My Ipod is ALIVE! A solution to your FROZEN, STUCK wheel problem!


New member
I would like to preface this post with a couple things. One, this is my second time writing this. The first took me 20 minutes. I went to preview, it went to never never land. Dang irritating. Secondly, this is NOT for an easy fix, or for rich folks who can easily afford another Ipod.

No, this is for folks like me. Family guys. Work hard, little extra dough. You got a busted Ipod, you DON'T want to give in to the Man and buy another one. You don't mind taking a risk to fix it, and your NOT the kind of person who breaks everything. You KNOW who you are. You can't wash your car without breaking an antenna, you can't wipe a monitor off without tripping on the cat your wife made you buy!

Lastly, thanks to ALL you fine folks who have posted your fixes in here. No one says that enough. This is just my way of trying to give back.

That said... prepare for a long read. Maybe try the things I tried first. Maybe it'll fix you issues before you do what I did. Maybe.

The Problem: A 1 - 1 1/2 year old 40 gig Ipod manufactured in 2004

Symptoms: Simply "froze" when I took it off the dock to use it. Stuck at the song menu, wheel doesn't respond, just lights up. Also at this point can be turned off by holding the center button and top button. "soft reset"


Things I tried without success that MAY work for YOU.

1. Simply tried the lock and unlock method. If your not familar, simply slide the "lock" bar on the top off and on. For a lot of folks it unlocked everything and boom, off they go. For me, I even tried locking it, letting it go to sleep, waking it up and unlocking. Every combo imaginable.

Result: :eek:

2. Next up, I tried "soft resetting" multiple times. If you don't know this trick, you can run a search. My model maybe different from yours. But reset it several times.

Result: :eek: Nothing

3. I browse the forums, here and other sites. Compile a "to-do" list. Takes me a couple hours. Hopefully you find this, save yourself search time. Next up, someone suggested mounting the Ipod as a disk drive on the pc. Then scandisk to look for problems. So off I go. I plug in. Scandisk for an hour? I don't know, I went and got a snack. Came back annnndd

Result: :eek: Yup, stuck.

4. So now, I read you should use the Ipod updater and restore the settings. Okey doke. Off I go to Apples website. Make sure I have the newest updater. Then I plug in and hit restore. I am theoretically blowing away all my songs, and restoring the Ipod to factory settings.

Result: :shake: Yep, it's restored it looks like. Now I have the language screen up. The one you saw when you first set your Ipod up. Pick your language, etc. The wheel is still frozen. Arg

I interject here to state, this is when I asked for advice. As of today, 72 reads, and no answers so I am getting worried

5. I read someone who says, they gently smacked their Ipod to get things rolling. What the hell. I give mine a gentle thud. I turn it off and on. Boots up to a screen telling me to go online and seek Apples fine assistance..ROFL That ain't happening. So I instead rehook up the Ipod to the updater and restore again. (Ironically, after all this is over, it never deleted crap, I have ALL my songs and

Result: :mad: Obviously negative

6. Now I find that from my last action, I no longer can boot up the Ipod. So the scroll feature is broken AS IS the button features. No backlight. I have to boot up from either the wall plug, or turning the lock button on and off.

I read a post where a person says, if the wheel doesn't work, run a very thing item under the wheel itself to free any junk underneath. For my model, I can't find anything that thing. All I managed was to score a few marks on my wheel. I'm glad it worked for him. For me, I'm too dumb, or I didn't have any cool thin

Result: :shake:

7. I read a guy who used compressed air to blow around the wheel, and his Pod started working. I had a two day delay while my wife brought home a can, and I blasted away.

Result: :confused: Great idea, but not for me.

8. At this point Im getting desperate. I read a post where the person has cracked open their case, found the battery, and unplugged and replugged it.

This takes guts for me. I spent 400 bucks, I don't see any screws to unscrew. On the other hand, I KNEW my battery would blow out someday and I refuse to pay what, 79 bucks for a new one..ROFL

The post said you can find plastic pro tools to insert in the case and not mar it. Sound advice. Please use it if you like. I dented my case at the impact point on the seam. My cover covers it. Do I care, no. Do you? *shrug*

I used a small flathead screwdriver and pried my case apart carefully. It merely clips together inside. What I found? Not much. Now from here on in, I am working on this Ipod layed on the table with the screen/scroll wheel DOWN. So off I take the back. Be CAREFUL. It is all help together with "tape type connections" but nothing you can't handle.
This first step exposes the battery which is glued inside its case. No biggy to pry it out. Also you will see the hard drive connected to the circuit board. You end up sorta lying the case pieces side by side do you don't have to disconnect them.

You can then see where the battery plugs in, and gently unplug it. I did so and replugged it in, several times.

Result: :shake: Im still frozen

9. I go to work that night. A friend tells me he has heard if you let the battery die, when you recharge it, it fixes some issues *shrugs* I'll try anything once. So I get to work. Why is it work? Only way to make it do ANYTHING is to flick the lock switch back and forth. It keeps it fired up for a minute and goes to sleep. Over the course of a few DAYS I wear the battery down.

