Restore iPod Shuffle

By | 2011-06-16

Today when my girlfriend went to bed, she screamed “Can you come over here, my iPod’s flashing!”. I took the device and indeed it was flashing red and green accordingly. I plugged it in to see if the music got lost or the index got corrupted (I’ve never used iTunes, but a program called rebuild_db.exe), unfortunately I wasn’t able to access the device, it seemed dead.

First step: Install iTunes and do the recovery there. It even started but did never complete, the progress bar got stock at 100%. So I did something that you normally never ever do: Disconnect the device while there’s an operation pending. Result: Device did not turn on, now it really seemed dead.

So I googled for solutions and found out about the “iPod Reset Utility“, a small tool by Apple to reset iPod Shuffle devices. I started it and — wasn’t it expected? — an error message telling me “Only for 32 bit systems” appeared. Holy cow… I was using Windows 7 64 Bit, but the architecture wasn’t the problem, it’s the tool’s installer’s compatibility checking routine that’s yelling. So I tried Virtual PC with Windows XP mode which told me my CPU isn’t setup for virtualizing (yeah, sure! BIOS setting “AMD virtualization” = ON). Windows’s compatibility mode settings didn’t work either.

Then I did what I usually do when a Windows program has problem with its own operating system: Boot Linux (again) and do it right! I started the iPod Reset Utility setup using Wine, installed it successfully and tried my luck again. Unfortunately the tool wasn’t able to detect the Shuffle in Linux. So I copied the files over to my Win 7 box, booted the evil Windows again, moved the iPod Reset Utility files exactly to the place where I’ve installed them on my Linux box and set the compatibility settings of Windows to Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Luckily the program started! I reconnected the iPod and surprise surprise, the tool recognized it and started the recovery!

So for anyone running Windows newer than XP Service Pack 3 with problems installing that tool, I packed the raw files for you. Just make sure to unpack them in the C:\Program Files (x86)\iPod\ directory (create it if it doesn’t exist yet) and set the compatibility mode to Win XP SP 2 (rightclick on exe file, compatibility).

Download Apple iPod Reset Utility (unpacked)

Conclusion:

  • Apple: Shame on you for providing an installer with silly OS version checks.
  • Windows: Shame on you for bad downwards compatibility and not detecting virtualization.
  • Linux: Thank you, keep it going. 😉

77 thoughts on “Restore iPod Shuffle

  1. spoony

    man i was gonna either install XP on a spare drive or chuck this shuffle away, been looking all night for a fix and this worked straight away after right clicking on the .exe and running as admin.

    many many thx

    Reply
    1. DCutts

      This was the third IPOD that did the same thing in the past few years SO thanks for the info, you actually explained it well enough for us not tech types where I got it and with your help I saved anot5her IPOD headed for the trash.

      Reply
  2. Matt

    Restore iPod Shuffle

    Thank you for putting this together. It has saved my iPod. I am usually anti-Apple, but since I got it for free, I have been using it without iTunes. Thanks for the great work and making this silly recovery program work with Win7.

    THanks again,
    Matt

    Reply
  3. Adam

    This has quite literally saved my iPod. After falling out from it’s connector when I was restoring it.

    Reply
  4. Fahmi

    GREAT!!
    Just dont forget this part
    “Just make sure to unpack them in the /iPod/iPod Reset Utility directory and set the compatibility mode to Win XP SP 2 (rightclick on exe file, compatibility)”

    Reply
  5. atownpimpn

    Thanks! This worked to run the program, but now tells me “Can’t Mount iPod”. Any suggestions?!?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      What operating system are you on? I’ve never seen that message before.

      Reply
  6. atownpimpn

    Well… I booted into Linux and saw a strange extra partition on my shuffle. So, I deleted all partitions and re-formatted it as an apple device in Disk Utility. Then re-booted windows and used your unpacked files… Now, worked like a charm, and I was able to reset my 1st Gen Shuffle!!!! Yay! Finally!

    Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      Great that it worked for you. 🙂 Seems like Linux saved another device’s life.

      Reply
  7. Mike

    Hey!
    I’ve tried what was described but it didn’t work for me.
    Got only a window with “!” in it. Stupid Apple.. Hate it 🙂
    I have Windows Vista Professional.

    Any suggestions how I can fix this?

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      In case you followed all the steps in the blog post, you could try to completely wipe the device, i.e. delete all partitions and reformat in Disk Utility (see atownpimpn’s reply above).

