have no way of knowing how knowledgeable the person is who decided to pull the HD out to recover a few bucks. Losing the use of the ipod is frustrating enough – if you are going to try to fix it, spend a few dollars more and give yourself the best possible chance of being successful with the repair.

    Just my humble opinion.

  271. Thanks!
    I have an iPod 20Gb 4th G. It began making klicking noises and showing a sad icon, I contacted Apple who wanted aroung 250$ to look at it. My son told me about this blog, I read all the comments and tried to smash the iPod with no results. I searched the internet for a HD in Sweden, I found it at, it took almost a month to arrive, but the price was OK 1099 SKr 120-130$. To put the iPod together and format it was an easy task.
    I went for the 20Gb HD, I bought a iPod 30Gb and it is a little thicker, I didn’t want to have more variables in the problem that the obvious ones, a new HD, without Apples logo and maybe some extra things in it.
    But everything went perfectly, to open the case I used a Swiss pocket knive.
    Thanks again.
    Robert Fo

  272. You need to put a warning at the top. Chances are this ipod did not need the harddrive replaced, like many others have commented. The ipod clicks when it gets messed up but is fixable with a reinstall of the os.

    Please tell people to make sure by trying a reinstall before they decide that their ipod is broken. Yet again, simple software (not hardware) problems cause the spinning and clicking.

  273. I was ready to throw away my iPod until I saw this article. I now love you and want to have your children.

  274. Son of a bitch….I had the same folder icon….clicking sound from the hardrive…I couldn’t do crap with it….Gave it a couple of hard whacks to the side….restored it…Im rocking to it right now…………THANK YOU!!!!!

  275. Great Presentation, Good Project for my daughter and I, we ordered a hard drive, found one in 5 minutes on google, $110 delivered. Only snag was the updater, one computer kept hanging, tried it on another computer, got an error msg. Windows XP found the hard drive when I hooked it up to the machine, I found it in explorer and tried to open the hard drive, windows asked “do you want to format this drive?” provided a pop up window, fat32…… once I had XP format the drive(2 minutes), Ipod updater got all happy and did the deal per your blog instructions.

    Beat spending $250 on apple’s rip off service policy. Should have replaced the battery while I was in there.

  276. Wow! I am so inspired to fix mine now, my ipod was acting funny for a while and then crapped up, when I took it to the apple store the guy got it started again. It’s out of warranty so I had to pay him in gummi bears, but they want $270 to send it to be repaired/replaced. It works now, but it freezes and skips and I can hear the click in the HD. After reading your blog, I’m going to replace the HD myself. Excellent page btw, thank you!!!

  277. for all the people who think that the hitting technique is just a joke…try it…and you might discover that it actually works. think of it as shifting something that got dislodged back into place. my ipod had a sad face and the people at hp told me it would have to be replaced, and i came here and i hit the side of the ipod holding it face up and it worked!

  278. Thanks so much for this site!! My baby son knocked my 4G 20gb ipod off a table and I got the dreaded sad face. The husband ordered and installed a 30gb hard drive. Once I figured out I needed to do a quick format on the new drive and then delete and reinstall itunes and the ipod updater (might not have been necessary for everyone, but was for me) I was able to get my ipod working again. A little over $110 and I’ve got 150% the capacity I had and a hard drive that I know is new. Thanks again!

  279. Hi,
    I have the same ipod and was wondering if it’s possible of replacing the 20gb drive with the 40gb, 60gb?? πŸ™‚

  280. i’ve got a 20gb ipod and the sad face keeps appearing and some clicking noise ave tried smacking it but still doesn’t work and the clicking noises continue can i get any tips on what to do please.

  281. an hour ago we were depressed after the Apple store guy told us the 1.5 year old ipod was history. Said it needed a new hard drive. Now I’m slap happy. Once on the back followed by once on the side and it worked like a charm. Many thanks.

  282. OMG I can’t believe hitting it worked
    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH. I am about to go on a trip and this was my last hope
    I can’t believe it I’m so happy in case you cared, but thanks for your help.

  283. I have a 3rd gen ipod 20 GB the part number is MK2004GAL i was wondering if i can get a 30 GB MK3006GAL do u know if that works??!!?

  284. I haven’t been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can’t be bothered with anything these days.

  285. David of post 384. I think the answer is no because of an incompatiblity with the new HDD interfaces and the old iPod. I don’t think the ’06 Toshiba disks will work in the 3rd gen (read my posts 153 and 322).

  286. the hole hitin your ipod thing doesn`t work you have throw at somthing or step on it reslly hard try it, it works great!

  287. I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but such is life. I don’t care. So it goes. More or less nothing seems worth thinking about. I’ve just been hanging out waiting for something to happen, but that’s how it is.

  288. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!! After reading this entire blog…all I could think is what a bunch of crap. Damn if I didn’t finally spank my non-functioning IPOD………..TADA!!!!!!! IT WORKED.

  289. Not much on my mind lately. My life’s been completely boring these days. I’ve just been hanging out not getting anything done. So it goes.

    this info has saved me a lot of money which I diddnt have.
    Now my ipod works, i cant belive it!

    My theory: maybe apple put a little device in the hard drive which breaks down on purpose, so loads of people pay hundreds of $$$ or £££ to get it fixed, and all the apple employees to is give is a slap and post it back.

  291. you are a genius!! i was planning on opening my broken ipod myself but i didnt know how, now thanks to you i opened it in 5 minutes.

  292. hey great site! I just broke mine open and replaced the battery…easily done. I hear the rattling noise that some folks are talking about does that mean a busted HD? when I try to charge my 3rd gen. 10GB a symbol that looks like the connector that goes to the bottom of the I-pod comes up. I haven’t been able to figure out what it means..any help would be great. Oh, I also ran updater 2006-01-10 and it said to unplug it after it said it had updated it, so I did and then it wouldn’t charge or anything after that…anyhoo help would be great…

  293. Hahahah Its so funny! i mean we have got all this very good but complicated and costly solutions and the easiest ones are involving smacking around the ipod! and it works to!! hahaha i dont thin apple thought that people would be going around and smacking their ipods to get them to work.

  294. I have a broken MK1504GAL HD in 3rd Gen iPod – Does anyone know if I can replace it with MK2006GAL? Comments in 153 & 322 said that it didn’t work. Does anyone have any other experience.

  295. Thanks Josh – bought a new MK2004GAL drive for Β£45 and replaced it following your instructions. As good as new now and for a quarter of the cost Apple wanted to charge me.

    A quick tip for anyone else doing this: – the easiest way to get the case off is to work from the adapter port at the bottom of the iPod. Put a thin screwdriver in the adapter hole and lift the silver case where its thinnest. Then use a 2nd screwdriver to insert under the gap and prise it off.

  296. Forget all this hard drive changing rubbish, just give your naughty little ipod a slap, because THIS WORKS. I had the dreaded sad icon, constant clicking in the hard drive was unable to mount it on my pc. So, out of sheer anger and frustration I threw it across the room(not too hard, you don’t want to completely smash it!). It hit the wall and landed on the floor. I picked it up, pressed the menu button and, hey presto, it started up as normal. I then reformatted and restored and it’s now brand new. Magic.

  297. Oh my gosh!!! It not only works on the regular iPods but the Mini’s too!!! I threw my friend’s mini on the floor and it worked! WOW!!

  298. Smacking worked for me! Had a 4th G iPod with failing harddrive… clicking noises, skipping songs, wouldn’t mount, etc. I took it to the “Genius” Bar and all they offered me was a replacment for $250. Instead, I took it home, held it upside-down, gave it two good smacks. It’s been working fine now for two weeks and counting!

  299. I tried slapping it first and then dropping it on the table repeatedly (to the bemusement of my wife who has spent the last year nursing it like a baby), but that didn’t fix it. I didn’t chuck it at the wall as I didn’t want to damage the screen or circuitboard. I’ve got a new disk now so its no help to me, but a suggestion for others might be to follow Josh’s instructions on removing the disk and then throwing that instead. No harm done if it doesn’t work as its knackered anyway.

  300. Steve where did you get a MK2004GAL for Β£45? Was it new, used, or refurbished? I have heard conflicting guidance about using refurbished hds, but that seems like all that is available. Smacking and hitting mine didn’t work. My iPod hit concrete sidewalk smack flat down, pretty sure hd is broken. I have taken the ipod apart and everything looks OK, but when I shake the hd I hear a rattle – can’t be a good sign.

  301. I recently had a (pretty new) ipod photo which had the sad face picture. Also the unit wont charge and would not connect to my PC. after reading this I gave it a sharp slap on the side and hey presto its working again!!!
    Thank You!!!!!!

  302. Josh – this was great – especially the pictures! My daughter’s 20 gb ipod stopped working, displaying the folder and explanation point and www. URL for apple support and the hard-drive made a noise. I tried all solutions to restart/restore it with no success. I even tried the slapping solution (I can’t believe I actually tried that one – glad I didn’t damaage any internal components). I ordered the 2006 version from for $100 and it arrived yesterday. I installed it successfully and restored my daughter’s itunes library in less than one hour. The Teksale site offers a 1 year. warranty on the hard-drive for another $6 which I purchased. We are good to go once again!!! Thanks for sharing. (I am a 52 yr. old Mom and java/software engineer. If I can do this, anyone can)

  303. I just performed a hard drive replacement on a 3G iPod. I found opening the case to be the greatest challenge. I tried a tool optained from ipodmods but found it to be ineffective. I finally opened the case with a guitar pick (Fender thin). It worked like a charm, and only costs 25 cents – the pick got chewed up, but it did not harm the iPod.

  304. Got the HDD for Β£45 on eBay, brand new and sealed. That includes Β£10 discount for sending in broken drive. Dunno what he does with them, probably throws them against a wall and sells them again!

  305. Mary Z, This might be a dumb question, but was your daughter’s 20 gb iPod 3G? Really want to try a new 2006 with warranty, but not sure it will work in 3G.

  306. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!, I received a broken ipod and it was in really bad shape, couldn’t get it to do anything and every component look to be bad, HD, motherboard, battery..etc. I was about to throw it in the garbage when I was interested in refurbished hard drive and I found that refurbishing the hard drive was out of the question, I put the ipod back together and surprise the thing started to come to life, but the hard drive was clicking and even though I could get music loaded on it, it would play a few seconds and quite and the hard drive seem to have a life of it’s own. Ok!!!!!!!!!!! so I read everyone’s comments on slapping it and I really thought ya’ll crazy. But in a moment of nothing else to do but ditch it, I slapped it and nothing changed, so I slapped it again all the while laughing at myself and WHOLLY COW IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is working great and the hard drive no longer clicks, all is running smooth and quiet. Go Friggin figure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Thanks all!!!!!!!!!! Even if it works for an hour which I went back and tried it numerous times and still great, it’s worth it..I’m bowled over..LOL

  307. Here’s the status on my iPod. I am getting the exclamation folder icon but The HD seems to be ok. Ok as in it is spinning in disk mode without any clicking noises but in normal mode it spins then it shows the apple icon, folder icon, clicks, then turns off. I just want to know what part is acting up so I can buy a replacement for it and make my iPod work again. Can anyone help me on this? is it the motherboard or HD or something else? Thank you very much

  308. To NoipodinStockholm – my daughter’s ipod was 4th gen 20 gb click-wheel ipod just like Josh’s. I don’t know anything about 3rd gen. . .
    but this worked great. The place I got the hard-drive had a 1 yr. warranty – you might be able to buy one from them and return it if it does not work. Good luck.

  309. Thanks Mary and Steve! I found the eBay guy selling MK2004GAL that you recommended, but I lost out on the bidding. I also found information about installing a MK2006GAL in a 3G iPod at There were also instructions about what to do after the new HD is installed.

  310. so i tried what you said and got the same type of hard drive (got a 15 gig instead of a 10 haha) and my once dead iPod came back to life thanks to you! it was actually easier that what you said and it was well worth 80$ to have it work it again!

    j00 r l33t!!! thanks alot man

  311. Ok, so my IPod started showing the folder with unhappy face a few months ago. I was in Las Vegas so I just put it aside. On the trip home, it started working again. Then, as I was cutting the grass yesterday, it did it again. So, I figured that a new hard drive was what it needed. In the process of looking for one, I came here. Read all of your wonderful posts and tried the slap technique. Nothing. So, I got a good hold of the thing and beat the s@#$ out of it against the floor and now it works! Wonderful. Thanks and keep beating up those IPods.

  312. After I saw your article, I replaced HD with Toshiba 30GB and had 4th G iPod. It works flawlessly. Many Thanks!!

  313. Just tried the slap trick on my daughter’s 4thG 40GB Ipod. IT WORKED!!!! I was just about ready to send it to a guy for repair or buy a replacement drive. Needless to say, my wife’s very pleased (as is my daughter).

  314. After trying all the troubleshooting guides on Apple’s support web site with no luck, I tried the “slap” method. (I prefer to call the the “impact adjustment.”). This did the trick! Boy, am I glad google led me to this web site. Let’s hope my iPod continues to work for a while now.

  315. the slap works………..i have had the same prob. for 3 weeks……..i went to the apple store today and prety much threw my pod on the counter and he thing booted up……i didnt understand it ….when i got home i found this sight and holly s@#t it works just fine………..i will have to agree that the harddrive is haveing a hard time spinning up so you just have to help it……….thanks

  316. If the hard drive problem was caused by bad blocks, you may be able to have to controller remap them to spares.

    It may be different for some drives, but if you have an adapter to plug the drive into a PC, you may be able to do the remap by initiating an OFFLINE S.M.A.R.T. test by using Linux smartmontools After playing around with this on my laptop drive, for the life of me I couldn’t locate the bad blocks anymore by using all sort of scanning tools. They were just gone.

  317. u sad sad man. get a life. take pictures of friends, if u have any apart from ur “buddy Chris”. ipods r good tho.

  318. Nice writeup. My daughter’s 4th gen. 20 gig hard drive started making the “whirrrr click…” recently. Taking the hard drive out and smacking it on the desk fixed it for a few months. But I just put a new 30 gig Toshiba drive in and it works great.

    BTW, be sure and check the dimensions before upgrading hard drive. Toshiba makes different lengths, and when you go up in capacity they get thicker. A 40 gig is almost twice as thick as the 20 gig and so won’t fit in the case.

