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)

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

  1. quinn

    SO i copied my music while it was booted into ipod os and rebooted into rockbox, when i go to select a song/songs it starts then immediately ends and goes back to the selection screen. the music file are fine or at least should be cause there fine on my desktop. i dont know if it matters but im currently using the most recent build of rock box stable

    1. Support

      @Quinn – If you had corrruption before, then you need to start fresh as the filesystem is corrupt – restore using iTunes, then install Rockbox, and then make sure to only use the Apple USB Handler when transfering.

      Also to confirm that the writes are ok – you can run something like H2Testw to the iPod ‘drive’ to check that the data can be read back with no errors.

  2. quinn

    ok so i just boot it into ipod os and transfer that way, does it have to go thru itunes? like a normal i pod would or will it just see it as mass storage.

  3. quinn

    HI i have an ipod 5.5 gen with an iflash solo. What is the correct method for installing the firmware on the ipods that will work and not drop connection or corrupt my data. iv been struggling to find the solution to this issue for awhile and found this guide but am a bit confused by it

    1. Support

      @Quinn – This is a guide for the iPod Classics – 6g-7g, not the iPod Videos (5g/5.5g) -With the 5.5g once you install Rockbox, you need to boot back in to the Apple OS to do your transfers under the Apple USB Handler – as the Rockbox USB Handler has issues with solid state drives.

  4. Kerry

    I have an ipod video 5.5 with iflash quad and 300gb of sd cards formatted to FAT32, restored with itunes. Can I use the new boot-loader and Rockbox utility method of installing? If so will I still have to do the partitions and will this overwrite itunes?

    1. Support

      @Kerry – this article & new bootloader is only for the iPod Classics (6g to 7g models). For the iPod Video 5.5g just use the standard Rockbox bootloader to copy the .rockbox folder to the iPod. You should not need to format or lose any of your iTunes data.

  5. David

    I’ve been using a iflash quad for a while with 1 SD card in there, and it works fine. I have 3 more SD cards about 300GB total, I formatted them following the guide on here about SDXC cards and FAT32 with Aomei SW. It’s not picked up in rock box after insertion and still shows the original capacity of the 1st card in USB 1 slot.

    Any advice?

  6. PapyOurs


    I have a problem when it comes to copy the installer-ipodclassic.ubi file because the memory isn’t detected… :s


  7. 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

  8. Support

    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…

  9. 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 !!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. Support

      @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.

  12. 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?

    1. Support

      @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.

  13. Chris

    I am having the problem where if I restore with iTunes I get a white screen of death. Everything else works, I fully believe it is changing behind the white screen, and I can even get DFU to load if I have to, but it seems that since I have done EmCore with RockBox I can now only get true video with EmCore/Rock Box, does anyone have a suggestion here?

  14. Erik

    I have successfully completed the install, however, my disk space shows that only 143 gb of the 243 are available. I have tried formatting the disk partition and reinstalling rockbox with no success. I have a 6.5 160gb classic.

  15. Charlie

    I’m having some trouble with this. I followed all the instructions and can currently boot Rockbox; however, the system still only recognizes 127 GB of space. I have a 6th generation 120 GB iPod Classic modded with the iFlash Dual card running two PNY 256 GB SD cards. Can someone help?

    1. Support

      @Charlie – if you restore using iTunes before installing then this is correct as the MBR/Partition table will be 127Gb – to correct, enter the EmCore tools menu and select Format Data Partition to format and repartition the storage.

  16. Kevin Rietmann

    Thanks for these instructions – Rockbox’s own documentation is a bit arcane. It’s working great so far. Some quick and dirty advice on things like plugging in without USB mode or installing themes would be helpful, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *