HowTo: Install Rockbox on the iPod Classics

HowTo: Install Rockbox on the iPod Classics

There is a new version of this guide, updated to show the new bootloader and Rockbox utility method of installing.
Read here -> iPod 6g Classic Rockbox Installation


Thanks to some ongoing work by one of the EmCore developers (Thank you TheSeven!!). We have a development version which is working great on my iFlash boards – this includes CF, SD and mSata cards.

Installation is a two part process. First part we replace the Apple OS with EmCore and once that is running we install Rockbox.

You can get more info about emCore and Rockbox at these links.

One great side effect of installing EmCore / Rockbox, is it removes the silly 128Gb LBA28 limits of the Apple OS for 6g (80Gb,160Gb,120Gb) owners.

Be warned you are making low level changes to your iPod – so read this warning and disclaimer, understand the risks before proceedings :-


  1. You read the disclaimer and warning above?!?!?!? No crying if it goes wrong.
  2. Download the latest development build files here :-  ClassicRockbox.
  3. Extract the archive to a convenient place, so you should have a folder called ClassicRockbox.
  4. If you have iTunes installed, hit ctrl + alt + del and start task manager. In task manager goto the Processes tab and click on show processes from all users. Then right click on these processes and select kill process tree :- iPodService.exe , iTunesHelper.exe , AppleMovileDeviceService.exe .
  5. Connect your iPod to the computer.
  6. Hold down Menu + Select, for around 5 to 10 seconds – keep holding until it stops resetting and the iPod looks like it has died – screen should be blank and no backlight.
  7. Wait a moment for the computer to install the iPod device recovery driver.
  8. In the folder ClassicRockbox, double click bootstrap_ipodclassic_itunes.exe.
  9. A UMSBoot drive should appear. Drag and drop the installer-ipodclassic.ubi file in to the UMSboot drive.
  10. Now safe eject the UMSboot drive.
  11. EmCore should now boot up on the iPod and finish installing itself.
  12. Select Rockbox and that will start the fallback Rockbox image on EmCore.
  13. Rockbox should start and enter USB mode, wait for the iPod to appear on your computer.
  14. Once the iPod drive appears, drag and drop the .rockbox folder to the iPod.
  15. Safely eject the iPod and remove the USB lead.

Remember this is a development version – so leave a comment let me know how it is working for you…. especially the storage cards you are using….

Task Manager Kill Processes

Kill all the iTunes related processes before connecting iPod.

Get iPod in to DFU Mode

Get iPod in to DFU Mode

Run Boot Loader Exe

Run Boot Loader Exe, UMSboot drive should appear.

Copy UBI file

Copy UBI file to UMSboot drive and safely eject.

EmCore Install

emCore will install itself by flashing the iPod

Copy RockBox Folder

Copy .rockbox Folder to iPodClassic drive.

iPod 6g Loaded

Finally load up lots of music, like I have (PNY 256Gb SDXC)

Rockbox info screen

Rockbox info screen (PNY 256Gb SDXC)



150 thoughts on “HowTo: Install Rockbox on the iPod Classics

  1. Enrico

    Good Evening, i have just installed an Iflash Quad on my Ipod Classic 6 (160 GB) with RockBox on it.
    When i boot it, emcore works good, but is not able to load RockBox and I get this error:
    *PANIC* ATA: Error 80000003 while reading BBT (sector 0, count 1….
    How can i solve it?

    Thank you

  2. Support Post author

    I have a new guide posted detailing how to install Rockbox using the new bootloader method – much better and looks like the USB transfer issues have been resolved. Link at the top of this article…

  3. taufiq abidin

    yeah !! in 3 day finaly i can install rockbox ! with blank display before, in 3th day i try again in my windows to install n done !!!!!!! i can install ,thank guy , i dont need itunes anymore because its enough transfer file mp3 from windows without itunes !
    indonesia !!

  4. nitesh

    Hi, a couple of weeks ago got the dual card and installed a 512gb kingston card.Followed all the instructions but had to look elsewhere to get it to work.I have a 2.05 7g.I found that Win 10 doesn’t see the ipod and Win 7 works .When transferring music i noticed that after a few minutes the process would stall.Today i realised that the fix for this is increasing the setting for ‘timeout’ .I also used ‘teracopy’ ( freeware) to transfer the music.I also noticed that Rockbox won’t show how much space is left on the card , you have to scan the disk and it will refresh and show how much is available.So far i have loaded about 20 gb but will report as i continue to see if will keep working.

  5. Support Post author

    @Shane – what does the HDSpecs screen with in the iPod diagnostics report? Have you tested your SD cards, in an external card reader, or just install one of the 200Gb cards and see if that changes anything. Make sure uSD1 slot is occupied with a card.

    Finally, it is worth trying a DFU recovery with the iFlash installed.

  6. Shane

    I just received the quad Micro SD and two hdd ribbons for my IPOD 6h gen. I installed everything according to the instructions, but I am unable to restore my IPOD. I have tried for over two hours with both of the ribbons and the original HDD seems to still work. I have tried a 32gb and 2x 200gb micro SD. I am a little stumped on what the issues could be. I originally had emcore/rock box installed, I put the original HDD back in to restore to iTunes, but now with the adapter I just get the do not disconnect icon. Since both ibbons seem to not work, I am out of ideas.

  7. Support Post author

    @Jake – I am pretty sure No, as Rockbox does not support the Apple USB control standard – however, I would ask over at the site to confirm.

  8. Jake

    I have a possibly silly question. My car recognizes my iPod Classic 6th Gen 120gb when connected via USB. The songs appear on my radio display and I can play/skip/pause/navigate music library with my car’s controls. Will I have still have this functionality if I were to install RockBox? Anybody ever try this?

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