How To: Rockbox installation on iPod Classic (new bootloader)

How To: Rockbox installation on iPod Classic (new bootloader)

Since I wrote my previous article on installing EmCore and Rockbox on to the iPod Classics, there has been some great work done in this area and in effect creating an integrated bootloader installation method for Rockbox.

Currently in Beta, but the new bootloader installation method works really well and with the new DesignWare USB driver introduced in to the code – the USB funtionality is impressive – very fast transfer speeds and (so far) no filesystem corruption or (usb) device dropping.

Anyway the guy who has been doing this great work has posted a link, there is an installation video as well as links to the latest builds and useage documentation.

I think this is a great solution for people who own 6g iPods which have the LBA28 limit of 127Gb. Rockbox and this new bootloader will open up the extra storage available when installed with higher capacity solid state storage.

The following video shows the entire installation process and the extra steps necessary when using with an iFlash board and larger than 128Gb storage …..

Go get the latest build from the link above – I suggest the Designware USB build and the zip file, which you should extract to a suitable location on your computer.

UPDATE: Many people have been asking me, while it is not shown/mentioned in the video this same method can be used for the iFlash-Sata as well as all the other iFlash adapters.

As always this process is messing around with the underlying firmware installed on the iPod, so there is a risk of bricking your device – you have been warned. If you choose to follow this guide you do so at your own risk!!

NOTE: After making the video it occured to me that when you run the Rockbox utility the first time, you can just select the bootloader installation, then re-partition/re-format the storage, then on the second run of the Rockbox utility, install Rockbox and related files. This will save a little time.

76 thoughts on “How To: Rockbox installation on iPod Classic (new bootloader)

  1. Pete

    ….oops, didn’t notice the year on P’s post. I assume they’ve discovered that by now. Still, for anyone else who might be wondering!

  2. Pete

    That’s more a question for Rockbox, but the answer is definitively ‘no’. Rockbox does not alter the original firmware.

  3. P


    If I DualBoot my iPod 6G with this Rockbox, and I break through the limitation of 128GB, will I also be able to use more than 128GB on the original firmware?

  4. Kent Townsend

    I have installed Rockbox onto an ipod 6th gen with an iflash quad board and 280gb SSD. Rockbox is loaded and working ok however I have approx 25,000 songs all organised in artist and album folders that I want to load onto my ipod, however I can only install a certain number of files. I have adjusted the MAX ENTRIES IN FILE BROWSER TO 10,000 but I am still unable to load more than 50-60gb of music files. The manual explains that MAX ENTRIES IN FILE BROWSER “limits the number of files in any particular directory”. Can someone help me with my problem and perhaps explain exactly what does ” number of files in any particular directory” actually mean. What is a directory?? and is there a way to have additional directories?? Or is there a way to organise my files without removing the song files from their artist and album folders??.

    I’m new at this and really like Rockbox so any help would be greatly appreciated!!

  5. guny

    i can not restore my ipod. i continue to get a screan showing me “”
    can any one help me?

  6. Jason

    I just got an mSATA adapter and a 250GB 860 EVO mSATA drive for my iPod video 5.5G. I installed the adapter and drive and restored the iPod in iTunes which works fine. I have problems getting Rockbox v. 3.14 working. I get ATA error: -11 Press ON to debug. Is there a patch anyone knows of or another version of rockbox that will work with this setup?

  7. Michael

    Question 1 – Can I load Rockbox on a 5.5th gen iPod MA444LL and if yes, what are the song limitations?

  8. edcruwys

    Question: My 7th gen ipod has become very crashy @ 293gb used/171 gb free (39545 songs). I understood that the file limit is 50k items but the way my ipod is now it is looking like a lack of memory is the issue. I am wondering if RockBox is the answer…thoughts please.

  9. Justin Bye

    Just wanted to offer some genuine thanks and praise for your excellent service and products!
    Have given a new lease of life to my 120GB Silver iPod Classic (MB562) using the iFlash-Quad flash loaded with 3 x 128GB micro SDs (and a new ribbon as it turns out that the original Apple ones are quite delicate and easily broken!).
    I can now get my entire collection on the single iPod in FLAC format with space to spare.
    Thanks again team!

  10. Karl

    @saratoga: I fully understand. Big up to all the rockbox devs.
    @Support: So you mean the Rockbox code of the iRivers supports your adapters? It was tempting to upgrade the storage of my iPod using your adapters, but seeing that it doesn’t work well was very frustrating.

  11. saratoga

    @Karl Rockbox is an Open Source project run people on the devices they own. If someone wants to add support for the iFlash adapters, they can submit the code and I (or someone else) will review it. If no one wants to do it, then they will not be supported.

    @Support You don’t need to change your hardware, rather you need to provide a driver that works for your adapters. It is unfortunate that you have an article titled “How To: Rockbox installation on iPod Classic” without actually providing source code necessary to make that work reliably. As a result people seem to think that the iFlash adapters are going to work with Rockbox, and then come to us when they do not.

  12. Support

    @Karl – Our test build for the iPod Video’s seems to be working very well – in our tests the transfer rate over USB is as fast as the Apple OS with no corruption or hang-ups, but sadly the 6g/7g build of Rockbox uses it’s own ATA drivers so our changes cannot apply to that.

    Many people use our board in iRiver players with Rockbox, we have not had any reports of issues or problems. So the issues seem very specific to the ATA code used in the iPod builds.

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