      I’m by no means an Apple expert, I rather hate it with a passion. My girlfriend’s iPod Shuffle is the only Apple device in this house. 😉

      Reply
  8. Wes

    I just wanted to say thanks for helping me get my original ipod shuffle up and running.

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      No problem, I’m glad it worked for you. 🙂

      Reply
  9. kuya em

    dude! thanks for this. it’s really hard to find a reset utility for 64 bit. good thing you made it easier for me.

    Reply
  10. Niall

    Hi

    Just tried this and when I run it I get a box with a picture of ipod shuffle gen 1 and 2, no text and an oval button in the bottom right. Tried clicking or highlighting gen 2 with curser keys but nothing. So clicked the button and got a new empty box with just an oval button in the bottom left and nothing else. Tried clicking it, waiting – only thing that works is clicking the “x” to close the box. Any ideas? I am running it as admin and as XP sp2. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      Hello Niall,

      that sounds weird. Have you unpacked the archived to the correct directory? (/iPod/iPod Reset Utility) Maybe it can’t find program resources so no text is displayed.

      However it seems like the program is still working, you just can’t see the success message probably. 😉

      Reply
    2. paul

      how long did it take for the ipod to get reset..am experiencing the same issue…

      Reply
  11. Anonymous

    You sir, are a genius. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  12. Piyush

    Ok, first of all please accept my respectful bows. You have come like an angel to me today. You will have no idea what a freaking trauma I have been in since last 1 week, the time when my iPOD shuffle started showing this error and I realized that iPOD reset Utility won’t work with any other Windows OS than XP or 2000. And more trouble came when nobody in my acquaintance had XP or 2000 (you know India sometimes seems to have progressed more than required 😀 )

    It was not just a music device for me. It held a very strong emotional value for me as it was gifted to me by my Brother in Law at a time when I did not have any such thing to listen to songs. I am a professional singer. I have other better devices with me now than the iPOD shuffle, a Smartphone for an example. But none could take the place of my shuffle. 🙂

    And I really wish you all the success in life, specially because you have given me an enormously wonderful gift, right on my birthday today.

    God Bless!!! and Thanks a billion tons… 🙂

    PS: And I too hate Apple products only because of the constraints they possess. Hope they will get enlightened someday and look into this seriously.

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      Thank you very much for your kind words, they made me smile. 🙂 And of course I’d like to take advantage of this situation and personally wish you all the best for your today’s birthday. Enjoy your Shuffle and thanks again for the feedback. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Chris

    Worked like a charm. This is my in-laws iPod shuffle and I had been trying to fix it for quite a while and couldn’t quite get it. This worked great. To parrot the above poster:

    Just dont forget this part
    “Just make sure to unpack them in the /iPod/iPod Reset Utility directory and set the compatibility mode to Win XP SP 2 (rightclick on exe file, compatibility)”

    Reply
  14. Shug

    Thank you SO much for this. You saved me so much time. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Reply
  15. IOU

    You are fucking awesome. This is great stuff and very smartly figured out.

    Thx U so much

    Reply
  16. Kien

    Hi Stefan, I’ve followed all of your steps but it doesn’t work for me. After successfully opening iPod Reset Utility, it says “Plug in iPod to reset it” thought I’ve already plugged. Can you figure out my probs?
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Stefan Schindler Post author

      Hey Kien. Are you running the utility as administrator? You may also try plugging the device into another USB port or disconnecting other USB devices which may be interfering. If all of that doesn’t work, I suggest contacting Apple — might be the case that your device is really broken. 🙁

      Reply
  17. lefa

    In my eyes you´r a GENUIS !!!!!!!!!!

    Thank YOU !

    Reply
  18. Andy

    Thanks for the fix. Have now restored both my kids Gen 2 iPod Shuffles.

    Reply
  19. DeutschlandFocker

    genius? please….. you lazy fucks should have done a search on google on your ipod problem and this reset utility pops up right away…. you are such babies….

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      The “lazy fucks” did a Google search to get here, just like you did. Apple’s original utility does not run on more recent Windows versions. Thanks that you took time to even send in a comment for just trolling around. But please stop using racist (fake) e-mail addresses (“DeutschlandFocker@usa.com”) next time.

      Reply
  20. vic

    Hi, I downloaded your wonderful zip and I am sure it works but now my problem is a bit different. My HP laptop 64bit windows 7 is claiming it cannot see it. Error message of – “USB device not recognized.” For a while all has been ok and I have iTunes and changed music OK then and now constantly this error message. Have spent hours trying to get this working as now it is not charging and not appearing in – my computer. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance…

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      Not many ideas from my side, sorry. Do you run the recovery tool as administrator?

