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 ***


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.


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.


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.

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

  1. 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?

  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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. trashcanpatrol

    Can anyone verify if this needs to be done with 256GB MicroSD cards in an iFlash Quad? The article is from 2015 but I haven’t read confirmation on whether this procedure should be done with newer cards…

  10. Adam W

    Had some trouble getting mine to work with a “128Gb MicroSD UHS-I (U1) Sandisk Ultra” when formatting either in iPod and restoring on Mac or by disk mode and formatting on Mac. The fix for me was to ‘clean’ the disk via diskpart in Windows. Then initialize/format via iTunes on Windows. – After that I moved it back over to the Mac and it shows as a “Windows Format” iPod. Working just awesome now, 16,000 songs synced and playing nicely. I’m a happy customer!!!

  11. Support

    @Winstone – To add to what Bill has said – I would suggest running something like H2testw or F3 (on Macs) to check the card has the specified capacity and works to manufacturers specs in terms of read/write speeds.

  12. Bill

    Winstone Julius
    Where did you get your memory card from? I had an evo memory card at first and kept getting issues similar to what your having, then I finally started testing it. After a couple test I found out it was a fake memory card that is partitioned to look like a larger size than what it really was, which is why after a certain amount of music was on it it would stop. Once I got a new sandisk card everything was fine. So I would test to make sure it’s a good card.

  13. Winstone Julius

    Having trouble with my the restore process not sure where i’m going wrong. Bought the flash solo and a samsung evo 256GB and think i did the first stage preparation fine.. when i plug the Ipod 160gb MC297 to restore it goes through fine but when i sync my entire iTunes library which currently stands at 9100 it appears to be syncing fine and ends then when i eject only to see no music on ipod but the drive is saying 60gb used up. But i can do like small playlists which actually show up on the ipod.

    I’m i doing the first stage right, i’m on a mac,
    Disk Utility , Erase , Fortmat – MS-DOS (FAT) , Scheme- Master Boot Record
    or is it the other Fortmat (Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or EXFAT) ?
    Scheme- Master Boot Record, GUID Partition Map or Apple Partition Map?
    Please help

  14. MasaharuMac

    I just installed 2 200gb Sandisk Extreme micro SDXC into my 7g iPod classic. I also got the 1434 error message but after erasing and repartitioning the hard drive everything worked well. Thanks so much for the advise!!
    My iPod lives again!!!!!

  15. Francisco

    The free version of AOMEI no longer allows to rebuild MBR. For those with access to a MAC, the disk utility allows to erase a microSD card already within an iFlash inside an ipod video (5.5G) to a MBR disk with exFAT format, and works well afterwards. Then you have to use itunes for windows to initialize the ipod. Using the mac itunes gives later an error during the rockbox installation (with Rockbox utility). Then install rockbox also in windows and you are all set.

  16. Powerz6869

    I tried this on my 128gb samsung evo and it went through good, but i’m trying on a 64gb lexar and after i delete partition, it goes back to exFAT and wont let me create partition. it looks like it creates it automatically, any ideas?
    I’m wandering if this is the reason i’m having trouble. I been trying to add my music but if i do all my music, once i disconnect it says no music. I tried doing 8 albums at a time and it works until im more than halfway done and the same thing happens.

  17. Support

    @Dave – We have seen that where an iPod 6g/7g is running the original factory bootloader, causing restore issues – you do not need the original HDD, just force a DFU recovery, this will update the bootloader and firmware to the latest versions.

    It is pretty rare to see this now, as majority of iPod’s considering their age must have at some point had an restore cycle via iTunes.

  18. Dave

    For those getting error 1439, I solved mine in a way I haven’t seen listed here. I installed an iFlash quad into an old 6G, and was getting this error when trying to restore. Eventually I replaced the original HDD, then did an update through iTunes from 1.1.1 to 1.1.2 (I don’t normally use iTunes which is why it was a version behind I guess). Then I put the quad back in and tried again and this time the restore succeeded. I guess it’s possible I mated the ribbon cable better that final time, but I think it is worth ensuring that your iPod’s OS version is updated to the latest before trying the iFlash install. I haven’t seen this listed as a requirement anywhere, so I’m curious if iFlash support could comment.

  19. Walter

    I used an SDXC microSD card, plugged my ipod into my mac and itunes reported – the ipod could not be restored error 1434. Looked at this page – thanks. I didn’t need to remove the card from the ipod, maybe because I had previously had “allow disk use checked” for the ipod. I had used it previously with my computer. Disk Utility on the mac saw the ipod drive as a USB disk when the ipod was plugged in. In Disk Utility I simply erased the card and reformated as FAT. Then itunes was happy with it and installed it like a new one.
    Absolutely awesome! Thanks, Walter.

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