  319. Thank goodness I found your blog and bookmarked it a couple of months ago. Recently, I was one week away from a 10 hour plane ride. I decided I should fix the iPod so I could take it with me. I found the exact HD on a certain infamous online auction site. In all it cost me $167.50 -price plus express shipping. This HD came with the foam glued on and the little white plastic bracket that surrounds the HD in the iPod cavity. So I bought it. Rush shipped it. And about 4 hours after I received it, my iPod was up and running like old times. It only actually took about 20 minutes to replace the drive and then I had 4500 songs to upload. Thanks for your service to the iPod community.

  320. Oh man – I owe the “whack-it” guys a big thanks! Sad iPod, Clicking Hard Drive – certainly thought I was in for a little iPod surgery. A few HARD whacks & all’s well. Better advice than Apple Care – no doubt.

  321. Mine locked up and froze, so i froze it (just the hard drive) in the frezer for 2 hrs. worked like a charm. still working today……slapping didnt work

  322. WOW like WOWWWWWW. i cant believe it. my friend tried slapping and everything, and it didnt work, so she threw it up in hte arm about 30 feet and it hit hte pavement, and it WORKED!!! like crazy huh? but it works normally..except for a few scratches, but hey, it WORKS!

  323. I haven’t been up to anything recently. SMACKING WORKS TRY IT i had the dead ipod / folder icons appearing plus whir then click sound 4th gen ipod what a great site saved my day.

  324. Any ideas guys…..?
    Tried slapping it, recconecting the drive and still mines buggered.
    3rd gen 20gb. Used to get the folder/! with the whir click but i managed to get it to mount in disc mode and reformat. now it starts up fine but as soon as i connect the charge lead/dock, it freezes up and i have to do a full restart… built in apple test mode says HDD FAIL. I cant charge it or put any music on it at all.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  325. For the past few weeks ipod would not turn on or connect to a pc; it would make a strange sound and produce the apple symbol and then the sad face pic suggesting I visit (which had no useful info at all). SMACKING THE REAR OF THE IPOD HARD WITH MY HAND SEVERAL TIMES FIXED MY PROBLEM. Thanks to whoever suggested this method, it saved me lots of money and allowed me to use my frustration in a constructive way… πŸ˜‰

  326. Thank you! I can’t believe it worked! My iPOD survived and is as good as new! Thanks for this detailed page, i guess I wouldn’t have tried!

    Best wishes from Germany!

    P.S. I’ve also heard of the smacking-trick before, but whe the HD is broken, it’ll stay broken!

  327. my 4g 20gb ipod harddisk got killed yesterday. at the moment there are mostly MK3006GAL harddisks to find. is it possible to take them instead of the MK2006GAL? thanks

  328. I didn’t believe slapping it would work. My pod hasnt worked in weeks, and it wasnt looking good. So i slapped it. IT WORKED! Whoever came up with the slapping idea deserves a medal.

  329. Hi, I’ve got a question. Is it possible to replace my 20GB 4Gen. iPod HD for a 30GB or 40GB harddisk?


  330. Amazingly, the punch worked. IT is not a straight side punch, but more of a diagonal from the upper right to the lower left. Then…reinstall ipod updater and iTunes and enjoy!

    Thanks for saving me $300. This man is a genius

  331. Thanx a lot! I had trouble opening my iPod so I just throw it to the floor and it pops up like a coke.

  332. Thanx!! I found a canadian site with realy good prices on parts and repairs!!http//

  333. Tremendous tutorial. After Apple rejected their in-warranty service obligation because of dimples on the silver backside (what a joke!), i found this site. Amazingly, the slap referred to by some actually worked on my daughter’s ipod for about one day. I found a drive at for $87 with shipping and followed the instructions on this site. A couple of false starts getting the update to load and write to the new drive, but eventually it all came together. My daughter is elated.

  334. 4th Gen 40GB with folder icon whirring, clicks twice, repeats this etc. All suggestions on didn’t work. Tried slapping it. Worked fine. Thanks to all. Excellent tutorial though.

  335. No way!!! I just performed the “hold in your left hand, smack with your right” trick on my 4th Gen 20GB and it worked! I’m stoked. I was about to spend an hour waiting for the tech support at the Apple Store to tell me i needed to repair/replace it.

    My advice: get the 2-yr warrenty. After 1 year Apple called me to ask if i wanted to extend mine for $59.95 and I said, “no thanks, i haven’t had any problems so far”. Since then I’ve had TWO malfunctions. Apple replaced my iPod the first time b/c it was so close to the warrenty expiration, and I just “fixed” the second issue.

  336. firsty big thanks to this blog, saved my sanity and gave me confidence to repair mine.

    I initially tried the slap on a unhappy pod, whilst it stop the icon showing I could no longer sync with the pc, and certain popular tracks would skip..

    sourced a 60gb new drive, and followed the steps above and now have a refurb ipod with shed more storage!!! so me and the pod are now ecstatic!!

  337. holy crap, the smack-it method worked for me too! thank god, i was about to scream if i’d have to replace my iPod, or have to pay $250 to get it fixed (it’s a 40gb click-wheel jobbie) when i could spend $50 more and get a new one. thanks!!!

  338. Well I smacked the my bad apple around and it felt great,YAAAAAAAAAAAAA!U #$^%&**( but it did more damage than anything I think.
    Didn’t even regi anymore after the beating I layed on it.
    Maybe I went over board.hahahahahaha….

    I got real worried and decided to go into the diagnostics part of iPod and check the disc.

    Left click and hold down the center button.
    Run the HDD R/W and then scan disc after this I checked the ram on the last test.
    Hell run it all!

    It took most of the day on a 40 gigger.
    Anyhow came back after the ram test and it said Somethng about reset.
    Pushed the play/pause
    Well It WORKZ!

    Soooooooo maybe a beating and the diagnostics test fix it. Who Knows?????
    Not very nice and a waist of hours of BS.
    I am just happy I am not out all this cake on a bad apple.

    I tried everything before this and think I just lucked out in the end.

    I am thinking it was the diagnostics cleaning out the drive and ram????

    Someone will get it down pat and maybe dirt bags at Apple will update the grand F-up they have on their hands.

    From what I gather, it is a software issue and this corrupts the hard drive. Making for conflicts.

    Don’t give up.

    As for the diagnostics I am no expert.
    Just found out about it online & started messing around with it.
    Some geek said it isn’t a good idea.
    I figured the Pod was NFG. so what the hell.
    I am sure if you take the time you can find out more info on this internal system check.

    I buggered it up huge and mine wouldn’t even show up on my PC anymore next to turn on off etc…

    Give it a try. All ya can do is mess up your hard drive more than it already is OR maybe you will get lucky.

    Pura Bira
    Steve In Costa Rica
    Were we have no Hard drives for sale in this place.

  339. I had the same excat problem and i tried the smacking approach before going o buy a new hard drive and now the ipod works great

    nice article

  340. I was once a slapper, before I read it here; but consider it the first stages of hard drive failure. I had a 40 GB Ipod and after many slaps, it finally died. I sent to Apple, trying to claim battery failure. They quoted me $255 for a refurb model. I found your blog, and with an old ipod with a broken screen, I replaced my broken 40 GB drive with a 20 GB drive. Everything works fine. Thank you for the example. I probably wouldn’t have even tried if it wasn’t for this.

  341. Thanks to your detailed instructions and fast shipping from, I had my new Ipod hard drive installed in under 15 minutes! Now I’m back in business! My warranty just expired a couple of months ago so THANK YOU!

    The whole “slapping” and “throwing” thing may work if your drive is stuck or something, but mine was dead – as in the test in diagnostic mode wouldn’t even run and I kept getting the whir-click-click of a dying hard drive. If you’ve heard a computer hard drive start dying, then you know what I’m talking about.

    If you’re Ipod hard drive is dying and maybe you’re a little apprehensive about replacing it – don’t be – just follow the instructions and you’ll be fine. Back to Peter Gabriel I go!

  342. #428: Good to know. I recently had a 4G die on me. Thankfully I still had 3 months left on my 2 year extended warranty. My 3G has been going strong since I got it, but it’s nice to know that I can simply replace the drive if need be.

  343. I also recently had a 4G die on me. Mine is 1.5 years old. I had all the symptoms of a bad hard drive –> folder with exclamation point, constant clicking sounds, and the sad iPod icon. For a while the slapping trick worked, but then it stopped. I ended up getting a 30GB drive to upgrade my 20GB. Followed the steps in Josh’s guide and was soon back in business. Details of my experience are listed here:

  344. Well, I tried bashing it for a while, worked for a bit and then my cousin got his hands on it…darned cousins.

    Two “Doubles Wild” chips, ninety-seven dollars, a tiny scissor, a gluestick, and five days later…working great! Thanks so much!


  345. I replaced my hardrive just as I was shown and it works like magic and I bought it at ewiz. I had tried to smack it etc., but to no avail, I am not a techy at all, just love my ipod and couldn’t afford the 250 to fix it with apple. So, it works, if smacking does not, don’t waste time just buy a new hard drive.It is very easy to replace, and restore, then load and it is perfect. thank you for this blog !!!!!

  346. Comment 16 about the sad face and flippin the hold 10 times durring boot up worked for me. I couldn’t believe it. Here are some symptoms for those who want to know what mine was doing in case they are having the same problem:
    It would show the apple logo but not back lit, then it would show the sad face and turn off. If i plugged it in to charge it, it would do this repeatedly: apple, sad, apple, sad…. The computer never saw the iPod so I couldn’t update the firmware.

    Everyone praises apple for how perfect and bug free all their crap is but that’s a load. This forum proves that humans make macs, just like PCs and they both screw up.

  347. This tutorial was AWESOME. My 20 gig hard drive replacement got here no more than 20 minutes ago from (w/ $20 overnight shipping) for just over $100. I plugged it into my 4th gen, restored the software, charged up, all like you showed, and iTunes is putting my songs back on as I submit this comment. This was truly a life saver of a tutorial; much better than going out and spending the $350+ for a new 5th gen. w/ a case and protection plan, thanks so much for putting this up!

  348. Found this place while looking for an answer to my beat up iPod…slapped it once and it works fine ;P awesome πŸ˜›

  349. Trying to fix my 4th Gen 20GB ipod. I got it apart and have been looking for a cheap new hard drive. Does anyone know if a Toshiba 10GB MK1504GAL can replace a MK2006GALC?

  350. OMG!

    4th Gen 40Gb, out of warranty with sad iPod/clicking whirring – 3 slaps later – works fine!!!

  351. i was getting the same clicking noise and i slapped i twice and its perfect.

    and to think i was going to go buy a new drive

  352. Hi, I have the same ipod and was wondering if it’s possible of replacing the 20gb drive with the 40gb, 60gb?? πŸ™‚ thanks

  353. OK, I must really be unlucky. I had the sad face; slap didn’t work. Found Josh’s site and ordered a new drive – salvation! Installed new drive as instructed. It powered up and took me to my music and tried to play songs that aren’t there (menu in memory, I suspect). Locked up. Now I get sad face and slap does not work….

    If I didn’t already have so many accessories, I’d buy a different brand. I may anyway.

  354. Ok, people (and whatever some others of you are), after reading multiple slap postings, it seems many suggesting this also must be slapping themselves.

    IF YOU ARE READY TO THROW YOU IPOD IN THE TRASH CAN, WITH NO INTENTION OF ANY KIND OF REPAIR IN THE FUTURE, GO AHEAD AND HAVE A GOOD TIME SMACKING THE F*%K OUT OF IT. It will not work for long if it DOES shake something loose, so don’t think this is going to get you far. Anyone disagreeing with that is an ass, as well as anyone who listens to it. Make you’re choices accordingly.

    Smacking it can cause further damage to the circuit board and display and now you’ve added to the problem (like you deserve). If you plan to look into a $100 do-it-yourself repair, use your brain. If you’re on your way to the trash can anyway, then go ahead and amuse yourself. Maybe you’ll hear a few more songs before actually throwing it in.

    Don’t you people get it? Assholes are encouraging people to smack their iPods and saying it works to get you to also be an idiot. This is intelligent, rational thinking. If you choose to believe a strange f*%k you don’t even know to tell you something that moronic, you deserve everything you [don’t] get. People float through here all the time and don’t even have to sign up. They’re often lonely teens in their rooms laughing at themselves fart and at you after they post this crapolla (go wash your faces you idiots, I see an inch of normal skin amongst the acne).

    Ok, flame away morons, there’s more sheep that’ll likely cling to your bullshit. BTW, I suggest next time you have a headache, get a hammer (then post your feedback) πŸ˜‰

  355. Bought my iPod in November of 2004. Came across this page when I was encountering the EXACT same problem the author described. For anyone interested, does have the Toshiba Hard Drive that was originally in the author’s broken iPod for $95 (no tax and free shipping for me in Washington).

    But, prior to placing the order, and after reading some of the comments, I held it in my left palm, screen-side-down, metal-back-side-up, and gave it two hard smacks with my right hand. The screen came on just right and asked me to select a language, and then I looked and saw that it was playing music again (and properly to boot – something that hasn’t happened in weeks). Resetting it per the instructions on was a worthless endeavor earlier in the day.

    For all you iPod spankers out there, have you found that this is actually a long-term solution to your problem? As in, has anyone been smacking it for, say, 6 months and found the technique is still as effective as the first time?

  356. OMG you guys aren’t gonna believe my ipod story!

    i’d tried everything to fix my unhappy ipod, and after reading over 400 people above succesfully “slap” theres back into shape, i figured it must be worth a shot, so i did as most did, gave it a good hearty slap!! no dice though! i continued doing this for awhile, but still nothing!1 i threw it against the wall in my room and figured that had to do it, but no luck. THEN i went outside, tossed it about 30ft into the air and let it land smack on the sidewalk. you’d be surprised how durable ipods are LOL! anyways that still didn’t MAKE THE IPOD WORK!!! after that, i went into my basement and into my dad’s gun cabinet and loaded his pump action shotgun. i went into my backyared and placed the ipod against the fence and shot it twice with the shotgun. IT WORKED!!! i couldnt even believe it!!!!!! THIS METHOD REALY DOES WORK. thanks to everyone for posting there storys on here!

  357. I dropped my ipod on the pavement, had the clicking sounds, it died–all that. I tryed pounding the Shi* out of it with no luck. I replaced the hard drive–Josh you kick ass. ***pow, my ipod came back to life
    reincarnation as an ipod
    who knew?

  358. i got a cheap hard drive on ebay. it was like less than half of everywhere else i looked. the place was called previously owned electronics or something.

  359. I used an old dull oyster knife to open up my 4g ipod. It popped right open with narry a scratch. If you have one, this is a great tool to use to open up ipods.

