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Restore an iPod that won't mount System
I restored my iPod today (5gb, 1st generation) but when I plugged it into my Mac (after flawless use for over eight months), I got disk errors and a couple windows asking me if I'd like to re-initialize an unreadable disc. I never clicked any of the buttons on those red and scary windows. I ran Disk Utility on ths iPod numerous times, and "repaired" it every time. Every time I plugged it back in, I got the same disc errors. Here's how I finally fixed it.

YOU WILL LOSE ALL THE MUSIC, CONTACTS AND EVENTS ON THE iPOD. Make sure the iPod is not plugged in. Quit iTunes.
  1. Download and install the iPod Software 1.3 Updater.
  2. Run the software. It should have two disabled buttons: Update and Restore, with a message telling you to plug in an iPod.
  3. Plug in the iPod
  4. When you get your expected errors (for me, there were two windows: one asking if I wanted to open Disk Utility and another asking if I wanted to Initialize, Ignore or Eject), move all the windows aside (they still stay in front of everything) so that you can see the iPod Software Updater in the background.
  5. The "Restore" button should now be enabled in the iPod Updater Software. Take a deep breath, understand you'll have to put everything back on your iPod that was there, and click "Restore." I believe there will be a dialog box making sure you want to do this.
  6. As I recall, after an on-screen status bar, the iPod will ask to be unplugged. Do so and close the error windows you got when you plugged in the iPod the first time.
  7. On the iPod's screen, you'll get a status bar. When it's done with whatever it's doing, it'll give you an icon telling you to plug it back into the firewire cable. Do so.
  8. Your iPod should now (after a few seconds) re-appear on the desktop with a generic name. Launch iTunes and you'll get a dialog box asking what you'd like to name it, yadda yadda yadda, it's like new again.
I can't guarantee this will work for you, but it worked for me with no problems. I'm now saddled with the task of re-populating and syncing my iPod with my Mac. This is annoying but a lot less annoying than being saddled with the task of buying a new iPod or (shudder) a different, less-spiffy MP3 player.
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Resore an iPod that won't mount
Authored by: variousbronson on Aug 27, '03 11:57:59AM

I have had the same un-mountable disc issue with my 3g 30gig ipod. I called applecare to see what they suggested and they said to wipe it clean and start fresh- I thought that was a bit too much too soon and i was right. I found that if I booted into OS 9 the iPod mounted as normal and upon rebooting back into OS X : Problem mysteriously resolved!

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Easier restores
Authored by: gidds on Aug 27, '03 11:59:29AM
I can't help with preventing the errors, but I've worked out how you can make restoring your music much easier.

Of course, if your entire music library fits on the iPod, then there's no problem, but my library is much too large. So instead of choosing 'sync manually', I created a new playlist for all the music I want on the iPod, and set it to sync to that one playlist.

Not only does it make reloading trivially easy (if not fast), but it means you can rejig the selection before connecting up your iPod: add and remove tracks to your heart's content, and as long as you don't exceed the iPod's capacity (which you can tell from the size in the status bar), then it'll sync everything next time you plug it in. It also means that if you edit titles, ratings, &c in iTunes, those will be copied across too. (And back, I think.)



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put it into diskmode before
Authored by: cilly on Aug 27, '03 12:54:22PM

Put your iPod into diskmode before connecting it to your computer. It will act then as normal firewire device.

See this site for further information:


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Resore an iPod that won't mount
Authored by: on Aug 27, '03 02:54:02PM

I don't have an Ipod, but I have had the same problem with other firewire drives. After trying everything including norton utilities The only thing that fixed it was running Diskwarrior from Alsoft. Well worth the investment, and has saved me many times over.

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Help!! Resore an iPod that won't mount
Authored by: TallDwarf on Aug 27, '03 10:21:39PM

I have been having a similar problem with my iPod. It does not mount, it automatically goes to the the "Ok to discconnect" screen with the big check mark. The hints regarding disk mode do not work for me either, when I try to enter disk mode (even when not connected to anything) result in the same "Ok to discconnect" screen.

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Help!! Resore an iPod that won't mount
Authored by: uelsimon on Aug 28, '03 09:30:05AM

I also have a probem with my 5gig...1st rev ipod. it does not mpunt.. it doesnt even do the disconnect anymore..all it does is stay in playback mode.. I mean it will restart when i plug it in.. but it restarts to play mode..and not computer mount mode.. and I can't mount it.. or do anything... so it's like a glorified CD now... I can play the music that's on it.. but I can't put/take anything on/off of it. Applecare... suggest it takes $225 bucks to repair... which makes no sense... I best just replace it. Anyone figure out how to fix that problem?

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Help!! Resore an iPod that won't mount
Authored by: lmz on Dec 15, '03 08:57:20PM

I also have the first rev ipod.

I did the same thing the other poster mentioned -- Did the Restore using the Ipod Software Updater (because that was the only evidence I had that my ipod was plugged in anyhow).

Even after that though, the iPod still wasn't mounting anywhere -- not on the desktop or in the finder or in iTunes. While it was connected, I then restarted the iPod by holding down the menu and play/pause buttons and that seemed to do the trick; iTunes saw it then.

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Firewire suspect
Authored by: robertm on Mar 14, '04 01:11:29PM

All of the other suggestions mentioned didn't work for me.

But after unhooking the firewire cable and rerouting it away from the "cable forest" behind my Mac, my iPod mounted everytime.

I had a quick look on the web and this seems to be a common problem. I am guessing the iPod hardware works ok and files aren't getting corrupted all that often. For anyone who used to use a lot of SCSI devices this will seem similar.

So if getting a good firewire connection is the problem, here are some easy tips to try and isolate the problem:

  1. reroute the firewire cable(s) away from video, power cables etc.
  2. unhook other [firewire] devices.
  3. then, try a different firewire port.
  4. try a different cable.
  5. try a different iPod.
  6. try a different Mac.

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