      Reply
  21. Guilherme Soares

    Thanks Champ !

    I can restore my Ipod Suffle second generation and recovery all my musics.

    Sorry my english.

    Reply
  22. REDNAV

    MY SHUFFLE IS 4g so …. the software u hav given is not suitable … can you share the reset utility for ipod shuffle 4th generation …

    Reply
  23. Jester

    Two years on and this helped me save my iPod, many thanks!

    Reply
  24. sam

    After following all steps and running the utility as administrator an error message pops up saying               ” firmware update failure, disk write error”. Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      It seems like that your device is *really* broken, I’m sorry. 🙁

      Reply
  25. Terri Porter

    Thank you!  So amazing and it worked so very well!!

     

    Reply
  26. Scott

    Thanks Tank! Ur the man. My girlfriend’s mom had her whole family look at her “dead”  ipod and couldn’t figure it out. I took a few minutes found this gem of a post and had her ipod running in no time. I look like the hero, but it was all you. thanks!

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      I look like the hero

      That’s awesome. 🙂 I’m glad that I could help, and such posts are one of the reasons why helping out people is so rewarding: Getting quite a couple of smiles. 🙂

      Reply
  27. Lincoln

    Thank you so much! These instructions just ensured that my 2005 first generation iPod Shuffle will live to see another day.

    Reply
  28. connie

    Thank you so very much! I would’ve never figured this out on my own. I no longer have any good excuses for not working out now that you’ve fixed my Shuffle!

    Reply
  29. emeralda

    thanks a lot admin!!! i tot my ipod shuffle 2nd generation already dead gone!
    now i can use it, just have to put in the songs as before..
    since a month ago, sometimes the ipod wont on.. also sometimes cannot detect on my laptop to charge it.. it so frustrating! i have been using this ipod for 5 years, i got it free anyway 🙂
    really appreciate this, cause i cannot install the file from apple because my laptop service pack 3! hehe.. so google this solution and found your awesome site! million thanks again!!!

    Reply
  30. Marc

    Thank you so much!
    It’s working, it even didn’t take a minute to get this strange (apple) device back to life.
    🙂

    Reply
  31. Seva

    Thank you so much! After two years I was able to see lights blinking again on my shuffle, right before i almost bought new one 😀

    Reply
  32. Gaz

    Quick question – my iPod shuffle went through a software update yesterday in iTunes and now, it refuses to even be seen by any computer I have – linux , windows 7, or 8.1. It still plays music though. Is there a way of resetting it to factory without plugging it into a computer?

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      Hello Gaz. Sorry, but I don’t know how to fix that particular problem. As far as I know, there’s no hardware reset.

      Reply
  33. Walkjw

    Thanks a lot! It did worked on my Ipod shuffle 1stG! 🙂

    Reply
  34. Graham

    Thank you very much. This is excellent work my friend and I cant that you enough 🙂

    Reply
  35. Bob

    What a very nice thing you did in troubleshooting and posting this workaround. It really came in very handy today for my little 1st Gen shuffle. Old but beloved.

    Thanks again,

    Bob

    Reply
  36. 4321

    Thaaaaaaanks alooot broooo…you’ve saved my shuffle…

    Reply
  37. Lavinia

    Thank you very much ! I just recover my IPod.

    Reply
  38. Marc

    Thank you very much for the work and providing the files. This made someone really happy 😉

    Reply
  39. Tony Ireland

    Legend – this solution worked great for me with my Win 10 64 bit laptop. I was very worried that I would have to bin my first gen shuffle and hand over $’s to apple for a new one. What a pain that apple couldn’t update the utility to make it compatible with > XP. I also contacted them for support but never heard from them, expect this is because the shuffle is well out of date.
    Thanks again for making this fix available and providing the instructions 🙂

    Reply
  40. Heino

    Didn’t think I would be using an iPod shuffle in 2016, but here I am. This is exactly what I was looking for, but the link for the unpacked utility doesn’t seem to be working. Can you please add a new link?

    Reply
    1. Stefan Post author

      Thanks a bunch for pointing that out. I’ve fixed the link. Have a good one, and lots of fun with your ol’ Shuffle. 😉

      Reply
  41. Zoran

    Great help, excelant job. Old Shuffle is back in life after so many years. Thank you a lot.

    Reply
  42. Steph

    First off…thanks this is awesome. When I run the utility it says the attached Ipod model is not supported…I most certainly have an ipod shuffle.

    Thanks

    Reply

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