Q: I have a third-generation iPod nano. I was trying to add photos to it using floola and it deleted everything on it and reset it to factory settings. I need to re-enable it for disk use so that I can use other programs to add photos and music on my iPod. I tried doing a forced disk use and it doesn’t do anything and I don’t have access to iTunes. How do I enable disk use?

– Anonymous

A: Actually, there’s nothing special you need to do to an iPod to “enable disk use”—showing up as a removable hard disk is the natural state for the traditional iPod models, since this is how iTunes itself communicates with them. All that the “Enable Disk Use” option within the iTunes application actually does is to simply prevent iTunes from automatically ejecting the iPod after it is done syncing with it.

Forcing the iPod into hardware Disk Mode is simply a diagnostic procedure that can be used in situations where the iPod is not booting up normally to the iPod menus. The hardware disk mode bypasses the normal iPod firmware and provides a lower-level disk mode that can be useful for diagnosing problems on the iPod.

If you do not have iTunes installed on your computer, any click-wheel iPod model you connect should automatically show up as a removable drive. If this is not happening, then this would indicate either a problem with the iPod itself or with the USB communication between your computer and the iPod. Standard troubleshooting procedures would apply here: Try using a different USB cable, connecting to a different USB port, or even trying to connect your iPod to a different computer, such as a computer at work/school or a friend’s computer.

If the iPod shows up as a removable drive on a different computer, then you will need to look at other issues on your computer that might be interfering with you iPod, such as any software or device drivers you may have recently installed that could be causing a conflict.

If the iPod consistently fails to show up as a removable device no matter where you connect it, then this would likely indicate some failure with the iPod itself rather than the USB connection with your computer. Forcing the iPod into hardware disk mode may work, but if the iPod fails to appear on any computer even in this mode, then it is likely that the iPod itself is defective.


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.