  360. WOW!!! I just got my iPod on e-bay with a known bad HD – I’m going to get the replacement now and have at it.
    I can’t thank you enough – now I know what to expect and the fear is GONE!
    This is the most helpful information I’ve seen on the web FOREVER!

  361. The slap did not work, it was the slam on the table that did the trick for two 4G 40 Gig iPod’s. I’m still going to buy a nano when the next gen. come out though – less moving parts!

  362. Thank you! I was devastated when my iPod crapped on me. Got myself a weekend project πŸ™‚


  363. My ipod crashed a month after my warranty expired. Apple was being a beaurocratic bitch and refused to do anything for me. They even tried charging me $50 for calling them for tech support. Thanks to these instructions I was able to buy a new hard drive (toshiba mk2006gal, $100 including shipping from and replace the old one. I am suggesting all my friends who have experienced the same problem to do the same.

  364. Josh – you’re the best. My 4th gen ipod was in my messenger bag for a couple of weeks and the bag rolled around in my trunk. Had only dropped it once before, but the dropping didn’t have any immediate effect. Then, last week, I remembered I had the damned thing and turned it on only to get the unhappy face/folder.

    Only 2 months out of my warranty, I went to Apple and got the song and dance from a pompous jerk at the Genius Bar. Like I was wasting his time. Dude, if you don’t like your job…

    So, he tells me I can “recycle” it by giving it back to Apple towards 10% off a new one. Harumph.

    I waited. Stewed. Began research. Found your blog.

    I slapped. I regretted it. I slapped again. Regretted again.

    Then I dug out an old credit card and got to work.

    All I did was unplug the hard drive, gently shake it, and plug it back in.

    Then I plugged the ipod back into my powerbook, turned it on, and viola! It works! Let’s hope for a long time.

    Thanks to everyone for your votes of confidence, and esp to Josh.

  365. No Way!
    My first post but its got to be done.
    My ipod has died countless times, always giving me the sad face, and one on the ipod too.

    Usually it comes back after a few hours playing in the diagnostics section, but this time I got nowhere for a whole week.

    That is until I read the above and gave it a few flicks of the hold slider and a wack on my knee.

    Good work people.

    Was about to lob it and myself of the 31st floor.


  366. I’ve been trying EVERYTHING to make that stupid “folder-!”/whirring/clicking/restarting nightmare end.
    Stan–may the world smile on you always. I smacked that sad broken ipod around like a thieving ho and it worked for the first time in a month!!
    Josh– may the world bless you with all you want. I opened the ipod to poke around and it was thanx to your pictures that I mustered up the courage to do it myself.
    Now, she works like a dream. Doesn’t even purr. πŸ™‚

  367. Excellent Tutorial mate! I got my iPod hard drive from it came all wrapped in tons of protective crap and it works excellent! I put it in my iPod and it was giving me the folder because it had no firmware, so I plugged it in with the iPod disc in my computer and ran the installer from the disc and it configured the iPod to be read by the computer, so then I opened iPod update and used restore which took no time, and now it’s got all 3,100 of my songs on it πŸ™‚ I can give you a full link to the hard drive for anyone that needs it

  368. DAmn!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO joke IT WORKS!!!
    I held the ipod face up and smacked it on its side!!! BROOKLYN STYLE and no soon after ipod updater took care of the rest. GREAT ARTICLE

    THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

  369. i love u man , i did ur way and it SUCCESS
    my 20 GB iPod back again to life after 1 year Death . Thanks Man u deserev to be the KING

  370. I definitely brought my ipod into the store here in Amsterdam and they said it was useless…i gave it one slap and now it works perfectly! WOOOOHOOOO

  371. Right everytime….like you don’t smell your own farts…and by the way…get a f#$%in life broseph.

    slap away ya’ll….slap away

  372. My daughter’s ipod started to having the clicking problem and then died with the “bad file/check” icon. Apple service said it would cost $250 to have it repair and just buy a new one, they would give me $25 for the broken Ipod… “YOU SHOULD OF BOUGHT EX-WARR.” F… them. I was going thur listed fixes and decided to connected the dead ipod to my computer and reformatted the hard drive (it took a couple attempts) and would you know… the HD was working. Re-installed the program and the Ipod has been working like new.

  373. Worked like a charm. Thedrive failed and even after the smacking it finally completely died. I bought the hardrive on and had it the next day. After the quick install it was all back to normal. Thanks a bunch

  374. Anybody know how to get the slap trick to work on a 20gb 4th gen ipod that has a drained battery? The battery died while I was trying all of Apple’s general diagnostic tricks that didn’t work. By the time I learned of the trick, the battery was dead. Since it was frozen with the sad face icon, it wasn’t interfacing with the computer. Now I don’t know if the slap is doing anything. Should it start interfacing if the slap worked?

  375. I slapped my ipod and was able to get most of my files off it but not all. and slapping no longer works. now it says removable disc rather then the name i gave my ipod. and i can’t access the files. my screen says do not disconnect and not the file folder icon anymore. but i can’t access the files. any suggestions??

  376. WOW! I’ve been ipodless for months now, due to the clicking hard drive, sad face of that annoying folder icon. I couldn’t get mine to play, restore or reformat. I just tried the hold & slap method…IT WORKED!! Woohoo. I’m listening to Springsteen as I type this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  377. YAY! Thanks very much for this. I figured you could open iPods pretty easily since my faceplate has always kinda shifted around but I had no idea you could buy a new hard drive for less than 100 bucks on the internet.
    Sadly my iPod died yesterday… I was using the “Hold and Slap” method as well as constantly reformatting it for about 3 months before I finally heard the loose piece rolling around meaning it was broken.. πŸ™

    A warning to all: Hold and Slap will work for awhile but be prepared for it to actually die one day.

  378. Oh and to everyone who’s been using a screwdriver or some crazy contraption to open their iPod up, just use a credit card πŸ˜› (or you can get a gap using a screwdriver and then slide the credit card around) Works like a charm.. I’m tempted to open up the bad hard drive, I think I’ll wait until I get a new one though.

  379. Does anyone know if the screen on a 4th gen ipod is easy to replace? also is the click wheel easy to access?

  380. To all you happy slappers out there. All you are doing is treating a symptom of the problem. The real problem is…. 1) Loose connection. 2) HD on the way out. 3) Some other part of the circuitry f**ked by being slapped.
    In case of 1 or 2 two crack that Baby open as shown here (although I would recommend using a plastic tool like a pick (or plectrum since I’m English) and try the connections. Doesn’t work replace the HD. Remamber you may have to preformat the drive using windows. In case of problem 3….. reap what you sow, Your Pod now hates you and hopes you rot in hell.

    The tutorial? The best. I’m marking it as a favorite right now. you are a God amongst men.

  381. Have a 20GB 4th gen iPod which was gradually becoming less operational with the same clicking/hard-drive failure problem. After opening it up (thanks to josh’s post) and discovering everything was fine inside, i closed it up and turned it on…still same problems. After reading the posts i decided to slap and slam it repeatedly…It Worked!!! But not for long! I would slap it and get it to work but it would break down again quickly. On my third slapping try i decided to plug it into my computer and format it the second i got it working…and hey presto! I loaded the files back in and it’s like brand new…but we’ll see for how long:) Until then, however, it’s ‘Vertigo’ on Repeat!!

  382. had to get down to post 99 to read this

    “we just tried the smack the ipod method to get an ipod to work that had been dead for months with sad face and whirring and what not, didnt work BUT BUT BUT BUT when smashed against a table it worked!!! so there u have it, if something doesnt work hitting it and throwing it actually fixes it”

    and the darn thing works,tried the slaping and the drive made diferent noises at every slapthen i hit it across some wooden furniture & it just booted up like new thanks!

  383. I was reading this excellent guide after my 4g iPod photo was rather badly dropped. Thinking that I was initially looking at somewhere between £60 for a replacement drive or £170 for an apple “refurb” I came across the comments above about the happy slap fix. Thinking that the iPod was dead anyway, I might as well bang it about a bit and LO AND BEHOLD!!!! – full recovery! It looks like there’s a gap in the market – charge a “repair” rate of about £40.00 and slap it back to health. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog. Slap on!!!

  384. I’m on “Apple Discussions” (, and a lot of people have these kind of problems. Slapping, firmly tapping, or dropping the iPod can definetely solve the problem! So if you don’t want to replace the hard drive yet, tap it firmly on both sides several times, and it might work for you again (since that slaps it’s hard drive back into correct place).

    (By the way, on Apple Discussions my name is “iPod_nano_1_GB”, rank-two, and I’m mainly in all the iPod forums)

    But if the hard drive is truly wrecked and needs to be replaced, THANKS SO MUCH for this blog report! It was really cool! I like seeing pictures of those like of things, too. Wow, I’ll definetely save this website address, it was really helpful!! πŸ™‚ you are cool! Rock on.

  385. after weeks of a dead 4th gen ipod it finally works! I tried the hold button back and forth 10, 20X, pressing the tree buttons the same time and variations of different slapping of my ipod and after about 15 minutes it jumped back to life! thank you to all the people of this blog for saving me my sanity, frustration and money!

  386. If you want to re-use that old Apple iPod HDD in your IDE enabled PC, try the cool Addonics adapter:

    This converts it to a 2.5″ connector, then you’ll need another adaper to convert to a standard 40 Pin IDE cable.

    Here’s some interesting commentary on this as well:,1895,1918751,00.asp

    Total price for this is under $40…more if you want to buy external USB mounting kit.

  387. a defunct 4th gen 20GB has been upgraded with a Toshiba MK3006GAL (30GB) purchased from eWiz.

    now it works! Thanks!

  388. I’m not a blogger, this is the first time i read one as my Ipod gave me the Sad face and i needed a remedy, fast. Reading through the comments I thought i’d do the smack as apple were complete pricks in giving any assistance. I smacked the ipod as it was trying to boot up. I then got the folder & exclamation mark instead of the sad face, progress!, so i did it again and gave it another smack and now its working A ok… thanks to others who offered comments on this incredibly inexpensive fix. no lneed to lift the lid on the puppy either.

  389. having read many of these posts, I will now go home and bend my ipod over and let it rip a few times. Spanky… Spanky… The damned thing wont even turn on at this point. I had heard somewhere that so many of these little machines were failing that Apple had set up some kind of refund or rebate program to deal with it. I suppose this was just some rumor. Anyone know otherwise?
    Step 1: Spank ipod
    Step 2: hold down lock button and depress menu
    step 3: Call and begin complaining
    step 4 take off back

  390. I also had some problems with a 4th Generation 20GB non-photo Ipod.It would play songs occationally. but mostly it would erratically skip or i just would hear the hard drive click click.. So I desided to pop it open.. Im a electical tech so im a bit proficient in electronics ETC… It opened fairly simple. I followed the above directions.. So i assumed my Harddrive was shot. So i was toying with the notion of upgrading it to a 30GB. But i desided, since i have it open disconnect the HD and give it the old tap tap on the palm of the hand.. I tapped it on both sides as i didnt really know which one to do it to… Well as i was putting it together i ripped one of the ribbon cables.. CRAP! so i found a site that sells im assuming canibalised or new parts for the ipod. Screens cables HD’s ETC… I recived it today.,. I popped in and Presto LIKE NEW. Im going to probabably upgrade it to a 30GB

  391. Frustration… So it worked for about 1 hr.. I guess the HD is too far gone even for the slap slap technique… My computer wont even recongize it anymore.. Click click goes the HD lol OK so i broke down and just ordered the 30GB ( mk3006gal) 116.47 with shipping and tax From . So my 4TH generation 20GB ipod is going to get an upgrade to 30GB Hope it works…

  392. How did you have the IPOD when you opened it up–I need a vice–cant seem to stop mine from moving around. Cant seem to pry it apart but I have not given up yet

  393. OK, I followed the steps, got my new hardrive installed, and now, just 10 weeks later, the new harddrive is acting just like thee old one: isn’t frecognized by the computer or iTunes, the !and folder triangle icon shows up, and to make it worse, somehow I managed to partition all but 17 gb of my 40 gb HDD. What is going on here?

  394. Thanks so much for posting those pics. I was doing it wrong until I saw this page, and then I had it open in a minute.

  395. Hey continuation from 489 and 490. I recived the 30GB in the mail today.. I installed it. Then had to format it for windows. It took like 10 min. When it was done. It automatically recognized the ipod and opened the ipod updater. I opted to download the latest version of it. And did a reload to be sure. Even though it said it was “UP TO DATE”.It loaded my music. I had heard roomer that upgrading the harddrive on a ipod would make the Firewire cable incompatable. Thats not true. It is infact working. Anyone, i have another ipod 30GB 4G Color non video..( my little cousins) Its doing the same thing with the little folder icon.. I tryed my hard drive(which by the way was the exact same model as the one in the 4G color) And it didnt work. It did the same thing..Question is. If its not the hard drive causing the problem. Then what? the main board? Battery seems fine so. His looks like its been put threw hell. Any feed back would be apreciated

  396. Hi all.

    Josh. Big congrats mate. Love your work.

    One thing worth mentioning is that my 20G was completely gone. No computer recognition and some serious clicking going on.

    Getting excited by the prospect of finally fixing it (I had given up on it for abour 3 months, and going insane without tunes) I pulled it apart, and even went as far as to open the hard drive (hey, its broken anyway). Anyway, I decided to just put it back together after playing with the little switch in the hard drive, and presto! The thing works again perfectly. All the music and data was on the drive.


  397. This blog has been so awesome in providing help for a number of issues. Thanks, Josh, for the original posting. And thanks, Bob (#487) for your comments about fixing the whirring, clicking noise and smacking the iPod around a few times. A friend gave me his iPod to see if I could fix it. After originally concluding it was a dead puppy with a bad hard drive, I fished around and found this Web site. After reading #487, I decided to smack it a few times, particulary around the top, since I had heard it had been dropped. After three or four smacks, the hard drive caught and brought up the menu. So for now, problem solved! Thanks, guys!

  398. that happened with my ipod and i simply plugged it into another computer and restored it and it came up with the ipod charger pic and it restored the firmware or something and no it works perfectly fine so what a waste of $100 that was you loser

  399. Hey thanks for this great tutorial. I was able to order a new Toshiba MK3006GAL and put it in my nearly dead 4G 20 GB.

    When it wasn’t working – the slapping worked on occasion. Also to those who don’t want to take the plunge on replacing the drive, you may be able to hobble along with a daily trip into the freezer for about an hour. This seems to loosen up to drive head enough to get the iPod going again – probably for an hour or two. I did this for my morning car ride, but later on it had warmed up and no dice.

