27 February 2007, 22:06 by mark hoekstra

turn your iPod mini into a flash based iPod

click to enlarge

There’s an update/add-on to this project:
flash based iPod mini, now up to 8GB!

...and another update:
the iPod mini remastered, now with 16GB!

...and an addendum:
battery life on the flash based iPod minis

...and don’t forget to visit my other project:
put flash memory into (almost) ANY iPod! ^_^

For me personally, of all the iPods that have been around or still are, the iPod mini is one of the greatest. With its small form factor (compared to the big iPods, not to the later Nano or shuffle or such) and metal scratch-resistant housing it’s a no-nonsense MP3-player with a great interface. I understand Apple needs to keep selling iPods in ever different tastes, but personally and as far as only an MP3-player is concerned , I’d say: look no further.

These iPod minis are discontinued a while ago and are coming of age. The two major issues for these players to stop working are the battery and the internal microdrive.

For batteries there’s a fairly good after market, I’ve just replaced the one in the mini showing on this page and that works great. You can find them fairly cheap on sites like eBay and such. I’ve paid 15 euros for the battery.

The microdrive is a little wonder on its own, it’s a very tiny harddrive but the downside to that is that it’s a mechanical device with moving parts. Sooner or later these will all stop working. From the iPod Nano onwards the small iPods (nano, shuffle) have all been fitted with solid state flash memory instead of these microdrives.

Now with prices of flash memory cards dropping and sizes increasing, the idea was born to replace the microdrive inside my Mini with a 4GB Compact Flash card. I can’t see a reason why a bigger card wouldn’t work but 4GB was the maximum my budget would allow me at this moment. I paid 40 euros for my card. I’m eager to hear of anyone who, after this, tries out 8 or 16GB Compact Flash cards inside his/her iPod Mini and, when time goes on, I guess we could even try out really large CF-cards since the CF-standard is able to support capacities up to 137 GB and again, I can’t think of a reason right now why that wouldn’t work.

click to enlarge

Anyway, I already took apart my Mini to replace the battery and hadn’t put it back together again because I’m planning on doing something to the metal casing as well… *^_^*

So, to get your mini in the same state I got it in, I’d recommend you follow the steps over at ifixit.com or you can download the guide as a pdf-file, (mirror)

I’m not responsible for any damage you do to your iPod, yourself or others by trying this. Scroll down for useful pointers in the comments before you decide to do this. But still, you’re on your own if your iPod or anything else goes haywire because of this little tutorial.

the how-to

click to enlarge

Here you can clearly see the microdrive. Now even though I’m suggesting you use the guide on ifixit.com for taking apart your mini, I actually didn’t. *^_^* So I now see you can remove the microdrive at the point where it says ‘molex’. I’ve been inspecting that and didn’t dare to try that and have been removing the microdrive with the connector still attached to the motherboard of the mini.

click to enlarge

When you work carefully, you can detach the sticker with which the drive is covered.

click to enlarge

Here you can clearly see the two stickers/tape and some protection (the blue bits) for the microdrive. Once you have that removed, you can carefully pry the connector out of the microdrive.

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The connector to the microdrive.

click to enlarge

Make sure you place the Compact Flash card with the right side up because there’s two ways to connect it. Whatever brand Compact Flashcard you end up buying, it will be clear which side is up and which side is down. The upside has to face outwards.

Once you have the Compact Flashcard installed, you can turn on your iPod and it will show you a screen where it says to look for support. Well, I suggest you don’t cause I don’t think Apple-support will help you at this point… *^_^*

click to enlarge

You can simply connect the iPod to your Mac/PC which has iTunes on it and hit restore. This way there will be a fresh firmware written to the iPod. After this you need to connect the iPod to an external powersupply. I’m not sure why that is, but you have to do that. This also works on aftermarket Non-Apple USB-powersupplies by the way.

click to enlarge

And guess what? it works!

click to enlarge

To show you this iPod mini really is operating from a cheap Compact Flashcard, I made this picture with a mirror underneath.

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But well… original firmware is nice, but podzilla is much nicer!

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booting linux… (still from Compact Flash) ^_^

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And we’ve got Pong on our Solid State iPod Mini!

click to enlarge

So, here you have it. With bigger and cheaper Compact Flash-cards around the corner and this little proof-of-concept that a iPod Mini can work right off a non-microdrive non-Apple CF-card, thereby eliminating the moving parts in our beloved player, we’ve got ourselves a way to use this great MP3-player for a long time to come. I truly hope so.


There seem to be some questions about which CF-card works or not. I’ve been using a CF-card from PEAK, so if you want to make sure this works, use one of them.

For international (re)sellers, check their website.

and there’s an update/add-on to this project:
flash based iPod mini, now up to 8GB!

...and another update:
the iPod mini remastered, now with 16GB!

...and an addendum:
battery life on the flash based iPod minis

...and don’t forget to visit my other project:
put flash memory into (almost) ANY iPod! ^_^

Terms and Conditions of Use
Even though I give away all this info for free, I would like to point out that everything on this website is licensed through a Creative Commons License. It’s free for any non-commercial use, so anybody trying this out for themselves is something I’d like to encourage. Still, if you/your business would like to offer this information/modification on a commercial base, I would appreciate if you’d contact me first and I’m sure we can work something out. Don’t be evil ^_^

DIY trackback
Cult of Mac

del.icio.us (it’s been on del.icio.us/popular and on the ‘what’s hot right now‘ del.icio.us frontpage)
Digg it! (it’s been on the frontpage!)

and some of the non-english links:
engadget chinese
gizmodo germany
gizmodo italy

featured on Mac OS Ken‘s podcast. mp3 overhere


  1. Pedro Pinheiro @ 28 February 2007, 00:02 :

    I guess it will have a very positive impact on battery time, have you tested it?
    It might also make the mini slightly more responsive?
    Great proof-of-concept!

  2. markie @ 28 February 2007, 00:11 :

    >I guess it will have a very positive impact on battery time

    Yes indeed, that’s my guess too but I have to find an answer to that in time. Next to that, these after market batteries come with a higher capacity than the original ones… So, in all, I guess this player will indeed have a better battery-life than when it left the store. And if bigger CF-cards (of say 16GB+) become available for little money, with a larger capacity too!

  3. Haider @ 28 February 2007, 00:20 :


    Looks like it’s even worth buying a faulty ipod off’ ebay and giving this a shot!

  4. Ted @ 28 February 2007, 00:22 :

    I went through the same thing with my daughter’s dead iPod Mini and I learned two things:
    1. This only works on first generation IPod Minis, which it seems is what you have (the second generation units have wheel markings in a matching color to the body of the iPod).
    2. eBay has replacement 4 gig hard drives that are specific to the Mini for about $25 US shipped.

  5. Marlene Flutnik @ 28 February 2007, 00:32 :

    I love to play with my iddie-biddie dinwiddie. I do it until I’m breathing heavy and turning colours I am. Lying about neath the tables at the back of the library near the carrels. Where no one is during the evening if’n ya know whut I mean. Wink, wink.

  6. mazzoo @ 28 February 2007, 00:53 :

    nice little hack.

    I can see a reason why a bigger card wouldn’t work: 4GB is exactly the address range of a unsigned 32bit integer. Apple only wants to sell the overexpensive HW – if I was as evil as Apple, I’d break it right at bit 32.

  7. kevin @ 28 February 2007, 02:58 :

    I tried this as well, albeit with a 2GB card and my aging original batteries. I eked out about 50 minutes extra, or somewhere around 20 percent, for what it’s worth.

  8. Hayes @ 28 February 2007, 04:17 :

    So, I am curious, does the card need to be formatted a certain way, or a specific type of Compact Flash? I tried this with my mini a few months ago, and got the new card in there. I am still seeing the support.com screen. Does that mean that it wasn’t the hard drive that was bad?

  9. PT @ 28 February 2007, 04:19 :

    It’s probably not the best idea to place sensitive micro-electronics on a cloth surface.
    You know, cause of static electricity and all that racket.

  10. JB @ 28 February 2007, 04:36 :

    now, if i can only find a use for that microdrive.. any ideas?

  11. Steve @ 28 February 2007, 04:37 :

    So this won’t work with a second Gen? There are sites out there like http://ifixipodsfast that sell upgrades to 8GB for both 1st/2nd gen minis.

  12. Sam @ 28 February 2007, 04:58 :

    Does any one know whether it has to be compact flash 1 or 2?

    Also, if someone has a CF to SD adaptor maybe they could see whether SD cards work. Considering how much cheaper they are it might be a better option .

  13. harrison @ 28 February 2007, 05:04 :

    how about buying a cf card holder and moving the cf card down to the bottom of the ipod, and have interchangeable memory? also can you put songs on the cf card directly?

  14. Big Bob W @ 28 February 2007, 05:25 :

    Hey, can you make me a flux capacitor out of parts lying around your house? Perhaps an old Holly-Hobby oven and the engine from an Evel Kenievel wind-up motorcycle?

  15. Unkl Ian @ 28 February 2007, 05:34 :

    No soldering required ?
    What goes between the card and pins ?

  16. Orbital @ 28 February 2007, 05:36 :

    I dropped my 4 gig Mini a 2 years ago but ended up keeping it in case some hack like
    this came along. I think I may give this a shot. Could someone list what is exactly needed.
    There are different types of compact flash.

  17. Orbital @ 28 February 2007, 05:40 :

    I dropped my 4 gig Mini a 2 years ago but ended up keeping it in case some hack
    like this came along. I think I may give this a shot. Could someone list what is exactly
    needed. There are different types of compact flash. Also, how big can the card be?

  18. Nils @ 28 February 2007, 06:34 :

    Okay, battery life should improve, that’s cool… but what I’d like to know is if it’s faster now, too!

    “how about buying a cf card holder and moving the cf card down to the bottom of the ipod, and have interchangeable memory? also can you put songs on the cf card”

    No you can’t, at least not unless you are using iPodlinux (or RockBox , for that matter), because iTunes creates a database and names the tracks on the iPod all funky.
    So, if you were to put songs on the CF card and just plug it in again, the iPod wouldn’t even know they’re there…

  19. Josh @ 28 February 2007, 07:02 :

    So would this work with another type of ipod … say a 4th gen big old bulky one?

  20. grommet_36 @ 28 February 2007, 07:16 :

    Yeah my 4th gen big and baulky’s Hdd crapped it self a long time ago.
    Does anyone know what the Go is for an inexpensive hack for it?

  21. Dan @ 28 February 2007, 09:29 :

    It is important that the CF card you choose is ATA compatible. If it isn’t, you will not be able to format it through Apple’s software and will not work with the iPod mini. All of SanDisk’s CF I checked worked, however some of the off-brands did not.

  22. Jedadiah @ 28 February 2007, 09:33 :

    Nice, I’ll have to try that. The HD on my mini went out on 14th. And my psp won’t intergrate with itunes. thanks.

  23. vodka @ 28 February 2007, 14:11 :

    thats wicked,, however ,,, i dont think this will help my mini,, coz i was trying to load a movie from my friends pc as a back up,, and then suddenly ,, it go t so hot that even an hour after unplugging it from the pc ,,it was red hot trust me,,, it doesnt work ,,it boots ,but ,,, there are no files,, my ituse wouldnt recognise the ipod….. sos

  24. azz @ 28 February 2007, 15:00 :


    Actually it should because that sounds like a messed up hard drive.

  25. MikeFromMichigan @ 28 February 2007, 16:19 :

    If anyone tries using a CF larger than the Harddrive it is replacing, please post the results here…

  26. Mr 26 @ 28 February 2007, 17:09 :

    23 – that would be the ipod self destructing after being asked to copy a film. Damn those new anti piracy methods.

  27. C. Flowers @ 28 February 2007, 17:14 :

    Awesome hack! I featured it on The Daily Hack.
    C. Flowers

  28. Dan @ 28 February 2007, 17:41 :


    I put an 8G CF into a 6G iPod mini and it worked fine. As I said earlier, make sure it is ATA-compliant and you will be okay.

  29. Fred @ 28 February 2007, 17:41 :

    Dude, “it’s” with an apostrophe means “it is”. To make “it” possessive, just add an “s” and skip the apostrophe.

    Spelling matters.

  30. markie @ 28 February 2007, 17:50 :

    >Spelling matters.

    I agree, fixed it.

  31. arne @ 28 February 2007, 17:58 :

    Hm. When the harddisk of my iPod mini broke down, I simple repartitioned ‘around’ the broken bit of the hard disk. So now I have an iPod with 2 extra partitions: instead of the one big 4 GB partition I have a 1, a 2.8 and a 0.2 Gb partition. The first one is the one with the bad secors at the end, the second one is the functional one that contais the music files, and the third one also has some bad sectors at the beginning. The operation reduced the useable disk space, but that doesn’t bother me. Yet.

  32. cfcubed @ 28 February 2007, 18:20 :

    Heh, I just did this last night to my son’s mini – seems ONLY CERTAIN CF CARDS WILL WORK PROPERLY. People (like me) have luck w/SANDISK ULTRA IIs (I used a $30 (shipped) 2GB one in my son’s ipod). Make sure you FAT32 format 1st if its a Windoze ipod.

  33. Dan @ 28 February 2007, 19:00 :

    Does anyone have suggestions about replacement for the tape that secured the blue protective dealies to the hard drive?

    I’m not even sure that the little rubber protective dealies would even be necessary for the CF card.

    Glad to hear that larger card sizes work!

  34. Juan Pablo Pincheira @ 28 February 2007, 19:11 :

    hi dude, that’s simply awesome.
    but does the connector to the microdrive fit well with the compact flash card? I mean, didn’t you have to hack that connector to plug the cf card on it?

    Thanks. :)

  35. Lemony Vengeance @ 28 February 2007, 19:40 :

    Has anyone tested anything above an 8GB CF card? I’d Really love to outfit my wife’s Ipod Mini with a much larger ammount of space.

  36. dave @ 28 February 2007, 20:20 :

    Does anyone know the minimum size CF card you’d need? I’d really like to try it out with some older (smaller) cards I have first before getting a CF card I’d never otherwise use if it doesn’t.

  37. Adam Young @ 28 February 2007, 20:28 :

    Beware! Not all CF cards will work. Some even will explode due to different power requrements of cards and harddrives. We at iPodrepair tried this (evidently) some 2 years ago when the mini’s were newly introduced. We have (expensive!)proof over here which shows you what damage can be done to your CF cards.
    But still, Mark: give us a call at 0113-302659.

  38. Jedadiah @ 28 February 2007, 20:29 :

    Went and bought a sandisk compact flash card. 1gb i’m cheap and didn’t want to be out a lot if it didn’t work. well it did for me thanks. now i must use my psp for videos and contra in a nes emulator

  39. Steve @ 28 February 2007, 20:34 :

    “make sure it is ATA-compliant” Any idea how one goes about doing this? Thanks

  40. PyRoFReaC @ 28 February 2007, 21:07 :

    To answer Juan Pablo Pincheira, the microdrive and cf cards share the same connector shape. Many digital cameras support either type of memory. The drives in the newer mp3 players have the same connector as well.
    I know it’s not an ipod, but I’ve got a friends old Creative Sleek Photo with a trashed drive I’m going to replace with cf. I’ll post how it turns out.

  41. Unkl Ian @ 28 February 2007, 22:41 :

    Mr 26 wrote: “that would be the ipod self destructing after being asked to copy a film. Damn those new anti piracy methods”

    Does this destroy just the hard drive,or does it fry everything ?

  42. Sixx @ 28 February 2007, 22:46 :

    It does have to be ATA-Compliant, and works with the 2nd Gen. I have seen a few sites w/ 8GB working.

    Also heard the Fast Sandisk II,III,IV series dont work but the base model ‘one’ series does. The drawback there is, is they discontinued the 8GB size in the cheapo series. =(

    Just got my 4g 2nd Gen a few days ago, and instantly wondered about the prospect of flash based, as I am clumsy as hell and I know I am going to drop it.

    Overall there are some quirks to the hack, but it can be done. Confirmed up to 8GB. If anyone has a bigger size 12/16/32GB and it works, let us know. If you can afford those cards, you probably dont have a mini =D


  43. Dan @ 1 March 2007, 00:18 :

    > “make sure it is ATA-compliant” Any idea how one goes about doing this?

    The only way to be sure is to check the tech specs or product packaging. If there is any doubt, choose another brand.

  44. Manu @ 1 March 2007, 00:44 :

    To Dan,
    Just have a look at the folowing pic. This shows the way to connect a CF card to IDE PC port. Thus the CF card is ATA compliant. http://mes.sonneries.free.fr/Electronique/cf_to_ide.jpg

  45. Dan @ 1 March 2007, 03:41 :

    Thanks, Manu. I must be getting way to old for this.

    How about your CF flash card must have the ability to run in IDE (or sometimes known as True-IDE) mode. For whatever reason, some CF memory cards only support a memory model rather than being able to be accessed like a hard drive. (Could be to eliminate a controller to cut costs but I really don’t know.) Unfortunately some manufacturers are not forthcoming with this information in the specs or packaging. So if you try this mod and can’t figure out why Apple’s software won’t “restore” your iPod, then that is likely the problem.

    I haven’t heard of trouble using SanDisk CF. So if you can afford it, that is your best bet.

  46. san_pedro @ 1 March 2007, 04:58 :

    I have a 4GB drive from a Creative Labs Zen Micro. The voltage does not match that of my 3rd Gen iPod, something like 5v versus 3v I think. Is anyone aware of a workaround for this? I would love to use my iPod again, but I don’t want to spend a large sum on it, just a spare-parts kind of thing. It also says “for embedded application only” — is this to infer that it’s an ATA only micro drive? Seagate 5GB ST1 drive.

  47. RRR @ 1 March 2007, 16:27 :

    Peak Hardware rules! :-)

  48. ElectroBoy @ 1 March 2007, 16:37 :

    This looks like the sort of drive that would work…


  49. Tom @ 1 March 2007, 17:00 :

    This is probably a stupid question, but is the mini the only iPod version that could support the compact flash memory cards, due to the microdrive connection? Or is there some solid-state solution out there for regular ipods, too?

  50. sredlums @ 1 March 2007, 18:05 :

    Hi, off-topic but related in a way; I tried to do this with my Palm LifeDrive.
    It has been done succesfully by others, but mine is bricked at the moment.
    I want to get it working again ofcourse, but it doesn’t even work with the original MD anymore either…
    I think it has something to do with the statig electricity, but I’m not sure.
    Does anybody know how I can test that?
    And is the damage allways irreparable?
    Any clues would be welcome…

  51. G$ @ 1 March 2007, 19:21 :

    More information about replacing the microdrive in an iPod mini with a CF flash card: http://www.entrenched.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1393

  52. bonky @ 1 March 2007, 19:40 :

    I fixed mine (fix is a subjective word.. I nearly “fixed” it when I accidently poked a screwdriver through the data cable for the click wheel.. and ripped part of the HD data cable) with a generic 2gb flash card from newegg.

    $24 and it’s a super speed demon, battery saving, mp3 playin’ ipod with 2 less gig to play with. That sucks, but I didn’t want to spend $60 on the card. I’d rather wait until 8 or so gig cards come down in price.

  53. A-Rock City @ 1 March 2007, 20:24 :

    You guys are all my heros. This is crazy talk. So has anyone confirmed this with anything larger than a 8 gig? I don’t remember seeing anything but my eyes are about to fall out of my head.

  54. JP @ 1 March 2007, 21:03 :

    Why the iPod demands a wall plug during reinstall (from what I understand).

    To ensure the success of the reboot, power must be guarantied, which the battery can not be relied upon because there are too many variables (laptops tend to have the same demand). USB can not be used because the USB spec requires a device to request the power it wants access to, which a rebooting iPod can’t do, and would therefor not be USB compliant if it tried to pull unauthorized power (that would not fly for an Apple device). FireWire does not have the same requirement, which is why 5th Gen iPods can charge over FireWire even though they don’t have the Firewire controller. My 4th Gen B&W will request the wall plug when plugged into the FireWire bus at times, but is normally happy if I unplug and re-plug.

    If anyone knows better please correct me.

  55. Guest @ 2 March 2007, 02:27 :

    Transcend CF cards also work. I successfully did this with 1 1GB version.
    Newegg also states these as having built in ATA interface.

  56. Guest @ 2 March 2007, 02:29 :

    Transcend CF cards also work. I successfully did this with 1 1GB version. Newegg also states these as having built in ATA interface.

  57. BenInkEntertainment @ 2 March 2007, 06:53 :

    I’ve modified a Zune to have a larger HDD before but this is really interesting. I’d try a 16GB card but only if I could sell it on ebay, do you think that would fly with anyone, and if so for how much?

  58. Steffy @ 2 March 2007, 12:17 :

    I tried this, but it wont install the new firmware, the Ipod Updater doesnt recognize my ipod :(

    does anybody have any tips? i would love to use my ipod again, its been broken for almost a year now :(

  59. roastpuff @ 2 March 2007, 21:59 :

    @ Bonky: How did you fix the ripped datacable? That’s my problem right now… I have a perfectly usable Mini with no controls. :(

  60. Chuck @ 3 March 2007, 00:22 :

    sweet project, dude. I replaced my ipod Battery (got it at www.ipodjuice.com) in my mini a while back but it was not THAT involved – Good Job!

  61. BR14N @ 3 March 2007, 01:33 :

    Anti-static tape is available from electronics repair suppliers, but you won’t need the impact bumpers for the CF card. In fact, getting everything back into the mini’s case is such a tight squeeze that you’re better off leaving them out. Nothing sucks more than having to stop and clean the inside of the lens because the LCD gasket peeld and got adhesive all over that previously spotless window. A little double-sided tape (or a loop of anti-static tape) on the underside of the CF card should keep it from rattling around inside your mini.

  62. msjulie @ 3 March 2007, 14:37 :

    I did this last year after the mini took a bath in the washing machine. The hard drive was never the same.

    Can’t say anything about battery life since I swapped it at the same time but song seek is much faster

  63. Nam Pham @ 3 March 2007, 18:49 :

    found this 8gb cf, $94.99, as cheap as I can find. It also says in the spec “Fully compatible with PC Card ATA specification “
    Guess it should work fine. Any body wanna give this a go?

  64. askingharry @ 3 March 2007, 19:09 :

    I’m trying still some weeks to install
    a CF card instead of the broken microdrive and I read many forums.
    I installed a kingston CF card-> only a (: ipodface.
    Today I tried the 4GB SanDisk :)))) no problem
    the mini works proberly. Thank’s for the tips

  65. Stormbreaker @ 4 March 2007, 16:30 :

    Wow… Awesome. I’m gonna try this out on one of my mini’s. Would iTunes recognize that it has more the 4GB, or would you only be able to put 4 Gigs of music on an iPod with 137 Gigs of space?

  66. Wouter @ 4 March 2007, 22:14 :

    kun je die mini daarna weer gewoon terugkrijgen in zijn oude verpakking, maar dan wel met flash geheugen.. of moet je persé met de open hardware blijven rond swingen. Heel leuk gevonden trouwens! Thumbs up!

  67. problemChild @ 5 March 2007, 02:02 :

    Good grief people – ALL CF cards are ATA-Compliant. Some drive controllers have problems with certain brands of CF cards, however – YMMV. Some of the bigger cards have fairly high power requirements, so in theory you could blow the PS in your mini if you’re not careful.

    As for SD cards, they are a different beast altogether; CF cards have a built in ATA controller (and therefore are plug-and-play compatible with other ATA devices), while SD cards are raw storage requiring proprietary drivers.

    I’ve found SanDisk to be consistently reliable and compatible. You can find 4GB ultra II cards for under $100 US; 8GB are under $200 US. If your pockets are extremely deep, They have a 16GB version available for around $1000 US…

  68. gnetics @ 5 March 2007, 18:55 :

    For kicks, I’ve tried replacing the HD in a 4g ipod with a bad microdrive from 2nd gen Mini…The ipod responds to it in Diagnostic mode, but as I mentioned earlier, it is a bad microdrive…Been looking around for weeks to see if anyone has “officially“replaced the HD in a “full sized” ipod with a flash. Maybe I’m dumb but I haven’t seen any confirmation yet. I’m bored, I think I’ll give it a try today…The idea of interchangeable libraries fascinates me especially since these damn HDs turn into a steamy pile of shit on a regular basis. What!? Are we supposed to walk around like monks delicately cradling our precious iPod wherever we go? Restricting our lives? Our activities? Your telling me I can’t fuck on the same bed with my ipods!!??? Whatever happened to longevity, HUH!!! If you like the new you buy the new one, assholes! The old one doesn’t have to break for you to consider the next one!!!!! Forgive me. As I was saying, I’m considering modding the case to allow me to BLAH BLAH BLAH...The hell with it! I’ll get back t’ya when I make this happen. Fuck the iPhone.

  69. markie @ 5 March 2007, 23:07 :

    at gnetics: About the 4G iPod on flash, I guess it could be done, but not by simply plugging it in. I’ve checked up on pin-outs and there’s no way (or I’m horribly wrong) that that is going to work. Let us know the results though.

  70. Peter @ 7 March 2007, 05:22 :

    Well, this compact flash card hack is a real crap shoot! I have a 512 Sandisk card. Not an Ultra or anything special. Just Sandisk. I formatted it to Fat32. I tried it on a G1 AND G2 board a few times each with no luck — just the folder with the exclamation sign.

    The boards work. I made sure the card was connected to the molex and facing the right way as described on this site. I ran the diagnostics on my G1 board and the Sandisk passed.

    I guess I’ll keep tuning into this site to learn what cards are working. With luck, we may see a pattern emerging. Please describe your cards as fully as possible.

    I note that Sandisk cards have worked but mine does not. The ipod mini seems very fickle!

    This is a great site with a lot of excellent input. Thank you to all for your valuable information.

  71. devendra @ 8 March 2007, 07:10 :

    dear sir information use full thak you

  72. ludo @ 8 March 2007, 14:55 :

    I have A Ipod 4GO and the hard drive is broken.
    I Want to change with a compact flash.
    I want to know how i can open my iPod. Thanks

  73. Unkl Ian @ 8 March 2007, 17:07 :

    There are a couple links on how to
    disassemble your Ipod near the top
    of the page,right above the disclaimer.

  74. will_bc @ 8 March 2007, 21:31 :

    I am also having problems trying this hack with a Sandisk 512MB card. My only other CF card laying around is Sandisk 64MB and that too doesn’t work. Is there a minimum size? Maybe at least 2GB is needed?

  75. the matic @ 9 March 2007, 22:09 :

    i just used this guide to install a Kingston 4gb cf 45X elite pro card that i got from adorama for $25 after rebate. works great! the mini died due to what i thought was the itunes 7 problems but apparently it’s just that microdrives are teh suck.

  76. Peter @ 10 March 2007, 17:21 :

    What a bargain! 4 gigabytes of flash memory for $25!!!

    We now know that the Kingston 4gb cf 45X elite pro card is a flash card that WILL work.

    I hope the list of workable flash cards will keep growing!

  77. Mike @ 10 March 2007, 23:01 :

    I’m in need of HELP. I have the a 2 GB CF card installed and I can get it to show up in my computer. It occasionally shows up in itunes, but never for long and it wont let me restore it. It just says the files are corrupted and that I need to restore, but again it won’t let me. Is there any other way to put the firmware on the ipod so that it works?

  78. iMarc @ 11 March 2007, 12:35 :

    Emetec 2Go CF does not work guys !
    Someone tried a PNY card ???

  79. joekewl @ 12 March 2007, 08:33 :

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great write-up!
    I placed a 2GB Sandisk Ultra II CF card in an ipod mini (2nd gen) this weekend, and did a battery play test. Results were:

    22 hours of playback at 1/2 – 3/4 volume!

  80. Stefano @ 12 March 2007, 13:21 :

    My colleugue give me a a Sandisk ultra III 4gb to try and it works perfectly.
    Btw I didn’t need to use the power supply after restoring. Luckily, as I don’t have any:-)
    Now I need to buy my own card, look what I’ve found here at ridicolous price:


    Any idea any of these will work?

  81. cgi @ 13 March 2007, 20:52 :

    Mike, I’ve been having the exact same problem: “it occasionally shows up in itunes, but never for long and it wont let me restore it. It just says the files are corrupted and that I need to restore, but again it won’t let me.” I’ve tried numerous solutions that have come up in my continuous search, but no luck—frustrating!!

  82. ipod dude @ 13 March 2007, 22:27 :

    i tried this with a flash card made by Q memory: http://www.qmemory.com/cf.html

    i bought a 4gig 150X and it apparently doesnt have an ATA interface. is there anyway to bypass this? i tried putting it in and all the ipod did was beep when plugged into a power source. can anyone help or do i have to go buy a different card?

  83. Mike @ 14 March 2007, 01:37 :

    cgi, I’ve been trying everything I can think of aswell. Nothing yet! There is one thing though: I told my friend about my issue the other day and he said that I probably need to restore the ipod on a Mac if it’s not working on Windows. I definately need to try this. Are you using Windows too? I don’t understand why, but this may be our issue.

  84. dude52 @ 14 March 2007, 04:49 :

    I tried this with a card I bought on eBay,
    and it worked great! The only hiccup I’ve had is that Winamp will no longer recognize the iPod. Also, don’t forget to put the screws back in when you’re putting everything back together.

  85. Kent @ 14 March 2007, 14:30 :

    So how has this affected battery life, have you seen much of an improvement? That would be the main reason for me to upgrade with a CF card, well that and the complete geeky awesomeness of the who idea. I’m planning on giving my iPod Mini to my young son so replacing the HD with CF would be awesome for durability.

  86. dude52 @ 14 March 2007, 15:56 :

    Regarding post 84, I found out that the latest version of itunes broke the Winamp compatibility. All I had to do was uninstall v7.1 and reinstall v7.0.2 and everything went back to normal.

  87. joekewl @ 15 March 2007, 08:41 :

    Just put a cheap ass 8GB ($70) A-Data CF card in my mini, and it works great!

  88. will_bc @ 16 March 2007, 13:04 :

    Compiled Compatibility List – look for in a card: Type II-compatibility and ATA-compatibility

    Peak Xtreme (yes)
    Sandisk (maybe)
    Sandisk Ultra II (yes)
    Sandisk Ultra III (yes)
    Transcend (yes)
    A-Data (yes)
    Kingston (maybe)
    Kingston 45X elite pro (yes)
    Emetec (no)
    Qmemory (no)

  89. will_bc @ 19 March 2007, 23:42 :

    Hi all,
    I tried doing this upgrade and with a broken iPod mini I bought off craigslist. I had problems to no end. Turns out, the original microdrive was never broken and the various CF cards should’ve worked. And the last CF card I tried did work! For everyone experiencing problems, see if the PROBLEM IS A BAD IDE MOLEX CONNECTOR !!! $5 replacement gets me a 2nd generation 6GB iPod mini !!!

  90. Jason_TO @ 20 March 2007, 03:01 :

    Re: Post 87 – joekewl

    What a A-data card was it?
    Was it the 120x speed one?

  91. adam greenwood @ 21 March 2007, 08:26 :

    Fantastic! Great tutorial and idea…was wondering if anyone knows if “seagate cf photo hard drive” cards work? thanks

  92. erblemoof @ 21 March 2007, 14:21 :

    I have a 4GB 2nd Gen. A 512MB Transcend and 4GB Kingston 45X Elite Pro did NOT work.

    An 8GB A-DATA CF card from NewEgg DOES work.

    However, I know of a guy with a 4GB 2nd Gen where the A-DATA does NOT work. Maybe it’s a board, cable, or other issue, but his original issue was that the MD died – and it is indeed dead. What are the chances of an MD dying and a board, cable, etc. going bad at the same time?

  93. Achebe @ 23 March 2007, 06:14 :

    Just replaced my mini’s HD with an 8gb transcend CF card that I got from newegg works great.

  94. will_bc @ 26 March 2007, 20:58 :

    I ordered a replacement Molex harddrive cable from DMDepot.ca and got it today. I had taken the good cable out of my 4gb gold mini and put into the ‘broken’ 6gb silver mini which was then no longer broken. So I put the new cable into the gold and instead of putting back the microdrive, I used a regular Sandisk 512mb. Works great! Think I’ll leave it in there awhile. Battery is original so testing is moot. Seems half as light though.

  95. Manu @ 27 March 2007, 22:35 :

    I just tried with 8GB ADATA 120x and it works fine

    Contacted Samsung to get a 32GB one but they told me “f*** **f” :((

  96. mitch @ 27 March 2007, 23:49 :

    so does the pens to the ipod have to be modded or does it just plug right in?

  97. joesalty @ 28 March 2007, 11:21 :

    Yesterday I put to my broken Mini (2nd Gen) a new SanDisk Ultra II. Works fine. Thanks for the hack!

  98. oliver @ 29 March 2007, 07:30 :

    after stressing like a few other around here with a card that was under 1 gb and having no success, i went out and bought a 2 gb and it worked right away.

    i had the same problems with itunes not wanted to restore the ipod or the computer not seeing it until i used the 2 gb card.
    thnx for the solution

  99. Mike @ 30 March 2007, 00:30 :

    I am using a Transcend 4GB CF in my mini 1st Generation and I cannot find my original iPod install CD. I am able to successfully format the Trascend CF prior to inserting into my mini. After using the latest iPod Updater (this is with WinXP) or using the latest iTunes to do the restore, it asks for me to disconnect and plug it into the power supply to flash the firmware. Before I can do that, the ipod immediately resets itself and after the initial Apple icon, it displays the folder with exclamation point error. Whenever I do a reset, it always displays !folder. I can go to disk mode or diagnostics. Running the DISK SCAN diagnostic displays “FAILED, NG-LBA, 8125440”. Now if I try to format the CF again while it is inside the ipod, it fails. If I remove the CF and format it through a CF reader, it formats successfully.

    I think I read somewhere that you must install first with the original install CD. Does anyone know the details about this?

  100. fstedie @ 31 March 2007, 18:03 :

    I don’t think this hack works very well (if at all) with the 1st gen units. I’ve had no problems with the 2nd gen but have had similar issues as yourself with the older models :(

  101. miguelito @ 2 April 2007, 16:10 :

    Thinking of replacing the micro drive of my mini by a flash card I browsed the net and found this site: thanks for providing this great description Mark! So I knew it should work. Got an 4GB Extreme Memory CF. Simply formatting the card and trying to restore the SW via the restore tool did not work. windows explorer as well as iTunes did recognize the iPod but booting the iPod, it always displayed the ‘filesystem corrupted’ (folder & ! symbol). Finally I refitted the microdrive and copied all files on the microdrive (control folder) to the flash card -> bingo! Now I could start the iPod with CF card installed. Did a restore to clean up the iTunes playlist files. Connected to iTunes and synchronized the pod…
    Maybe with the 2gen minis you need to copy the content of the control folder of the microdrive to the flash card in order to make the pod accepting the CF as valid drive..
    —> 4GB Extreme Memory (120x) works!!

  102. casey @ 2 April 2007, 23:35 :

    Just talked to Kingston level 2 support. He said that they do not advertise their drives as having ATA support because many do not, and it is random which do and which do not. Even in the Elite Pro line he said you can’t rely on having the ATA controller on these cards. So for Kingston it is completely a crapshoot.

  103. brezeme @ 3 April 2007, 00:04 :

    Memory corp 4GB Pro 133, bought on ebay did work on a gray 2gen, but didn’t on a green one ;-) Odd but true. I’m still trying to understand the differences between these 2.

  104. patrick @ 3 April 2007, 06:41 :

    Hi. I tried a sandisk 1 gb compact flash and it didn’t work. I am going to try a 4 gb compact flash. Is it because I used a 1 gb card that it didn’t work? I think I have a 1st gen ipod mini so I think it should work. Thanks. Patrick

  105. DrunkenDonut @ 3 April 2007, 07:43 :

    brezeme: That’s something I’m interested in! I’m in the process of repairing a friend’s 1st Gen, when I decided to experiment. I have a Memory Corp 8GB Pro133X and it works! But then switching it to the 2nd Gen “eBay special” doesn’t work. I get the !folder. At least I know the card seems to work. My next course of action is figuring out how borked the 2nd gen mini is, and whether it’s worth trying to find a cheap board replacement or whatever. So far I’m still under what a new 8GB nano costs ;-)

  106. DrunkenDonut @ 3 April 2007, 08:25 :

    I think I lost a comment trying to post last time.. test test test .. _;

  107. AxS @ 3 April 2007, 08:56 :

    I had the same issue as miguelito — ipod would boot, itunes would find it and detect that it needed a restore, however the restore would never ‘complete’ after the ipod rebooted. Fortunately my microdrive was also still good enough to do a restore with. I copied the contents of the fat32 partition, and i also ghosted the empty (first) partition for good measure. After that, everything ‘just worked’. This was with an Adata 8GB 120X btw

  108. Peter @ 3 April 2007, 22:23 :


    Your experience is very interesting. I am wondering whether the ipod “marks” the drive with a special code the very first time it is formatted. After that, when you go to restore, the ipod first checks for that familiar code and if it does not match, it rejects the drive the same way a body would reject a transplant (without special drugs).

    I have read an experience similar to yours from another hacker. He decided to go ahead and do a mirror copy of his microdrive after his flash card failed to work and magically his compact flash card worked!

    This may explain why we have problems transferring microdrives from gen 1 to gen 2. Maybe we have to “clean” a microdrive or flash card 100% before transplanting it. I also have a hunch that this special code to which I have referred is written in a specially protected place on a drive that the restore function cannot touch.

    We think the restore function is doing a complete format and wiping out everthing. Maybe not. We may have to take out the drive and attach it to our PC and reformat it to FAT32 outside of the ipod to get it clean.

