Upgrading iPod Hard Drives

A number of people have asked about upgrading iPod hard drives — what to buy, how to prepare, and how to perform the upgrade — so here are all the technical details. If you’ve never worked inside an iPod before, this is certainly an advanced tutorial, but don’t let that scare you. Working slowly and methodically, you too can upgrade your iPod and store even more music, photos, and videos.

What to Buy

Which hard drive to buy depends on your specific iPod model, so like any half-decent attempt at an upgrade, a little research will go a long way towards making a good purchase. The main factors that will affect your decision are the height, or thickness, of both the iPod and hard drive, and the connector style employed by both. Since day one of the iPod launch, Toshiba has produced all the hard drives employed in the full size iPod lineup. While they enjoyed a profitable OEM business arrangement with Apple, the drives are in no way exclusive to the iPod, and they can be found in many other products, including (not surprisingly) some Toshiba laptops and (perhaps more surprisingly) Microsoft’s Zune player. To allow for some flexibility in product lineups, Toshiba’s 1.8″ hard drives come in two thicknesses — the thinner has one physical storage platter inside, and the thicker has two. Doubling-up of the storage surfaces is why you’ll often see a given capacity drive, and the next step up of two times that capacity. As technology advances, the capacity of each surface increases while the dimensions remain fixed for easy interchange-ability. This is good news for iPod upgraders. The longer you wait, the more you can store in the same amount of space.

Apple’s iPods are fairly easy to find a matching replacement/upgrade hard drive for, as you can generally tell which thickness drive you need just by comparing it to the others of its family. If your iPod was the thicker of the series when you purchased it, it takes the thicker, two-platter hard drive (examples include the then-higher capacity models such as 40 GB iPod and 60 GB iPod photo). The thinner models (like the 15 GB iPod and 30 GB iPod photo) take the thinner hard drives.

The 5th generation iPods with video capability are a different beast, as the drive technology and space requirements have demanded smaller internals. With that in mind, Toshiba engineered a new connector on recent drives that is vastly smaller than the previous models. These new drives sport a Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) connector, which, unlike the older iPods, requires no pressure to connect the cable. Simply holding the hair-thin ribbon cable in place and folding down a clamp-like lock will secure all 40 pins in a staggeringly small, fragile connector. The connector on the 5G iPods’ logic boards is now no wider than your thumbnail, and it, too is quite delicate. Such is the way of ever-shrinking consumer electronics.

Tools of the Trade

Before you decide on a hard drive, you’ll also want to purchase a few tools to ensure the job gets done right. While you’re able to pry most iPods apart using a tool as simple as a butter knife, the professionals use the following to make entry, upgrade, and close-up as invisible as possible.

  • Apple’s “black stick”
    This nylon-based pry tool is key to almost any iPod upgrade, as it provides a strong lever to get into the edges of the case, while its plastic properties leave next to no marks or chewed-up looking spots along the edges. Best bought from Stanley Supply & Services.
  • IC puller or hemostats (both available at your local RadioShack)
    Either of these tools will work for undoing the iPod battery cable and handling some of the smaller pieces of the iPod. Not necessary, but highly recommended if you plan on doing more than one upgrade.
  • A straight razor blade (for 5G iPods)
    I was hesitant to include this, as it’s a recipe for injury if you’re not careful. In the interest of completeness, though, it’s here. The latest iPods are sealed very well, and more often than not they require a very thin and flexible bit of metal to make room for Apple’s Black Stick pry tool.
  • HD adapters from Addonics: 1.8″ to 2.5″ IDE and 2.5″ to 3.5″ IDE
    To do testing or erasing on iPod-size hard drives, these adapters will get your 4G-or-earlier drive hooked up to a desktop computer’s IDE bus. (For 5G iPods, see this post) Also not necessary, but again, these are recommended for advanced testing and erasure.

Picking a Hard Drive

Depending on your iPod thickness and model, you can choose from the hard drives in the table below. Note that some of these models are not used in iPods, but should work just fine (for example, the 20 GB ZIF drive, which will only connect to new iPods which start out at 60 GB from Apple — technically a downgrade, but listed for compatibility information).

