How do I force quit or restart a frozen iPod?

Wednesday, 2nd March 2005
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I learned the hard way by disconnecting my iPod (3rd Gen.) while it was in the middle of doing something.

If your iPod appears to have crashed or frozen and you need to force it to restart, simply hold down the ‘menu’ and ‘play’ buttons simultaneously for about 5 seconds. The iPod should quit and reboot. If you have an iPhone  see my post above force restarting an iPhone.

The above method will work for older iPods with a scroll wheel or touch wheel. For newer iPods (listed below), toggle the ‘hold’ switch on and off to ‘lock’ then ‘unlock’ the iPod controls. Then press the ‘Menu’ and ‘Select’ (centre) buttons for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.

  • Fifth Generation iPod (also known as iPod with video)
  • iPod nano (Second Generation)
  • iPod nano
  • iPod with color display (iPod photo)
  • iPod (Click Wheel)
  • iPod mini (Second Generation)

If none of these solutions work, this technote emay help.

If you have locked your iPod screen and forgotten the ‘screen lock’, read this post…

78 Responses to “How do I force quit or restart a frozen iPod?”

  1. Josh Stevens Says:

    Other ipods respond to the center button and menu buttons at the same time. My method worked for the mini. Good luck

  2. Patrick Corcoran Says:

    iPod Nano restarts with “Menu” and center button, held down together for about 5 seconds.

  3. James Veiland Says:

    “Menu” and Center button works for the 5th Gen iPod. Just hold the two of them for about 5 seconds and it will shut down.

  4. Jazz Says:

    Thanks a bunch! center button and menu held down rebooted my ipod. :)

  5. Sha Sha Says:

    ooo my video ipod worked with menu and middle button. thanks!

  6. j rose Says:

    Thanks for the tip. Worked like a charm

  7. j rose Says:

    Worked like a charm. Thanks for the tip.

  8. kim Says:

    d’oh… didn’t work :(

  9. SOAD Fan Says:

    Thanks… Saved me… I was going to just let the battery die, I did not know what to do.

  10. HÂvard Says:

    Thanks! :D

    This worked for my iPod nano!
    For me however, the hold button had to be in ‘off’ position for this to work; from your steps it seemed to have to be in an ‘on’ position.

    O well.. play that funky music baby! :D

  11. Ben Huson Says:

    Thanks HÔø?vard for noticing that typo. You’re correct in that you should ‘lock’ then ‘unlock’ the iPod.

  12. krista Says:

    hey, my nano shut off but i t didnt solve my problem,I PUT MY LOCK CODE IN IT AND I FORGOT THE CODE I PUT IN AND NOW I CANT LISTEN TO IT IF U READ THIS AND KNOW HOW TO HELP PLEZ E-MAIL ME AT its on my myspace
    PLEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Peder Says:


  14. Ben Huson Says:

    Krista, I just came across an article about unlocking iPod screens if you have forgotten the “screen lock” code and written a post about it. Read it here…

  15. Julius Says:


  16. Colin Says:

    Oh, Thanks, that really helped.

  17. Craig Says:

    Great advice. You wiped out my IPod Nano. It is not you fault. I blame “Crapple” and their inferior hardware and software once more.

  18. Dotty Says:

    thank you so much for putting these methods online, it has saved me from waiting hours until my ipod shut down. you are genius and i love you forever

  19. Cheryl Says:

    My 5th generation iPod won’t shut down completely. The screen goes dark but a simple touch of the bottom scroll button opens it up where I was before with no Apple Logo coming up as in a clean shutdown. The iPod is continually running even with the “fake” shutdown.

  20. J Says:

    remember to hold the buttons down even after the screen goes dark, if you let go when it goes dark you have just put the ipod to sleep hold down for another 5 seconds to do a complete reboot.

  21. mike Says:

    worked great thanks

  22. Peter Says:

    Great advice, thanks!!!

  23. Nyson Says:

    I just wanted to add that this tip works perfectly with third generation iPod nano!

    Thanks for the tip!

  24. rob Says:

    U Fkn legend cheers man

  25. bentonsedge Says:

    Apple ipod ‘help’ site said that if the ipod nano 3rd gen is frozen, push the slide switch to the locked position, then back again, and it will reset. It worked when it was frozen. I did it at about a 2-second pace. To find the tech note I had to enter the serial number of the ipod into the Apple site.

  26. steven Says:

    menu and center im a guy and a girl taught me.

  27. JC2004 Says:

    wow just wanted to add that this worked on my Ipod Classic 80gb 6th gen, worked really great thank you.

  28. Eystein Says:

    Thanks! worked for my Ipod nano.


  29. Magnus Helliesen Says:

    Thanks. Thats the first tips that actually worked. The hold on-off tips then menu+centre worked like a charm.

  30. Matt Says:

    thanks a lot!
    it worked just like u said it would!

  31. liam darby Says:

    hey if you have an ipod touch all you have to do is hold the home button and the on or wake button for approx ten seconds and the you have restarted your ipod.

  32. Danielle Says:

    THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH! I thought my iPod died then thoughts went through my head about needing to buy a whole new one! I need this for SOOOO many things! Oh, this page helped me so much :) THank you !

  33. barlotte Says:

    thank you so much!
    It worked just as you said, which hardly ever happens!

  34. anibel Says:

    omg!!! thanxs I was paniking…. thanxs a lot…. i work like u said

  35. yodaman Says:

    u rock! toggle, menu and select worked.

  36. Jack Says:

    god… this menu and center button thing never works for me! the clicking is driving me insane! the apple logo just comes up then fades and clicks!!!! IM GOING INSANE!!!!!!

