how to fix an ipod with a sad ipod symbol -> save yourself $200 repair bill

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jasonlee

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http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2006/07/25/how-to-fix-an-ipod-with-the-sad-ipod-icon/?url=http://www.spillingcoffee.com/2006/07/13/how-to-fix-an-ipod-with-the-sad-ipod-icon/&frame=true

As I’ve written before, I’m not exactly busy at work right now. I spend most of my day looking for things to do, surfing the web and listening to my iPod.

I’ve been doing this for several months and I’m already to the point where I desperately need the twin drugs of an Internet connection and a charged mp3 player filled with groovy tunes just to make it through the day without bludgeoning myself to death with a stapler.

And then this morning arrived.

I pulled my iPod off the charger and noticed the dreaded Sad iPod icon on my screen:



Beneath the icon was the URL http://www.apple.com/support/ipod/. I went to work and immediately pulled up the web address. Sure enough, there were all sorts of tips on how to deal with the little sad icon, including Apple’s standard cheery “5 R List” of ways to fix your iPod: Reset, Retry, Restart, Reinstall, Restore.

Of course none of these even remotely worked. Everything I tried immediately ended up with me getting the sad iPod icon once again.

Frustrated I turned to the blogosphere and started searching around for anyone who might have had the same problem of me. And, of course, many people did. There’s a reason Apple’s iPod support page has a Google Pagerank of 8.

After an hour or so of surfing around I came up with this analysis of my situation:

I had a broken iPod that was resistent to all the usual methods of repair. If I couldn’t get it fixed I was going to have to send it into Apple. So I decided to do what many of the blogs out there recommended:

Purposely drop my iPod to the floor.

This had worked for many, many other people even though Apple’s website (wisely) doesn’t mention this possible fix. I couldn’t quite bring myself to dropping my $300 iPod to the hard tile floor on the off chance that it would spin or wobble on the way down so I did the next best thing: I held it and slammed it onto a pad of paper on my desk (providing some cushion so I didn’t crack the case), charging port down.

And like mana falling from heaven, the tunes started playing.

Apparently there are really SIX R’s in the Apple repair repetoir: Reset, Retry, Restart, Reinstall, Restore and Ram.

While I thanked the Jobs Gods for resurrecting my iPod I couldn’t help but wonder WHY such a ridiculous fix worked. I did a little more poking around it and turns out that the hard drive cable inside a lot of iPods manages to work itself loose to the point where the connection is no longer valid. So the iPod is looking for the hard drive, the cable isn’t completely connected and your iPod get sad.

Dropping (or banging) the iPod basically jolts the cable back into the socket.

This worked for me and it appears to have worked for countless others. I cannot, of course, take responsibility for anything you do to your iPod. I’m fairly certain Apple doesn’t recommend this method of fixing it. But then again, this fix doesn’t require you sending your iPod away…

Oh, and if you’re having battery issues with your iPod, I stumbled upon the excellently titled “The iPod Battery Unplugged” page. I didn’t need it but I learned some things…


Author’s Note: Due to the overwhelming response on Digg about this controversial iPod repair method I have decided to help the many people who are still a little unclear on how this method works. I am listing simple instruction on how to assemble your own iPod Repair Kit which should hereafter be known as the iPad™.

Required Materials:
iPod with Sad iPod Icon
Pad of Paper, any size

Optional Materials:
Pen
Beer
Hovercraft
Llama
…you get the idea.

Assembly Steps:
1. Put the pad on the desk.
2. Optionally, write something on the pad with the pen.
3. Done.

How to Use:
1. Hold the broken iPod in your hand, charger port down.
2. Ram your iPod against the pad firmly, but not hard enough to go through the desk or send the iPod flying out of your hand.
3. Test iPod.
4. Repeat as necessary.
5. Have a celebratory or condolence beer.

cliff notes - apple ipod stops working.... bang it on a table and it miracalously works again. saved myself $$$ in repair bills!

classic case of companies designing things to break so they can make money on repair bills/ people forced to upgrade
 

Drjones

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Holy crap, this worked!!!!

I was dismayed to see that my trusty iPod gave me a sad face last night.

I read this and thought, "What the heck, a little love tap never hurt anyone!"

So I gave it a firm smack on the charging port by rapping it firmly against my mouse pad, and lo and behold it fired right up!!!!

Thanks!!! :D
 

rjb0978

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i had the same thing too. slamming it on the tile floor worked for a few months but it doesnt work anymore. I just got a new ipod for christmas but i NEED the old songs, even if i decide to keep the new one. Is it possible to transfer the songs from one ipod to another?

The computer no longer reads the ipod as being connected which sometimes would reset it and get it to work.. Plugging it in, pressing a bunch of buttons also no longer works. I've gotten every sad face/battery/etc. screen so im not sure what to do. I need those songs. Any advice anyone? Its the 20gb older, white one, click wheel i guess that i got in 2004.

Will Apple ipod store do anything as far as fixing it/restoring it for free? If not, i was gonna try the ipod repair people on ebay for 30 bucks.
 

Toobs

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You really don't want to slam your IPod on anything because it will damage the heads in the hard drive even more. Eventrually, the hard drive will die and there is no way to recover.
 

musikpoddr

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Miracle!!!