    The new drive worked perfectly right from the get go. Highly recommend the 30 GB if you are going to replace it, might as well spend the extra $10 and get another 10 GB!


  400. Ran over the ipod with the 4-wheeler yesterday and messed up the lock button (it is dented near the button – it moves but the lock icon stays on) so i am locked out. any suggestions before i open it up and start poking around.

  401. I bought a new 1.8 hard drive from eWiz and installed it, but the drive won’t mount so I can format it. The Ipod Updater doesn’t even see it. Help!

  402. I’m an official member of the IPOD Whacker. Same sad face icon and folder icon…followed the frickin 5 R’ luck…a couple of swift whacks and it’s working like a charm!!!!!!!!!


  403. >>>Sad face will show you it is bad. i recently had that and the Hard Drive was clicking and what I did was put it on a computer that did not have

  404. Not sure why my post got cut, but FWIW, #5 saved my a$$ from having to send my iPod in, etc.

    Uninstalled both programs (iPod and iTunes) formatted, reinstalled and all working like a charm!

    Thanks Brian!

  405. i am thinking about purchasing an ipod that has hd or battery problems in the future to try to repair. i thought it would be much cheaper than buying a new or used one.this information will be very helpful. congradulations and thanks!

  406. i thought 17 stan was was full of it… then i tried what he said got it to format once again then skipped and i thought what the hey and smacked it. it worked stan your my hero!

  407. was locked out due to a four wheeler accident, smacked it on the table a couple times and it unlocked. works fine… but only sometimes have to resmack to unlock. will open it up soon and hope for an easy fix.

  408. I’m slap-happy!
    The Apple store suggested I buy a new one after getting the πŸ™ face, but I found this blog, gave it a slap, and now it’s playing tunes again! YAY!

  409. Thanks! I’m bidding on ebay now for a faulty ipod!
    I can have a perfectly good ipod for less than a second hand one

  410. I removed the harddrive from the ipod and smacked it around a bit. After I did that I put it back in, connected it to my mac, ran the ipod updater and now it works again!!
    Thanks for the guide!

  411. So I got the sick iPod icon. You’re instructions helped me so much that I found out all that was wrong was the cable had jarred lose and all I had to do was plug it in tighter. You rock!

  412. I don’t care why the SMACK works…but it did & it felt soooo gooood…my story:
    Went the ‘Best Buy $50/two year service plan’ route for peace of mind…During the first months, Apple replaced the iPod… During the next two years or so Best Buy replaced the HD three times…all because of the unhappy face πŸ™ and clicking…serv plan ran out…got the πŸ™ again…was about to shell out the big bucks for a new one…happened upon this blog via google… thought ‘what the ‘&%$#’…gave the curesed ithing a SMACK or two or three (felt so Gooood) and voila…a Lazarus – back from the dead. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

  413. My ipod hard drive went completely whack yesterday (made clicking noises, showed battery icon for no reason, showed sad ipod face). I never dropped it, bumped it, scratched it, nothing! It just decided to give out on me. After hours of troubleshooting and searching the net, I just decided to give it 2 quick punches to its shiny metal “ass” and all of a sudden it’s went back to normal! All my songs/settings were saved too.

  414. Have been thinking about doing my own “how to take an iPod to bits” page for sometime as I replced the screen sometime last year. It seems redundant after this one, though. While I had my iPOD open I took the hard drive out it was doing the sad iPOD thing and sounded like it was bust, too. I took it to bits but couldn’t see any signs of anything that might be making it stick so I just put it back together again and bunged it back in. The tape which held the connection secure wasn’t very sticky sticky so I used masking tape as well to be sure. Once the iPOD was reassembled and charged I happy slapped it – as instructed and had no further problems – bar the odd bit of whirring and grinding followed by subsequent slappings – for 6 months until…..

    A couple of weeks ago it started skipping, sliding through songs or freezing if I pressed forward or backwards repeatedly eg if I have just listened to the first track on an album and want to play the last. A reset usually got it going again, followed by a slapping but it began skipping and freezing more and more often. I reckoned that either the software was corrupt – iTunes on the computer or on the iPOD, itself – or that there must be bad sectors on the disk. Never got around to doing anything before it died this morning and then found my computer couldn’t see it. I did a reset went into diagnostics and put the pod in disk mode. Then I went into my computer and ran a bog standard Windows diagnostic on it’s disk to identify bad sectors and fix them if possible. You can do this by right clicking on the removable drive icon in My Computer, choosing “Properties” (right at the bottom) and choosing “tools”. You have two options, error checking – “check the volume for errors with a “check now” button and defragmentation – defragment your drive now with a defrag now button. I clicked on check now and chose “scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” – you can also choose to fix file heirarchy errors but I wasn’t having Windows doing that on an Apple. Windows doesn’t tell you the results so I’ve no idea if I had any bad sectors and if so whether or not they were fixed but afterwards, iTunes realised there was an iPod there after reinstalling its operating system my iPod now appears to be working….

    I suspect I will need a new hard drive for it sometime soon. I have a MK2004GAL in mine and am led to believe the MK2006GAL would also work. Unfortunately here in Britain, I can only get the MK2008GAL. I hear mutteringgs that the connectors are different on this… ‘Anyone here know anything about that?




  416. Can’t believe it worked. You’re the man. Thanks so much for helping me fix my 4th gen 40gb iPod. $100 and I’m back in business!

  417. I went to the IPOD store to get a diagnosis on my sick : ) IPOD. They told me that the hard drive was having problems.

    I looked at your site and it totally fixed it.Thanks for the help! I opened up my ipod and just moved around a few things inside and the IPOD started working again. I didn’t even have to buy a new hard drive. I had tried EVERYTHING to fix it before (everything on the apple website, etc.) and this finally worked. Thanks

  418. very impressive bro
    but can i ask anybody who has replaced the battery of an iPod shuffle? how would u do it? i think im just gonna throw the shuffle away and save some money to buy a 5th G ipod eh?

  419. Re: posts 153 and 367, etc, I’m here to tell you that I
    just installed a Toshiba MK2006GAL 20GB HDD
    into a (former 15GB) 3G iPod and it worked.

    I agree with other posters that it is a pain, and I
    went thru the exact same things (disk utility wouldn’t
    partition it, iPod Updater wouldn’t recognize it, etc)
    others here did. I would say the software problem
    paled in comparison to getting the case off for
    pure frustration!

    Here is what worked for me:

    1. Get a USB dock connector (though I’m not sure this
    is necessary…all the things that DIDN’T work were when
    I was using my original FW dock connector). Now that
    it works, I don’t want to ‘try again’ to see if this step
    is needed.

    2. Connect to a WINDOWS box (I tried to get disk Utility/iPod Updater to work on a MacBook, a PowerBook and a G4 desktop to no avail…the software would just grind and grind forever). I got errors like :

    “Data partition could not be found and could not be formatted.
    Disconnect iPod, reconnect and then try restoring again.”

    3. Run iPod Updater on a Windows machine (here, I used
    the ‘other half’ of my dual book MacBook/Windows
    machine). It took awhile, complained a little, but then
    not only did the iPod finally show up under “My Computer”,
    the updater “Restore” worked and all seemed well.

    4. I then rebooted my MacBook into OSX, plugged in the
    ‘new’ iPod, fired up iTunes and it synched automagically.

    I know not everyone has access to a dual boot machine
    like I do, but it’s not strictly necessary…you can ‘borrow’
    one just to get the firmware/updater to work, then go
    right back to your Mac and synch with it.

    I’m of the opinion that there isn’t the proper firmware
    for a Mac on these drives and just getting past that
    makes it possible to restore to ‘full Mac mode’ (i.e.
    once you get the firmware on and running under
    Windows, just plug it into a Mac and it will work!).
    Of course, this means your iPod is probably now
    FAT32, but you could probably fix that to remain
    ‘pure’ (journaled Mac) later.

    So, for $55 from OnLineDrives (via ebay) plus about
    $10 shipping, I got a 20GB Toshiba MK2006GAL ‘upgrade’
    to my 15GB 3G iPod. While I had it open, I also put in a
    new 850mAh battery (also on ebay from colordrives
    for $3.33 plus $7 shipping). Total = $75 for a ‘brand
    new’ iPod.

  420. OMG DUDE! STICK GLUE? lol, i find that halarious but funny that it really worked!maybe you can fix my 2 other models that i broke!

  421. My hard drive gave up after SIX MONTHS. And of course, it started showing signs of problems on virtually the day the warranty expired (it took me six months to start using it after I purchased it). Neither Apple nor Smalldog would budge on replacing the iPod for me (I didn’t call them soon enough). Although it galled me to have to shell out more $$ for a drive, I did it and replaced it with absolutely no problems at all. I am very happy to have my iPod back and your instructions are perfect! Thank you.

  422. I have ripped open my 4th Gen 20GB ipod. Now the question is, can i buy a 40GB or more HDD to replaced the dead 20GB HDD?

  423. 525: I might suggest that you limit your new HDD to the
    max available for your generation (4G) just to avoid headaches
    (which I think is the 60GB), but in my example (post 522) I
    put a 2006 ‘model year’ Toshiba 20GB drive into my early-2003 ‘model year’ 3G iPod and it was originally a 15GB iPod (i.e. I
    put in a bigger drive than it came with originally AND it was advertised as a 3G/4G replacement drive, which lead me to believe they were interchangeable). I decided not to risk putting in a 40 or 60GB because they weren’t available for my 3G, but I just went with the 20GB instead of the 30GB b/c it was cheaper and I wasn’t sure it was gonna work! πŸ˜‰

    I also believe that the drives for the 40/60GB iPod Photo are
    physically the same as the non-photo (the iPod’s screen is the difference), so you could get up to a 60GB replacement.

  424. Never mind my first question — I followed the paper trail of posts and that was answered. It would be nice to try an 80gb in the ipod….

  425. why didn’t you by MK4006GAH, 40Gb ? I’ve the same ipod, but the screen’s broken, do you now how to change it ? i’ve got black nano2 GB and 30GB video white too.
    if you can answer in french, but i can a little understand english πŸ™‚

  426. Thank you for posting this tutorial. I bought the same kind of iPod on ebay and the seller sent me a broken one.. He hasn’t replied to any of my emails, so I’ll wait another week, and if nothing happens, I’m definetly trying this.

  427. Does anybody know if i can use a Toshiba MK4008GAH, instead of the one josh is using?

    They dont have any other toshibas in stock in denmark, where i live.

    im replacing the harddrive in a 4th gen non color 40 gb ipod.

  428. Hey, Josh, I followed your instructions and swapped the drive in my wife’s iPod in a whopping 15 minutes. Excellent tutorial! Thanks for saving me a couple hundred bucks by not having to buy her a brand new one. (whew…)

    You da man.
    Dave S.

  429. Hi, Had a similar problem, different solution!!
    20 gig 4th gen, whirl CLICK! constant reboot!!
    I decided the HD was dead, followed your instructions to open it and reseat the HD cable and give that a try,…No luck πŸ™
    I was about to order a new HD when I decided I had’nt inspected everything very well.
    upon Looking I noticed a small ribbon cable at the very bottom left of the ipod that seemed to be at an odd angle. (you can see this in the pic above the step 5 statement HD allready out)
    there is a black “clip” that hinges up (right to left opens it to insert the cable, back down to lock the cable in place. I did this and now the Ipod works like a charm. I didn’t have to replace anything!!! Will only help a small percentage of you, but it is worth a check before spending all that money.
    Thanks for the great page Josh!!!!

  430. yea…My ipod was also doing the whirl-click stage. I read on the previous comments about the “just beat the snot out of it” method and thought that might be easier. So I hit it several times and now it’s great!

  431. It began with the folder/exclaimation. After trying to restore it with the ipod utility, disk utility, opening it and reseating all the cables, and smacking it around some, that folder changed to the sad pod screen. I was distraught, depressed, and annoyed. I could get a refurbed fifth gen from Apple for $179, but this was a gift from my fiance. This little U2 Special Edition pod and me had been through a lot. I didn’t want to replace it, I wanted it fixed.

    And thanks to this blog, I did that. Rather than the $249 Apple wanted to replace it, I paid $89 for a MK3006GAL and following the instructions, it worked like a charm. No issues with lack of functionality, and the firewire still works nicely. Muchas Grassy-ass!

  432. Thanks for the tutorial. I ordered a replacement hardrive for my 40G (which ran about $145 w/shipping) and had it swapped and up and running in about 20min. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the old one.

  433. After reading postings about just unplugging the old drive, I took mine back apart, put the old drive back in AND IT WORKED! I just wish I tried that first before replacing it with a new one. At least I have one now for when it realy bites it.

  434. I am based in New Zealand. Anyone have any ideas where I can pick up a 40GB hard drive for my 4th Generation ipod?

    I’ve seen many available on US sites to buy online, but with the shipping fees involved I may as well just buy a new ipod, unless someone has any ideas?


  435. if you have an broken ipod harddrive the best thing to do is sell it on ebay. people are selling broken hard drives for as much as $20. First you can test the ipod though with a diagnostic test, after reseting the ipod with menu and select(center button), hold rewind and select for as long as needed till it goes to the diagnostic program. there you can test the harddrive, using the hdd scan, and the hdd r/w.
    if it passes both test’s then it’s a good hard drive.

  436. Thanks – your article gave me the giddyup to revive my 20Gig Gen4. I went the next step and used a 30Gig drive from ebay instead – and it worked. Really do-able!

  437. My 40GB ipod was having problems. Whenever I tried to start it the hard drive just clicked and wouldn’t run. I used this information to take my ipod apart. While searching for a replacement drive I came across a blog where someone said they fixed their drive by slamming it down on a flat surface a few times. I figured that I had nothing to lose and tried it, put it back in the ipod and it works perfectly. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, the R/W head gets stuck and causes this problem in many ipods.

  438. OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH! i did this and i fixed my old ipod!!! but i got a better deal than you i only paid 70$ for my new hard drive. but thank you so much! i owe you dude! the pictures were so helpfull!!!!!!!!

  439. I have the same model iPod as described in Josh’s article. (20GB, candy white, 4G) My system is OSX.

    My iPod defects were the same as described in this article and in the many of the posted comments. (File folder alarm, 5-R’s don’t work, internal hd diagnostics passed 100%, clicking and spindown noises from the hd, problems mounting the iPod, etc)

    I never had the sad face icon.

    My fix was to reseat the hard drive. iPod came up like a dream and restored like a dream.

