The sixth-generation iPod nano contains a hidden “iTerm” Diagnostic Mode and separate Disk Mode similar to previous-generation iPod nano models, iLounge has discovered. Due to changes in its buttons relative to the prior Click Wheel iPod nanos, the new iPod nano’s hidden modes are activated with a slightly different button combination: first, the nano needs to be reset by holding down the sleep and volume down buttons until the Apple logo appears. Holding down both volume buttons during the reset enables Disk Mode, while holding down all three buttons will start up the iPod nano in Diagnostic Mode, briefly flashing the message “iTerm: iPod Display Console” on screen. The menu then identifies the new nano as “N20 Snowfox,” changed from the “N33 GreatDane” designation of the fifth-generation iPod nano. Older generation models did not appear to use these codenames, supplying only a version number.

Apple’s diagnostic menus are navigated and selected using the hardware buttons on the device and include substantially more options than previous-generation iPod nano devices, including options for testing power, audio, remote, TV out, LCD, USB, FM radio, accelerometer and touch screen functions. The sixth-generation iPod nano also includes a hibernation mode similar to that found on earlier iPod nano models, causing the device to go into a low-power mode after 14 hours of non-use. Disk Mode, which transforms the nano’s colorful screen into a black and white display like the ones on early iPod models, forces the nano to appear to a computer as if it was an external USB hard disk—a feature that’s only necessary if the device’s firmware has been corrupted and needs to be restored.


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.