Prepare SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod

Prepare SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod

*** IMPORTANT – This article is up as an reference, first install and restore the iPod, if you have problems then attempt these instructions ***

Introduction

Some of the factory fresh ExFAT formatted SDXC cards cause problems in the iPod, I have not been able to determine the exact cause but I suspect the iTunes restore process does not write a fresh MBR (Master Boot Record) nor does it create a new partition table – just modifies the existing table.

This only applies to SDXC cards 64Gb and above in capacity, as these are the cards which are ExFAT formatted by default.

The symptoms tend to be slow music transfer, odd syncing errors, song skipping and iPod freezing up.

I have created a walk through on how to get the SDXC card in to a known good state before installing and restoring the iPod.

Preparation

First you need to get a partition manager software, I use the free AOMEI Partition Assistant, download here!! but only for Windows PC’s, for MAC users any of the popular partition software on MacOS will work. The steps will be slightly different, but the process and concepts should be similar.

You will need a CF card reader, you can also use a SDXC card reader. If you are going to use a SD card reader make sure it is SDXC compatible as you can damage the SDXC card – normal SD or SDHC card readers will not work with SDXC cards.

Steps

IMPORTANT: Make sure that the drive you are modifying is the SDXC card and not another Hard Drive installed in your Computer, you have been warned. So before starting double check that you are working on the SDXC card – better safe than sorry!!

Install SDXC card in to SD-CF Adapter, and place it in the CF card reader. In the example below I am using a 256Gb SDXC – It is shown as removeable in the drive list.

Start AOMEI.

In the main window, right click on the SDXC drive and select REBUILD MBR and confirm, leaving the default Windows 7/8. To commit the action you need to APPLY (Top Left Icon).

Rebuild MBR

Rebuild MBR

Apply Action to Commit

Apply Action to Commit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once that has finished, again right click on the SDXC card and select DELETE ALL PARTITIONS, and Apply to Commit – once that is finished the drive should be totally unallocated.

Delete All Partitions

Delete All Partitions

Unallocated Partition Table

Unallocated Partition Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we can write a fresh FAT32 Partition. Once again right click on the SDXC card, select Create Partition. On the dialog window, click on Advanced and select SSD Parition Alignment – leave the default setting of Optimised. Apply to Commit.

Create Partition

Create Partition

Aligned FAT32 Partition

Aligned FAT32 Partition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the steps have been completed, your partition table should look like this :-

Finished Partition Table

Finished Partition Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can safely eject / remove the SD-CF Adapter from the CF card reader and install in your iPod, ready for the iTunes restore process.

189 thoughts on “Prepare SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod

  1. Kevin Wood

    Hi Support
    I now have a iPod classic (160gb) with an Integral 256GB SD card, iflash solo and I want to upgrade. However, run itunes diagnostics it tells me that there is no ipod. Also the odd time I do get to restore it that to will not work.
    What do I need to do to get it working?

  2. Support

    @Kevin – you really do not need to do the formatting, you can use the SDformatter from the SDIO association to format the SD card (if you have to). Just make sure the MicroSD cards you buy are real and test out ok.

  3. Kevin Wood

    Hello
    Seems like the SanDisk Ultra microSDXC was a fake. So I’ve been trying to use Aomei on the download, but as I get as far as APPLY nothing happens when clicking proceed. It then asks for a license code. The price is $49.99 which is high for only using a couple of times.
    I have a SanDisk extreme PRO 128GB 170mb/s card which I want to use in a ipod Classic 5th gen 80gb with a iflash solo. Also want to use a SanDisk extreme 64GB 120mb/s in a ipod mini or another ipod Classic 5th gen 80gb.

    So is it worth paying for the Aomei?
    Kevin

  4. Support

    @Kevin – Sounds like a fake card, you should always test any MicroSD card you buy first to make sure it is what it says it is. We suggest something like H2Testw.

  5. Kevin Wood

    Have upgraded ipod Classic 5th gen 80gb with a iflash solo and SanDisk Class 10 Ultra 128GB 100MB/s Micro SD SDHC.
    Just checked and the card is SanDisk Ultra microSDXC. Put it all back together and went to itunes which found the ipod. So I downloaded a few CD’s thought I’d cracked it.
    Alas, the ipod has no music on it.
    Now, I ask what have I done wrong? Should I Prepared SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod?
    Kevin

  6. Support

    @Peter Wright – That is correct, the iPod Video’s (5g/5.5g) do that, when you hold down the play button, they enter a soft-off mode, after a certain number of hours they actually power-off, coming out of this mode is actually very similiar to a cold boot, so takes as long.

  7. Peter Wright

    I have my own question, I have an 80gb 5th with a dual sd iflash that goes into deep sleep after 5 hours, let me explain if I use it in my car via the USB lead in the morning get in the car to drive home in the evening and radio says no device until it boots up then starts playing the first track, whereas my 7th generation with the same memory will carry on from wherever I left it for days
    Sorry to hijack your question but I couldn’t find where to ask my self

  8. Mike

    @ support – thank you, you are absolutely right!

    If I DualBoot my iPod 6G with Rockbox, and I break through the LBA28limitation of 128GB with that, will I also be able to use more than 128GB on the original apple firmware?

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