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iPod displays a folder icon with an exclamation point

Symptoms

Find out what you can do if you see a folder icon with an exclamation point when you turn on your iPod.

Tip: Check out this helpful movie.

If you use an iPod with a Click Wheel (including iPod mini, iPod nano, iPod (5th generation), iPod with color display, and iPod photo) on a Windows-compatible computer, click here before continuing. If you're not sure what iPod model you have, click here.

Resolution

Connect the iPod to your computer. If an alert message appears suggesting that your iPod needs to be repaired or reformatted, you can use the latest version of iTunes to restore the iPod. If this alert message does not appear when connecting the iPod to your computer, continue with the suggestions below.

Charge

The battery may be low. Charge the battery by connecting iPod to your computer using the cable that came with iPod, or by connecting to an Apple USB Power Adapter. Verify that the iPod is receiving a charge by looking for a lighting bolt icon or charging animation. Click here for more charging information.

Reset

The iPod may have locked up. Reset iPod.

Restore

Some iPod models require a specific or later version of iPod software. The iPod may have been partitioned or reformatted using an incompatible format. Restore the iPod using the latest version of iTunes. Tip: If iTunes doesn't recognize the iPod, try forcing the iPod into disk mode and then try to restore again.

Service

If none of these steps address the issue, your iPod may need to be repaired. You can arrange for service at the iPod Service Website.

Last Modified: Apr 1, 2011
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  • Last Modified: Apr 1, 2011
  • Article: TS1405
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