  109. Javy @ 4 April 2007, 20:37 :

    just did this to my girlfriends. and it has eliminated loading time and works and charges beautifully. will this work with a g2 6gb ipod mini?

  110. DrunkenDonut @ 6 April 2007, 23:26 :


    Unfortunately I don’t have enough spare parts laying around to test with. As far as I can tell, the 2G mini that I have truly isn’t working.

    All I’ve been able to do is get a sad iPod icon, and the !folder. I haven’t been able to get iTunes (OS X or Windows) to recognize it. Neither blank media (no partitions, FAT32, and HFS+) nor the 1G microdrive made things work. It wouldn’t see the 2G mini after transplanting the CF from a restored 1G mini.

    I may have to find another 2G mini to try this on. Hopefully with better results. I’ve already returned my friend’s 1G mini, so I don’t even have that to test with now.

  111. will_bc @ 7 April 2007, 05:48 :


    Check out previous posts #89 & #94. I had issues where this mod should have clearly worked. The broken iPod mini I bought for the purpose of doing the mod just would not work. Swapping parts with a working mini revealed the problem was a bad drive connector. After buying a $5 replacement Molex IDE connector, the original 6GB drive worked and so did a 512MB Sandisk and 2GB Transcend.

  112. Unkl Ian @ 8 April 2007, 06:08 :

    Stupid question time:Is it possible to
    “piggyback” multiple cards to increase capacity ?

  113. will_bc @ 9 April 2007, 22:50 :

    Unkl Ian,
    Since the CF cards are ATA-based like regular hard drives, and no one’s really ever done that to regular drives… I’d think it wouldn’t work. Daisy chaining drives usually like a drive cable still shows seperate devices and capacities. It would have to be like a RAID “spanning” configuration and thats extra software/firmware.

  114. Jamis @ 11 April 2007, 23:43 :

    I bought a cheepo 4 gig generic CF card off of ebay for this hack and it doesn’t seem to work.

    After poking around I found that anything written to the partition table goes away on an ipod reboot (i.e. when I unplug it from the machine and plug it back in, the data I wrote didn’t stay on the card).

    I’ll try writing to the CF card when I get an adaptor and I don’t have to deal with the ipod in the mix.

    Is there any possibility that the iPod Mini writes to the partition table?

  115. DrunkenDonut @ 17 April 2007, 04:02 :

    Just a quick update,

    After replacing my 2G mini mainboard, everything is working great with the 8GB Memory Corp Pro 133X CF card, so you add this card to the confirmed working list.

    These are supposedly rebadged Samsung OEM CF cards, so if you can get your hands on those for cheap, it might be worth a try.

  116. fstedie @ 24 April 2007, 07:33 :

    I’m selling my flash mini on ebay if anyone is tired of trying :)
    Just search for flash ipod mini

  117. Ben Millen @ 24 April 2007, 20:34 :

    well ive tried this with 2 4gb cards, a non branded one and a sandisk ultra 2, same result with both NO JOY i occasionaly get a corrupt ipod message and am asked to update but the it just gets stuck in an endless updating cycle, anyhoo any help or advice on cards or what to do would be HUGELY appreciated, also CHECK OUT MY COOL IPOD PAINT JOB =o) THANKS ALL

  118. Charles Martin @ 1 May 2007, 09:45 :

    I’m really interested in trying this since I just got a Mini from my sister with a dead hard drive. But I’m concerned about buying a CF Card that doesn’t work. Has anyone tried the PQI card? Hopefully people will continue to post a list here of cards that work so we won’t get stuck with ones we can’t use.

    Thanks again Mark for this great project. I very excited to try it.

  119. einstein @ 2 May 2007, 10:39 :

    Today, I come to this web and happy to know a way to save my broken Mini, which dropped heavily on floor last week. I try Kingston Elite Pro 1GB first, but fail. Can’t refresh firmware with iTune. After many trial, i change it to SanDisk Ultra II 2GB. Great!!!
    Thank you Mark for you great work.

  120. Serge @ 2 May 2007, 21:48 :

    i just tried a 4gb DISK2GO compact flash card. this one doesn’t seem to work though. the ipod gets detected and i can restore it (at least it seems that way) but after the restore is done it’s says again that my ipod is corrupt. after i restore it again the same message appears. this happens over and over again. i’m thinking of buying a pqi card now, anyone tried that one yet?

  121. Msky42 @ 3 May 2007, 17:21 :

    Thank you Mark!
    Just installed a 16gb Peak flash card in my Mini. Followed all your instructions and it worked to the letter!
    Card was about £100 but still cheaper than buying a new, and not as stylish pod.
    Give Bates a pat too, very cool cat.

  122. Nicolas @ 5 May 2007, 04:55 :

    I experienced something interesting. I got an A-Data CF 4Go, basic one. I got the !Folder mark with one of my iPod.
    I exchanged HD and CF with my 2nd iPod and the same CF worked in the second one! The HD worked in the 1st iPod.
    Both are 2nd generation.
    From this experience, it seems that some ipod mini G2 are unable to work with CF, independently of the CF quality (this does not mean this is not an important factor)

  123. stos289 @ 7 May 2007, 00:40 :

    Anybody know if Dane-Elec cards work?
    I found one for cheap and I’d like to know if they are
    compatible with the iPod. Thanks

  124. Jim @ 8 May 2007, 05:40 :

    ADATA card shows up after restore as 8GB but the centre button doesn’t work! Click wheel does. What have I broken?

  125. thumper89 @ 9 May 2007, 06:00 :

    ScanDisk Ultra II worked on my broken gen 1 ( I can play all the songs on my computer when connected with firewire but when using earphones, no sound and the time indicator does not move) and all I keep getting the sad ipod on my gen 2. My gen 1 had the same problem with the old HD, and I have replaced the phone jack also and still had the same problem. Anybody have any ideas on either problem.

  126. Zeframe @ 9 May 2007, 22:55 :

    My ipod battery died so i thought this would be a great way to expand the like of my lovely ipod. Have do everything you have said and I can’t get the thing to work. Gone to Podzilla site and tried all that stuff and it still don’t work. All I get is the file icon what a waste of £100, any one want a 16Gb Peak CF??????

  127. markie @ 9 May 2007, 23:05 :


    Did you replace the battery as well? Especially with a 16GB Peak this should work, what gen iPod mini is that?

  128. Zeframe @ 10 May 2007, 19:01 :

    Hi all
    Just a quick update on my ipod: i had loads of trouble trying to get it to work, got stuck in the endless loop of doing restore and nothing happening. Out of desperation i put back the old microdrive and i updated the firmware via itunes. Put back the CF card and it now works perfectly. I am now the PROUD owner of a 16GB Mini, thanks Mark

  129. Sharath @ 11 May 2007, 10:43 :

    Hi, all
    Those who are successful in installing 16gb CF, please mention the brand you have used. Compatibility is the main issue.
    Thank you

  130. sharath @ 11 May 2007, 10:56 :

    HI all,
    Will SanDisk Extreme III 16GB CF work on 1st generation mini?

  131. Stephen Schoggen @ 14 May 2007, 06:15 :

    Many thanks, Mark, et al. for all the instructions here. I dropped my 6GB mini from a ladder on to bricks, and even with a proctective case, the hard disk died. So, I read your stuff, bought a SanDisk Ultra II 8GB CF card and a new battery from Sonnet, did the conversion, and it works beautifully. On first connection to MacOSX/USB, iTunes said the mini was a “Windows” one, and woudn’t “Restore”. So, with the iPod mounted as a disk drive, I reformatted it/the new card as “MS-DOS” in Apple Disk Utility, and did a “Restore” with iTunes, and I was off and running.

    FYI- “CompactFlash defines a physical interface which is smaller than, but electrically identical to, the ATA interface. That is, it appears to the host device as if it were a hard disk of some defined size and has a tiny IDE controller onboard the CF device itself. The connector is about 43 mm wide, and the case is 36 mm deep and comes in two standard thicknesses, CF I (3.3 mm), and CF II (5 mm). Both types are otherwise identical. CF I cards can be used in CF II slots, but CF II cards are too thick to fit in CF I slots. Flash memory cards are usually CF I.”

    The original microdrive is actually the 5mm thick, type2 form-factor, while the CF card is the 3.3mm thick, type1. The CF card easily and securely fits into the rubber and tape “frame” the drive vacates, and accepts the same connector.

    I haven’t noticed any difference in performance, which is just fine with me, except that after six hours of working on the house, the battery showed only “one bar down”. According to the same article, the micro drive takes five times the power of a CF card, so one would expect somewhat longer battery life, even though the disk doesn’t spin continuously. Mainly, it should now be able to survive that fifteen foot drop. And, of course, I suddenly have about 2GB more storage space. As well, when bigger capacity CF cards become inexpensive, I can upgrade again. 16GBs are becoming available.

    Interesting to note that flash memory fails after about a million writes. In some applications, that could be a problem. But, I suspect it won’t show-up in this case.

    Thanks again to everyone.

  132. matra @ 18 May 2007, 17:11 :

    Thanks a lot for this to everyone. My nephews 2G was being idle in the drawer for two years – now works like a charm with Sandisk 1GB II, thanks a lot guys again!!

  133. Charles Martin @ 19 May 2007, 04:13 :

    Just put a Transcend 4GB card in my 1G Mini. After a few problems getting it to be recognized (didn’t have the pins on the connector lined up just right) it restored and I was up and running.

    It seems to load songs from iTunes much faster now and I’m looking forward to better battery life also.

    I am very excited since the Mini was DOA when my sister gave it to me. My only regret now is that I didn’t just go ahead and spring for the 8GB card!

  134. Petar @ 21 May 2007, 22:01 :

    Could someone plz put a ready to use firmware only image of his disk online? dd’ing onto the CF disk would be a great helper during debugging.


  135. Simon @ 24 May 2007, 19:38 :

    Has anyone experienced slower transfer speeds since upgrading to a new flash card? I upgraded mine with the A-Data 8GB 120x card from Newegg along with a 750mah battery and they transfer speed seems to be noticeably slower.

  136. Simon @ 24 May 2007, 22:23 :

    Has anyone experienced slower transfer speeds since upgrading to a new flash card? I upgraded mine with the A-Data 8GB 120x card from Newegg along with a 750mah I purchased elsewhere battery and they transfer speed seems to be noticeably slower.

  137. Rick @ 29 May 2007, 07:20 :


    This is a great idea. One comment
    suggested it would not work in generation 2 ipod mini, is this correct? Which model would you recommend? Also would you suggest any particular flash card from the list of those that work posted on your web site?

    I am sorry apple seems to be headed in the wrong direction with the flash based player. No user replaceable batteries, no built in FM, no card slot for picture upload? When
    will they learn.

    I applaud you for your undertaking, how
    many of these ipods will go to landfills,
    when they can be repaired and work for

    Thank you for any advice you may


  138. Tristan @ 29 May 2007, 18:59 :

    did someone test a hama compact flash card like this:

  139. edson @ 30 May 2007, 01:58 :

    hallo mark ik heb bijna elke dag ideeen maar is moeilijk om iemand te vinden om het uit te voeren kun je me hiermee helpen

  140. tristan @ 30 May 2007, 17:33 :

    i tried it with a sandisc 256mb card. but it dont work.
    Theres always failure like unknown error: -20

    what can i do?

  141. Steve @ 1 June 2007, 06:26 :

    Although all CF cards have a basic ATA interface, not all have complete IDE compliance. I use the high capacity drives with my Canon EOS digital cameras and most work fine. However, I have tried two of the 8GB CF cards that do not work in the iPod Mini and they don’t work in different ways: The pq1 100x card is not even recognized properly in Disk Mode and cannot be properly formatted on the Mac in ‘Disk Utility’. On the other hand, the A Data 120X card (from NewEgg) will format correctly, and can accept the Restore software from iTunes, but will not allow proper writing / synching of music and fails.
    However, my 2GB Transcend card (120x) works perfectly. I have tried these cards in both a 1st and 2nd gen Mini and essentially the same thing happens with both the 8gb cards.
    If you check the info for the Transcend card , you wil see that it fully meets the IDE interface standards : Supports IDE PIO mode 6, Multi-word DMA mode 4 Compliant with CF3.0 specification Built-in hardware ECC technology Built-in ATA interface for easy Plug and Play Low power consumption.
    The A Data card (120x): Conforms to Compact Flash Card specification standard Fully compatible with PC Card ATA specification Support PIO mode 6 Support Error Correcting Code (ECC) function to detect and correct errors.
    Perhaps the DMA mode and CF3.0 issues are the important ones, but there does appear to be a difference in these cards.
    I also checked the info on the Transcend 2GB CF card (120x) that KNOW works and it seems to have the same info as the 8GB card. My guess is the Transcend 8GB card would work but I have yet to test it.
    You define whether you have a Windows based or Mac based iPod when you Format it in Disk Utility or on the PC with the Format function. On the Mac, you can format it either as Fat32 for PC or as OS X extended. If you format it as FAT32, when you restore via Itunes, it will restore it as a PC iPod, whereas if you format it as OS X, it will restore it as a Mac iPod. If you plan on upgrading the software in your iPod on a Mac, you MUST have it functioning as a Mac iPod. If it is formated as a Windows iPod, it will still Sync with iTunes on the Mac, but you will not be able (on the Mac) to upgrade the software via iTunes. Have fun.