Brand Model # Capacity Connector Thickness Supported iPods
Toshiba MK1011GAH 100 GB ZIF 8mm Thick 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK8007GAH 80 GB Pins 8mm Thick 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK8009GAH 80 GB ZIF 8mm Thick 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK6006GAH 60 GB Pins 8mm Thick 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK6008GAH 60 GB ZIF 8mm Thick 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK4006GAH 40 GB Pins 8mm Thick 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK4008GAH 40 GB ZIF 8mm Thick 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK4007GAL 40 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK4009GAL 40 GB ZIF 5mm Thin 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK3006GAL 30 GB Pins 5mm Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK3008GAL 30 GB ZIF 5mm Thin 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK2004GAL 20 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK2006GAL 20 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK2008GAL 20 GB ZIF 5mm Thin 5G, 5.5G
Toshiba MK1504GAL 15 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK1003GAL 10 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK5002MAL 5 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Toshiba MK5004MAL 5 GB Pins 5mm 1G, Thin 2G, 3G, 4G, photo
Seagate ST760211DE 60 GB ZIF 5mm Thin 5G, 5.5G

Update: It appears that the 4G may be firmware limited to no more than a 60 GB drive. Reports indicate that drives above 60 GB in capacity appear as 60 GB despite the additional storage that’s available.

You can find many of the above drives on eBay and online retailers, but the most prevalent ones will be models used in iPods that shipped in the past. I have used many non-Apple-branded Toshiba hard drives without issue, confirming that there is nothing particular about them, except an Apple logo on the sticker. Having a third party manufacturer such as Toshiba re-brand a product is nothing new to the computer industry — other big companies like Dell and IBM work deals like this for many components.

Hard Drive Preparation

Unlike my iPod Super hack, a replacement iPod hard drive does not require any special formatting or filesystem preparation. In fact, I’ve found that working with a completely empty/zeroed hard drive works best. If you decided to purchase the adapters listed above, you can connect them as detailed in my Really Testing iPod Hard Drives post, and completely erase the hard drive using the handy Darik’s Boot and Nuke utility. I’ve found that it works best to have a zeroed hard drive, but it can often be done without. (The iPod sometimes tries to find software on the hard drive, which may be incorrect for its generation or be corrupted).

Opening the iPod

To get at the old hard drive, you’ll need to open the iPod, which is usually the hardest part of the process. 1G through 4G iPods aren’t as tough as the 5G and later iPods, and can be popped open by pushing the metal backing one way while pulling the plastic front the opposite way. In doing so, you create a small gap where you can slide in the nylon pry tool and undo the five plastic clips along one of the two longer sides. The inside top and bottom edges of all iPods are not secured. Other World Computing has some detailed take-apart videos which should help give you a good idea of exactly how to get inside.

To open a 5G or later iPod, try the first technique above, and use a straight razor as a last resort. For the really tough ones, work the sharp edge of a new razor perpendicularly into the side seam where the front plastic and back metal meet. Once wedged between the two halves, tip the dull edge of blade towards the front (towards you), using the iPod’s plastic side as a fulcrum to open a small space to insert the nylon pry tool.

This is extremely dangerous!

Not only are you working with a super-sharp piece of metal, you’re flexing its brittle structure, which may cause it to shatter — so don’t push too hard. I’ve never gotten cut or had a razor shatter while doing this, but only because I took my time and didn’t get my fingers near the sharp edge. Moving slow and thinking smart (as smart as bending a razor can be) are keys to making this technique work. Once the nylon pry tool is in place and has a little room to work, carefully extract the razor and set it aside. Use the pry tool to work the rest of the side clips open. If you feel at all uneasy about this method, it’s probably best to leave it to the professionals — the 5G iPod is a giant leap forward in design and engineering, at the expense of a lot of end-user serviceability.

The Switch

After cracking the side of the iPod open, carefully disconnect any audio jack or battery ribbon cables attached to the back panel. Undoing these connectors often requires the use of the nylon pry tool again, or careful pulling with hemostats. Be sure to pull the connector straight away from the logic board, using only minor side-to-side wiggling as needed. Attempting to pry the connector out of its matching socket without keeping it straight can result in the connector separating from its cable!

