emptying an ipod
April 20, 2009 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know how to totally clear out an iPod, essentially returning it to 'factory settings'? I have an older iPod I wanted to give to someone, but the issue is my computer won't locate the iPod (I had it synced to another computer that has since died), or tells it's not authorized. Is there a way for example to clear it out from the ipod itself?
posted by dearleader to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You have to do this from iTunes.


When you connect an iPod to a new computer it should ask you if you want to go ahead and sync to this computer. In iTunes you can choose to sync manually. This will stop iTunes trying to copy media to the iPod in question, which is probably why it is telling you it is 'not authorized'.
posted by unSane at 11:17 AM on April 20, 2009

If you don't have the iPod authorized on your computer, it may be a problem getting the restore to work. I know that Apple won't let you move music on and off the devices if they are not authorized to work together, and since the factory reset option is pretty much a "wipe all data, write OS back onto device" process, it may not allow the computer to write without authorization.

The fastest way to do this will be to log into your iTunes Store account and "deauthorize all" in your account window, which you are allowed to do once a year. This will free up the authorized slot that your dead computer is taking, and will divorce the iPods from the computers they are married to. Then it's as simple as re-authorizing the iPod to go with your computer.

At that point, you can do a restore.
posted by hippybear at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2009

How old is "older"? I know that with an Ipod Classic (4G and earlier), you can completely wipe it like so:

Slide the Hold switch on then off
Press Select and Menu together and hold until the APple logo appears

WHen it finishes booting, the Ipod should be clean.
posted by zerokey at 12:03 PM on April 20, 2009

you should be able to restore an iPod even from an iTunes library that it's not connected to. unSane's instructions are the right ones. you might have better luck rebooting into Disk Mode - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1363 will tell you how to do that. (that actually might clear up the Not Authorized messages or whatever. if you're on Windows, you might need to be an Administrator on the computer itself - if you're not, since you're essentially reformatting a hard drive, iTunes may not be able to complete the operation.)

note that just rebooting it - holding Menu and Select until the Apple logo comes up - just reboots. doing that does nothing to the data on the iPod.
posted by mrg at 1:18 PM on April 20, 2009

mrg - a few years ago, I did what I said above to my ipod 3G a few times and it was wiped clean each time. I guess it was either a function of the old firmware or a fluke. *shrug*
posted by zerokey at 2:33 PM on April 20, 2009

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