  142. Yuri @ 8 June 2007, 15:49 :

    I can confirm that a cheapo £25 DataWrite 8GB CF works fine. However I was also getting the ‘unknown error -20’ failure on restore until I replaced the Molex IDE connector cable (also from dmdepot.ca) for like another £8 or something.

    Thanks so much for inspiring me to rescue my poor Mini from oblivion!

  143. Victor Jacobs @ 8 June 2007, 17:36 :

    I can confirm that a Sandisk Ultra II works in an iPod Mini 2gen.
    Thank you so much :D

  144. Bob @ 10 June 2007, 09:37 :

    To those who are trying this and getting stuck in the “iTunes has detected a corrupt iPod” loop. I had this problem and after trying a handful of compact flash cards, realized that my problem was an intermittent connection between the main board and the ribbon that goes to the CF or Microdrive. When this connection was pushed on, the thing would work fine and when I let up, it would go all to hell. I wound up placing three pieces of tape on the battery at the end that sits on top of this connection. This provided a snugger fit into the housing and now all is well. Obviously your mileage may vary.

  145. Chepe Verde @ 12 June 2007, 01:40 :

    First, many thanks for the inspiration, Mark. I dropped my mini and was sad to see it go, even sadder at the prospect of having to shell out the $ for a new one.

    I tried 2 cards: a sandisk ultraII that was living in my digital camera. Works like a charm, but is only 1GB. I bought a RiData 8GB 80x ProII card from newegg…no dice. I will leave it to brighter minds than mine (that would be all of you) to know the reasons, although I suspect I just bought a card that was too slow. For those looking to buy a card…get a decent one.

    My mini lives a new 1GB life, but I’ll be buying a bigger card when I get the chance.

    And again, to Mark, well done.

  146. Memohavok @ 12 June 2007, 07:10 :

    MAN! thank you so much!

    i resurected one ipod my girlfriend gave me last year…. it works SO GOOD!!!

    BTW, im using a SHIKA FLASH OR SHIKATRONICS 2GB CF, working and proven.

    Im gonna try higher capacity.

    thanks mark!

  147. duckman @ 19 June 2007, 07:36 :

    I still haven’t got an ipod. But the latest edition of MacWorld (July 2007) describes how to use an ipod as a portable and emergency startup drive by installing your system software on the ipod. (http://playlistmag.com/secrets/2007/06/july07playlist/index.php) This idea will have me getting an ipod.

    Now my question: If I install OS X onto the CF card that’s been put in an ipod mini, will it still work as if it’s a hard drive, and start my mac up normally? Will somebody try it and let me know? Thanks.

  148. William @ 19 June 2007, 20:34 :

    I have an extra Rio Karma lying around that is broken. Is there anyway to use the 20GB Hitachi 1.8” HDD in the Ipod Mini?

  149. jst_at_home @ 3 July 2007, 15:40 :

    Many thanks. 10 minutes work and I’m up from 6Gb to 8Gb flash. Great stuff and thanks again.


  150. terthen @ 4 July 2007, 16:38 :

    I have a database problem with my flash mini. replaced the 4gb drive in my ipod mini w/ the 45x kingston 4gb elite pro card. It works whenever I use anapod or ephpod to load songs on, but when i open the ipod with itunes 7 it sets the size of all the songs to “0 kb” and so then the ipod skips through all the songs thinking they’re all 0kb in size. I have to rebuild the db with ephopod before it works. Does anyone else have this problem?

  151. Paco @ 4 July 2007, 23:13 :

    I did the hack with noname 8Go ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270131911442)
    120x. As many i’ve got the folder Exclamation error, i did a winimage copy from the original 4Go hitachi 1“hdd. nonetheless when restoring with itunes 7.3 always the same 1418 error. Did someone experimented the same? Time is now short for holidays… and i canoot imagine go b

  152. Mitruel @ 7 July 2007, 12:45 :

    HEy Paco. I got the same problem too. I got the cf-Card from ipod repair. The Card DOESN`T work. This ist so fucking. I can copy via Itunes music on my ipod and i can play the music over i tunes from my ipod. I can restore it. But i got the same problem over and over again. The ipod does not show me the typical ipod menue. Like i said. Itunes and my computer reconize the ipod, i can copy music on it but no menue.

    Can anyone help me with that?!
    Is it the (fucking) card from ipodrepair or is it my fault…


  153. max @ 9 July 2007, 22:18 :

    you mentioned that you need a charger to finish to restoring the ipod.I haven’t got that.
    I found that the USB port of the Playstation 2 is just perfect for that!

  154. Jake @ 10 July 2007, 21:10 :

    THANKS! I just did this upgrade using a 16 GB card from A-data. $40 for a broken iPod off eBay + $130 for the CF card = $170 for a 16GB solid-state iPod. Rock on. Should you find yourself in Boston, I owe you a beer.

  155. Eric @ 10 July 2007, 23:21 :

    Here’s an updated list I made:

    A-Data – Yes*
    DataWrite – Yes
    Extreme Memory – Yes
    Kingston 45X Elite Pro – Yes
    Memory Corp Pro – Yes*
    Peak Xtreme – Yes*
    Platinum – Yes
    Scandisk Extreme III – Yes*
    Scandisk Ultra II – Yes*
    Scandisk I (multiple cases where < 1GB cards had trouble) – Yes*
    Seagate – Yes
    Shikatronics – Yes

    Disk2Go – No
    Emetec – No
    Kingston Elite Pro – No*
    Qmemory – No
    RiData 80x ProII – No

    Transcend – Some has worked*


    * = multiple confirmations

  156. Flo @ 11 July 2007, 02:37 :

    Confirming that SanDisk ultra II 512MB does NOT work in 1st generation mini.

  157. Dominic @ 11 July 2007, 23:39 :

    Just got my 2nd generation mini today, gonna go out and grab some CF cards tonight and post results later. I think I might need a new battery as well :S

  158. Dominic @ 12 July 2007, 12:00 :

    Bestbuy didn’t have a huge selection, so I chose the 8GB Sandisk Ultra II.

    At first, I couldn’t get anything working. Then I plugged in the Microdrive into my computer, and suddenly it picked up the CF (had formated to FAT32) in the ipod.

    Then I restored, added some songs, charged for an hour or so, and everything seems to be working now. I’m still eager to try out other brands of CFs.

    *Maybe its my mini or maybe its because I didn’t close it up, the click-wheel ribbon (at the bottom) seems unresponsive for me and I needed to hold it in place in order for the click-wheel to function. Anyone else have this problem?

    Sorry, but I have another question. How does one take out the click-wheel piece without scratching it (I’ve tried and it was scraping a layer from the select button)?

  159. koko @ 24 July 2007, 14:19 :

    How can I get musin in my 2nd generation ipod?

  160. thump @ 27 July 2007, 07:15 :

    has anyone compiled a list of what cf will work in 2nd gens?

  161. dromeo @ 27 July 2007, 18:40 :

    Just upgraded my iPod Mini Silver to a 16GB CF card from A-data. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211170

    Worked like a champ. Thanks for the tips!

  162. Marc @ 28 July 2007, 01:43 :

    Thanks to the precise instructions you give, mark, I fix the 2nd generation ipod mini of my daughter:
    I replace the broken-down Seagate hard disk with a Scan Disk Ultra II of 4 GB.

    Now it goes as before while being less fragile and with a better autonomy!

    Thank you Marc (and the others contributors.)

  163. stevenspmd @ 2 August 2007, 18:04 :

    Lexar 2GB CF Platium II 80x works fine. Also it doesn’t seem to eat power when turned off and on hold anymore?

  164. rony_77 @ 6 August 2007, 23:45 :

    Transcend de 2GB works fine. (ipod mini 2g)

  165. HS @ 9 August 2007, 17:07 :

    Awesome! Just installed 4GB flash into mini. Works fantastic. Not one problem. Thanks for all your hard work. Very much appreciated.

  166. chris @ 9 August 2007, 22:57 :

    why is my ipod not playing songs

  167. JS @ 15 August 2007, 18:56 :

    I replaced the Seagate 4GB on my Ipod mini 2g with Scandisk Ultra II 8GB. It works perfectly. I tried before with a ordinary Sandisk 128MB, a Verbatim 256M and a Lexar 512M without success. Its a little bit slower to transfer the music from the computer but its faster to load the music from the Ipod.

  168. Jeff @ 22 August 2007, 07:42 :

    Works fine with a 4GB Transcend I bought at Frys for $30. My problem is running Rockbox on the 1G Mini with a CF Card….It won’t work. There is a patch that someone at Rockbox created to fix it, but implelenting the patch is WAY beyond my computer skills. Has anyone been able to get a 1G Mini with a CF to run with Rockbox?

  169. Paco @ 23 August 2007, 12:18 :

    I’ve replaced the 4Go of my mini 1st gen with a Sandisk extrem III 8Go and it WORKS fine!. I put the compactflash without prior format or file copy. I just reinitialize it with itunes 7.
    For the records i’ve also tried an 8Go samsung 8Go, blue noname 150x, with no luck.
    Thanks Mark for that great hack

  170. frosch236 @ 24 August 2007, 20:31 :

    hi, great site. at first i think it doesn´t work, i have work with a Kingston 50speed and an Emtec 80x and no way, itunes found it and tell me that a ipod was found and restored, and than…he tell this again, ipod found and restored and so on, bad. than i try a PNY 4MB Card and great it works fine! Thank you and greetings from Germany

  171. metal mike @ 29 August 2007, 22:49 :

    This worked great, but when I tried to put the ipod back in the case, it wasn’t fitting and I tried a little too forcefully, and two capacitors broke off. Does anyone know what values c77 anc c78 are?

  172. flythefish @ 30 August 2007, 19:53 :

    Wow what a great site, thanks for the heads up, will give this a try, maybe there is some live left in my old Ipod after all.

  173. Paul Sonnenholzner @ 31 August 2007, 22:57 :

    Thanks. I changed to flash memory 4gb.
    No problem , all works

  174. GuiLLeM @ 1 September 2007, 18:05 :

    I just disassembled my mini in order to change the battery (I ordered one at ipodrepair.nl) and I’d like to improve his memory by the way.

    I have some CF card from a Nikon Coolpix 4500 (Lexar 128Mb 8x, Lexar Pro 256Mb 40x and i-Compact 256Mb 40x), but none of them seems to work. I am not sure if they don’t work because of the size, the speed or because they don’t have the Ata Support (I really don’t know this, but I could guess).

    In was wondering if a Datawrite 8gb would work, since it’s is the cheapest I can get here in Barcelona, Spain (in fact in Andorra, but it’s still cheaper than here, 59,50€+delivering). I read here than it worked with an extra wire, but I’m not sure to be able to find this wire (the Molex IDE connector) for a reasonable cost.

    My other options are to buy a Sandisk Ultra II 8gb (almost 100€ delivering included) or try to find an international dealer of Peak, since the one in Spain is only selling SD cards.

    Could anybody guide me in this process? I am quite confused…:S

    Thank you for this fantastic post and for all this helpful comments.

  175. hansha @ 9 September 2007, 20:38 :

    It’s very intresting. I admire you because it’s briliant artice

  176. Tracy K @ 11 September 2007, 04:17 :

    Confirming that a Transcend 8GB 120x CF works fine in a second generation 6GB Mini.

    Anyone got their hands on a 32GB CF card from A-Data yet? If so, does it work?

  177. Sandeep @ 14 September 2007, 09:24 :

    Will this work with an SD card – to -compactflash II (microdrive) adapter?
    Has anyone tried it?

  178. abietto @ 14 September 2007, 17:51 :

    Hi, just wanted to say that as far as I can tell I could replace the microdrive with a 8GB Ultra II Sandisk CF without any problem. I’m running the backup of all the files in the card right now as I write, using the iCloner. iTunes gave me some problems trying to restore the iPod, and kept telling me that there was a problem of permission and that I did not have the rights to perform the operation, I don’t know why. Anyway, at the third try everything went okay and now I am the proud owner of a second generation mini blue with 8 GB capacity! Anyone knows why iTunes gave that strange message?
    Thanks for the tutorial, I’ll keep you posted on the progress as soon as I put my hands on a 16GB CF!

