iPod: How to determine your iPod's disk format

iPod, iPod nano, and iPod mini can be restored to work with Macintosh or Microsoft Windows computers. If configured for a Mac, the iPod will be restored as Mac OS Extended (HFS Plus). If configured for Windows, the iPod will be restored as FAT32.

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Checking your iPod disk format

To determine if your iPod has been restored for Macintosh or Windows, do this:

  1. On your iPod, select Settings > About. If you're using an older iPod with older iPod software (such as iPod Software 1.x), select Settings from the main menu.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen.

If your iPod disk is configured for Macintosh, the serial number is the last item you'll see listed in the About screen. If the disk is configured for Windows, the last item you'll see is "Format: Windows."

You cannot use an iPod whose disk is configured for Macintosh on a Windows-compatible computer. However, you can restore the iPod disk to use it with a Windows-compatible computer. To do this, see "Restoring iPod to factory settings." While a Windows formatted iPod may work on a Mac, Apple supports this configuration only with iPod shuffle.

About the iPod nano disk format

When you connect iPod nano to a Macintosh computer for the first time, you'll see this dialog:

This is because iPod nano comes preformatted for Windows (FAT32 file system). The first time you connect to a Macintosh, iPod nano will "reformat" itself to work with a Mac (HFS+ file system). This only occurs the first time you connect iPod nano to your Mac, and if you've never connected it to another computer.

Note: There are a few situations when iPod nano won't be optimized for Mac OS:

  • If you connect iPod nano to a Windows PC the very first time you use it and then connect iPod nano to your Mac.
  • If you open iTunes for the first time before you connect iPod nano for the first time, but you do not agree to the iTunes Software License Agreement.

In both cases, you will not see the "Optimizing" dialog, and iPod nano will not be optimized for Mac OS. If this happens to you, you can optimize iPod nano for Mac OS by simply using iPod Updater to restore iPod nano on your Mac.

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