How do I force quit or restart a frozen iPod?

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…


Ben Huson


78 thoughts on “How do I force quit or restart a frozen iPod?

  1. “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.

  2. 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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 !

  10. 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!!!!!!

  11. 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!!!!!!!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!!!

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