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.

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

  1. John

    Hi. I’ve used the rockbox utility before and it worked perfectly. I’m using the iflash quad and decided to add an sd card. Everything was going smoothly, I’ve formatted the cards and restored the ipod on itunes succesfuly, but whenever I go to use the rockbox utility it always stops at 99% and the ipod bootloader says that it can’t find the rockbox.ipod file. I’ve tried multiple times using the stable and the beta version but always end with the same results. It won’t run rockbox but it runs stock ipod OS just fine and that is what I am currently using. Hope you guys could help

  2. Support Post author

    @Chris – That model uses an CE-ATA 160Gb HDD and Apple use this to differentiate between allowing great then 128Gb or not! before you ask – they only ever made the 160Gb CE-ATA drive, and then the CE-ATA standard was in-effect abandoned.

  3. Chris

    This might be a dumb question, but do I understand correctly that 6.5g Classic (160gb Thick) has Maximum 128Gb? even though it’s 160GB from the factory? Or is the limit only a factor when the drive has been replaced?

  4. John

    @Support: Thanks for the advice. Fixed it! For some reason the 128 gb micro sd wasn’t getting formatted correctly. Replaced it and everything works great.

  5. Support Post author

    @John – Of course that will happen as there is no partition table on the cards, you need to use something like AOMEI or another partition manager, to create a new partition on the iPod ‘drive’.

  6. John

    Hope I did not just brick my ipod.

    So my ipod was already rockboxed and had an iflash quad with 128+64gb sd cards. I wanted to add another 64gb sd card so I went and reformatted all 3 cards to FAT32 and deleted everything that was in the first 2 cards. Popped them all in the iflash adapeter and turned the ipod on but I couldn’t get itunes to restore the ipod because it can’t seem to find it. The ipod turns and tries to run rockbox, it says “No partition found” and enters Bootloader USB mode and I’m stuck here. How do I fix it?

  7. Support Post author

    @Joel – has the iPod been restore and sync’d with iTunes to confirm all is working with it, after then you can attempt installing Rockbox and this bootloader.

  8. Joel

    PLEASE HELP. I have tried countless times to get this working but to no avail. I get to the part where it restarts in DFU mode then it tries to restart again but the iPod has already said, no partition found entering usb mode boot loader usb mode. then the installer fails from this point. I cannot find any solutions anywhere.

  9. James T

    After some 3 days of playing around, I managed to get my 7th Generation iPod working, the instructions are a bit basic, I could make a video if it helps.

    1. I completely restored my iPod with iTunes, stopped ihelper in the task manager.

    2. Downloaded and ran (BETA) to load the bootloader, I got a fail on the cannot load rockbox.ipod, when it restarted,

    3. then I downloaded unzipped and manually copied it over to my iPod, rebooted and it worked.

    hope it helps.

  10. Support Post author

    @Breyonna – thata head-fi thread is related to the iPod Video’s (5g/5.5g), this new boatloader and article is only for the iPod Classics (6g/7g).

  11. Support Post author

    @Gabe – You know I have not tried it yet!!! The issues with the mSata & SD cards with Rockbox/EmCore, was always the Rocbox USB Handler – I will try and make some time and see how it works with a 500Gb mSata installed.

  12. Gabe

    As i gave up on Rockbox with the mSata Adapter a while ago (was just not working on a 7G) i just seen this, will this new version now work properly on 7G+mSata?


  13. Support Post author

    @Breyonna – yes of course the LBA28 limit applies to all the 6g iPod regardless of which storage used. Only the 5g/5.5g/7g iPods are LBA48 and do not have the limit.

  14. Support Post author

    @Michael – That is something that would be best asked over at, I am just not sure how rockbox handles the Apple accessory protocols.

  15. Michael Vogel

    Can you tell me if accessories using the ipod connector still work when using Rockbox? I am specifically thinking car stereos…

    Thanks, Michael

  16. Troy

    haha damn i literally spent a whole day last week getting rockbox working. guess i should have procrastinated a little longer lol. thanks for the new guide. AND all your hard work on iflash, it was a much needed upgrade from my 240gb drive

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