With the halves unhooked, the panels can be separated, exposing the hard drive. 1G through 4G iPod hard drives can be unplugged by simply pulling the connector straight off the end of the drive, whereas the 5G and later iPods require you to flip up the narrow lever. It hinges lengthwise along the middle. The lever does not fold flat backwards when open, but simply stands upright, and should not separate from its other retaining half.

Install the new hard drive in the same direction as the old one, making sure all pins and plastic guides line up. 5G iPods are especially tricky due to the ZIF connector. Yet again, some tiny tools may come in handy — just be sure to work gently with its delicate ribbon cable. Move the metal back panel close to the iPod and reconnect all the cables you unhooked to get into the device, and snap the panel back onto the plastic clips.

Restoring in Disk Mode

Pressing any button will power on your iPod, and you should be able to hear the new drive spin up. Unless the drive is preloaded with precisely the correct software, you will get a “sad iPod” face. This is okay! Reset your iPod using the commands detailed here, and immediately hold the Disk Mode keys as soon as the screen blanks for the reboot. This may take a few tries, but as long as your iPod doesn’t have the correct data on the drive, you’ve got all the attempts in the world to get into Disk Mode. When done properly, you’ll see “Disk Mode” at the top of the iPod. You can now plug the freshly upgraded iPod into your computer and launch iTunes. After it’s detected, iTunes may complain about a corrupted iPod. Dismiss any dialogs and browse to the Summary tab for the iPod, and click Restore. iTunes will load the proper software onto your iPod, and it will be as good as new — with more capacity!

Update: I added the Seagate ST760211DE 60 GB 5mm drive following a painless drop-in replacement report from Jerry Wnorowski:

Well it finally arrived, and with just a little hesitation, after all this was entirely new ground for me, I installed the 60GB Seagate hard drive into my broken 30GB iPod Video 5.5 Gen. When I plugged it in to my laptop, iTunes said it needed to be restored. I restored it, and it booted and came up in iTunes! I loaded my music, and now I have the thinnest 60GB iPod Video in the world!

Update: A 240GB iPod modification is now available for those who want TONS of storage space in one portable device.

Upgrading iPod Hard Drives

346 thoughts on “Upgrading iPod Hard Drives

  1. OrionEngineer says:

    So all of the 1.8″ drives currently listed on the toshiba site require 1.8W to spin up vs. the OE 1.2W. Is this enough for it not to work?


  2. Sherwin says:

    I recently replaced my 60 gb toshiba drive with an 80 gb toshiba drive. After recovery, I discovered that iTunes still shows my ipods capicity to be 60 gigs. My iPod software is up to date. Am I missing something?


  3. TomCat says:

    Hi, Just wondering if you plan release or know of a video that shows how to open a 6th Gen. Pod? I have basically destroyed the case on mine trying to open it. I also have searced the web to no avial on the subject. I don’t know what they have done, but something has been changed from the 5th gen models. Any insisght or help you could provide would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.


  4. Piejesu says:

    Hi, all

    Today I have received MK2431GAH from Rapid Repair, and installed it into my iPod 5.5G successfully.
    It works perfectly. The only problem (?) is it takes a lot of time to fill up the 240GB HDD with my music library.
    But, anyway, I am now very satisfied with my renewal iPod, because I become to carry out about half of my music library!

    Feb 5, 2009 Ordered
    Feb 25,2009 Shipping Notification mail arrived
    Feb 28, 2009 HDD arrived by USPS International Priority Mail


  5. Johannes says:

    Hi, i just wanted to tell you, that i finally got a new harddrive for my iPod Video 5.5G. It wasn’t because of slow delivery – the delivery took about 3-4 days ;). I chose the Samsung HS081HA 80GB harddrive, and it works perfectly besides these things:

    -It is a bit slow, when synchronizing with itunes
    -iPod Linux doesent work anymore.. I dont know if i did something wrong this time when i installed it, im gonna try again soon
    -Rockbox also crashes, im gonna try a different installing method soon.

    If you have similar problems, please write them!


  6. Eric says:

    I upgraded my hard drive, display shows a folder with an exclamation point.

    When I put it into disk mode and plug it in, itunes recognizes that it needs to be repaired.

    It goes through the “repair” cycle, then at the end I get an error message that says:

    “The ipod could not be restored. An unknown error has occurred (1429).

    It sounds like the hard drive is clicking about every second as well during the repair process.

    Disk Utility recognizes the size of the hard drive, any ideas on what to do?

    This is a 1g iPod….please help!


  7. MiPODrepair says:

    We perform the upgrades frequently for the 5 and 5.5G iPODs, as well as, repairs for the same models, including all the other previous generations. We also repair and upgrade the 6G Video.
    Using Compact Flash memory in the iPODs is another upgrade option we offer, however, the cost differential needs to be considered with this option. Of course capacity is limited in todays CF market as well. The single point of failure of the mechanical drive is removed with an increase in seek/read times and significantly less drain on the battery. WE have had good success with the HS series drives in the iPODs, with similar observations as noted here by Johannes.


    1. @carlo: What capacity is your iPod video currently? (Or, do you know if it’s the thicker or thinner of the models at the time you bought it?) The MK1214GAH is 8mm thick, requiring your iPod to have the thicker metal back panel.


  8. ed says:

    I have a dead 20GB monochrome 4G which presumably has a 5mm drive. As long as I get another 5mm drive with pins connector (say 40GB), this should work right?


  9. Greg says:

    I have a 5g 30GB that started getting the “Very Low Battery Please Wait”. I opened it and disconnected power, got the apple and was able to get to disk mode. From there it was exactly what sfglenrock had posted previously:
    ‘I then get the screen that says “connect to your computer, use itunes to restore. I plug it in, open itunes and it doesn’t recognize the ipod. The ipod now shows the “do not disconnect” message for a couple of minutes, then resets and goes back to a message that says “Please wait. Very low battery”. But it has been plugged in all day and when it is in disk mode, shows the battery charged.’

    I tried setting the battery again, and checked all the connections. Now when the HD is plugged in and I plug in the ipod it only says “Very Low Battery Please Wait” and I cant reset or go to disk mode or anything. When it is not plugged in, it does nothing (blank screen).
    Without the HD it actually shows the apple, then the sadface ipod thing.
    Any thoughts Collin? (I hope you’re still following this).


    1. @Greg: Sounds like some kind of logic board issue, at first glance. It would be great if there was a way you could swap in a known-good board to test it out!


  10. Greg says:

    @Collin: Thanks for the rapid response. I’ll see if one of my friends will let me dismantle their functioning gen 5! Can’t garuntee anyone will submit to it though. Hopefully I’ll post again in a few days.


  11. WilkBoy says:

    I have a 5.5g that has a 30gb drive. I upgraded it to an 80gb MK8022GAA, but it’s being detected as a 40gb MK4009GAL. Is there anything I can try to fix this?



  12. Hans says:

    I have a 5th Gen 80GB iPod purchased 2 years ago. The Toshiba drive is a MK8010GAH. My problem is the iPod recharges ONLY on the car charger. It is not recognized when plugged into either a PC or Mac and will not charge but it plays music and whatever else I have downloaded in the past. Could it be something other than the hard drive?


  13. Hans says:

    FYI… I didn’t recall reading this when I decided to break open my 5th Gen iPod 80GB with video. I want to help others who work on similar systems to avoid problems. In earlier iPod cases the directions indicated no locking points on the ends of the case. On mine there are 4 release points on the right side of the case looking at the display and one on the top between the lock switch and the headphone plug. It is easily broken if you are not careful in opening the case.


  14. Josh says:

    Great Site! I’m having a little problem here. I have completed the swap and am having trouble getting it into Disk Mode. When I do get it to go into Disk Mode, I connect the iPod with iTunes open and it won’t recognize the iPod. So when I disconnect it and restart the iPod it just cycles through “sad face”, off, “apple logo” and back to “sad face”. Repeat. HELP!


  15. KoolAidKid says:

    Hey guys! Excellent site! I was planning to upgrade my 5th gen U2 iPod Video 30gb and have a few questions I hope you experts can help me with.

    1) Samsung HS081HA is the largest HD that will fit without needing a bigger back?

    2) where can I get the foam padding and rubber braces for the HD?

    3)Will I need a new battery if I upgrade? If so any recommendations?

    Thank you! Cheers!


