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.

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

  1. OLly

    Hi, thank you for the guide. After much trial and error I recently got my ipod to sync correctly to an SDXC 128gb. However once I started the ipod and selected a song, the ipod hung for ages and then crashed. Now the drive is corrupted, does anybody know anything to try here or is it likely something to do with the card? I figure if it was a sync error the the sync would have failed.
    Thanks

  2. Jerry Colones

    These directions worked for me using a SanDisk Ultra microSDXC. Followed the formatting to the letter.

    Reset my iPod with iTunes Windows and loaded RockBox in Windows.

    Looking to primarily play FLAC files. However, with a preliminary number of Albums, the tracks play for about 15-30 seconds and then move to the next track or seem to skip around. No full songs get played.

    Any ideas what could be going on here? Thanks

    1. Support Post author

      @Jerry – The Rockbox ATA drivers have problems writing to solid state drives, it causes filesystem corruption and errors – you need to boot in to the Apple OS, do your transfers as normal (drag & drop, etc) then eject the iPod – finally boot back in to Rockbox.

    2. Jerry Colones

      Thank you for your reply. My transfer was on teh Mac platform using a program called Carbon Copy Cloner. According to that program, the data transferred successfully.
      Two alternatives I could try:
      1) Manually drag and drop on the Mac platform or 2) Install RockBox using the Mac installer instead of Windows.
      Your thoughts appreciated.

    3. Support Post author

      You can keep the same method of transfer you have been using, just boot in to the Apple OS on the iPod first.

      Confirm if the files are good or not by copying the files from the iPod back to your Mac and see if they play cleanly.

      In terms of the Mac installer for Rockbox, I am no expert on it – but I assumed that Rockbox installs and formats as FAT32 regardless of MAC or WINDOWS.

    4. Jerry Colones

      Thanks. So by “booting into the Apple OS first” do you simply mean – restarting and mounting the iPod fat32 disk? Previously, I had quit Parallels and the drive had mounted on the Mac OS – then I ran Carbon Copy Cloner. Should my workflow be different?

    5. Support Post author

      When you are restarting the iPod, you can boot back in to the Apple OS by flicking the hold switch (if I remember correctly). Refer to Rockbox.org if that is not correct.

    6. Jerry Colones

      So I have removed all the uploaded tracks and started over. They upload in their entirety but when I attempt to play an album, it only plays for several seconds and then advanced to the next track, Thoughts on where to ge from here>

    7. Jerry Colones

      So I think I’ve got things sorted out. Reformatted again in Windows and then installed RockBox using the Mac installer by logging in as root. Tracks are loading and playing = success!

      I have another iPod with a quad card to be installed. What is the maximum of storage I can use with a Gen 5.5 ? TIA

  3. Tim

    @Support I have 4 Sandisk 400gb Micros loaded up. Was working fine as a 1.43TB iPod for almost two years. Recently on holiday I left my iPod powered on in a hot car (about 90F – 95F outside) for about 40-45 minutes. The audio out and line out were both shot after this. I swapped motherboards, tested all cards to be fine but for whatever reason I can’t get iTunes to restore it with all 4 cards installed. However with each card installed as a single in the Iflash quad iTunes will restore without any problems. Any ideas?

    1. Support Post author

      @Tim – No idea, is it possible the iFlash-Quad has been damaged as well? Does 2 and 3 cards work? Also with the 4 cards installed does the iPod diagnostics HDD specs show the correct storage size, and if you still have diskmode with all 4 cards installed does the iPod ‘drive’ have the correct capacity?

    2. Support Post author

      Just a follow up – Tim’s problem was resolved by formatting each card using the SD Association (SDIO) SD Formatter software (sdcard.org) – which in effect restores SD cards to factory fresh format.

    1. Support Post author

      @Tim – The 1429 error is very non-descript. It could be anything from hardware issues to driver problems on the computer. Check the iPod diagnostics to check that the iPod can read the drive correctly, then put the iPod in to diskmode and check that the computer can see the iPod ‘drive’ correctly (make sure it has a disk letter assigned).

  4. Matt Dowling

    Just fitted and iFlash solo in my 6G iPod 80gig wwith a 128gig MyMemory SDXC card and it works perfectly. Thankyou for producing such a great product.

  5. Dan

    Followed instructions to format to fat32.now downloading 43000 songs.ipod video5.5,iflash with 256gb card.thin back with 650mah battery.awesome….512 is next

  6. Stephen Islip

    I am struggling to fit an iflash with a 560gb micro SD.

    I’ve followed all the suggestions I can follow :

    Initially I put the chip in the iflash connected it to itunes via the ipod (5G video) and found the storage had gone from 560 to 127.75 gb.

    I have subsequently restored the chip to 560 with either exfat or fat 32 (tried both) using both AOMEI or win+R diskpart procedures (delete /create /clean reformat) . CHKDSK tells me the disk is not corrupt and disk management tells me I have a primary healthy primary partition.

    Then I take the chip out of the reader insert it in the iflash connect the ipod – ignore windows (win 7 and 10) telling me to reformat but by the time it get to itunes I’m back to the 127.5gb .

    I have tried this both with an expensive chip (sandisk) and a budget chip (kreco) the outcome is always the same.

