iPod nano 4G and 120GB iPod classic Diagnostic Modes | iLounge Backstage


iPod nano 4G and 120GB iPod classic Diagnostic Modes

From past experience, most readers don’t seem to care much about the iPods’ hidden diagnostic modes, but since we’ve been playing around with them, we figured that a few pictures and details might be of interest to some of you.

Apple has been tossing diagnostic modes into iPods for years; the only model that doesn’t let you access diagnostics is the iPod touch, which like the iPhone has an icon-based hardware diagnostic screen, but completely hides it away. On Click Wheel iPods, including the fourth-generation iPod nano and 120GB iPod classic, you access this mode by holding down the center and Menu buttons at the same time until the iPod resets to an Apple logo screen, then immediately holding the center and reverse track buttons until the iPod boots into the Diagnostic screen shown below.


The iPod nano’s version of this screen has 10 menu options, while the classic’s starts with 2, expanding to 7 when you select “manual” test mode. Click on the title of this article for a list of what’s vaguely interesting inside.

Both devices let you check and see if the iPod hardware is working by using button presses to select from numerous unusual phrases and technical abbreviations. The nano’s test screen lets you check its power management, deep sleep mode, headphone port, video-out, LCD screen, accessory port, memory, Click Wheel, accelerometer, and general “About” statistics. Perhaps the most interesting mode is the LCD test, which lets you try test patterns like the ones above; most of the other tests are there to see if there are specific problems with a given part of the nano.


The iPod classic’s menu lets you test all of the same components, seven of which are within an NTF section of the menus, with memory, IO, power, accessories, and “SysCfg” (About) under the main menu, along with a Reset command. There are also hard disk tests, which let you see the drive’s SMART data and specifications. Note that our photos of the 120GB classic are taken alongside photos of the 160GB classic, which uses older firmware but basically looks identical.


Boring? Yes. But if you’re looking for a way to put up a colored TV test pattern on your iPod’s screen, this is the easiest way to do it.

« On iPod Generations: 2008’s iPod shuffle and iPod classic

The Why Behind the 4GB Fourth-Gen iPod nano »

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I want to give my wife the 120gb Nonao Ipod for berthday. I don’t know anything about Ipods and Amazon ,com is selling it for $220.00.
Is this a good choice?

Posted by Eddie Preijers on January 11, 2009 at 11:31 PM (CST)


Yes, I am actually ordering one right this second.  Amazon is a company that wont screw you over and I have only seen them for $20 less than this on ebay.  I’d say ebay is riskier and the shipping is slower.  I’m willing to pay an extra $20 so that I don’t have to worry about where my iPod is coming from.

Posted by Isaac on February 4, 2009 at 2:35 PM (CST)


Recently my Ipod 8Ghz Nano has been unable to accept music downloaded. All previous music plays OK. More specifically the music appears to transfer correctly as it can be viewed and also played on WinAmp from the Ipod, but when I attempt play from Ipod, the Apple logo appears for about 10seconds before Ipod defaults to the menu. I have tried to access the diagnostics but cannot proceed beyond the initial apple logo. Any body able to help please.

Posted by Robert Gray on March 17, 2010 at 8:03 PM (CDT)


okay what is the piont of doing this though. is there any way you can set it as a background. or is it just for fun?

Posted by charlie on February 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM (CST)

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