  16. wperry1 says:

    I have a 4th gen iPod that I replaced the battery on a while ago. The replacement battery was slightly thicker than the original which was not a problem but when I went to install a new 60GB MK6006GAH which was thicker than the original HDD it was too much. I can barely get the clamshell closed and when I do it puts too much pressure on the back of the trackwheel and I can’t push any buttons. It works fine if it is not quite closed all the way. Do you have any tips on where to get a thinner battery? BTW I got the thick battery from iPod Battery Depot. Thanks in advance for any help.


  17. wperry1 says:

    I figured out the problem. I have a 20gb 4G iPod that is thinner than the 40gb model. It looks like I can pick up a larger back to make this work. You may want to note in your table that the 8mm drives don’t fit in the 4g 20gb ipod.


  18. Viktor says:

    I have a 60gb ipod photo. The HD needs to be replaced. Now I remember reading somewhere (nope.. I don’t remember where, sorry) that 60gb is the maximum possible size for a 4g/photo. Yet in the compatibilty chart above, a 80gb is also listed. Which is good news. The obvious question arises:

    – Why an even larger drive (say 120 or 160 gb) won’t work. Is this an iPod soft/firmware restriction? Or is 80gb simply the largest available 1.8 inch IDE drive?


  19. KoolAidKid says:

    Hey guys! I would like to report a succesful swap of a SAMSUNG HS081HB 80g 5mm HD into my 5th Gen 30g U2 edition video iPod!

    The onlt issues encountered:
    1) New HD did not have the black ribbon catch
    2) One side of the HD did not have a metal covering

    Don’t know if this was normal tho.

    Anyway was just wondering if it’s normal for the drive to have 74g available when I restored it?



  20. Borsch says:

    I saw some people here been running 80gb drive in their slim 30gb 5g ipod without any problems. I’ve attempted the same mod with Samsung HS081HA drive and although everything works (itunes and even rmaniac’s version of Rockbox), I get simply shockingly bad file transfer rates in both ipod OSs. My Windows Commander reports 500kb/s transfer rates for large FLAC files, while smaller MP3s are transfered at about 300 kb/s!

    Same ipod with original 30gb drive was getting above 12 MB/sec!

    I’m just wondering what is your experience in this regard? What kind of transfer rates are you achieving?


  21. Jerome says:

    Hey, I’ve a problem with my Ipod. I changed the original HDD with a 3.5 HDD. Went a boot the Ipod in disk mode, I can see “ok to disconnec” went I plug in it to my mac, I can see ” Do not disconnect”, and 15 sec later, the Ipod reboot and I see the picture with a folder. Can you help me please ?
    Sorry for my English, I’m french and I speak very bad English ^^


  22. Killerbee230 says:


    Hi, i exchanged my ipod video 30gb with the same samsung harddrive as you and im experiencing the same problems as you are. Sync with iTunes is unbelieveable slow (probably about 300-500kbps like you said) and ipod linux or rockbox doensnt even work any more. I would really like to know how you got rockbox working, i couldnt get my installation to work.. Im pretty sure it is possible to get ipod linux to work if you use this guide: http://ipodlinux.org/wiki/Manual_Installation

    @Koolaidkid Yep its normal (most of it, cant remember how the hdd looked like when i got it). And the max capacity was about 74 gb when its recovered.


  23. Borsch says:


    OK, its “good” to know I’m not the only one with such problems – I was about to blame the connector, motherboard or drive itself. But two of us with same problem means its likely a firmware issue.

    FURTHER, I’ve made some progress and improved its transfer speed to 5-10 MB/s for about 1-2 sec and then stable 1MB/s thereafter! Not super great, but at least more tolerable (hopefully just for now:)
    Go to device manager>disk drives>right click “apple ipod”>policies> and check “maximum performance” and “use caching”.

    Actually the “caching” option will grey out after after that, but transfer improves to what I was saying above.

    Installing rockbox: check out this thread, as normal install does not work. Use the build by Rmaniac http://forums.rockbox.org/index.php?topic=20960.0

    Keep us posted if you make some further progress!:)


  24. Borsch says:

    Sorry, correction: Go to device manager>disk drives>right click “apple ipod”>PROPERTIES>policies> and check “maximum performance” and “use caching”.