    Josh’s page helped me crack the case find the connections I needed to reseat. AWESOME.


  440. well…i never, thought the slapping wouldn’t work for me, but had to try it anyway..couldn’t bear that clicking whirring and scary folder any longer. Gave it an all mighty smack and voila told me to go and charge it!! Which i promptly did as i had already started the restoring process!!! Thanks everyone!!

  441. I had the same problem – crackle, machine hanging when the ipod was connected and so on. 40 Gig harddrive was 170 $, almost as much as what I’d paid for the lightly used 4G ipod. Read this blog, dropped my pod a couple of times then slammed it with my free hand. And what do you know? I was able to sync with my PC, download plenty of stuff and have gotten going without spending a buck. Thanks guys, keep up this work.

  442. After having done all the troubleshooting and diagnostics both myself and with the genius, my 4th generation ipod who’s hard drive would not spin up came back to life with a simple slap on the back.
    Before cracking it open, slap it on the back!

  443. Hey – thanks for the post. Not sure if a new HD will solve my problems, so wanted to run it by everyone here… MY 4th G 20gig problems started when clicking on the next button it would take an age to move to the next song, gradually this got worse and worse – with lots of unpleasant clunking sounds coming from the HD. Eventually it got to the stage where it hung, when I tried to synch with itunes, it would beging to synch, and after about ten mins I’d get an error – can’t even restore from itunes – more errors appear!

  444. My ipod was working fine, hadn’t been dropped, got wet or anything such as that. One day it decided not to work, made the strange clicking noise and then the sad ipod face – bugger! It then completely shut down, basically doing absolutely nothing. As a last resort after reading this page and toggled the hold button and gave the side a few good whacks with the butt of my hand. Result – good as gold, works a treat! Thanks so much for the tip, I know have an extra Β£100 which I have saved which I can now spend on booze!

  445. I recently had the 4th Gen iPod and the folder icon showed up aswell, I Thought I had to buy a new hard drive, but I took it apart, disconnected the hard drive and pluged it back in and there it was, she was back up and running. Just did a restore after and an update.

  446. Hot Dang!
    Well thank you very much Happy Slappers! Screw you, you little silly sad ipod! A little gentle spanking to start with, then some finger flicking of the hold switch, finishing up with a few firm poundings on the back side and corner( reckon corner’s a good bet as simulates dropping) and Hallelujah… I hit the g spot and we’re back in action.
    Let’s make this the last post about slapping your bitchass ipod up! Yes it does work and many many thanks for the post. How long it will last i don’t know. I have to admit that i used to mistreat my little white shiny friend – heavy use, late nights, throwing around, dropping, but no more! I shall now carry it around on a silk throne! I hope someone has posted the tip on Apples web. Β£166 for a service- yeah you can p*ss off! I can see the ipod service department now – a long line of moronic fools knocking the crap out of ipods till they work again and boxing them back up….Apple – we’re on to you! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!

  447. 40 gb Gen click wheel. Restored about 10 times, hard disk clicks . . . sometimes it starts up, other times, folder graphic w/ apple/support link dislplays. It’s been in a desk because i’ve grown tired of it not working properly . . . read this forum, held it wheel up facing me in my left hand, *SMACK* with the right from the right side with the palm of my right hand. Works again. Evidently you can get by with beating the shit out of it until it completely dies.

  448. Thank you so much for this information. I revived my iPod with your easy to use tutorial. Finally I can smoke with music on…

  449. Thanks alot for the information, i have a 20gb 4th gen with a dead harddrive and i will try replacing the harddrive.

  450. I finally won an auction on eBay for 4GB Ipod Mini to replace the 2GB NANO that my daughter dropped and I continued to destroy with my huge hands unable to get around the tiny insides of it…the eBay pod said that it had a FOLDER/Exclamaintion point problem and I deduced that this was most likely a sour hard drive that I would just replace – but after reading this blog, looks like IM gonna try a few other things first…will report back

  451. i had a 40 gig Ipod that was given to me because it didn’t work. after reading about how to take it apart (apple said it wasn’t fixable and i should just buy a brand new one), I opened it up and realized that the IDE cable wasn’t completely seated on the hard drive, so I just pushed it on securely and put it back together…the damn thing works perfectly, no problems whatsoever.

    for those of you that have “slapped” your Ipod to make it work, I believe ya, but that’s probably just helping the IDE cable to be connected to the hard drive…you should probably open it up and check that connection. Its so easy to open these things up, took me about 10 seconds to pop the case open.

  452. Holy crap… I couldn’t get mine to boot either.. and the restore program kept failing.. I tried the “hold it and smack it” method and it worked!!!

    I can’t help but laugh at how that fixed it.. but it’s amazing.

  453. Thanks for the instructions. I didn’t know that iPod has this small HDD inside. I have a broken Toshiba Portege R100 notebook and I think it has the same type of drive. I’ll try to borrow the hard drive from my broken notebook.

  454. Just bought a faulty iPod on eBay [Β£36 inc p&p, 20Gb 4th gen]. It just came up with the Apple, then sad iPod, then rebooted, repeat, rinse.

    Gave it the now famous slap, nothing. Upped the slap to a bloody good belt, bingo.

    Now sitting on my desk quietly charging away.

    This is the best blog on the net!

  455. Right.

    Slapping your iPod is NOT a permanent fix. The same happened to my iPod, and eventually it is going to die.

    The more you slap it, the more likely it is that you’re damaging something. When you start having to slap it to make it work, then there’s something clearly wrong, which a slap cannot repair.

    Do this, but be aware, it isn’t permanent,

  456. Hard drive replacement op a success (not without a few hiccups though). After fitting the HD and closing the case, the screen started to flip between the folder/exclaimation mark, and the low battery icon – fair enough I thought, and plugged into the mains, however the same problem occurred and it did not seem to want to charged either… next step – plug into my PC… similar problem, the screen was flipping between the folder/exclaimation mark screen and the ‘do not disconnect’ one, but it was not detected by the PC – I started to get that sinking feeling at this stage, as the ipod kept cycling through these screens every 5 seconds so the pc could not connect to it long enough to format it, or restore it with the updater. With a last throw of the dice I dropped it over to a friend of mine with a mac, and lo and behold, it was detected and formatted! All I had to do then was to restore it on my PC, wait 6 hours (arrgh!!) for it to update all 3500 songs, and Bob’s your Uncle. Working good as new!!!

  457. well i opened my ipod up after reading this for i had the same problem with the file with error symbol, cleaned out some dirt that magicaly got in their from my pocket, closed her up then she got the sad faced ipod logo, so i slapped her “BAD IPOD” and nothing happened, i have a huge assignment due on wensday and it is storred on my ipod and my backup failed, what should i do???

    Please help me

  458. I’ve been an avid iPod slapper for a while now, ever since my 20gb 4th gen started acting up. Now, it no longer reponds to the slap which means I’ll probably need a new drive for it. I’m just wondering if I can swap out my dead 20gb drive for a new healthy 40gb drive. Anyone had any luck with this?

  459. ok well heres the thing i dont have a lot of money so i decided to do the same thing as u since i’m good at this shit anyways ya i got a old ipod liek the one u used and the hardrive is gone. it worked other then that. i got a new hardrive and put it in but now the ipid doesn’t work… i cant change it or anything. the charging sign doesn’t apear when it’s plugged in. i dont know what happened and i realy need it to work. any ideas?

  460. I was taking apart my ipod to replace the screen-
    i accidently broke one of the connectors-the one that connects to the hard drive-is their a way to
    get a new one or should i just buy and new one-
    also can i put my 60GB hard drive for ipod photo into an ipod video?


  461. With all these posts I doubt this’ll ever be read but I’m going to write it anyway.

    If you want to open your ipod, there is a secret release that creates a crack in the seal to allow you to pry it open.

    Push down on the right side of the ipod’s back metal casing between the top and bottom of the screen.


  462. Hold and slap! Hold and slap! Hold and slap! Sing it with me, Hold and slap!

    I was t h i s close to buying a refurb ipod video off of for 179. I hit the hell out of it a few times, and it work. Jesus H. Christo. I can’t believe it.

  463. This is just unbelievable!!!
    I was looking around to buy myself a new MP3 player, about a YEAR after my iPod failed on me and I stumble upon this blog. I read about the slapping technique and I’m thinking: what the heck, I’m trying this, it’s my last resort. I slap it once, twice. Nothing. Then one final, firm slap, I hear some click, and BAM! It back to life!!!
    I still can’t believe this! My iPod had been lying in a drawer for a year, waiting to be replaced. And now it’s back. Unbelievable.
    Now let’s just hope it stays alive.
    If it goes dead again I’m sure to open it up and try to reconnect the drive.

    Many many thanks anyway!
    And anyone with the exclamation mark or sad face issue: try this! It works! (but you probably should try the apple-suggested fixes first though, I did too)

  464. YOU IDIOT!

    When the folder icon comes up you just need to install the iPod updater. Thats why it worked after, not becasue of the hard drive. If you’d done that in the first place you needn’t have bothered. Trust me. Iv’e done it.

  465. to all you people asking for help.



    Use some initiative, like this guy, he is not some ipod repair guru. Just a guy willing to have a go.

  466. Josh, THANK YOU. I am a PC technician. Your detailed photos gave me the courage (and knowlege) to open my defective ipod (same as yours) that I paid $35 for.

    I took it apart, and did a variation of “spank the ipod”. I took out the hard drive (later reading revealed this might have been all I had to do), held it 4 inches above a hard surface, and dropped it on its flat side once. I then reinstalled it, but did not reseal the case (that would have been bad luck). I then started it, and lo and behold, no more clicking! I then reinstalled the firmware using xplay2, plugged it into a charger, charged it overnight, filled it up with music and it works fine. THANKS.

  467. I did the hold and slap about 8 months ago and worked wonders.

    Got the dreadful hard drive scratch noise today?!?!?!?!

    Performed the Hold and Slap….back in business.

  468. Thank you for your instructions.

    It is by far the best step by step instructions I have seen, and I have even bought an instruction manual that documented how to take an Ipod apart, but without instructions on how to reassemble.

    Incidentally, in my business as an attorney, we have to be precise in our written words. As to the comments of second grade teacher, the comments are unfounded. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and your instructions provided a concise and detailed explanation for all.

  469. dude its awsome i was so scared of opening the ipod but its the same shit in the 5th generation too i did what u told only i thnk the hard drive was a different one thats it and it fit in properly but yeah i didnt use elmer glue as another guy said it gets fairly hot in the hard drive thanx a lot man

  470. Awesome post – my ipod froze up on me (sad face and folder icon depending on mood) and there was no way of connecting it to the computer (not recognised so could not just install the ipod updater as liquid_fumes so kindly advised – idiot). Tried the slap technique and it worked for a while then died again. A bit more slapping kept it going for longer but yet again it died. Need to find the harddrive to do the replacement next!

  471. Oh my gosh my iPod works! I thought it died or the hard drive just decided to stop working but after I hit it a couple of times it finally started working!!!!

  472. Just installed a “new” used 20 drive bought off of eBay for $59 shipped. Thanks to these instructions (and $59) I got me a new iPod. Maybe I should have replaced the battery while I was in there but I know where to look when I do need to open it up again.

  473. Thanks a ton for the site. Just replaced the screen in my generation 4 iPod thanks to your site. I could not for the life of me figure out how open the screen! Thanks to your site, my iPod is working like a charm!


  474. Opened my ipod up, took out the hard drive, replugged the hard drive in, and its now working perfectly again. If your ipod is failing just try this before you start smacking it as it seems that hitting it reconnects the hard drive but may cause other damage (I was once a smacker but have know seen the error of my ways!)

  475. “what do i do if my ipod appears with a caution sign and a battery”

    It means your batterys had it. You can get Apple to repair it but it’d probably be cheaper to buy a new one. Depending on which you have of course. I’m assuming its an oldish one if its saying that.

  476. WOAAAA!! Thankyou stan!! I had the sad drive icon and was thinking in replacing the drive but tried the slapping method and worked great!!! Unbelieveable!!!

  477. Hey. Did all of the above, but when I plugged it in to restore, the computer said an ipod was detected, but no ipod software, and told me to reinstall the CD (which I can’t find) or go to the website, which isn’t very helpful. I’ve tried downloading a new itunes, but that doesn’t help, and itunes doesn’t recognise my ipod when I plug it in. Help! Please don’t say I’ve just wasted loads of cash on a new hard drive.

  478. OK…the 60GB iPod photo really bites! My wife and I each got one for our b-day last year and we have replaced a total of 6 batteries and Apple swapped out one of the iPods. Anyhew, both just died again…mine is a BB warranteed one, hers is just fried…or so I thought. I got to this web site since I thought it was a drive problem. I got to step 4 and decided to plug in the USB port…guess what! The dumb thing started working! I’m bookmarking this site!

  479. The folder icon DOES mean a bad hard drive. I have had my drive “die and start clicking” at least 10 times. It works for a week and then gets a drive error. Same thing a folder icon and the drive starts clicking on startup. 2 of the 3 4-gen ipods we purchased have had bad hard drives.

  480. I bought a 60 gig Ipod and used it for two years before the sad face showed up. I took it to the ipod store in SF and they replaced it for 70 bucks; said the hard drive failed. My replacement ipod just went sad face after 1 month, errrrrrr; did the slap and I am back on the road. I will add that I tried all the reset techniques and evey other suggestion (short of cracking it open)with no success. WHEN IN DOUBT AND ABOUT TO INCREASE APPLES PROFITS; GIVE IT A WHACK!!

  481. That was a good idea. But no need to replace the hdd. I fixed my sisters ipod(she has the same type) when it has a file with the ! mark. I doesn’t requier any hardware changes. I fixed it with software

  482. hi, i gt an ipod 3rd gen. i have no idea wats wrong with it. ive ried charging it but nothing happens? any ideas josh? y the way, thanx for that info aswell. ill try opening my ipod now.

  483. i dont know what is going on with it but my ipod is the EXACT same one as the one you disassembled and it is stuck on the wall charger screen. no matter what i do it wont change, the computer wont recognize it. i let it charge for 5 hours and it still showed the same thing.

