Dead iPod Hard Drive?


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
Out of the blue, my 4G iPod has suddenly started spinning a lot and making quasi-rhythmic seeks that end in rather jarring clicking noises. Additionally, it refuses to mount entirely when I attach it to my computer, although the computer recognizes that the drive has been attached. However, while it attempts to mount entirely, it just makes those same seeking and clicking noises.

Here I was thinking that it was battery life that I'd have to worry about eventually (the battery is fine), and, in spite of taking fairly immaculate care of my iPod, it sounds like the hard drive has gone to **** for no apparent reason (I would venture to guess that Apple chose a crappy hard drive manufacturer).

So what are my options? Is it affordable to get the hard drive replaced, or am I stuck having to buy a whole new iPod?


Political User
How old is the iPod? Is it still covered under warrantee? As for hard drive manufacturers that Apple uses, there are many. I personally own an iPod Mini which still worked perfectly fine after accidently being dropped off my balcony, about a 10 ft drop onto concrete.

That being said, iFixit has parts: and has tutorials ( on how to take it apart, what tools you need, and what you need to be aware of.

Battery life, hehe, my iPod mini lasts about 40 - 50 minutes, which is just long enough for me to go to school (20 minute drive), and drive back home (20 minutes) and get it back onto USB power :p
With respect, man not only are the prices of those iPod hard drives ridiculous, but both of the 40 gig models say that they are:

This product is Used, fully tested.
We guarantee your purchase with a 6 month warranty
$120 plus shipping, "moderate" install difficulty according to the web site, and in seven months if this hard drive takes a crap then you are up the creek again? Wow.

If your iPod itself isn't under warranty any more, it's possible that the hard drive still is, even though it's OEM. Check with the manufacturer of your hard drive to see if it is; it might have a three year warranty. I wouldn't hold my breath, but there's a chance.

I wonder if they're standard 2.5 inch laptop hard drives? Also worth a shot before buying a used hard drive that has a very short warranty.


Political User
While the hard drives may still be under OEM warrantee, Apple would have to put in the request for a replacement, you as the consumer will not be eligible. I found the same thing is true for IBM thinkpad hard drives, IBM wanted $100 to replace it, so I removed it from the bay and looked online to see if I could do an OEM warrantee return (good till 2011), not possible, only IBM is able to get a new one from the OEM.
While the hard drives may still be under OEM warrantee, Apple would have to put in the request for a replacement, you as the consumer will not be eligible. I found the same thing is true for IBM thinkpad hard drives, IBM wanted $100 to replace it, so I removed it from the bay and looked online to see if I could do an OEM warrantee return (good till 2011), not possible, only IBM is able to get a new one from the OEM.
I got lucky once and had one hard drive manufacturer who honored the warranty on a hard drive that was in a brand name computer that belonged to a customer of mine. It was a couple years ago so I don't remember the brand of the computer. I *think* the hard drive manufacturer was Western Digital.

I have no experience with iPods so as I said, I don't know if the iPod hard drives are just standard 2.5" laptop ones (from the pics they look the same or similar), but if the iPod isn't under warranty, before buying a new (or used) hard drive it's worth a try checking on the warranty of the hard drive. All they can say is no.

Even though their records should tell, don't mention that it's out of an iPod and see what they say.

Of course, if the iPod isn't under warranty the chances the hard drive still is are next to nothing - I never bought an OEM laptop hard drive so I don't know if they come with three or five year warranties like some desktop ones or if they're just a one year deal.


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
Thanks everyone. Looking at the prices for a lot of that stuff, it seems like I'd be better off just contributing it to my "new iPod" fund. I only wish that, if it had to happen at all, it could have waited until later this year. I've wanted an iPhone for a while, but, in addition to the 3G version happening soon, I'm also moving to Canada later this year; and Rogers, in a cross between a Mexican-style monopoly and a Russian corporate oligarch, seems to be in no hurry whatsoever--and there's certainly no guarantee that it will be affordable at all by international standards.

(Talking about the overpriced, non-competitive nature of Canadian corporations could make me go on and on and on...)

So I guess I could just be iPod-less for a while or I could get an iPod Touch, which seems like a phoneless iPhone anyway. Hmm....


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
My 4G iPod hard drive has died several times too. :(

Next time I'll probably end up getting a flash-based player.
Yes. I'm highly selective when it comes to buying hard drives for myself, because I feel that a lot of manufacturers are just crap and it shows. Apple, I'm guessing, couldn't really care less about where their drives come from, and we all just have to trust that they know best. Since I know that that's just a fantasy, it's flash-only for me too from now on.

Thankfully, my existing iPod is only 20 GB, so it's not like I'm spoiled on a 100+ GB iPod. The 32 GB iPod Touch would be a step up in size for me!


music MUSIC music
Political User
ive gotten busted ipods to fix others..its cou7ld sell yours on ebay, then just abuy a new one..i got a brand new 16gb touch for 300 shipped next day from NY!


OSNN One Post Wonder

Here's the scoop. Your drive is dead and needs to be replaced. In the 4th Gen iPods you can use pretty much any pin-connector 1.8" Toshiba drive made. Plus, there are tons of free links and videos on line that will show you how to swap it with the only tool being a skinny butter knife or equivalent. Just search google on iPod drive repair or drive swap.

Now some things you need to pay attention to.
1. Drives are dirt cheap right now on eBay. Just make sure you buy from a vendor who sells new drives or guaranteed recertified drives (DISI123 and Auction56 are two vendors I've used multiple times as their drives work and their prices are cheap).

2. Drives for 3g and 4g iPods need to be partitioned and pre-formatted. It is a pain if you don't have the right adapters to do this. Again, the vendors mentioned above pre-format their drives.

3. On the 4g iPod, you can use MK2004GAL, MK2006GAL or MK2006GALC for 20GB, and you can use MK3006GAL for 30GB and MK4004GAH for 40GB and MK6006GAH for 60GB. If you have a 3g iPod, use only the MK2004GAL as the other drives may have compatibility issues or even fry if you plug them in a 3g iPod.

4. If your dead drive is a "clicker", be aware that there are two possible causes, and two completely different repairs :lick:

First is the dropped iPod. Or your iPod has taken a severe jold. If that's the case, just buy a new drive and you'll be fine.

Another cause of "clickers" is a bad voltage regulator on the iPod system board. If this is the case, and you just replace the drive, the replacement will also become a "clicker" in short order. If your iPod hasn't been dropped or otherwise taken a beating and you have a clicker, get the VR tested before spending any money on a drive.

I hope this helps.


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