  25. Borsch says:


    Just have read of an identical problem with transfer speeds (Samsung 80GB+5g Ipod) on some russian ipod forums- it is definitely not a cable/hardware problem!

    The guy there has actually found a complete solution- reformat ipod on Mac and everything started to work perfectly. I dont use Macs unfortunately:(


  26. Borsch says:


    Hmm, 3 of my last answeres were deleted…

    Anyway, here are some developments on the ipod 5g + Samsung 80gb issue – transfer rates improved
    But, now its really wierd- with “optimize for performance” and “disc caching” selected (Go to device manager>disk drives>right click “apple ipod”>PROPERTIES>policies> and check “maximum performance” and “use caching”)the disc caching option deselects itslef and goes gray… The transfer speeds are then 5-10MB/s for the INITIAL 1-3 seconds of ALL subsequent file transfers and then drop to consistent 1mb/s(with occasional speed up 3/4 way through the transfer). So basically I can transfer 1-2 songs at a time at full speed, but if I transfer more files in one go – speed drops…

    To install Rockbox use the build from this thread http://forums.rockbox.org/index.php?topic=20960.0


  27. William says:

    I had an 80GB 5th Gen, which I recently upgraded with the MK2431GAH. It runs like a dream, and I still have 40 GB left! It has 223 GB when formatted etc.


  28. Nooner says:

    I am trying to sort out exactly what the problem with my iPod 5G 80GB. It died with the sad ipod icon and I assumed it was a crashed HD. I was occasionally getting the “battery very low” message as well (only when on a charger), as some have mentioned above. I bought a “refurbished” Toshiba MK8010GAH 80GB – to replace the HD, but I cannot get my mac to recognize the iPod at all. I get it into drive mode but neither iTunes or DiskUtiity recognize. The iPod says “Do not Disconnect”, but eventually restarts. I even ordered a new iPod ZIF cable (had some problems with the original!) and all the connections look good. Can anyone think of any tricks I am missing?


  29. Killerbee230 says:


    Thank you very much for the link, that version of rockbox works perfectly! I also tried changing that setting in windows, and AFAIK the speed is improved abit (Like you say, about 1-2MB/S).. Im not sure about this, i havent got any program to test the speed. What program do you use to measure the transfer speed?

    I also read something on the rockbox site, that you could improve the transfer speed by installing some patch to the rockbox software.. i dont know if this will help though..

    Btw. do you also experience that iTunes freezes when you connect the ipod? My iTunes program do this when the cache setting is enabled and the iPod is connected, it never did this before. The stange thing is that itunes keep playing the music, the window is just frozen.


  30. Borsch says:


    I dont really use itunes anymore- my ipod is really an “imod” and I try to transfer everything in FLAC. But on several occasions that I did use itunes I didn’t experience any lockups whatsoever. In that regard everything was normal.

    I also found that i need to reboot the IPOD into itunes (from rockbox), otherwise speeds drop to 300kb/s again. when ipod is in itunes mode i still use it as a disk drive to “drag’n’drop” files, but its much quicker this way when compared to it in rockbox mode…

    Let us know if you find any fresh info on improving the transfers. (Did you read my post where I said that ipod 30gb turned into Samsung 80gb transfers perfectly fast when formated by Mac and used on Mac? Really weird that:( )


  31. Hagush says:

    Hello dear fellows in hard drive changing crime!

    I read this thread with great interest and do have a few questions. My hard drive on my 5.5G 30GB iPod died and I decided to change it myself and upgrade it to 80GB. I already opened it to see if everything is as I read/saw here and elsewhere on the web before I order any hard drive and spend the money. Glad that I did open it, because it seems my iPod is a “freak of nature” as it originally ran with a Hitachi HTC426030G5CE00 hard drive as opposed to a Toshiba as I expected. (Also the battery is black with white writing on it instead of plain blue.) Now I’m a little worried about the ZIF connection / compatibility… But as the Hitachi hard drive uses a ZIF 40 I should be able to replace it with a Samsung HS081HA, right? Is tehere anything else I need to consider? I plan on getting one of those. But then I hear that the transfer “speed” is beyond anything fast? Is that the case with every model? I run my iPod with iTunes/Win. Would you recommend another hard drive then?