  484. ok someone was asking about limewire and all you need to do is open your limewire library and your itunes library and drag and drop. I’ve got a 5th gen vid 30Gb and im thinking about putting linux on it since i have linux on my computer, xbox, and playstation. I thought hey maybe it can join the family. but now if i listen to it for more then ten minutes it simply reboots and hangs in the loading screen until i put hold on and off a couple times. any suggestions please email me at

  485. WOW! I had given up my 4th gen ipod for DEAD for about 9 months or so. I just bought an ipod shuffle to hold me over. My iPod was making the “revving and clicking” noises described by other people and was completely unresponsive when I plugged it into my computer or wall charger. I thought I had tried everything (mainly different “reset sequences”) and was about to try to replace the hard drive when I found this blog and somebody suggested smacking it! the action alone felt pretty good I have to say but the damn thing came back to life!
    What was most frustrating is this iPod is a “refurbished” replacement given to me while my original iPod was still under warranty. My first one kept skipping songs – so I brought it to the Apple Store in Minnesota and they replaced it right away. Then 4 months later (after my warranty ran out) the replacement crapped out.

  486. I have a 4g 20 gig ipod. The hardrive died in the summer and I had a store replace it with a 30 gig drive. Now it’s only showing that 17 gigs total capacity is available. I tried formatting it, scanning for errors etc and restoring but nothing has worked. Any suggestions?

  487. OMG! it actually worked! i did think people were taking the piss but i ahd nothing to lose, so a couple of hard smacks later and my ipod is back up and running πŸ˜€

  488. my mini got stolen so my mom bought me a ipod photo on ebay for like 155 and it was fine but over the summer it started making the little sad face and the hard drive makes that weird sound. so ive been doing the ‘hold and slap’ thing and its worked for months but now it just wont work. so im either gonna buy a new hard drive or a new ipod. anyone got an opinion on which i should do?

  489. I can’t believe it!!!! I slapped and slapped. Practically bruised my hands, but it kept right on clicking. So, then I decided, what the heck, I slapped it against the table and it worked. It immediately started working. I never have that kind of luck. It’s less than a year old, my daughter dropped it and has been without it for 4 or 5 months. I was looking to buy a new drive when I came across this site. Thanks so much! This has saved me who knows how much money!!- For now, anyway.

  490. Josh, thank you for your tutorial and for hosting the followup comments.

    We are on our 2nd 4g. The first broke ~1yr ago and the second shortly after the warranty expired.

    I initially looked for help regarding the replacement of the hard drive, but after reading all of the posts on your sight, I decided to try to beat it back to life. 1 now works and the other did not respond. The working 1 was actually slammed against a table top, first on its back (no change), then on its side. The side hit did the trick !

    Thank You !


  491. Nice. Also note that you can disconnect the front from the back by simply unplugging the ribbon cable. Additionally the Toshiba MK3006GAL is the 30gb version of the MK2006GAL, it costs little more. Toshiba also make 60GB and 80GB versions but no matter what certain websites tell you about them being compatible, these larger drives have twin platers and are therefore just under twice as thick. Furthermore slapping the iPod on the side simply unsticks the head (the part that reads/writes). This particular model seems to be prone to getting jammed (as its subjected to continuous shock)

  492. MY 2Gb brand new Ipod has been reduced to 233 MB capacity.
    Require assistance to get back the 2GB capacity.


  493. Count me as another ipod slapper. It worked! I can’t believe it. For what it’s worth, it was a “side slap” that did it (while resetting).

  494. my brother was just about to kill me on Christmas. we had tried smacking and smacking and got nothing. save yourself the pain and just go straight to the countertop. give it a big smack while on its side. πŸ™‚ works like a charm

  495. Holy Cow! Boy, am I glad I found this site. Not because I took apart my iPod and replaced the hard drive, but because I read the comments to discover that *smacking it around* can help fix it!


    For three weeks my 20GB 4th gen was hit & miss. Sometimes it would turn on, about 3/4 of the songs would play, but then it would freeze. Tried to update, I got the apple logo and then the sad face icon. Battery wouldn’t charge right, think kept making weird cycling noises, etc. Sad ipod icon over and over.

    Today, I smacked it hard 3 times with my right hand while holding it with my left, and then darn thing seems to be fixed. Did a restore, syncing it up right now, no problems.

  496. What happend to the drive you took out, I am lookign for micro parts fomr assorted items, i have done work on the i-pods before but its hard to find peices,
    Patrick M

  497. Dude…YOU ROCK!!! How about showing us how to replace a 5th Generation Video Screen … Mine’s cracked… David…

  498. Very interesting! That’s amazing what you’ve done. Maybe I should try this one day.

  499. I just tried the smack aproach and it worked. I’ve got a 40GB 4th Gen iPod. At first I was skeptical but the problem was definitely with the mechanical workings of the hard drive itself. Clicking and restarting was out of control with this thing. It had lost all funcionality, so I figured I had nothing to lose. It just took one good pop and its working right as rain. A primal solution exerting brute force to solve a technically perplexing hardware issue. From now on I’ll use this method in dealing with more problems of all sorts. Don’t think, just do: Whammo!

  500. OK – This file versus sad face icon thing.

    There’s more than one thing that can go wrong with the drive. On my 4g 20gig ipod, the arm that reads the disc has come loose from thr mountings. Sometimes a reboot works,sometimes a tap works, but ultimately the drive needs to be replaced. However, as the disc itself is not corrupted I get a file! icon and not the sad face.

  501. Alright, so I couldn’t bring myself to actually hit my ipod, but I did shake it. It never hurt anyone. but, it didn’t help too much: the sad face turned into a folder icon.

    moving the hold button back and forth 10 times and then holding down the middle button and play/pause. This puts the ipod in safe disk mode. I plugged it, FINALLY RECOGNIZED THE HARDDRIVE, restored, charged and now i’m good to go and $200 saved.

  502. ok i followrd the ”replacing the hardrive of an ipod ” with excatly the same ipod and replacement drive, it still wont work, when i plug it in to my pc i get a usb device connected ” bu duem ” noise and my ipod goes into disk mode for about 5 seconds and then goes back to the apple logo this happens also when manually go into disk mode, help!

  503. WOW I was wondering how to get the back of an ipod off. But i wont be doing that untill a couple of years. I have just got a 30GB Video (5th Generation) for christmas its great. I didn’t Know that the hard drive inside an Ipod was like that. Thanks for the guide, it my become really helpful if my ipod ever breaks down (Hopefully Not).

  504. The slap on the back works!

    After 4 replacements of my 40gb apple said no more we dont care GO AWAY.

    After reading thru this blog I thought what the heck slap it – it is working fine and further more all my tunes are still on it πŸ˜‰

  505. YOU KICK ASS, MAN!!

    it took me a while to get the guts to pry it apart. but once i did, everything went just as you described. thanks for the pics!!

    mine crapped out nearly a year ago, i’ve been without since. the hard drive crashed, and it just showed the sad face πŸ™

    WORKING NOW!! i got an MK2004GAL online for $40


  506. Could people post where they got there replacement hard drives? I only see them out for around 80 dollars, and i would like to spend less, or ill just get a new ipod.

  507. I did this, worked perfectly except that the hard drive only shows as a 20 gig! The drive I put in was identical to the 30 gig I removed, should be 30 gigs. I suspect some weird partitioning or something – any ideas?

  508. Great blog! I printed and am going to try tonight with my boyfriends U2 ipod. My question, though, is…..his ipod isn’t even getting the sad face or file. It’s just getting the apple symbol and clicking. Has anyone seen this before and any recommendations? I’d appreciate it!

  509. Cool news and nice to know. Today me and a friend of mine tried to change the battery (by sonnet) of a 4thGen iPod. But we unfortunately disconnected the HD at the wrong end (under the black sticker). Any Idea how to connect this correctly again?

    Would be great to get any hint… πŸ™‚

  510. i dont know if i should try this i hit it and shook it a couple of times but it still dosnt work so im thinking of trying this but the problem is that im not in the u.s im in egypt so i dont know what to do should i take it apart or just wait till i come back HELP PLEASE I NEED SUGESTIONS THANK YOU

  511. my ipod is about 2 years old and the battery is not dead and harddrive is fine i think the f.b.i fucked my ipod up if uknow of this problem email


  513. Thanks a lot for writing this guide. I bought a used HD from a broken iPod (hd still works – some other problem) for $35 + s/h and followed your blog instructions and I am listening to my resurrected iPod right now!

    The price on a new HD is now down to around $55 + s/h on eBay, so it sure as hell beats sending it out to be serviced by someone else or buying a new one. The only difference from your instructions is that iTunes 7 will allow you to restore your iPod without downloading the ipod updater, so I did that.

    Thanks again – I am a very happy iPod owner once again.


    OK OK, listen up people, if you want to save your time and/or money!

    After hours of research, I have come to this conclusion:

    Smacking your iPod will work, but not for long. Believe you me, my iPod had the famous “click-of-death” sounds from the harddisk, so like most of you guys, I followed instructions on the net and smacked it couple of times on my lap.

    Yes, it started working for like weeks or even months, but now the problem seems even more persistent. The silly iPod hangs, is unrecognizable in Windows and if it works (once in a while after I leave it alone for a day or two) skipping/fast-forwarding songs results in a hang of the screen. The backlight stays on and the buttons don’t respond any more.

    Unwilling to give up on my sweet iPod, I followed other interesting instructions, like formatting/defragging the harddisk completely through Windows, updating the software and so on. To my surprise, my iPod started working again, but only for a few days of course.

    The thing is, I don’t even abuse my iPod, of course I’ve dropped it once in a while, but the damages did not result in immediate failure of the harddisk. And I can’t remember dropping or heavily abusing it in the past 6 months, which is when it started to malfunction.

    I’m not quite finished yet hehe.. Alright, so finally I decided to bring my iPod to the nearest AppleCenter or ServiceCenter. I kindly requested for my out-of-warranty iPod to checked and repaired. The answer that I got: “Sorry Sir, we don’t do repairs here.” No repairs in at a Service Center? Sounds strange doesn’t it? I even told the dumb fuck, that I am willing to pay a new harddisk or whatever was needed to be fixed, but he wasn’t impressed or even bothered. It’s nice to know that Apple doesn’t care about their customers, once their products run out of warranty.

    So I asked them: “What if I buy an iPod video, will Apple give me a reasonable trade-in deal?” Then another tech geek from the Customer Service section of the Apple Store took my iPod and shook it next to his ear, somehow knowing/expecting a harddisk problem. It was the first thing he did, when I gave it to him. It’s like he already suspects that there is a harddisk damage. After 2 seconds of shaking he said: “Sorry, we do not trade in broken iPods.”

    What a bummer non? No love for the broken iPod. So instead of trying to repair it, I just bought myself the iPod video (my previous one was an iPod photo btw.) and I’m handling it with lots of care. Probably gonna get that AppleCare Warranty Extension thing, just to be on the safe side!

    Back to my iPod photo, I took the instructions of installing a new harddsik and it works! But due to previous experiences, temporarily working iPods don’t excite me anymore, because it is just a question of time, when it will stop functioning again.

    So to sum it up, if you have a broken out-of-warranty iPod I would strongly suggest you follow these steps, according to how messed up your iPod behaves:

    1. Format/Defrag your iPod harddisk

    2. Smack it => will work for a while only

    3. Install a new harddisk => will eventually end in a fuck up as well

    4. All jokes aside: buy a new iPod + “Apple Protection Plan” and handle it with an insane amount of care and love.

    I hope, for those who were really desperate, this helps. And to those, who have gone through these similiar steps of mental pain and utter frustration like I did, I say only one thing: “I feel you”


  515. dude that was cool… i dont know how u figured that out thou… u must be like a frikin genous or something…

  516. With reference to JOHN DYKES (637)

    I’m in the UK. The Apple store in Oxford Street told me that they could replace my 20gig hd but I would cost £150! So I’ve bought a new hd from ebay for £40.

    I looked after my ipod really well and like you, probably on dropped it once.

    I agree with everything you say except I won’t be buying a new one. If the HD goes again I’ll buy a Sony. Apple had their chance it get my money and the f-ed it up.

  517. Originally we were using my laptop for the internet, so I could get all my updates straight onto it. Now we have a computer with broadband, so my laptop is stuck with an old iTunes and obviously I cannot download the latest updater.

    Will this matter IF I buy a new hard-drive and install it?

  518. ummmmm… I have a sad little face on my stupid ipod mini– I’ve tried everything (which means nothing at all really)– I DID try the ‘hold and slap’ but that didn’t seem to work for me… Maybe it’s mad at me. Should I take it out for a steak dinner and give it a blowjob?

  519. I was wondering if anyone knew another way for fixing my clicking ipod- I have already tried slapping, hitting,violently throwing across rooms…but to no avail…it still clicks. It shows the apple and clicks-thats about it..any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks!


    I have been suffering from the same fate as many of you and recently decided to replace my hard drive (the experience w/ that is below). My coworkers and I took off the top layer of the Toshiba case to see how the hard drive communicated with the Ipod. It turns out that it is not a hard connection but a spring connection. So if one of the 4 little prongs is not in contact with the metal plate on the hard drive then your Ipod gets confused. Spanking will fix a “lack of contact” issue.


    I have since ordered a new hard drive but the current issue of iTunes cannot complete the restore program. I am going to try and download old itunes and see if this works any better….I’ll let you know.

  521. Josh and Stan rock! I bought a used 40GB iPod on Ebay earlier this year, and it recently died (sad iPod icon). Nothing the iPod support group advised helped – so I was debating about sending it in to be refurbushed – $275 – I don’t think so! I asked Yahoo how to open an iPod to replace a HD and got Josh’s site link. Reading thru the blogs, I found Stan’s note – I am not one to beat up my possesions, but I slapped it a couple of times and tried to open the case – and miraculously I was finally able to clear the sad iPos icon and get to the Disk Mode. All is well:) Thanks guys!

  522. I just wanted to post since your page helped me out! I had just bought a used iPod on eBay and it worked for a couple weeks and then one day the sad ipod icon came on! I knew what that meant because my sister’s old iPod had it, and she sent it off to apple, they sent it back and it was still broken! She gave up and bought a new one. No way was I going to send mine off to apple. So figuring I’m dead anyway, I found another site talking about the hitting and the opening and connecting. Smacking didn’t work, or maybe I didn’t do it hard enough. But I opened it up, with help from your website, disconnected and reconnected and PRESTO it worked! Didn’t even need to be updated or anything. The best part is, I went home and opened up her old iPod, the one that APPLE couldn’t fix, and after disconnecting and reconnecting it works now!!