  179. AC @ 16 September 2007, 12:38 :

    I’ve done this upgrade, starting with a 2nd gen mini (board 1804) & a 16GB CF card. Initially worked fine, but within 10 days developed a problem in that instead of going to sleep, when not in play mode, it displays a (fully) charged icon on the screen.

    This means that it is fully discharged every 10 – 12 hours unless I leave it constantly charging in a dock.
    I’ve reset it to factory defaults twice – still the same. I suppose next step is to dismantle the device again, reformat the card & see what happens.

    Just wondered if any visitors to this site have experienced a similar issues. I’ve googled the problem & found other users with similar experience, but no fixes posted.

    All in all, a cool mod, but maybe let down by ipod’s fundamental flakiness.


  180. ds @ 17 September 2007, 18:16 :

    I installed a Lexar 80× 2 gig in a first gen sliver mini and it worked perfectly.

  181. Kunta @ 19 September 2007, 01:03 :

    The A DATA 120× 8GB worked like a charm on my 1st gen IPOD Mini. No Problems whatsoever. The transfer from iTunes to the Ipod was about four times slower though….however, once the songs were on the iPod it was better than new!

  182. Jx @ 21 September 2007, 06:39 :

    Hi. Anyone can help me with this?
    1. Can I use ANY type of microdrive or compact flash card for my ipod mini?
    2. Which speed of microdrive or CF card can I use? Will it affect my songs playing speed?

  183. Z1z0 @ 23 September 2007, 01:23 :

    Hi everyone!
    I can confirm that upgrading my 2nd generation 4GB iPod was as easy as pie.
    The card I used was Kingston 45X Elite Pro 8 GB
    So, as far as I can see from Post 155, there are now also multiple confirmations for this card.

  184. nahoku @ 28 September 2007, 03:11 :

    Aloha! Just wanted to confirm that the following cards do work in 2nd Gen minis…

    Sandisk Ultra II 4GB $63.99

    A-Data 4GB $33.99

    Transcend 4GB $37.99

    A few notes…
    The Transcend I linked is now out of stock at Newegg. It went out of stock a day after I purchased mine. Maybe I bought the last one! There is a faster Transcend 4GB available, but I have no experience with that card. Use at your own risk! ($41.99)

    Also, the A-Data has it’s label on the opposite side of the card. This means I had to flip the card over before putting the flex connector on. The way I found out is that it only fit in my card reader when the label was on the Bottom. Just wanted to note that so no one will install the CF card into their mini BACKWARDS!

    All three mini upgrades went without a single hitch! Ipod updater and Itunes recognized, initialized, formated and loaded all my songs with no problems at all. All minis are playing tunes like a bat out of hell! ;-)

    Battery life was tested on the Sandisk and has exceeded 18hrs thus far. It has not died on it’s own yet, so I’m guessing 18+ is a good number. I didn’t do battery tests on the other CF cards yet because I just got them today and installed them.

    Good luck to all with your upgrades!

  185. Jon @ 28 September 2007, 06:29 :

    For the record, the plain, non-extreme, SanDisk 4gb card with the blue and red label works just fine in my 1st gen mini. Thanks for the write-up.

  186. ijjy @ 14 October 2007, 16:03 :

    hey everybody. looks like a great mod!
    this looks like a ridiculous price for a card that supposedly works!
    would you recomend buying it?

  187. r1sky @ 16 October 2007, 02:09 :

    2g mini.

    following tried:
    1gb Extreme Performance Memory High Speed CF 120X
    4gb A-DATA CF Turbo 120X

    itunes detects both cards and asks to restore. after its restart, it asks the same question. thus a update/restore loop. =/

    has anyone gotten around this?

  188. HezMah19 @ 18 October 2007, 11:49 :

    Confirming 1GB SanDisk Ultra II + iPod mini 2nd Gen (Silver) works. Had the loop problem, put 3 pieces of electrical tape on the battery above the connection for the HD/CF card, problem resolved, the mini regrettably has a dead clickwheel but I have an RF control for it. Yay for a car iPod!

    Awesome Work dude! =D

  189. Cariboo @ 20 October 2007, 20:31 :

    My ipod mini’s hard drive was definitively dead…and I just didn’t want to put my ipod mini in the trash bin. You gave it a second chance for my greatest pleasure ;) Thanks and greetings from France !

  190. Brian @ 25 October 2007, 18:18 :

    Confirmed 8GB Transcend CompactFlash (TS8GCF75) worked first time. Restored the firmware and charging the new battery now with USB.

  191. barath @ 27 October 2007, 16:41 :

    thanks for creatinig new idea for this project!!!!!!

  192. Matthew Smith @ 2 November 2007, 22:01 :

    Just put a 16 gig A-Data from Newtons Egg and a 750 mAh battery from Ipod in my Ipod. Works great! Lasts two weeks before recharging. Thanks.



  193. Rick @ 3 November 2007, 17:17 :

    Hi, Thank for great instructions and idea, my two kids have 1st gen minis and I’d like to know if this will work on 1st or 2nd gen…not sure what yours is…Reply to my email if you can…Rick rickalleva@gmail.com

  194. Rick @ 3 November 2007, 17:20 :

    Ooops…this is a blog entry…fine..but I was referrring to using compact flash drive in ipod mini…will it work in 1st or 2nd gen models…sometimes hard drives say they only work in one or the other some say either..just a bit confused, but like to go to the flash drive idea…thanks again, rick

  195. Robert @ 9 November 2007, 02:37 :

    Hi I was replacing my battery in my mini when I think I stripped the molex trasistor that control the wheel and and enter button….is there a way of repairing this or it this a dead unit? Thanks for any help you can offer – Robert

  196. James @ 10 November 2007, 13:33 :


    To avoid the annoying loop i disabled the sync in iTunes and just downloaded the iPod updater app from Apple.


    I seem to be in a similar predicament. When unplugging the connector, i made a little cut in the ribbon cable. In addition i noticed one of the pins in the connector is now detached from the cable – so i think i am screwed.

    Now maybe i could fix the pin by very very very carefully soldering it back on, but i don’t see how i can fix the cut in the ribbon cable.

    Of course i could just buy a replacement wheel from iFixit, but shipping is costly so i might as well just cut my losses and buy a new iPod. :(

  197. JD24 @ 14 November 2007, 10:49 :

    I can confirm that the Transcend 16GB CF card (TS16GCF133) works fine (at least for me).
    I must be crazy because i bought a new ipod mini of ebay for doing this mod
    but a 16GB flash based ipod mini just really rocks.

    Unfortunately the transfer speed is about 1MB slower than with the microdrive.
    It’s a little disappointing because Transcend state a transfer speed of about 18MB read/write.
    I only got about 5MB with my ipod mini. With the microdrive i got about 6 MB though.
    Maybe the ipod itself can’t handle fast CF cards.

    Can somebody confirm this?

  198. NoradNinja @ 19 November 2007, 23:42 :

    Actually, if you are doing this on a Mac, mount the card with a card reader (or PCMCIA adapter if you are on a laptop) and open Disk Utility. Select the card and hit info, this will tell you if it is an ATA card or not and save you the trouble.

  199. Rick @ 1 December 2007, 06:36 :

    Many thanks for an outstanding hack ! Picked up a broken Gen 2, 4 meg mini on ebay reasonably, found a $25 4Gig CF card at Newegg.com, also an inexpensive replacement battery from everyday-(something) on e-bay. (Good outfit, wish I had a better memory to plug them)

    Worked exactly like you said it would (except it didn’t demand the AC charger—USB worked fine.).

    I can confirm that the A-data “Speedy” 4Gig CF card from Newegg.com for about $25 will absolutely work.

    This is just too damn cool ! Thanks again !

  200. Rick (again) @ 1 December 2007, 06:39 :

    Whoops, meant to say Gen 2 4 GIG mini on ebay, not 4 meg.

  201. dms @ 5 December 2007, 04:47 :

    Anybody crack open a mini and find smelly, oily goop in there? Mine was literally dripping with the stuff. I was just wondering what it was and if it served any purpose? Also, anybody have any bright ideas about how to replace the adhesives for the various bevels? Thanks.

  202. taylor @ 13 December 2007, 07:44 :

    does the ipod mini need to be 2nd gen or could it be 1st gen also?

  203. Nate @ 13 December 2007, 20:10 :

    I have used the 16 Gb and 32 Gb A-Data Speedy Compact Flash cards with sucess. I love having a 32 Gb flash based iPod. Both iPods were 2nd Gen Minis. Hopefully this information is helpful to everyone. For everyone in the US – The 16 Gb card is only $84 + Shipping at Newegg and the 32 Gb card is $220 ish (It is out of stock at the moment).

  204. Joe @ 17 December 2007, 22:32 :

    I botched this one the first time. I ripped the connector off the molex cable connecting the clickwheel to the motherboard. I’ve got a replacement on the way, but I wanted to somehow re-enforce the connector.

    What do you think of putting a drop of superglue under that connector? I mean letting the glue run under the connector to help it stick to the ribbon cable.

  205. Andy @ 20 December 2007, 19:57 :

    I can confirm Sandisk 1Gb compact flash will work in 1st gen ipod mini (all Staples had in stock) I used restore function in itunes version 1.4.1 worked first time no problems, will upgrade later to 4-8Gb, be brave crack that pod open …...!!

  206. misan @ 28 December 2007, 20:47 :

    I can confirm 2GB Trascend 120x card does work and that the MS Take 1GB does not work (it gives a weird error when trying to update the firmware from iTunes — the iPod cannot be updated because it is in use—).

  207. hugh @ 2 January 2008, 09:28 :

    ive got the same tablecloth! hooray! haha. great instructions, im doing the same! :D and hopefully ill get my hands on a lot of different colors of paint so i can make some moire pattern on my nano!

  208. Liam @ 11 January 2008, 02:14 :

    I’ve spent the last few days trying to get an 8GB A-Data Speedy to work on my daughter’s dead 2nd gen mini. But all I get is the !Folder icon. The current firmaware is 1.3, iTunes always asks to upgrade to 1.4.1, after going through the install/upgrade the mini reboots and still shows version 1.3. My question… do I have to be at a firmware later than 1.3 for this Flash to work? I cannot upgrade with the old drive in because it is dead. I have read all the forum, I seem to be the only one not being able to get an A-Data to work. Any other suggestion?

  209. Timo @ 11 January 2008, 06:06 :

    I’m at 1.4.1 and just put an Adata speedy 8gb in, now working fine and I seem to get an extra hour on the battery (about 7.5hrs, was around 6).
    Initially it would sync but not work once unplugged. It also wouldn’t let me restore until I hooked it up to the firewire port, after that it was ok. I could not get it back together with the rubber protectors in place, so I ditched them.

  210. Liam @ 11 January 2008, 15:51 :

    Timo, sounds like the same problem I have. Is your firewire connected to a PC or MAC? I do not have a firewire cable but will purchase one if you are connecting to PC.

  211. Kanekiyo Takahashi @ 12 January 2008, 09:45 :

    Hi, Liam.
    I’ve 1.3 and 1.4.1 board.
    A-Data 8GB doesn’t work with 1.3.
    It seem the same symptom as your iPod.
    A-Data CF work with 1.4.1.
    When the firmware version is 1.3, require connect HDD and upgrade to 1.4.1.

  212. wog @ 12 January 2008, 15:07 :

    Adata speed 16GB p/n 75ICC60010 worked perfectly in my iPod mini model # A1051 2nd generation. Replaced harddrive, did retore and that was it. ....wala 15.1GB !!! My ipod firmware was already at 1.4.1 before starting.

  213. Liam @ 12 January 2008, 21:56 :

    Thank you all for the feedback. I now have to figure out a way to update to firmware to 1.4.1 without a HD.
    Does anyone know if a virgin 4GB flash will work with firmware 1.3?

  214. peter @ 23 January 2008, 20:50 :

    dropped my mini and got the folder with exclamation mark on the screen.

    Changed the hd for a CF card from SanDisk. Itunes does not recognise the ipod. A different CF card makes no difference. However, the old hd is accessible with a CF cardreader. Not damaged??

    Any suggestions what to try next?