    Thank you for helping out!


  32. KillerBee230 says:


    Oh i see.. I can understand why, iTunes suck so badly, i wish i could use some other program instead, but then all playlist and ratings and album arts need to be redone and i really dont want to do all that again..

    I just recovered my ipod and enabled cache and now the transfer rate is very very fast (50MBps+), abit like you wrote, where its very fast in the beginning and then drops to about 12-13 MBps (Im not completely sure if these numbers are exact because this was just what vista wrote when i transfered a CD image to the ipod) The problem is that itunes locks completely up when i transfer the music to it, but i think it might be because im using a 32bit iTunes atm. I will try to install the newer 64bit version ASAP and see if this helps.

    Yeah i did read that – , but the problem is that i have no Mac myself. Maybe you could try formatting it with HFS+ and use a program like xplay3 to sync to the mac ipod under windows. I cant try this myself because xplay3 doesnt work with Vista 64bit :(


  33. Borsch says:

    I believe all ipod 5gen zif connectors are the same, so you should be able to install a new HD- Samsung or not is up to you:) Can you live with 1mb/sec transfers? For me- its tolerable (300kb/s – is not tolerable, 1mb is ok)

    I am using windows XP, no need to deal with Vista problems on top of already existing problems with ipod+Sammy;)I guess there is some instability in that ipod+samsung combo and XP deals with it by reducing transfer rate, where as Vista simply locks up…

    I dont quite understand what you mean by “itunes locks up when I transfer cd image to ipod”… Itunes as ipod software? Or the PC itunes locks up? Or both?
    What happens when your ipod is booted into itunes (not rockbox) and you use it as disk drive (ie as external hard drive and transfer some big files to it)? Does something lock up then as well?

    Does PC itunes lock up when you transfer songs through itunes onto your ipod?

    As for HFS+ – I’ve grown to accept the 1mb/s transfers, plus I’d like to have ability to (slowly) transfer music at friends houses and stuff. I dont want to be limited to just one pc with installed xplay3 on it…


  34. KillerBee230 says:


    Yeah you are probably right about that one, vista often locks up when you transfer files, its also unbelieveable slow compared to Win XP.

    Oh and im sorry I think you misunderstood me abit. I meant when you transfer files to the ipod though windows it transfer the files VERY fast (about 20+ MBps or so) but when it have transfered the file about 99%, windows vista locks up completely and I have to quit all the related jobs. So yes, when I use it as an external hard drive it transfers very very fast and then locks up in the end.

    Itunes also locks up when you connect the ipod and the music sync begins. The only way I can avoid this is my unplugging the ipod again or by disable the cache. So yes, PC itunes lock up when you transfer songs that way. Still, im not sure if this is because im using the 32bit itunes, itunes might not freeze when you are using the 64bit one. THe only reason that i havent changed is that i cant use a special black theme for itunes, and this only works with 32 bit iTunes :)

    And yeah i can see that is a problem, its not good to be limited to just one PC when you can use your ipod like that, im just used to not being able to copy the music directly to and from the ipod just like any other mp3 player, so i totally forgot about this. I would really like this feature, i might change to rockbox only when i get the time to rearrange all my music.. so what program do you use then if you dont use itunes?


  35. Wisguy says:

    What is the largest available HD that a 3G iPod that started its life as a 15 Gb unit can currently take? The HD in mine has finally died (it keeps freezing up when I try to sync it, even though it still plays flawlessly). I love the 3G’s controls and have averaged 4-6 hours of use on it every day since I got it 5.5 years ago.




  36. Swa says:

    I found a Toshiba MK3004GAH (8mm)- 30GB in my iPod! I would like to upgrade to 80, 100 or 120 GB. Witch type op HD can i use?