  37. Jonathan Hamel Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial!

    Worked like a charm!

  38. Debi Says:

    I know this post is extremely old, but the ‘hold the menu + center key’ worked! Thanks! My iPod is now unfrozen…

  39. Zach Says:

    Thanks! My iPod works now.

  40. Bill Says:

    After some moments of panic when my 6GB iPod Mini froze, I discovered here the menu/middle button suggestion, which worked like a charm. Thank you!

  41. Elvis Says:

    Thanks,holding down the MENU and CENTER button restarted my ipod :)

  42. Bri Says:

    Thanks!!! My ipod works now after restarting just wasn’t sure how until I found this website… Completely frozen until I held down the center and Menu bottom for 5 secs… Thanks again!!!!!!!

  43. Julie Says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! it worked like a charm!!!! If this didn’t work i would have had to pay for the technical support hotline…. and i didn’t really want to do that…. so THANK YOU AGAIN!

  44. Allison Dobson Says:

    Thanks for the instructions – this worked on my frozen ipod.

  45. Brandalyn Says:

    Thank you! This worked for my 1st generation iPod Touch.

  46. David Says:


  47. Rasmus Says:

    Thanks a lot! I was yelling and screaming at my iPod for several hours, hehe. But finally managed to reboot it with the center and menu key. Thanks!

  48. Steve Jobs Says:

    Sweet. Worked for me too, thanks.

  49. Craig Mische Says:

    Thank you Ben. Since my iPhone addiction started it has been a long time since I used my iPod.

  50. Fotini Chalkias Says:

    Thanks so much, I didn’t know what else to do and this worked!

  51. Free Stuff Guru Says:

    Love your blog! I’m having trouble finding a suitable theme for my technology blog. Can anybody suggest one? Thanks a lot.

  52. ashu Says:

    Center button and Menu button worked :)

  53. Liam Says:

    thanks alot. Center and middle button for ipod touch to it worked staight away

  54. RAB Says:

    Thanks. For the longest time i had to wait for my iPod to run out of battery or recover. These tips are definite time savers.

  55. ANthony B Says:

    Big thanks!!! its worked and i’m sane again…. i think.. but nonetheless.. it works!!!!!!!! (pressing center and menu)

  56. rixta Says:

    Thanks for the Ipod force quite tip bud..legend, cheers

  57. Nathan Says:

    my ipod has frozen in the off mode i downloaded a few apps (all legit) and i found my old ipod (that broke when it met a hammer ! ) and it seemed to turn its self off very wierd

    anyway it wont turn on and it would be gr8 if you could possibly e-mail me how to

    e-mail :

  58. roy Says:

    thank you done the trick

  59. Ed2 Says:

    Thanks so much for your help. My 5th Generation Ipod restarted with Menu and the Center pushed down. This is the best use of the internet. Thanks so much to all.

  60. AirbmaB7 Says:

    My iPod (with video) was frozen and all I had to do was hold the Menu and the center buttons down for about 8-10 seconds. It restarted and NO INFO WAS LOST! Yay!

  61. Debra Says:

    Patrick Corcoran :
    thank you so much

  62. albus Says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. Nyanto! Says:

    Wow… I’ve had my iPod for over 3 years, and I never knew this. I’ve always waited for the batteries to run out when it crashed.

    Goddamn, I’m an idiot…

  64. Drew Says:

    toggling the hold button, then pressing the select and menu buttons worked great for my 2005 30g ipod video. Thanks!

  65. josh Says:

    James Veiland thx alot

  66. Raymond Says:

    My i pod isnt turning off!! whats the sign of that!!!

  67. Calin Cu Says:

    my ipod waws locked
    and it wasn’t working=))

  68. Rashroosh Says:

    Thank u thank u thank u I was so worried about my iPod touch just click “home” button and your on and off button for at least five sec it will shut down then turn it back on

  69. vkii Says:

    Thanks, it worked..

  70. marteinn Says:

    THANKS!!!!! middle button and menu worked like a charm, had mild heart attack when this happened thought i just fryed my 160gb ipod pheww thanks

  71. Jacob K. Says:

    Thanks Ben! My neighbor had her ipod classic synced in her Mercedes and it locked up on her. This worked perfectly and we were able to reboot it before her 5-hr long trip to D.C. Thanks again for posting.

  72. Aram Chemishkian Says:

    Saved my iPod nano generation 1, its about 3 year olds, maybe older, and has had many owners. when it froze, i thought it was done for it. Really glad i found this.

  73. Untouched Says:

    I never do this, but seeing that it worked I have one thing to say:

    Thanks, brah, you solved a problem in my life.

  74. Bananaphone Says:

    I did this to my 6th gen classic and it just turned off, i’ve tried every combonation of buttons and it still won’t do anything.

  75. no name Says:

    wait until battery gone

  76. Andy H Says:

    I have had my 3rd Generation for 8 years now and use it for singing to backing tracks. However, it has started to freeze again and again, which is slightly embarrassing as it prevents me from singing to the audience for a minute or so. I guess it is coming to the end of its life. Can anyone suggest otherwise to keep it going for longer? The battery life is still strong on this 20GB baby but it does freeze between 4-5 times whenever I use it now.

  77. Greg C. Says:

    Thanks a million – I’ve got an older iPod 6GB that was frozen (my fault for disconnecting it while it was doing “something” – who knows what?). No longer a problem. Thanks again!!!

  78. ivanlie Says:

    thank you so much..
    it really works on my ipod touch 4rth gen..

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