  523. I encountered the same problem with the toshiba micro hard drive in my friend’s 5th gen., she had dropped it on the ground when the platters were spinning and it either crashed or jammed the r/w transfer arm thus creating the click,click,click error. It’s just sad that toshiba’s drive can’t sustain a few g’s when the platters are spinning, that’s just cheap. Oh well, I direct ordered a more effecient, cheaper:145$(and durable) equivalent drive (with 60gb cappacity!!!) from toshiba and that fixed it instantly. It’s stupid that mac goes cheap on the drive, and want so much for the repair especially when you can go out and purchase a MUCH better drive from Toshiba.

  524. wow nice i love the idea and it seemed to work i have an i pod and would love to be able to fix it when it dies i thank you for the info cuz that was coolness *_* it was realy rad i like it except the elmers glue idea -_- but over all its smart

  525. Ummm, drop ANY drive while the platters are spinning and the head isn’t docked (locked) and you run the risk of a head crash. Even minor head crashes which don’t kill the drive, can and will gouge the platter and create debris which can fly around inside the drive and create future crashes. Yes, there is a reason drives are assembled in clean rooms – dust, dirt and debris from head crashes will cause head crashes if they get between the head and the platter.

    If you feel a need to SLAP your iPod – only do so with the power OFF and after the heads have had time to dock (1 or 2 seconds).

  526. This was actually very helpful i followed the directions and everything worked perfectly. But one thing to add is that you can check ebay to find the HD for cheaper i got mine for $40

  527. Very helpful and I wanted to point something out to those who have used (or plan to use) the ‘hold and slap’ method:

    “B) Simply hold it in one hand, and smack it with your other hand. I was told do try this by a friend online, and wa-la, it has not had a single problem since which was over 2 months ago. Saves a ton of time, not to mention the money for a new drive. While some may say beating the crap out of your ipod is a bad idea, it does work”

    My iPod was doing just what everyone elses was… ticking noises, random shutdowns, sad face, etc. I tried quite a few things (including resetting, putting into ‘disk mode’, reformatting, and using windows to check the integrity of the drive) This would improve the situation for a short time. As has been noted, slapping your HDD is a bad idea. I popped mine gently and it seemed to work, which told me the HDD wasn’t the problem. Instead, there was a weak connection internally.

    Using this tutorial as a method to open the iPod, I simply opened her up, secured all of the mechanical connections, and put it back together. Did this a few months ago and haven’t had the issue since. If you hit something electrical and it ‘comes back to life’, 99% of the time the issue is a loose or intermittent connection. Better to address this issue rather than pummel your drive.

    Just wanted to throw in my two pennies.

  528. Good grief. I tried the side slap, pretty hard on my desk, and it worked, for the first time in months. Hung again – back to the sad mac – whilst syncing with itunes, so restored it and it worked fine.
    I’ve got a replacement hard drive heading my way, which I may hang onto for insurance, or I may return. But whatever, a lot cheaper than buying a new ipod. Thanks.

  529. HA! That is hilarious! My 4th gen has been dead for months. I tried the slap method and the thing booted up! It’s probably just a quick fix, but still. Awesome.

  530. I have to tell you, I had nothing to lose by bitch slapping my 20gb ipod. I’d tried everything to fix it. I’ve had the sad face and the bad file folder. Nothing but click, click click!! I didn’t want to spend $250 returning it to apple to fix it. I started researching replacing the HD and found this site. I went home last night, grabbed my ipod and gave it a good slap. It WORKED!! My husband thought I was crazy! Charged the battery and loaded up all my songs again. If it happens again, I’ll take it apart and look for a loose connection. Thanks for the idea, even if it is temporary. At least I have my ipod back!!!!

  531. Unbelievable!!! My 4th gen 40 gig stopped working a few weeks back. I tried everything including the genius bar and sending it to an independent repair shop. The genius bar guy said he couldn’t fix it but could replace it for $250 The independent place wanted $200 to replace the harddrive. I delined both offers and as soon as it was returned to me I slapped it real hard on the face and now I’m listening to it as I type this. How cool is that?

  532. The photographs you provided were very handy indeed but, I as given a bokn ipod that has that little tether connection severed, would you be able to tell me what was holding it on? Thats the only thing stopping my ipod from working.

  533. In reference to MR MOON 640 On Monday, 01-22-2007 @ 07:02am: I went to an Apple Store in Singapore where I initially bought my iPod. But the problem remains, the people living in Singapore simply do not have the chance/opportunity to have their iPods “legally” (by an authorised repairman) repaired, even if they were throwing their money at the Apple Store. Now now, am I the only who thinks that this is absolutely unacceptable business behaviour? You tell me.

  534. In reference to RAYLEIGH 645 On Wednesday, 01-24-2007 @ 04:33pm: What do you mean with the “4 little prongs” which aren’t in contact with the “metal plate on the hard drive”??? Can you elaborate a bit more, maybe send us a link with a picture? Are you telling me that the problem with the iPod harddisk isn’t in the internal part of the harddisk itself or what? Another question: Does anyone know if the a broken iPod harddisk can be re-used again if you, for example put it in an external 1’8 casing? Or does the problem simply lie in the harddisk being truely broken and not due to the fact that the iPod hardware itself cannot communicate with the harddisk?

  535. Hey what’s up? I did the same thing you did. I got my iPod from my friend who said it was screwed up. I looked at it, and the screen was cracked, so I ordered a new one. So I put the new one in there, and made sure it was all connected. I charged it and nothing came up on the screen. When I reset it, it makes the noise to say its fully reset. But still, nothing on the screen. Can you help me please?

    Later, Mike.

  536. In reference to John Dykes “Can you reuse the HDD?” If the hard disk is damaged, you may be able to fix it by hooking it up to an external casing or installing it in a laptop. Western Digital (and most other MFGs) have software that will attempt to recover bad sectors on the HDD. It’s worth trying to secure the internal connections to ensure the HDD is really bad, though.

  537. You guys should really try securing the connectors on the HDD rather than slapping the shyt out of it. Large forces are not friendly to hard drives…

  538. hey ur the best, i fixed one ipod and am about to do the same thing on another.
    The smack against the palm works, but this is the real way to do this…
    now only if i can find a way to replace a screen…

  539. Another successful smacker, f’ing insane, I thought I was going to have to go get another ipod, that worked so well, THANKS SO MUCH.

  540. I posted a little comments back that I slapped my ipod. It worked until the next day! πŸ™ I let my daughter use it and she said it wasn’t working correctly so she “slapped” it again. I’m pretty sure she slapped it while it was running. Oh well. I’m off to find a hard drive.

  541. What the heck was that???

    Nice article Josh! Kudos to you for all the good info & pics. I have not reached the point of needing to replace my HD yet because after reading the 600+ threads here, I thought I would try a “gentle” spanking before cracking the case and viola….. it did work………So…. Kudos to you too Stan for the suggestion. Believe me, I was not about to hit it hard and I admit that (most probably) the problem that this “fixes” is probably caused by something loose and if I experience additional problems again in the near future, before spanking again, I will go ahead and crack the case and check connections because (I know from experience) hard drives are very sensitive and can be damaged very easily. That said, I know that most folks either dont have the know how or motivation to do this additional detective work and its much easier just to β€œspank”, not to mention the pleasure of spanking an out of warranty ipod that has not worked for months when one has tried all other options offered by Apple. It appears to me that this is some sort of manufacturing glitch with the hundreds of folks here that have found success with the spanking method and it would seem that Apple would either address the problem up-front or at least endorse the spanking method. People need this option, because it is at least an option, and if Apple wont fess up then this message needs to be put out…. maybe CNN, Fox news or even Opra ;o( Anyway, I think yall ought to get the Nobel Peace Prize for at least preventing the masses from pulling their hair out when they run out of β€œaccepted” options. Thanks guys……….. great job!

  542. Oh, I forgot to mention….. I have a 4th Gen 20gig. I searched through all above threads and saw the question asked several times but never answered…. Will the current 40 gig Toshiba(MK4006GAH or MK4004GAH) replace my 20 gig HD? I am not sure if these models have single or dual plates. If anyone knows for sure the dimensions are the same or maybe a model # that will work. I would really appreciate it.

  543. Hey, this is a really nice little site. Thanks for posting it, I think I might be able to save my friend’s iPod with this method. I would try the hold and slap method, but she already did that.. it worked for a few days, and then died… so she hit it again, as in throwing it against a wall. : / I’m pretty sure the HD is done after that.

    To everyone else using the hold and slap method, I read somewhere that that method works because the cables inside the iPod come loose occasionally. So, for those wondering, another method to try when it starts acting up is popping it open and reseating all the cables.

    Again, thanks, great post!

  544. Just been searching for ways to get my ipod working. Nearly bought a new hard drive. Apple shop offered to sell me a new one for Β£189!!!! Saw the bit on slapping your ipod – thought had nothing to lose so off i went. And it worked!!!!! Amazing. Not sure if it will work long term but really want to take the back off anyhow……

  545. HEy, this is pretty useful, i’m wondering whther your able to fit bigger hard drives into ipods…i have a 15GB 3rd gen ( i think….4 touch sensitive buttons and a touch wheel?!?!?) and the hard drive is SCREWED! it makes poor sounding clicking and whinning noises when plugged in and wont turn off! would a 20GB drive work ok?! or is it designed to fit one and only one size?! any feed back would be super useful as i really do miss having music on the go! and its such a good looking design!!!!! many thanks! any ideas email me at!!

  546. Haha! my mini just broke down, it made really weird sounds. and i started reading the guide like “this’ll never work”, and then i saw some of you writing that you smacked it. i tried it like three times, and now it’s as good as new!

  547. With respect to Dom (#674), yes you can put a larger hard drive into your ipod. For any hard drive over 20GB, you will need a new back case for your iPod. The 40GB and 60GB hard drives are thicker than the 20GB drives. The hard drives for Gen 3’s, Gen 4’s and Photo’s are all compatible.

    Good luck!

  548. Thanks for the smack method after days of depression with my 20 GB I pod photo it works I know its not permanent but as a college student on a budget it saved my life:)

  549. I’d heard of the ‘smack method’ elsewhere but can now testify that it revived my 4th gen. iPod from oblivion. After all normal methods had been tried to cure it from an endless “whine…whirr” cycle audible from the hard drive, I hit it against the edge of my desk ( my hand apparently too soft!) and it’s working fine now. Not a generally recommended cure for delicate electronics but it’ll be where I turn from now on before I replace a 140 dollar hard drive!

  550. My 4th Gen iPod was stricken with the same malady a week ago! A noise sounded like the harddrive was bound, an illness that not even smacking would help. Got a new harddrive on ebay for $40, and it’s about good as new!

  551. I had a 3rd gen 40gb that just up and died. Drive would spin and spin (LOUDLY!). Tried reconnecting the cables inside, no dice. I was able to find a new drive at It got here today. 2 minutes to install and the ipod is good as new.

    Thanks everyone

  552. I have the 4th Generation IPOD, and tried everything until I ended up at this site – at first I thought the “turn to the side and slap” method was a joke amongst a group trying to see how many people would fall for it – until I saw more and more people try it with success

    So decided to give it a shot (slightly embarassed), and turned the IPOD to the side, and gave it one good wack on the back of my other hand

    Plugged into the computer and copied one song (as I tried to restore to original settings), and saw it transfer to the IPOD (which it has done before when trying to restore before that)

    When I pressed play on the song, I didn’t expect anything to happen, but voila! The “unconventional” method of turning it to the side and giving it one good slap actually works

    I can’t thank you guys enough for posting on here

  553. My Question is: “HOW DO I GET TO THE HD IN A
    The background for this question is as follows:
    I am a 76 year old geezer with 2 IPODS, the 6GB
    and a 40GB POD. I use the 6GB for songs and the
    40GB for academic lectures. In fact, when one of
    my grandsons first saw me with an IPOD he said:
    “YOU HAVE AN IPOD?” Well a week or two ago my
    6GB came up with the sad ICON. Last night I
    went to the nearest Apple store and consulted with
    a genius to no avail. And when he told me the
    price of replacement I feigned crying and asked
    to see the Apple therapist. He didn’t get the
    joke. So today I went to the Web and found this
    site. Much thanks to all the posters. So I slapped
    the IPOD from here to Apple eternity to no avail.
    And here I am wanting to try the next fix, get
    at the innards and gently kiss the HD to bring
    it back to life. Thanks in advance. (BTW, I was
    listening to James Blunt on my morning and afternoon exercise walks.)

  554. A friend had problems with a Photo iPod (basically a 4G with colour screen). The problems started after she purchased a non-Apple dual connector so that she could connect it to her PC Laptop. At first, the problems were intermittent, i.e. random restarts and not being able to sync or reset. The first couple of times she gave me the ipod to look at, the problem was solved via a two finger salute (reset). When i tried to reset it this time it either went into perpetual restart or displayed the apple sad face. Reformatting via disk mode didnt work (as the OS couldnt detect it) and none of the internal diagnostic hard drive tests worked either. The hard drive specs wouldnt even display so i assumed a dead hard drive. As such i followed the instructions shown above, but instead of ordering a new hard drive, i disconnected the drive, pushed in all the connectors and reconnected the hard drive… and guess what? A WORKING ipod!! =D I have no idea whether it was a loose connection due to being dropped or whether the hard drive connector was somehow short-circuiting, but unplugging the drive and reconnecting it worked! Hope this helps somebody. BTW this “repair” took well under 5 minutes (3 of those minutes were spent looking for a screw driver) and cost $0. =D

  555. I believe the Hold and slap works because the mechanics in the HDD are getting stuck. I have a 40GB IPOD Photo that has the same problem. Sometimes it just freezes mid song (fixed by soft reset (Select & Menu)) or at worst the sad IPOD icon and HDD clunking. Just as a note i prefer the thump on knee method. A little percussive maintenance never hurt anything. Great Blog. Cheers!

  556. I think I slapped my Ipod Photo too much.. It has helped me once, helped me twice, but this third time its totally over. The folder icon wont -BANG!- go -BANG!- away.. And hitting it with a hammer doesn’t seem to be a better idea..
    Thanx very much for the clear instructions to open/disassemble the ipod. worked very well. np at all.
    i’m off now finding me a 80+Gb HD and a way to fit it in..

  557. how exactly did ur Ipod break….cuz mine went thru the washer and dryer and keeps turnin on then dying quickly. right now im trying to open it followin ur instructions but im having a lot of wont budge!

  558. I had the problem where on booting up the drive i was getting the file error icon so give this a Try this, I did and it worked and saved me a lot of money πŸ™‚
    Unplug the drive then plug it back in again, It works like unplugging a computer it does a hard reset and re-aligns the heads of the drive and clears the Bios memory, when you power back up No more file error icon and all your files are still intact πŸ™‚ I hope this helps and saves you money?

