iPod 4th Generation Troubleshooting
The 4th Generation iPod looks like the iPod Photo, but does not have a color display. Troubleshooting and replacing parts is fairly straightforward.
iPod won't turn on
No matter what you do, you can't get your iPod to turn on.
Hold switch on
Before delving into the guts of your iPod, check to make sure the hold switch isn't activated. If the hold switch is on, the iPod will ignore any input on the click wheel and refuse to do anything. If your iPod's problem isn't so easily solved, read on.
If your iPod won't turn on, especially if it has not been used recently, you may simply have a drained battery. Plug your iPod into your computer or AC adapter and see if anything happens. Ideally your iPod will recognize it has been connected to a power source and charge its battery. If it will no longer charge, it must be replaced with a new battery.
Bad logic board
It is possible that it appears nothing is happening because the display is bad. If you hold the iPod up to your ear you should be able to hear the hard drive spinning. If the iPod sounds like it is working properly but nothing is visible, it is possible the display is bad and must be replaced.
No audio or distorted audio
Your iPod turns on and appears to work, but when you plug in headphones or speakers, the audio doesn't play properly.
It's unlikely your headphones or speakers are bad, but it's worthwhile to eliminate these as the source of your problem at the beginning. Try your iPod with another set of headphones or speakers just to make sure that the problem is with the iPod.
Bad audio jack
The most likely cause of audio output problems on iPods is a bad audio-out jack. We sell the thin (20 GB) and thick (40 GB) headphone jacks, and we offer free guides for replacement. If this does not restore audio, the headphone jack cable may be the culprit.
Sad iPod icon on startup
The iPod displays an image of a sad iPod when turned on
Sometimes, a reset and restore will fix a sad iPod. Connect your iPod to your computer and use iTunes to restore the iPod. Restoring the iPod will erase everything on it, so make sure everything on the iPod is stored elsewhere prior to restoring. Sometimes it may be necessary to restore the iPod several times before it works properly. If you are unable to restore your iPod using iTunes, you can hard reset your iPod. 4th generation iPods can be hard reset by booting while holding the menu and play/pause buttons. This should result in a quick dark screen followed by the standard Apple boot graphic.
Bad logic board
If restoring the iPod didn't work, the sad iPod is likely caused by a problem with the logic board. There's not much to troubleshoot here. Basically, the only option is to replace the logic board (20 GB or 40 GB).
Folder icon appears on startup
The iPod displays an image of a folder when turned on.
It is possible that a simple restore may resurrect the hard drive. Restoring the iPod will erase everything on it, so make sure everything on the iPod is stored elsewhere prior to restoring. To restore, connect your iPod to a computer with iTunes installed. Upon connecting, a message may pop up, informing you that your hard drive is corrupted and/or in recovery mode. If one of these messages pops up, click the "Restore Now" button and follow the directions. If no pop up message appears, click "Restore" on the iPod summary page (click on your iPod icon on the left menu to find this page). Follow the directions to restore.
Bad hard drive or cable
One of the best methods to diagnose a failing hard drive is to listen to the drive. If you put your iPod up to your ear, you should hear a smooth-sounding whirr of the hard drive spinning. Any loud clicking or grinding sounds may mean that your iPod's drive is failing. If you don't hear anything, the drive is not getting power or is very damaged and can't spin up. In this instance, replacing the hard drive cable first is a good idea. Then, if the problem persists, replace the hard drive. Browse our hard drives and check out our iPod ID page for compatible drives.
iPod doesn't boot past Apple logo
The iPod either boots to an Apple logo and freezes or continuously reboots.