  215. pascal @ 24 January 2008, 00:49 :

    A4 GB Transcend card Ultra speed TS2GCF133 functions good. It is now within my iPod Mini first generation. The transfer time for copying the files to the iPod are significantly shorter as with the original microdrive. I used the “restore” function from iTunes to be able to use the iPod. No problems encountered on a Mac under mac os X Tiger.
    I also tried to format the iPod in MS-DOS but, even if the iPod mounted and copied files, it was not possible to use the iPod once I stopped the cable connection to the Mac. So, back to the Mac format and now enjoying the newest technology. Transcend has other models such as TS8GCF133 with 8 GB or TS16GCF133 with 16 GB There are also the industrial quality series ( models TSnumberhereGCF451/I-D) and the fast ones ( Models TSnumberhereGCF266/120/75) both of them are much expensive for an advantage which is not obvious to me.
    So good luck and have fun with your new iPod in an old skin.

  216. Martin Daly @ 25 January 2008, 14:15 :

    Have just done upgrade using Sandisk Extreme 3 16G. (I had to replace the battery anyway). The Sandisk came already formatted to Fat32. I reset to factory default before commencing upgrade, restored afterward and hey presto 16 Gig Mini. I’ll update on how well the new battery lasts. Thanks for the guide.

  217. Liam @ 25 January 2008, 14:49 :

    I purchased a 4GB A-Data Speedy to try with firmware 1.3 but still no go.
    BTW the price of these have been dropping like crazy. I paid $47 for the 8 GB 3 weeks ago, now it is $36 Canadian and the 4 GB is at $20.49

  218. Jordan @ 26 January 2008, 04:47 :

    Thanks so much for this guide. Just replaced mine with an A-DATA 4GB from Newegg and it works like a charm :)

  219. Liam @ 26 January 2008, 18:39 :

    Could someone please post the contents of the SysInfo file for an iPod mini 2Gen 4Gig or 8Gig.
    The file is in X:\iPod_Control\Device just open with notepad.
    This is an hidden file you may have to set explorer to show hidden files. X: is the iPod drive letter assigned.

  220. Doug @ 30 January 2008, 22:53 :

    Just wanted to report a success. 4GB Gen2 iPod Mini with 8GB Transcend Compact Flash “Ultra Speed 133x” (part #TS8GCF133) from NewEgg.com.

    I did, however, break the connector off the molex ribbon cable that attaches the thumb wheel to the circuit board (doh!) – new one on order.

  221. Eric @ 1 February 2008, 23:07 :


    1st Gen iPod Mini M94xxLL at firmware level 1.4.1. now mated with 16GB Transcend compact flash TS16GCF133.

    iPod firmware running great. Tried Rockbox, but it could not find the partition. Will very likely try podzilla, but too busy enjoying all the additional music I now have on my Mini.

  222. John B. Cole @ 4 February 2008, 17:40 :

    I just replaced the bad microdrive in my 2nd gen Mini with a cheapo 4-GB A-DATA CF card (A-DATA Speedy 4GB Compact Flash (CF) Flash Card Model SPEEDY CF 4GB, Item #: N82E16820211191) from Newegg and am happy with the results. The write speed is a little slow, but once it’s initially loaded up I don’t spend very much time loading music, so the speed isn’t a problem for me. Note that I didn’t use an external power supply, just the plain old USB-to-iPod cable.

  223. Joe @ 5 February 2008, 06:43 :

    I just replaced a 4GB A-Data CF Card from Newegg and iTunes successfully retore firmware to my iPod.
    But now….I can create “Playlist” from iTurns….Any suggestion?

    Thank you

  224. Joe @ 6 February 2008, 10:48 :

    ref. to #223….

    I can’t create “Playlist” from iTunes after I mod my ipod with 16GB CF card…...Please help!!!

    Thank you

  225. Hellen @ 8 February 2008, 02:46 :

    Thanks so much for this guide, you saved me buying a new mp3 player.

    I swapped the faulty HD in my 1st gen mini for a 4G Transcend card (TS4GCF133). I had no problems whatsoever. I’m on XP Pro SP2, have a USB cable, and used Winamp to load music. I didn’t bother with reformatting, I just used the restore program.

  226. ice @ 8 February 2008, 06:35 :

    Verified working in a 2nd gen mini (silver, sweet) with a 4 gig kingston elite pro (x133, whatever that means). 1.4.1 firmware, ipod to usb cable, and restored right away from itunes. . lol, when i started it up after i switched em, it started playing music from the old drive that was no longer there. must’ve been in the ram…

  227. steve121 @ 18 February 2008, 07:54 :

    Maybe a better way?

    1. take the Hatachi drive out, put it in a cf cardreader. Copy contents of hatachi drive to a file on your computor. Eject hatachi.
    2. put new cf card into reader. Copy hatachi files from the computer onto the new cf.
    3.should have old music platlist ect. Maybe less problems this way?

  228. headbonk @ 20 February 2008, 19:38 :

    Like some other’s have posted in the comments, when I tried this mod with this card:

    It would just go to the folder & exclamation icon. I was about to give up and try to get newegg to refund me when I read to upgrade the ipod to the latest firmware before doing the mod – put the drive back in, upgraded my 1.3 firmware to 1.4.1, put the CF back and bingo! The ipod came up with the “put me on the charger” icon without even having to restore – the os must have already been there from the previous attempts.

    mark – you should update your article to tell people to upgrade their ipod to the latest os before trying this.

    nonetheless – a million thank you’s for discovering this wonderful mod.

  229. Adam Crigger @ 21 February 2008, 16:54 :

    4gb Sandisk Ultra II is working great in my girlfriends old 2nd gen pink mini. While it was apart I decided to de-pink it (much to her dismay) and I quite like the results.




  230. Chris Steinmayer @ 26 February 2008, 21:18 :

    First Gen Ipod Mini : Just installed 16gb transcend CF card and it works great!

  231. Martin Faust @ 28 February 2008, 21:49 :

    Thanks for good idea :)
    My second gen 4gb-silver mini now works with an Samsung OEM – CF Card (around 30 Eur at ebay).
    Works also without the power-plug stuff.
    Just installed the CF, Ipod boots up, Synced, and then boots up, and down, and up..neverending story^^
    I then ereased the hole CF in a cardreader, all partions and so on. After pluging the CF back to the ipod, iTunes was willing to restore the iPod, an now: perfect.
    Now Idea why it synced the first time, without having any firmware on it – maybe the first try (itunes reported an error) wasn’t faulty at all.

    best regard,

  232. escalibur @ 29 February 2008, 01:40 :

    Thanks for this great idea!

    I just want to inform you that:

    Samsung 8GB 150X Compact Flash (blue card) works fine with iPod Mini (green one + Seagate’s HD 6GB)

    After iTunes restoring I got 7.5GB for mp3s so it is not bad at all.

    + I have changed battery to 1000mAh, loading took 4h but now my Mini is more rock than before.

    Lifehouse rules in my ‘vintage’ iPod Mini ;)

  233. Starfish @ 1 March 2008, 13:01 :

    I’m just wondering which cards work? Is it all of them or do I have to be careful with the ones I buy?

    Will these work?


  234. mr fox @ 15 March 2008, 04:09 :

    brilliant idea and great support on the forum. Bought a 16gb card on ebay (150X 16GB OEM SAMSUNG COMPACT FLASH CF CARD – the blue ones) and after a few hours of messing around it works like a treat and now im rather pleased with myself


  235. Bartch @ 16 March 2008, 21:34 :

    mr fox. Do you mean this one:

  236. mr fox @ 16 March 2008, 23:21 :

    looks exactly the same to me, if you want to double check this is the one i got. Finished up with 15gb of space.

  237. ElNad @ 17 March 2008, 19:14 :

    Bought a A-Data 8GB CF from CanadaComputers for 34$ and it works like a charm. Will upgrade to 32 when the price is 50$ or less.

    But the 2 ipod plastic enclosures on the top and bottom get damaged a bit if you open the ipod. Can live with that easily, but it’s not perfect anymore.

    But in a leather case in my car glove box, no one can see that. And I now have 7.5 gigs of mp3 at my fingertip on my Pioneer headunit.

    Thanks for all the information people.

  238. mary @ 18 March 2008, 04:26 :

    hello i am not very handy on doing this does anyone lives close buy so they can fix my ipod i don’t know what to do it displays on my ipod the sad face and i tried everything with the apple’s.com the 5 rs nothing. PLEASE HELP ME!!

  239. Robert @ 9 April 2008, 04:40 :

    Does it work with 2nd gen ipod minis?

  240. Kristabelle @ 16 April 2008, 08:24 :

    Nice hack….i just made a very stupid mistake on my ipod first genration nano:( i didn’t know that when you retored everything on your ipod was deleted…damn. i still have all my songs and when i tried to put them on my ipod again, they wouldnt all fit back in becuase even though there was no files on the ipod it said that it still had 1.4 gb used…therefore not letting me put all my original songs back on. if that made sense to anyone please help…i feel like chucking it out. (ive already had to have it replaced from wehn i dropped it into my pool:( cheers

  241. Fred @ 27 April 2008, 14:34 :

    I’ve been trying to mount an a-data 16gb compact flash card I bought from a hong kong seller on ebay on my ipod 3G (not mini) and it does not work.

    A shop bought sandisk ultra works fine on the same Ipod, tho.

    It might very well be cause I got a fake a-data card, since it seems to work for anyone else. So beware the fake flash cards from e-bay!

  242. Fred @ 27 April 2008, 18:14 :

    UPDATE: got the a-data card to work

    I was unable to get the Ipod to restore its firmware using the ipod updater on the a-data CF card, so I copied the updated and working partition directly from the sandisk card to the a-data card, using dd under linux, and it did work!
    Hope this may be useful for someone!

  243. Sirio @ 29 April 2008, 21:06 :

    Hi Fred. I am desperately trying to fix friend’s 1G Mini with a CF card and my linux wizard rep is on the line. I am having the exact same problem you were – when the CF is mounted in the iPod, I see it as an external HD in linux and even in Windows, but every time the pod boots it gives me the folder icon.

    I try to restore the firmware with ipod updater 2006 (because iTunes 7.x gives an unknown error) and it says it restores fine but strangely no files are written to the CF, and after I plug the POD in to the power supply, it give the boot screen and then the folder icon again.

    If I go into the iPod diagnostics screen (you reset the mini by holding down the menu button and the center select buttons together for 5-8 secs until the apple screen comes up, at which point you hold down the select and rewind buttons together, the screen flashes and you get the apple logo backwards and then the diagnostics utility) and run the HDD R/W test it gives me FW NG (BTW, I have not been able to find a satisfactory documentation for this utility so it’s a bit of guesswork) which is the same thing it gives me if i put the old microdrive back in and fire it up with that. Memory tests and all that come out fine, though, so I doubt it’s the mobo (also because the microdrive really is toast, I tried in my CF slot using “dmesg | tail” and the kernel can’t even access the drive).

    I love your idea of using dd, which is something I have already been unsuccessfully trying to do, and then I found your post. My prob is I don’t have a working mini to read an image from, since the old smart card was really dead (no CPR – no putting pressure and it works, this thing is TOAST).

    So, I just found my old nano while writing this and I can access it as a block device. I am going to try two things:

    a. using dd with if=/dev/zero to zero out the entire CF card before giving it to the mini, to see if maybe it’s a partition table or filesystem problem, and

    b. dd’ing from the nano, and writing to the CF card of the mini, saving of course the first sector (mbr) in case it then reads my 8G cf as a 1G drive, same size as the nano.


    a. Input?

    b. Thanks for reading this, I needed to let off steam..

    c. When I make this work, I am going to type the ending portion of this saga in the hopes that someone else will get out of the mud at a faster pace than I am currently clocking.


  244. Sirio @ 29 April 2008, 21:59 :

    OK. The saga continues… After dd’ing the drive full of zeros, I put the CF back on the mini and plugged into the win-doze computer.

    The removable drive came up, and it showed unformatted – so far so good. Then I ran the iPod updater (I have 2006-08-xx) and it showed the drive formatted win32 and labelled IPOD. I looked and still no files…

    So re-installed iTunes 7.xx, and updated with that. This time, no unknown error! But still no files written to the disk, and no go on reboot.

    Then something struck me: When the iPod was plugged into the power adapter, it did not show a charging battery icon, like it did when it was plugged into the USB. hmm..

    I ran the diagnostics again, run the HDD R/W test with
    a. nothing
    b. the microdrive attached
    c. the CF card
    and I ran all three tests with the power adapter plugged in and with it unplugged.

    In all cases, the result is FW PWR.

    Then I realized, the mini uses a firewire adapter, I am using the USB adapter from my nano, could this be?

    So I asked my friend to bring the adapter in tomorrow and will see. Hope to report a happy ending. Till later.

  245. Sirio @ 30 April 2008, 21:30 :

    I am now formally asking for help. Like, HELP!

    I was right about the mini not charging using a USB cable with a charger – it charges only with a FIREWIRE cable and a charger. When sucking juice from the firewire, all HDD R/W and scan tests return PASS. Great. If only that would mean it would work..

