A Reader Asks, How Do I Recover My iPod? [iOS Tips]



Today, I’d like to try something a bit different. I love getting email from readers of the tips posts here on CultofMac, and I got one the other day that I thought would be great to answer for everyone who might be in the same boat. Here’s the email:

Dear CultofMac,
I wanted to ask for your help. One day, I used my iPod all the way until the battery life depleted. When I plugged it to charge, it showed the plug into iTunes prompt. It said I needed to upgrade. After hours of waiting for the update to download, I began the update. When it was about near completion, it said error! It’s outrageous! Is there another way to revive my baby? It’s a 3G.



By the way, I really enjoy your blog.

First up, Marcela, thanks for emailing. What it sounds like is that you got your iPod touch stuck between a restore state and a hard place (sorry, couldn’t resist). Usually, when you see the “plug into iTunes” prompt, it means that your iPod touch is in “recovery mode,” which is the mode that tells iTunes to reinstall the latest iOS version to your iPod and then try to restore from any backups you might have on the machine you’re using iTunes to sync with.

Sometimes that process, when interrupted, leaves you in a limbo state, and neither iTunes nor your iPod touch knows what to do. They need your help to remind them what’s what.

First thing, you need to force your iPod into recovery mode. Apple suggests these steps to place your iPod touch into recovery mode:

  • Disconnect the USB cable from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, but leave the other end of the cable connected to your computer’s USB port.
  • Turn off the device: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears, then slide the slider. Wait for the device to turn off.
  • If you cannot turn off the device using the slider, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time. When the device turns off, release the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.
  • While pressing and holding the Home button, reconnect the USB cable to the device. The device should turn on.
  • Continue holding the Home button until you see the “Connect to iTunes” screen. When this screen appears you can release the Home button.

The knowledge base article also says that if you see an empty battery prompt, let your iPod touch recharge until it turns itself back on. Then follow the steps above.

Thanks for the question, Marcela. Let us know if this fixes things for you!

Got an iOS tip of your own? Need help troubleshooting your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad ? Drop me a line or leave a comment below.


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