  37. David says:

    My 80g (i think its a 5th gen. video) started completely dumping all music when it got about 60 songs loaded. I was told that the hard drive was bad so I disassembled the ipod , retrieved the hard drive model# mk8022gaa and decided to try and upgrade it to 160gb hard drive m# mk1626gcb… the connectors are different so I bought a connector for the 160gb 6th gen and it all plugs in now but the screen comes up with a red x in a circle when turned on . I tried to reconfigure it with the ipod diag. commands, and I checked to see if the ipod even recognized the hard drive or its capacity. the ipod screen says “open device” and at the bottom of the screen it says “error! diag halt”. Ok yes it is open, I didnt want to have to open the case again. Can any one please help me???? Is what im doing even possible to work? Im to the point that I thinking about ordering a 6th gen logic board…


  38. brad says:

    when i go to sync music from itunes it will sync a few songs and then it will tell me iam missing some files i can add music but i can add like 1-10 songs one by one then when i go to listen to the ipod it freezes up and i have to restart the ipod and it kills the battery quick could it be the hard drive.


  39. bug says:

    dropped my pod 30gig video last week, and scratched the platter on the hdd, this site was a great help to me, after much searching for a replacement hdd and no luck(south africa) i found a samsung 64gig solid state drive with zif pata 5mm for sale, in my hands yesterday ipod working today!!!


  40. k24281 says:


    great site here! My iPod Video 5.5Gen 80GB (bought in March 2007) needs a new HD. The original HD is Toshiba MK8010GAH. I’d like to increase space but actually don’t need 240GB and thus this one is too expensive (~285USD + shipping to Germany).

    My question is whether or not the following HDs are compatible to my iPod:
    Toshiba MK1214GAH (120GB) ~110€
    Toshiba MK1629GSG (160GB) ~140€

    Thanks a lot for your help


  41. Rev. Huntington says:

    DEAR LORD!!!!
    Why would this site actually RECOMMEND using a razor blade on the 5G/5.5G iPods?!
    Okay, here is the reason you should NEVER use a razor blade for this purpose:
    There are ribbon cables that are close to the side of of your beloved iPod Video, not to mention the soft acrylic top case AND all those little blood vessels in your fingers!!!

    Find yourself a local music supply shop (Guitar Center/ Daddy’s Junky Music / or the local mom n’ pop shop around the corner) and get yourself a few Dunlop “Tortex” pics… these are smooth nylon pics that will not break but have incredible flexibility. They are color coded by thickness, the orange are about .63 mm and are quite ideal for this purpose. they will run you about twenty five cents each.

    I would stay far away from using the Fender style pics… they have a tendency to break too easily, leaving little pieces of guitar pics floating around in your iPod until you finally get it open… though if you happen to have a couple hundred of those laying around, knock yourself out… it’s bound to work eventually.


  42. Rev. Huntington says:

    Oh, the guitar pick technique I use also does away with the black stick tool as well. all you need is two of them and you have everything you need to get in to the ipod… and it works on all models of the iPod up until the “Classic” model. that’s another bag of headaches in it’s self.


  43. Nolame says:

    i love my Pod G1 but the HDD is broken. I tried to change it with a Tohiba MK2004GAL. I tried to Erase it (low level) i tried to format it with Fat32 an with HFS but it wont work. The drive is spinnig up but after some seconds its clicking and ticking. The Itunes won`t restore the drive. After some seconds its freezed. Whats my fault?
    Can anybody help me?


  44. Owen says:

    Just completed an upgrade of the slim version (30GB iPOD Video) to Samsung’s 80GB HS082HB. Ran in to a hitch and it took a LOT longer than I expected but it’s all up and running now.

    Problem was that, unlike everything mentioned so far, my iPOD came stock with a Hitachi drive, not a Toshiba. While the Toshiba (and my new Samsung) use a ZIF HDD connector ribbon that is .25mm thick, the Hitachi uses one that has a thicker .35mm end going in to the HDD. When I found that this connector simply would not fit into my Samsung HS082HB I did a little research and came up with exactly one online store (http://store.ifixipodsfast.com/) which seemed aware of the difference and would sell you either the thick (hitachi) or thin (samsung) type.

    No way I wanted to wait several more days, however, so I spent an hour or two with an exacto knife shaving that .35mm down to .25mm. It wasn’t easy (and didn’t work the first try) but eventually I got it and now I’m listening to tunes of my 80GB with upgraded 580mAh battery.

    If anyone is still updating the main article, it might be worth mentioning the Hitachi-style .35mm thick ZIF connector.


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