Restoring iPod to factory settings with iPod updater

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Learn how to restore iPod to factory settings.

If you need to restore or update an iPod shuffle, click here. If you have iTunes 7 or later, click here

Tip: Check out this helpful movie too.

Background

First, it is important to understand the difference between "update" and "restore."

"Update" simply updates the software that controls iPod and may also update the firmware for the hard drive. Update does not affect the songs and files stored on iPod's hard disk.

"Restore" erases the hard disk and restores iPod to its original factory condition. Because Restore erases all of the songs and files on the hard disk, make sure to back up your songs and files first. If you use the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, see this document for more information.

For instructions on how to update iPod, see "How to update iPod".

About the iPod Software Updater application

You use the iPod Software Updater application to update or restore your iPod.

  • Download the iPod Updater for Windows or for Mac . From time to time Apple expects to release versions of this application that have newer versions of iPod software. These later versions may include new functions or improvements to existing features.

    You can easily find out which software version your iPod has. The steps are different depending on what operating system your computer has:

    Watch a QuickTime video of the restore process from the iPod tutorial.


    How to restore iPod for Macintosh

    This procedure assumes that the iPod preferences are in their default condition, which means iTunes automatically opens whenever you connect iPod to your Mac with a cable. You can restore a Mac with USB if it is running 10.3.4 and your iPod has a dock connector. When restoring some iPod models with USB you will have to disconnect the iPod from the computer and attach it to the iPod AC Adapter to finish the restore (a graphic of a plug on the iPod will indicate if you have to do this). Some iPod models connecting via USB, including iPod mini (Second Generation) and iPod nano, do not need to be connected to the AC power adapter.

    Warning: The restore process cannot be undone. All of your songs and files will be deleted. Always make a backup of your important data.

    1. Open the iPod Software Updater application. It's in the Utilities folder, which is in your Applications folder. Open the iPod Updater showing the most recent date in the filename.
    2. Connect your iPod to your Mac.
    3. When it becomes available, click Restore. An alert box appears to confirm you want to restore iPod.
    4. A dialogue box will appear prompting you to enter an adminstrator's name and password.
    5. A progress bar appears on the computer screen.
    6. When the restore process on the computer has finished, close the iPod Updater and look at the screen on the iPod.
      • If you see an image of a wall power plug, connect your iPod to the AC adapter that came with it and plug it into a wall outlet and wait for the restore to complete.
      • If you see a progress bar underneath the Apple logo, leave the iPod connected to the computer.
      • If you had to put iPod into Disk Mode before restoring, the iPod screen may display "OK to Disconnect" and you may need to reset iPod.
    7. After the restore is complete and the iPod is connected to the computer, the iTunes Setup Assistant window will appear asking you to name your iPod and choose your syncing preferences similar to when you connected your iPod for the first time.

    iPod has been restored to factory settings and updated with the music and playlists in your iTunes music library.



    How to restore iPod for Windows XP and 2000

    This procedure assumes that the iPod preferences are in their default condition, which means iTunes automatically opens whenever you connect iPod to your computer.

    Warning: The restore process cannot be undone. All of your songs and files will be deleted. Always make a backup of your important data.

    When restoring some iPod models with USB you will have to disconnect the iPod from the computer and attach it to the iPod AC Adapter to finish the restore (a graphic of a plug on the iPod will indicate if you have to do this. Some iPod models connecting via USB, including iPod mini (Second Generation) and iPod nano, do not need to be connected to the AC power adapter.

    1. Open the iPod Software Updater application. It can be found by clicking on the Start menu, pointing to All Programs (Windows XP) or Programs (Windows 2000), and then point to iPod.
    2. Select the iPod Updater showing the most recent date in the filename.
    3. Connect your iPod to your Windows PC.
    4. When it becomes available, click Restore. An alert box appears to confirm you want to restore iPod.
    5. A progress bar appears on the computer screen.
    6. When the restore process on the computer has finished, close the iPod Updater and look at the screen on the iPod.
      • If you see an image of a wall power plug, connect your iPod to the AC adapter that came with it and plug it into a wall outlet and wait for the restore to complete.
      • If you see a progress bar underneath the Apple logo, leave the iPod connected to the computer.
      • If you had to put iPod into Disk Mode before restoring, the iPod screen may display "OK to Disconnect" and you may need to reset iPod.
    7. After the restore is complete and the iPod is connected to the computer, the iTunes Setup Assistant window will appear asking you to name your iPod and choose your syncing preferences similar to when you connected your iPod for the first time.

    iPod has been restored to factory settings and updated with the music and playlists in your iTunes music library.

    Related documents
    60952: How to rename your iPod
    61771: iPod does not appear in iTunes or on the desktop, an exclamation point or sad iPod icon appears onscreen
    61584: iPod only shows an Apple logo and doesn't start up
    61711: Your Windows PC doesn't recognize iPod
    60950: iPod doesn't appear in iTunes or on my Mac desktop
  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012

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