(OH, I also read if the Ipod gets moist, some folks have laid them face down for 5-10 days and they've fixed themselves. So I've been doing this each night.)

Result: :mad:

10. I grab my air, and spray all over the inside, close to the wheel as I can. Why? My wife has pointed out that the IPOD MAY have gotten a bit of Coke near it. We had a small spill near it in the truck. It didnt appear wet, but who knows. I heard condensation can actually accumulate and gank it up.

Result: :eek: Nope

11. Ok, Now Im angry. So I look at the next section. The circuit board which is screwed into the front part of the case along with the vid display. It is held in with 6-8 small "star shaped" screws. Im sure there is a proper tool for this. Take the time and find it..rofl Myself, I tried allen wrenched, all kinds of crap. I found a small flathead screwdrive with a partially broken blade that just fit right in there. Their not bolted tightly. So I turned them right out. Do NOT strip the screws or your done. Once the screws are out, you gently lift out the circuit board, and vid display. Again, it has TAPE type connections. Literally taped down. I'm NOT a tech computer guy, and I'm describing it as a layman, everyday guy, may see it..rofl

Now, I could see the wheel, and 4 indentations which Im assuming control the wheel. All looked good, a little dirt. So I spray with air. I fire up the pod CAREFULLY. Nothing. Now I wet a q-tip with rubbing alcohol and wipe everything I can reach including partially under the wheel. I then air dry with my compressed air. I fire it up.

Nothing. OR IS IT? I see I have moved down 1 from English to Chinese on the selection screen. So something worked.

12. I will describe this as best as I can. There is a tape connection leading from the wheel and front case to the circuit board. You can literally peel off the end to reveal the connection pins. I do so figuring this is what gives the commands from the wheel to the device. I swab it out, air dry it, and replug.

When I fire it up, my screen does wierd crap. Lines all over, and eventually flashs to a picture of a battery. :shake:

So now, I go back and do it all again. I swab it all down including the newest connection I found. I seat it back as best as I can. All of a SUDDEN? I hear the old familiar clicking noise as the wheel starts working. Yahoo! Its all in Chinese, but who cares..rofl

So, I gently put it all back together. I reseat the vid display and circuit board, and screw the screws back in. I set the battery in the hole, and the hard drive where it belongs careful not to twist any connections. I reseal the case.

13. Lucky thirteen. I take the Ipod to my speaker station. Dock it. Crank up ACDC Back in Black as a celebration. 10 days later, my baby is BACK!

So there you go. That is how I recovered my Ipod, WITHOUT tech service, WITHOUT buying a new wheel and definitly WITHOUT giving up and buying another Ipod.

I wish you well in your pursuit. Please don't yell at me if this doesn't work for you or you damage your Ipod beyond repair. Only you can decide how much ambition and or skill you have.

Las Vegas, Nevada


NOT a mind reader
Good post, very detailed. Take pictures next time ;) It's terrible when people come here looking for help (of any kind) for various problems and do not bother to mention what they have tried so far. :shake:

There is a sticked thread on the Hacks & Mods forum that outlines how to open a 3G and 4G iPod with a guitar pick.


New member
You know what, I am honestly half tempted to retake mine apart again to do

I thought of that when I was finished but at the time, I was relieved to get it done.


NOT a mind reader
Nah, ya never know when something can screw up by accident. I'd leave it alone since it's working :)


New member
Ok folks, by request, I cracked her open and took pics!

Ok I did it by request.
I cracked my Ipod back open and took photos.

Because I LOVE to help mankind..
Nah, seriously, I pinched one of the cables, and the
Ipod froze So I fixed it up, made a couple
mistakes, took some crappy pics. And now Ill post em.

Again folks. I shot these with ONE hand, after a long night
of work, in the afternoon, bleary eyed, shaking, so they ARE
blurry. In some of em anyways. Hopefully they help a little bit.

So first off, here's the

Now, I have cracked open the Ipod. In this photo you will see a mistake
I made. I let the case flop open, and pulled the cable loose. Its not a hard
fix, but its a pain in the butt. So be careful you don't do the same. See the
right side of the case? With the white plastic showing? That unbolts with 2
screws and you flip it over and reconnect the cable by pushing it in. Simple.

Ok, what's this? Well if you read my last post, this is my broken screwdriver
that I use to pop my case open *grin* It deserves it's own ego trip, so there
ya go..

Ok, now I have redone the cable, and set the right side "carefully" to the side.
On the left what you are seeing is the hard drive (silver/blue)
This may be basic to some users, to others, this may serve their needs, so
veterans, please excuse me if I miss a techie term or oversimplify :)

Ok, now you simply "flip" the hardrive out very gently. It too has a cable connection
which you don't want to tear. You CAN even unplug it, but for my needs, I want to
see when the stuck wheel becomes unstuck. So I leave it plugged in.
Now this exposes the battery (silver) which is glued down. It can be unglued like mine
is now that I unglued and easily unplugged so this tutorial also can serve your
needs on how to replace a battery..