I did not believe it would work, but hey, it did! After I banged it a couple of times, was able to hook it up to the computer and instead of sad folder, itunes actually recognized my ipod again. Don't know how, but am glad it got another lease of life, and i didn't have to spend a cent! Am glad I didn't throw it in the trash so quickly! CHEERS.
 

Vectran

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Quick temporary fix. Just get all your important data off it :)
 

HTexas

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Wow! It worked!!!!! Crazy but true....I put my on my desk and using gentle force popped it down on top of my Car Loan payment book....still well padded with many more payments to go....lol
 

Pickums1283

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I couldn't believe how many times banging it worked on bringing my 4th generation HP Ipod back to life. I also got it to work again just simply by opening it and unplugging and replugging the battery back in. Unfortunately, a couple months ago, the poor thing bit the dust for the final time, although lately when I take it out to check on it, I no longer get the frowning Ipod (who on earth would have ever thought of making that? :confused: ); I now just get the folder symbol. I still keep hoping that maybe just one day it will come back but it probably won't considering there a pretty big dent in the actual hard drive.
 

KG GT500

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I read this a couple weeks ago and thought it was funny that such a barbaric method should repair a $300-$400 iPod. Oh well.

I have an 80GB Classic, and it runs fine and I wont need to do this. Howoever, I learned today that this method is useful when trying to 'repair' iPod accessories. Today I dropped my iHome iH5 remote from about 5 feet onto hardwood. Needless to say, it didn't want to work after, so I peeled off the front and took it apart. Nothing was broken, so I put it back together and it still wouldn't work. After about 5 minutes of looking on Google for anyone with a similar problem, I remembered this thread and thought, "What the hell?". So I took a pack of 50 sheets of paper, which was lying around, and I smacked the remote (equal in size to a 1G Nano) on the paper a couple times. Then I went to use the remote and it worked!

Moral of the story: If you have anything iPod-related that stops working, and there is no obvious sign as to why, smack the crap out of it and it will probably fix it.
 

MattE303

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LOL, score another one for "giving it a good smack". This technique worked on my wife's 4G iPod Photo that was booting to the sad face and refused to do anything else. I only had to smack it onto the palm of my hand once to fix it. Now I'm wondering if I should try to disassemble it and make sure the drive cable is plugged in good, the smack I gave it wasn't very hard and couldn't have seated it very solidly. I don't want to smack it any harder for fear of damaging the drive itself. Anyone taken theirs apart to reseat the cable properly? Is it difficult?
 

Demolition

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MattE303 said:
Anyone taken theirs apart to reseat the cable properly? Is it difficult?
Seems like a fairly easy procedure judging from this video tutorial from ifixipodsfast.com.

It looks like the only tool that you'd need is a plastic pry tool.
 

Rod Smith

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Toobs said:
You really don't want to slam your IPod on anything because it will damage the heads in the hard drive even more. Eventrually, the hard drive will die and there is no way to recover.
Recover what? My iPod was already dead, for many months. It's working again now. I had nothing to lose. Thanks, jasonlee for the hot tip! I didn't read your whole post. I just threw my old dead iPod down at the floor and now it's "as good as new". I noticed the back came off a little from that. I had to snap it back on.
 

Rod Smith

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Actually, my iPod was dead for over two years. When it quit working, I put it in a drawer until I saw this thread. After I threw it down onto the floor and it came back to life, I connected it to my computer and got a messsage saying this iPod is synced tgo another computer. So it was synced to my old computer which I haven't used in over two years. This is the most useful thread I have ever read in a internet discussion forum.
 

englishfly

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I did this except I tossed the iPod... It was a 2005 60GB iPod photo and it worked again. I might buy a iPod on ebay that has the sad iPod and see if I can fix it. :D
 

curtis73

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Just did it. 4 hits on an open encyclopedia page and its working.

I'd like to prevent HD damage in the future, and I've had good luck with completely discharging it... how do I open it so I can yank the battery next time? How do you get a 40g classic open?
 

dkbvipmvp

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It worked!!!!!!

I was on the Apple website contemplating buying another Ipod classic or an Ipod touch. I couldn't see paying over $200 for another Ipod. I bought this one refurbished from Apple and I have had it for about 5 years. I dropped it on some carpet from about a height of three feet and then I plugged it in and the light came on. It started syncing and charging, thanks to this thread for saving me some money.
 

appletonwiguy

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Ok, so its friday night at the start of labor day weekend. we had a big storm and power is out. so as all my electronics are dying, my son and his wife invite us to run up their electric bill. they order pizza, my wife and i bring fat tire beer and a bottle of italian white wine. so a few beers have passed, and my son nudges his wife to show me that "thing we talked about". so here she comes with an ipod 20gb that she hasn't fired up for 5 years. so i have all kinds of cords and start charging it...while getting another beer. after a little while i turn it on and get the sad face. so i go to web and go through a few resets. then i stumble, possibly from the beer, on your story. so i am reading it out loud to the 7 of us there and we are enjoying the story. then i get to you solution. more laughing. then she says lets try it. nobody wants to try but me. so i get a thick magazine, put on counter, grab the ipod and firmly pop it down on the powerup side. holy mother of ipods, it fires up and all the music is there. well, it was like doing magic except its real. good way to end an evening. this will be a story to tell for years...thanks to you.
 
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