  559. Thanks for the instructions. All those looking for guides for all other ipods I found them at Just Click on guides at the corner. Check it out!

  560. The hard slap to the back of my 20G iPod worked. I don’t know what “generation” iPod it is. Got it in 2004. Thanks so much for going thru the work of making this blog! Saved me over $271 Apple just wanted to charge for sending it in for service because it is no longer in warranty. I hated to just give up on it and buy a replacement since I could tell it was a hardware type issue with potential easy/cheaper fixability. Well, if I have further problems in the future, I will always try to slap it first a couple of times and I may need to refer back to this sight (which is now saved on my bookmarks). It is hard to just dispose of the thing when it has over 1700 songs on it…right?

  561. Thanks for the excellent instructions.My 20gb ipod went haywire.Ordered new HD from company called Ultratec UK).Β£45 + VAT + P&P.Now installed,very easily by my son Will.Up and working again.Thanks again for the excellent blog.

  562. Would a harddrive from a 20GB iPod photo work in a iPod video? A friend gave me an iPod video that had a bad harddrive and I have an ipod photo with a B&W screen…. just wondering if I popped the harddrive into the video housing if it would even work? Of course, I’d lose 10GB but I would gain video capabilities. Just wondering if that was at all possible?

  563. cool and all but really all you needed to do was put hold off so you can click buttons then hold down the middle button and the menu button because that happened to me it was my bday prezzy to and i only had it for… 5days i was dead upset sooo i did that and it worked how easy was that than what you did. but still cool lol ;^D

  564. my ipod wasnt working it showed the sad face. since it apparently worked for everyone else i tried smacking it. but it still showed the sad face. i smacked it again harder, but the face still showed. so i got my sledgehammer and hit the ipod and what do you know? the sad face doesn’t show up anymore!!!! thx guys!!!!

  565. Very Impressive. I went through all sites and tried
    everything, but nothing worked. Finally I came to
    this site and followed your procedure. Now my iPod
    is working well. Many Thanks.

  566. I did the hold switch trick (see above) and the slap, and my iPod seems to be working now after almost a week out of commission. I even went to the Apple website and filled out a repair form but said “fuck this” after they wanted to charge me $275 to fix my 4th generation iPod’s freezing problem.

    Props for this thread. If I ever want to open the damn thing, now I can.

  567. this is a very gud technique and im sure it will help me repair my freinds ipod. does anyone know if the hard drive out of the new video ipods are comatable with the 4th gen ones because my friend has an 4th gen one which he bumped and if any1 knows can you please tell me

  568. would just like to say there is a difference between the 2004 and 2006 models, the 2004 models take less battery power to start but more to run compared to the 2006 models that take more battery power to start and less to run.

    i don’t know if this has been written already as i didn’t read all 701 posts but i believe the above to be correct, however, don’t know exactly how much it would affect performance from the battery as i have never done this myself.

  569. WOW! My ipod was giving me the sad face icon. I took it to the “genius bar” at the apple store. Well, the genius told its not under warranty, too bad. I read the message about giving it a good wack with your hand. I tried it and low and behold it works!!!!!!!!!!Thanks for the great advice. You’ve saved me a couple hundred dollars on a new ipod.

  570. I was thinking about buying an ipod one day but i haven’t the slightest clue about them … I think their pretty nice anyway.

  571. I replaced the increasingly troubled 20GB hard drive in my 4G ipod with a 40GB following the excellent tutorial here…. but iTunes (and now my computer) still see the brand new drive inside as 20GB in size. Is there something in the iPod’s own OS or something I need to change? Or….?

  572. Update… Ran the ipod diagnostics and the ‘HDD R/W’ test showed the new drive as 38GB (40) — but afterward, iTunes, etc still say its just 18.5GB (20). Any other ideas?

  573. Appreciate that really helpful advice. Anyway, a second restore seems to have done the trick, and now have my double-size iPod in gear.

  574. thx for your help, now my wife has a new one and me a repaired one for only 91 Γ’β€šΒ¬.

    greetings from germany

  575. All I did was throw my iPod and it started working. It didn’t cost me anything. It works fine. It was a good way to take my anger out on something so expensive that breaks. Thanks, Apple.

  576. Hi,

    I also had the file picture and exclamation sign showing up, plus awful clicking noises.
    What I did (this is deadly serious): out of frustration I threw it really hard on the floor couple of times, and, lo and behold, it started working as if nothing had happenned. Still working.
    I seriously hate my I-pod, it is a pain to operate, a pain to download, I was so frustrated. At least something good came of my anger, it started working again!

  577. thanks for this…this convinced me to try switching my broken 4th ipod color hd to my 4th gen ipod, which had a bad harddrive (spinning grinding noise is exactly how it sounded. Mos def a bad harddrive. Anyways, I switched it and it worked like a charm…:)

  578. You could probably upgrade the battery too i think its like $35 bucks and get something like 28 hrs of life i believe if you get the best one available. I have an H300 iRiver but it can use the same battery as older iPods so when that crapped out i upgraded mine. look on MisticRiver and H300 battery replacements for what type of battery and where to get them, if you need a place to start.

  579. My 60 GB ipod photo was dead…the unhappy ipod sign came up or the apple. And it would just whir and whir and then it would click and click and whir… no menu, no backlight, NOTHING…I read tons of message boards and suggestions and 20 different ways to reset it, etc. NOTHING worked though I kept trying over and over, desperate for a reason it was doing and it for a solution to fix it as I felt that bringng it in to get repaired could cost almost as much as buying a new one. After giving up, I read a post on this page (#16) that suggested hitting it. Well I figured I had nothing to lose. I took it and smacked it face down on my leg one time and nothing. Then 2 times and when I tried to turn it on it worked for the first time in a month!!!!!! My husband and I were ecstatic since that on a Bose docking station is our only stereo!!! YAY! So it must have been something not connecting. I will cross my fingers that it keeps working, but so far it’s day 2 and all is well. If you have nothing left to lose, you might as well try firmly smacking it. FOR REAL! It’s lame, but it worked!

  580. Unbelievable!!!! It worked!!! I smacked it twice and it came back to life. I was soooo close to ordering a new hard drive. This is awesome.

  581. I bought a faulty iPod off eBay for £15 and i gave it that good ‘ol slap and then i heard this munching noise from the hrad drive and it suddenly started to work. Woohooo. I just got a cheap iPod.

  582. I just discovered the “hold and slap” after shelling out for a new 5G iPod. A couple of clouts on the back and side against the carpet fixed my old one. Oh well, at least my girlfriend has an iPod too now!

    Great technique!

  583. Well, i’m just another name to the list of amazed people. My iPod had a little ‘sick iPod’ picture when i turned it on. Took it to apple, they offered to fix it for £160. I returned to work dejected and upset, read this page, slapped my iPod and she is up and running again! Fantastic!!!

  584. I have had my 4th gen u2 20gig ipod for two years, after dropping it several times it decided to die. I got the folder icon with a message to contact apple support. after numerous attempts to format and restore it nothing worked. I found this page. I read how the guy opened his up and replaced the drive, then i read the comments about the “islap” technique which i tried and was overjoyed when my ipod came back to life. sadly when i try to upload more than 619 songs itunes tells my i have a failure. so im still not 100% but at least i have 619 songs to shuffle with. a new 60gig drive is on its way to me and hopefully it’ll make everything all better.

  585. I smacked that bitch around for a good week, restored it, reinstalled itunes, etc etc….then finally I just dropped it on a cement floor. worked like a charm!!! boy am I glad I found this website.

  586. Maybe some one can help me: I have a 3 gen and the screen started freezing up about a week ago. Everything worked, I just couldn’t see what I was doing. So I just dealt with it and kept on reseting it. Then today the whole thing froze up and all it is desplaying is the apple logo on the screen. And in addition, it sounds almost as if there is a motor running on the inside. So, I opening it up, took the hard drive out, put it back in: Same thing. Is there a problem with the battery perhaps? I’ve already replaced it once. Some one please help me!

  587. I bought 2 4th gen ipods, both had the sad mac icon when I bought them. Dropped them from 4 feet, now the WORK!! My sad mac is now a happy mac. πŸ™‚ I also had to replace the batteries, $15.95 each. I found out that if you are very careful, you don’t need a T6 torx driver to take off the circuit board. Just cut the connector off of the old one and slide out the wires underneath the circuit board. Then put some electrical tape around the new battery wires to protect them. Lay the wires on top of the circuit board, plug in the battery and thats it!! Works great. Thanks everyone for the great drop tip.

  588. ‘Stan’ (December 27th, 2005 at 4:13 pm) was right! I tried this and My 60gb Ipod seems to be working ok. To think I was going to fork out almost AUD$290 for repairs. That could have gotten me a new 30gb Ipod Video! I did’nt want that but the Store clerk at my local Apple centre was *adamant that my Ipod was not economical to repair. My advice for ppl looking at buying Ipod *Take out the extended warranty and save yourself the headache. Thanks to Stan BTW My ipod was outta commission for about 8 months before I forced it into disk mode and reset it again after that (tried this on previous occasions but today it miraculously worked) Hallelujah.

  589. Put new HD in my daughter’s 20GB, 4G in 5 minutes using the pictorial instructions! Really easy if you use guitar pick to open. Thank many times over Josh!!

  590. Smack worked for me too(at least so far). I did it by holding it wheel up and hit it flat on the back on my mouse pad. Gave it a little cushion but still enough of a hit. It was easier for me than hitting something in one hand with my other hand. This solution reminds me of hitting the TV on the side to make the picture come in better!

  591. ipod sad face and hard drive clicking.

    I hit it in my hands a few times and it stopped clicking and worked again for now.

  592. The smack it technique works for a period of time but after about 4 months mine had to be smacked harder and more often till death took over, Replaced the HD yesterday for 80 bux and it lives again, Thanx for the lesson.

  593. YEAY!!! The slap method works!! Thank you all!! (Thanks for teh step by step guide just in case).

  594. SON OF A BITCH! I had a friend bring me a (what appeared to be ) DEAD iPod. 30G picture one at that!. So he says that he only got it as far as a white screen. And that he charged it all night, but never got anything on the screen confirming this. So I look at it. I try rebooting it several times. No go. Finally I put my ear to the back to hear the HD in a spin up/down loop. I found this posting on my first search, and thought, what the hell, it seemed doomed anyways. HOLD & SLAP!!!! Freakin’ WORKED! These guys think I’m a cross between GOD & the FONZ! Thanks dude!

  595. My problem seems different than most I’ve read about. My 4th gen. 20gb ipod works fine through headphones, but when I connect anything to its docking port (the thingy at the bottom) serious problems. I get regular whirring and clicking, songs stall randomly and then skip onto the next one. Any guesses about fixing this?

  596. Unbelievable, yesterday suddenly after finished playing a song on my 4G IPod (the Ipod was lying on the table), it stopped playing when it tried to access the harddrive. I only heard a repeating clicking sound which reminded me awfully of the headcrash I had some time ago with an Ipod after it came a bit too close to a magnet (other story, but luckily it was replaced on waranty). So I reset my Ipod by holding the menu and select button and after rebooting it showed me the sad ipod icon πŸ™ continuing the clicking sound…

    Lucky me I found this thread and as I thought I don’t have anything to loose I tried the hold and slap solution in several different ways. I couldn’t believe, that the descibed was in Post #61 actually worked!!!

    Thanks so much, now I am a happy Ipod user again and save 250 bucks for buying a new one!!!!

  597. My ipod was making clicking noises every once in a while and would give me a sad face. I decided to open it up and got some sand and dirt out and reconnected the same hard drive. My ipod works perfectly now. Thanks so much!

  598. Thanks for giving me the courage to open up my ipod. I had a similar clicking noise and nothing seemed to work. I thought it was a dead HDD for sure, but I opened it up, disconnected the drive, re-connected it; and it worked. Unbelievable.

  599. To any interested;
    To have an ipod show up as a removable drive, hit ctrl+alt+del. Go services, and shut down “ituneshelper” and “ipodservice”. To do some _really_ cool sht, visit

  600. How does this transfer to the new iPods? Has anyone had the b4lls to open one up and check it out? An 80Gb Video iPod is a lot to lose if you bugger it up.
    Also, I agree with the Teacher up at the top: grammar and punctuation are paramount for credibility.

  601. Good job.
    Great blog too, nice pictures and good detail.
    I belive my HD is failing on my IPod. I think Im going to replace it. Knowing its just a simple IDE Im hoinh to try a Seagate 80Gig and see what happens. Should be funny.
    Good work sir!!

  602. Not that i doubt the technical merit of all the ideas on this website but i am not really the scredriver replacing hard-drive kind of guy. So imagine my delight when i read this gobbit of information “B) Simply hold it in one hand, and smack it with your other hand. I was told do try this by a friend online, and wa-la, it has not had a single problem since which was over 2 months ago. Saves a ton of time, not to mention the money for a new drive.”

    Desperate for a solution to my problem “sad face” problem i tried it and hit it as hard as i could. 2 Seconds and a soar hand later the i-pod was back and working. I had obviously tried the standard tecnology “tv tap” previously but this clunk seemed to do the trick. Brilliant Thanks

  603. Thanks for both tips. My ipod responded to the spanking treatment. My husband’s had to be opened up and the HD replaced. We’re both happy!

  604. Yeah, same here. Seeing this gave me the courage to open up my 20 gig and see if I could fix anything. After I got it open and disconnected the drive, all I did was reattach it and it worked fine!

  605. Thanks, just found a HD for my 4g photo on ebay for 60 bucks and viola, new ipod. Saved me a bunch of money by not having to buy a new ipod, and, best of all, lots of free music courtesy of the drive’s previous owner.

  606. well I went on google to figure out how to take back my i-pod or fix it since I didn’t save the reciept when buying it..and 2 days ago my mother put it through the washer. I’m pretty sure its screwed for good, which is really upsetting..but I am now going to get a new harddrive for it, and see if it works! Thanks

  607. This thread has given me inspiration, and false hope…..i just don’t know what to expect….So last week my notebook crashes…I had to reboot, wiping my itunes and everything in it. NO worries i thought, i’ve got it all on the ipod. Then, through some devine intervention, two days ago (before restoring my itunes) my ipod gives me the sad icon….the scratchy, gawd awful noise upon start up….so…as it stands now, i’ve lost 9000 songs.

    I’ve got a 5th gen ipod video, and after reading this thread, I’ve tried the smack technique (what have i got to lose?)….no luck. I’