Just a photo here of me lifting out the battery to show you what it looks like..

AHHA! Now we're getting to the heart of the stuck wheel. Here once the battery is removed
you can see the circuits that the "wheel" actually affects. You may even be able to clean
right from this point and make it work. *shrugs* Mine didn't so you will see more of the stripdown. Again I emphasise to try everything else before you keep "gutting" it out.
Accidents happen, and they happened to me..rofl So I will try and tell you like the cable
before what to avoid.

Ok, here's a bit better of a picture.

PLEASE NOTE, from my previous post. The cable I "unstuck from the tape, and cleaned under is the gold one pictured in these last photos. Hence why I took several photos of the same thing. In this one, to clarify, I am holding the battery with my fingers, You are looking into the battery holder so to speak.

Another view of this same area that I cleaned..

And me cleaning this area with my canned air. Blowing underneath the circuits and anything else that looks like it needed it. Note.. One of my mistakes was blowing too much. The can got cold quick, and blew frost. Yeah, great, frozen moisture. Swell.
Wait till it dries, and blow it

Ok, these last two pictures show you more than the rest. On this one here, I unplugged the hard drive and set it off to the side because frankly it was ####ing me off trying to hold it and shoot That said, now you can see everything laid out BEFORE I took out the cricuit board down to the final strip..

Ok, Now here I have removed the 6 screws holding the circuit board in.

IMPORTANT, upon reinstalling DO NOT tighten these tight. I wondered why they came out so easy and put em back in tight. Mistake because it actually affected how the wheel worked. It was all goofy. Hit the center, it rewound. Spun the wheel, and it changed to Chinese..rofl.. I let off the screws a bit and she works great.

LAST IMPORTANT, I also didnt watch what I was doing moving all this crap around. Now, I scratched the INSIDE of my case screen. Not the vid display, but the actual glass cover. Take some care there.

Now in this photo you see the IPOD gutted. Now the wheel is completely open to you.
How does one take off the metal plate holding the front wheel on. I don't know. It didn't pry up easy. I merely blew under the metal plate. Swabbed the crap out of everything with a alchohol swab. Also, see the gold cable? GENTLY unfasten it, and swab it out. The reattach it all.

Now hopefully with this knowledge you can replace almost any piece of your Ipod. Screw Apple and their overpriced techies. Thats a joke. I still hold with the theory of nice clean scientific folks replacing this junk. I'm just a working joe who can't afford em..

There you go gang. Make this sticky. This took entirely too long..rofl

Best of luck to ya..
Las Vegas, Nevada


New member
An easier solution, once you've got the iPod opened:

In the fifth picture in your series, in the lower left-hand corner of the picture, there's the little white connector plug with two wires coming out of it that connects the battery to the iPod. If you're replacing the battery, you disconnect the plug from its socket.

To re-fire a very stuck iPod, simply unplug the connector (carefully) and then re-plug it.

This technique saves all the hassle of cleaning out/resetting whatever you had to do at the end. Best part is, you can see it working before you even put the case back together.


New member
Thanks for the advice, xReddogx! I was sitting on a brick with the same click wheel problem and after reading your post, I decided to go ahead and try the same thing. Once I opened the shell, I realized that the gold cable connecting the click wheel to the board was slightly loose (the silver color of the loose area made it obvious). I simply wiggled it back in and that worked like a charm! My iPod is up and running like new. :D
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New member
the air compresser one worked for a little bit


this is my first post here so I dont know much on how things go...but I had the same problem with mine so I went out and tried the air compressor one and it worked for a little bit...we were running low on air so once we fill it up again I'll try again
here's the air hose I used just so ya know

The Bexican

New member
Appreciate the info but...

Awesome info! I have a Nano 4G where the click wheel stopped working, and after hearing time and time again "Why don't you just buy a new one?" (Sure, let me just pull $200 outa my butt....) I decided I didn't have much to lose. It was different to check out how to take it apart, but thanks to Youtube, I got that taken care of easily enough. But after painstakingly taking care to remove and disconnect cables and whatnot, I discovered not only was my new-when-I-bought-it iPod a totally obviously referbished model,:mad: but the cable cord that connects the click wheel to the CPU board was completely corroded and eaten through. :eek: No fixing that with alcohol and a can of air! :shake:
Anyway, just wanted to give others out there a headsup in case they have the same issue as me. Best to do this if you have an older model iPod that is already out of warranty.


New member
Stuck Wheel Fix

This might make some people very mad due to spending countless hours troubleshooting their ipod but here goes. I read through every post on this page and proceeded to get frustrated with my Ipod so I decided to press down fairly hard on the wheel and rotate my thumb around the wheel to try and push any debris away from the underside of the wheel since I didn't have any compressed air handy. All of the sudden I was able to scroll up and down like normal. Give it a try.