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)


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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. Support Post author

    @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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. Support Post author

    @Julien – if you restore using iTunes then the partition table / MBR will be set to 128Gb – you need go in to the EmCore Tools menu and format data partition.

  7. julien


    I manage to install succeffuly rockbox on my ipod 6th classic, I have an I flash quad with 4 128g sd card but rockbox tell me that I have only 128g on the drive, so I don’t know if it only read one card or he still don’t remove the LBA28 limits. Any idea on that issue

  8. Les Trotter

    Having issues with iPod. Computer won’t recognize the iPod. I have the iflash dual. Is there someway to reinstall the software, or reset it?

  9. Sarah

    How long does it usually take until the UMS Drive appears in file explorer?

    Its listed in the device manager almost immediately, but in the actual flile explorer, all I got after an hour was a “usb device(E:) ” with 60 something megabyte. But the icon was still half transparent and trying to open it, crashed the windows explorer.

  10. Mario

    DFU won’t work… “Apple Recovery (DFU) USB Driver” will never show 🙁 what can I do?

  11. Adam

    I was running into issues getting EmCore to install properly from Windows 10. It’s possible something else contributed to my issues, but the main thing I did differently when it worked was use the bootstrap file from here instead of the one provided in the guide:

    Hopefully this helps anyone who has issues getting EmCore to install. As a side note, USB reliability with Rockbox is a bit sketchy. It works, but sometimes Windows will stop recognizing it properly and Explorer and anything accessing it stops responding. If always seems to starting working normally eventually. This first happened when I hooked it up to my computer after getting Rockbox going. It took about 5 minutes or so for it to become usable, so keep that in mind when you first hook it up to put music on it.

    I have also been transferring music to it with Winamp, and it has stalled out a few times due to the USB issues i mentioned. The speed is also on the slower side. This all seems to be due to inherent issues with the USB handling of Rockbox. But, it does seem to work quite well, so no complaints really!

    I am using a 120GB classic with the iFlash Dual using 2 256Gb SDXC UHS-I (U3) PNY Elite Performance SD cards. I’m very satisfied with the solution. I mainly wanted to give feedback on the software experience for anyone running into similar issues.

  12. Robert

    Hi Support,

    changed to a 64GB Samsung card – works like a charm!
    Thanks for the support!

  13. Mark

    Hi – I did put the latest builds on (I’m sure, but I’ll check again) I used Ameoi partition software, but i’ll go back and have a look for the specific emCore tools menu. Thanks for the great support here…

  14. Support Post author

    @Mark – Have you tried the latest builds, I posted links in a comment below – can you not even start the fallback? and have you tried formatting data partition under the emCore tools menu?

  15. Robert

    Hi Support,

    did that – the restore process in iTunes starts, but then the red “X” is shown in my iPod, and that’s it.

  16. Mark

    Same problem for me (2 x 128GB class 10 cards) – I have restored the iPod to original firmware and tried again, but I got the same problem. I put the 80GB apple HD back in and loaded emCore and Lockbox booted fine. Just seems to be the cards it doesn’t like. Could it be a class 10 issue?

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