What the hell is wrong with my ipod?
April 15, 2005 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I have tried everything I can think of, but my computer does not recognize my iPod. Therefore, I cannot restore it to its factory conditions, update the software, or add/remove music from it. (Specs: I have the newest update of iTunes, on a fairly new OSX, and a 4th generation ipod.) This has been going on for a while now, and to be honest I'm at the end of my rope. Yesterday I went into diagnostic mode and discovered there's nothing wrong with it. The firewire port on my computer is fine- I know this because I can charge the ipod via the firewire cable. My darling boyfriend even did something in Linux (?) no idea what, and didn't have any luck. And yes! I have looked at this post and all its related links.
posted by elisabeth r to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
Oh, god, I'm having the EXACT SAME PROBLEM.

Yesterday I went into diagnostic mode and discovered there's nothing wrong with it

Can I ask how you did that? Maybe I can check mine, too.
posted by tristeza at 10:04 AM on April 15, 2005

When I had this happen, I had to do a hard reset. Unbelievably, it doesn't look like anyone posted a link to that procedure in the post you references.
posted by eschatfische at 10:32 AM on April 15, 2005

I've done the hard reset about 15 times, all the music is stripped off the iPod, yet somehow when I check the "about" it says there's only 8.1 G available of the 18.5 Something is hiding and I'm going to chuck it across the room if I can't strip it totally.
posted by tristeza at 10:41 AM on April 15, 2005

Go to the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store.
posted by mkultra at 10:47 AM on April 15, 2005

It's still possible that the Firewire port on your computer is broken, either in software or hardware. There are power lines and signalling lines -- generally it's really difficult to stop the power lines from working, but pretty easy to mess up the communication signals, since that's the complicated part.

In other words, try a different Firewire port, if you have one. (What computer do you have?)
posted by xil at 10:47 AM on April 15, 2005

Go to the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store.

Please don't. Look for a certified Apple store somewhere near you, especially if the item isn't under warranty.
posted by terrapin at 10:58 AM on April 15, 2005

I seriously want to help you because I had a similar problem, unfortunately it was on a Windows machine.

FWIW: My iPod would charge from my Windows PC via either Firewire or USB, but the iPod would not be recognized on either. I tested the iPod on another PC using USB, and the iPod was recognized, so I knew the ipod was OK.

I went to My computer > Properties > Hardware Tab > Device Manager, and looked at the 1394 (Firewire) entry. The iPod entry below that had a yellow ! on it, so I knew it wasn't working. I removed the iPod entry, rebooted the PC, attached the iPod via Firewire, and all was well.

I'm not sure what the Mac equivalent to Device Manager is, but maybe someone else does and could comment on whether using it might help you fix your problem.
posted by Fat Guy at 11:07 AM on April 15, 2005

The genius bar wasn't meant to be Apple's frontline for tech support, xmutex. It was meant to be a place you could go to ask nerdy questions and get some help with the kind of stuff you *wouldn't* call tech support for. Unfortunately it has morphed into a de facto tech support desk with insane wait times and hobbled help.

Elisabeth R: Did you post about your problem on Apple's support forums on their website? Did you call AppleCare? These should be your first lines of attack.
posted by bcwinters at 11:25 AM on April 15, 2005

Can you elaborate on what it was your boyfriend did with the iPod in linux? If he was able to access the filesystem, perhaps he could delete most of the files in it in addition to then doing a reset.

Resetting the iPod, as far as I know, doesn't clear out the music, it just erases your customized settings. If the music -did- vanish, that sounds like a filesystem problem. Do you have access to another computer that you could use to run the Software Updater utility from? This would (i think) allow you to reformat the iPod's disk, restoring it to "factory" condition.
posted by odinsdream at 11:26 AM on April 15, 2005

Oh, another thing to try: create a new user in OS X, switch to that user, and try mounting the iPod there. It's possible you've got something el-corrupto in your account that's preventing the mounting of some drives. Reparing Permissions for your boot disk in the Disk Utility (in Applications / Utilities) can also help with mounting problems.
posted by bcwinters at 11:28 AM on April 15, 2005

oh my! Thanks for all the quick help.

Diagnostic mode: click on the link in my original question- there's a link in that thread about how to get into diagnostic mode.

Hard reset: unfortunately, didn't do the trick.

Firewire port being bad: okay, I'll see if that's the problem- I'm assuming I can figure out how to check the port via OSX. Unfortunately, I only have one firewire port (15" powerbook G4).

Linux stuff: actually, he wasn't able to "see" the ipod through linux either. He was thinking maybe he could force my computer to recognize it (at least that's what I think he was doing.)

Creating another user- didn't work on another user account on my machine either.

The irony is, I want to be able to fix my ipod so I can get rid of it and get an mp3 player that doesn't have such totally wack DRM stuff.

Okay- I am going to try checking the firewire port and also I'll either call Tech Support, go to the nearest certified Apple store (just a couple blocks away), or post on one of their online forums.

I'll let you know how everything goes!
posted by elisabeth r at 11:39 AM on April 15, 2005

This may or may not help, as the connection is USB - but I have an iPod shuffle that would charge but would refuse to show up in iTunes, and would only intermittently show up on the desktop and sometimes crash my machine. Updating the OS from 10.3.5 to 10.3.8 solved everything.

Keep in mind some others have reported getting problems when none existed going to 10.3.8, but making sure you have the absolute newest OS may help.
posted by jalexei at 12:08 PM on April 15, 2005

I'm gonna piggyback on this question, if that's okay. I'm having the opposite problem. My OS X won't release my iPod. I eject it from iTunes (and it disappears from there) but the display never changes to "Okay to disconnect". Flashes the universal DON'T circle indefinitely. I have been pulling it off and hard resetting every time but fear that could lead to probs later. Anyone know wtf is up?
posted by dobbs at 12:09 PM on April 15, 2005

Dobbs, did you go into Disk Utility and unmount it from in there?
posted by Hillman Cobs at 12:25 PM on April 15, 2005

dobbs...after you eject from iTunes, do you quit the program, or leave it running in the background? I have this problem as well, and after i eject, i make sure to dismount from the desktop and quit iTunes entirely. That usually fixes it for me.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:30 PM on April 15, 2005

Elisabeth R, there are some suggestions here:

If none of them work, it is a great board to post questions to.
posted by Hillman Cobs at 12:37 PM on April 15, 2005

elisabeth, have you tried reseting the motherboard? on my mdd g4, i had a similar problem that was resolved by opening up the mac, finding and pressnig the reset button and restarting.
posted by hamfisted at 12:38 PM on April 15, 2005

Hillman and STD, it's not appearing as a drive. It only appears in iTunes. After I eject it from iTunes, the computer thinks it's gone but the iPod seems to think it's still connected.

Okay, I just quit iTunes and that seemed to do the trick. Weird. My last iPod didn't have this problem. Thanks!
posted by dobbs at 12:39 PM on April 15, 2005

I had the computer not recognizing my iPod issue, as well. After tons of time spent on the Mac forums and a 3rd phone call to the Apple Support line, it turns out I had been given a faulty USB cord. I switched out cords with a fellow office mate and voila! There it was on my computer! Did you try another cord? (Forgive me if that was addressed already....it's Friday....short attention span today.)
posted by zombiebunny at 2:41 PM on April 15, 2005

Hey - thanks for the tip on "diagnostic mode"! My iPod will now download, but it still thinks it only has 8 G available when it should have 18.5, so I'm taking it in. But, tonight - MUSICA!
posted by tristeza at 2:51 PM on April 15, 2005

Elisabeth - one thing to wonder too - did you upgrade your version of OS X at any time around the iPod disappearing, and if so, do you recall if your iPod was plugged in when you upgraded? I've been sorting through recent troubles with an external firewire drive not mounting. Through some of nakedcodemonkey's links to the Apple forum at the end there, I discovered there's a known bug out there with OSX updates killing connected firewire drives. I don't know if that would include the iPod, but since it's basically a firewire drive itself, that could be a horrible possibility.
posted by Moondoggie at 5:27 PM on April 15, 2005

Elisabeth - I brought my iPod to the Genius Bar today and they guy checked it out, said there was a hardware problem (not software as I had thought), and that he happened to have the part needed to fix it right there. It was a brand new iPod. I walked out of there very, very happy. :)
posted by tristeza at 3:35 PM on April 16, 2005

You know what? I feel like the biggest moron. After everything, I found my USB adapter and plugged it in to see if it worked. Previously (as in, when I got the iPod back in August) it didn't work, so I'm surprised I didn't just throw it away... but to my complete and total surprise, my iPod updated and is now acting totally normal.

So after all this, it was a bad FireWire cable! How irritating, yet how relieving.

Situation resolved.
posted by elisabeth r at 5:19 PM on April 30, 2005

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