    Can you give my any suggestions what I’m doing wring?

    1. Support Post author

      @Stephen Islip – Are you sure you have an 5g iPod, and not a 6th Gen? 127.75GB is what you would see with an LBA28 limited device. What is the model number of the iPod (can be found in the About screen).

    2. Stephen islip

      Thanks your comments were helpful . My v5 turns out to be a v6 with a 128gb limit. I now have to decide if I want to prize open my v7 and swap the 160 hard drive with my v5.

  7. Gustavo Seidler

    This really worked for me. After hours trying I decided to install windows on a virtual machine and try this method. The only other thing I had to do for it to work was to put the iPod in Disk Mode. Installed using a Samsung EVO microSDXC UHS-I 256Gb and an iPod 5th Generation.

  8. Kevin Wood

    Hello

    I’m having problems with itunes not recognizing ipods.

    iFlash-CF with a 64gb compact flash card. Which I’ve used on a ipod mini with good success.
    Now I’ve used it in a 5gen ipod classic.

    However, when it has come to upgrade with a ipod classic 5gen, 30gb & 80gb, and a 7gen 160g. They are not been recognized. The cards I have tried with the ipods are Qumox 128gb, Sandisk 128gb and Integral 256gb with iFlash-Solo.

    What can I do sort this out? The ideal would be 7gen with 256gb with iFlash-Solo.

    Regards.
    Kevin

    1. Support Post author

      @Kevin – What fault finding have you done? Is the iPod showing the restore message? is the computer seeing the iPod? Can you write/read/format the iPod drive? Have you checked your installation? Have you tested your SD cards? Are your iPods working?

    2. Kevin Wood

      Hello

      Here are the answers to your questions.

      What fault finding have you done?

      Is the iPod showing the restore message? Yes, a few times and we good outcome.

      is the computer seeing the iPod? not sure

      Can you write/read/format the iPod drive? I am able to do all that if I restore.

      Have you checked your installation? not sure

      Have you tested your SD cards? yes with SD Card Formatter.

      Are your iPods working? yes as far as I know.

      I get a message when I try to hook up too iTunes sometimes with the following:

      ‘Itunes has detected that it is not the default player for audio files.
      Would you like to go to the default programs control panel to fix it?

      Yes no’

      That is all I can tell you.
      Kevin

  9. 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?

  10. 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

    1. 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.

  11. 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

    1. 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.

  12. 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

    1. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. Mike

    Hey guys, I am in a bit of a dilemma here. I got the iFlash-Quad and did everything as described, sadly it only allows my iPod to be 128GB, I tried it with both of my cards separately and either works – but when both are in the iPod it only tells me that it is 128 and ignores the second card, what am I doing wrong?

  15. Danny

    I am having some issues with my syncing properly. its a 5th gen classic with the iflash solo using a 128gb SDXC Samsung card. I have reformatted and created a new partition as the instructions state. trying to sync only 2600 songs. this process takes almost 4 hours to complete…and when it is done I get an error stating that there was an issue with the sync. after I eject the ipod it is blank with no music at all. am I doing something wrong here?

    1. Support

      Danny – Is this a MicroSD card you are using? have you checked it is real – the symptoms you describe are of a fake card. Use something like H2Testw to fully test the card.

    2. Peter Wright

      5th generation always syncs slow I’ve had some that load at 30 seconds a track yet work fine with the original hard drive that I eventually left in, having tried different ribbon cable memory cards, I used to do up a lot of 4th generation ipod classics but stopped because they were a bit unreliable, it’s starting to happen more with 5th now it’s an age thing you’re using old kit

  16. P

    I already have Quad Version with a single 128GB Micro SD card installed, and now want to upgrade it. do I simply need to plug it in and it will work or do I need to install the Firmware again on the iPod for it to accept the extended Storage?

    1. Support

      P – iPod’s do not support hot-swapping storage, so any changes to the storage will require a restore cycle via iTunes to make the iPod aware of the changes.

  17. Chad

    I took an already formatted card out of an iflash ipod that worked great. Wondering how to get computer to read it without it being in an ipod. Card reader says it needs to be formatted but wont i lose all the music that is already on there? Thanks

  18. Lance Priez

    Yes, the 256gb SDXC cards need to be reformatted per the iFlash instructions. I bought (2) Sandisk 256gb cards to use with the iFlash Quad Adapter. The Sandisk Cards came formatted as FAT32 with an area of “Unallocated” Capacity. I used the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition per iFlash instructions and wound up with a single FAT32 Partition with 238.29GB of Capacity. Inserted the cards in Slots 1&2 of the iFlash Quad Adapter, connected to Mac, launched iTunes, and performed a Restore. Wound up with 476.41gb of Capacity before syncing music library. iPod Software Version was 2.0.5. If iTunes shows you a “corrupt” or “restore error”, during the Restore process, don’t panic. Disconnect the iPod and start the Restore process again. It looks like it is a two step process before you wind up with the iPod OS installed and running. Last step is to sync music library and enjoy the large capacity and the faster performance from the SDXC cards. Again, this is possible due to the iFlash Adapters. I am not an iFlash employee, just very satisfied customer.

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