    I have at this point tried everything. The most frustrating thing about this is that the ipod in disk mode WORKS, damn it! All three OSes read it as a good disk and I can write all sorts of files to it. But the thing will NOT for any reason contemplate booting.

    In other words, whatever neanderthal version of firmware written into the EPROM of this thing actually accesses the disk, but either looks for the firmware in the wrong place or does not like it enough to run it if it finds it. The firmware update is supposed to cause the iPod to update itself on reboot and it does not – it doesn’t even TRY – it simply gives the folder icon, which must be the iPod version of the middle finger (which would make the sad mac and the index and pinkie sticking up from a closed fist?).

    I have restored the firmware with Windows, with OS X and then even downloaded the images, custom partitioned the disk (1st partition is 32M – cylinders 1-6 – type 0, anyone?) and used dd to write the firmware myself. I even wrote the firmware starting from the beginning of the drive just in case but no go at all. Grrr!

    I wish I knew more about hex and how partition tables are written, because I am ready to write my own at this point.

    I really wish someone would answer this post. There must be someone out there who has run into this before.

  246. Fred @ 1 May 2008, 04:40 :



    I’m not sure I can help you much since I
    a/ don’t own a mini
    b/ know almost nothing about linux

    Anyways, here is some stuff that *might help.

    After using the ipod updater, my ipod needed to apply the upgrade. To that effect I had to plug it to a wall outlet, using the firewire cable. On the 16 gb card, it would repeat the update process endlessly while plugged, and give a “plug me in” icon when disconnected. Using the sandisk card, I could get it to write the firmware correctly and reboot.
    Note that the ipod did not recognise being disconnected from the computer, and that I had to unplug the battery to get it to reboot.

    My guess would be that your CF card is not fully compatible, and that you should try with other cards.
    Hope you get it to work!

  247. Bob @ 5 May 2008, 04:58 :

    A-DATA 32GB CF Card installed and working on ipod mini

  248. ausssiefan @ 11 May 2008, 22:10 :

    Tried 32 GB Transcend 133 and: it works on ipod mini gen. 2 !

    thx for all the ideas and helpers here!


  249. RJ @ 13 May 2008, 21:16 :

    Thanks for this hack. I’ve always wanted a Ipod, but thought they were too pricely. This week my co-worker gave me her Ipod mini 4GB that was displaying a sad face and “!” symbol. She told me that it stopped after dropping it. I contact Apple who told my it would be cheaper to buy a new unit than to send it to them to fix. I used this website to open it up. Stopped by Staples Office supply (sale on sandisk products) on Monday and picked up a Sandisk 4GB CF for $35, plugged it in, started Itunes and now I have a 4GB mini for $35.00. I plan to search ebay today for a 8gb CF. Thx for the help and the hack.

  250. tim @ 18 May 2008, 08:47 :

    After the hard drive died i tried this hack on my 2g mini running 1.3.1. I just get it asking to restore the ipod over and over again.

  251. JH @ 22 May 2008, 01:25 :

    As an alternative to restoring the firmware, I found that with a Linux machine, the iPod basically presents itself as an external hard drive. With Linux (or Cygwin for those on Windows), you can use the “dd” command to image a good drive – all you need from a firmware standpoint is about the first 6 blocks if you don’t want your data restored.

    If you are restoring your data, though, you can use gparted to resize the partition. One word of warning, though – gparted is “smart” in that it sees the firmware partition as type 0 (“Empty”) and helpfully removes the partition. Before using gparted, use the Linux fdisk command to change the type to something else – then gparted will leave it alone.

    Resize using gparted, and then change the partition type back for the firmware partition to type 0.

    I purchased an Adata 16 GB CF card off of Newegg – one customer there reported that this worked fine in their mini (comes with a lifetime warranty as well, which is handy). Total cost for the upgrade to 16 GB was just shy of $70 including shipping within the US. Very affordable upgrade – enough so that I’ve also ordered a new 850 mWh battery to install next week.

    I also found that if I used the plastic/rubber feet that the Microdrive was in and taped it back with the stickers, I didn’t need the business card trick in mine.

    Thanks much for posting this information here.

  252. JH @ 22 May 2008, 01:27 :

    Sirio, check out the information on the iPodLinux website for info about the partition tables. I found that helpful as I tried to expand my iPod today.

  253. tyake @ 24 May 2008, 03:36 :

    I just spend the day trying to get a Transcend Card 16GB in 2nd Gen HP Mini running 1.3 to work, but no joy. Has anyone a spare Microdrive?

  254. ausssiefan @ 25 May 2008, 11:14 :

    @ tyake! i have one 6 gb microdrive, its WORKING, NEVER felt down! i just replaced it with a 32 gb card from transcend to get more space on my mini 2.gen. if u wanna have it, write me a mail pls! greets, ausssiefan

  255. Rue Baby Im that Nigga @ 26 May 2008, 05:49 :

    Yes this works with a very cheap 4 GB Compact Flash Card I got from Office Depot card I bought for 24 dollars at Office Depot today…. the card brand on the box says ATIVA but actually when I put in my computer to check its formatting its actual name for the card is LEXAR so I believe this is a rebadged LEXAR 4GB its a 60x Speed 9MB/Sec… it doesnt say anything about it being ATA compliant tho on the pacakging but it says its FCC compliant and that is “designed for a CF compliant slot”

    Technically Im not finished really modding yet I have it hooked to the computer and it was actually just detected by Windows and for some reason Itunes opened up automatically ( I guess because on the original hard drive that crashed it was in Recovery Mode) and its asking me to restore so thats what Im boutto do..but thats enough of a go for me.

  256. tyake @ 31 May 2008, 05:39 :

    So finally i can proove a 16GB Transcend works, with help of a Seagate Microdrive. And you will need at least Firmware 1.4 to get a flash iPod mini. And this tutorial works for HP branded Minis as well.

  257. Milan @ 3 June 2008, 10:48 :

    I have an ipod mini 4gb 2ndgen with sad ipod icon with link. It turns off after few seconds. When i used last time to play songs backside of lcd became hot and it also skipped songs too.Now it shows sad icon. I went to apple service center they asked $18 only for checking so i decided to find another way. I placed this ipod close to my ear i heard (still i can hear)tick tok sound inside during sad ipod is shown on screen. :(
    (1) Is this is hdd failure ?.
    (2)If i replace its hdd with cf card will it work same as microdrive (are the pins used by micro drive and cf same)?
    (3) how much for 4, 8 & 16gb cf cards ? Do you know any seller that sell CF’s what is shown in their websites and shipment to India.And low cost too.
    (4)Mine is 4gb 2gen is it possible to run 8gb or 16gb CF card ?
    (5) How much mAh of battery is needed ?

  258. Maxipeg @ 7 June 2008, 03:53 :

    I have just replaced the 4GB Microdrive of my iPod mini with a 16 GB qMemory Xpress Turbo CF card. It’s a 150xcard, 22 MB/sec (probably an overkill for an iPod but it was dirt cheap) For some reason I had to use the USB cable to restore the iPod via iTunes, it did not work with the FireWire cable. Otherwise it went really flawlessly!
    The Flash-iPod seems to be more responsive, I also expect a better battery life but I will have to do some more testing.

  259. Alexander @ 3 July 2008, 19:50 :

    I used a Transcend CompactFlash 16GB Ultra Speed 133x in my iPod mini 6GB (broken Microdrive). I used the usb cable to do the restore. Now it has 14.9GB available and works fine. I did not have to connect it to a power adapter afterwards. I tried with a Lexar Professional CompactFlash 2GB with Write Acceleration 133x but that did not work. iTunes could not restore that card: “The ipod could not be restored because it is busy”

  260. Geoff @ 9 July 2008, 23:36 :

    I did this to my second generation mini, and it works perfectly. Just make sure you have an ATA compliant compact flash card. I got a PEAK card like the demonstration shows. I now have a 16gb mini :) works very nice.

  261. Milan @ 11 July 2008, 05:49 :

    Is it possible to install SDHC instead of CF with SDHC to CF card adapter ?

  262. Geoff @ 12 July 2008, 02:03 :

    depends if the SDHC card is ATA compliant. I dont know much about those cards so i dont know. all i know is that, sure, give it a shot, if you have an adapter, and that the rig is no bigger than a standard CF card, it should fit. Dont quote me that it will work, but if you have the equipment already, you can try. The most that can happen is that the ipod motherboard wont read the card, and it wont do anything. If it doesnt do anything, just put your ipod back to the way it was

  263. Geoff @ 12 July 2008, 02:18 :

    oh by the way, i forgot one thing, i found that my screen got a little screwy after i made the modification. When i would apply some pressure to the scroll wheel area, the screen would go blank while the pressure was there. after some trouble shooting, i found that it had nothing to do with the screen connection, but in fact it was the connection to the cf card, when the pressure was applied, it squeezed the connector ribbon in a funny way, which blanked the screen. I solved the problem by inserting a trimmed, folded in half business card in between the CF card and the circuit board, which created a 2.5 mm gap separating the CF card from the circuit. This has solved the problem.

  264. Norm @ 14 July 2008, 03:18 :

    Great plans but where do you buy the required parts?

  265. Wim @ 30 July 2008, 01:58 :

    I put a 2 GB card in from TakeMS because it was real cheep 7 euro something and it works great, I’m guessing their 4 GB will also work. I got the iPod free so 2 GB was nice enough.

  266. Nick, London, England @ 2 August 2008, 09:17 :

    I’ve just managed to get an 8Gb card working perfectly. It was the cheapest generic CF card which I could find on eBay. I’m in the UK, so British readers may be interested to know that they can buy it here for 15 quid – http://snipurl.com/39al8 . It worked immediately, without any need for a restore or reformat.

  267. Thomas @ 4 August 2008, 19:14 :

    was able to do this with an old 512mb CF. will get a larger card within the week. will also try to mount the rubber cards and something for the back of the CF. thanks for the how-to.:.

  268. B @ 6 August 2008, 21:53 :

    Put in a 32gb adata speedy card i got off newegg for $100….works perfectly.

  269. Dillinger @ 8 August 2008, 01:41 :

    After a hard fall, the HD was out of order and now it works PERFECTLY on a iPod mini 4gb 2nd generation, with a SanDisk Ultra II 4gb. I just can’t wait to try it with a 32gb… but I think I’m gonna wait a little bit more until there is a 128gb with a cheaper price ;) Thanks to you guys, you helped me a lot!

  270. Norm @ 8 August 2008, 23:02 :

    Hi I love your site and my battery just died I want to convert it to flash memory. On your how do directions I would like to see the other side of the microdrive card. How does it plug into the ipod? Are any adapters need?

  271. DialogPimp @ 20 August 2008, 14:57 :

    For Aussies, the Transcend TS8GCF133 works a charm in 1st gen minis. I got mine off EBay for around $AU48.

    Thanks Mark :)

  272. Norm @ 20 August 2008, 17:52 :

    OK I did the battery replacement and I want to replace the hard drive with a flash drive. What kind of connection is used? Or better yet what kind of drive will work?

  273. Miguel @ 29 August 2008, 20:20 :

    I replaced the ipod´s mini 4gb HDD following your teaching with a 4gb Transcend card (TS4GCF133) with no problem at all.
    I had to plug the ipod into the Firewire port to complete the whole reset. It works perfectly and I could sync almost 900 songs.
    I could not sync it using the USB port, because itunes showed me an 1430 error.

  274. Mak @ 3 September 2008, 07:07 :

    Thanks!! It works great with a 2gb Kingston CF Card!!

  275. Darth @ 4 September 2008, 23:17 :

    I put a 16GB Transcend UltraSpeed 133x in my mini
    It works very good
    The first time it was impossible to run the ipod, impossible to update, so i format the CF with my Sony F828 camera, i delete all files and put the CF in the ipod… reset, update, capacity was 4GB! so update but not reset and… 16GB! hey!!


  276. Scott @ 14 September 2008, 03:45 :

    Well done! I had my son’s defunct Mini laying around, and Googled repairs. The micro drives run anywhere from $50-$100. I saw your site and knew a solid-state repair would be better. I bought a 4GB SanDisk Ultra II CF card for $37.09 at Office Depot, and followed your clear, thorough instructions, and now I have a great spare iPod to use! I have done many IT classes and manuals, so I know the effort that goes into making a good explanation of tech information. Great job, and thanks for saving me $$$ and my iPod!

  277. Sammy @ 22 September 2008, 22:59 :

    does anyone know why apple put micro drives in the ipod mini over compact flash?

  278. Psycho @ 25 September 2008, 19:06 :

    You absolutely rock! I took my daughter’s iPod Mini (Gen 1) and replaced the battery for $10. Once I confirmed the unit was operational, I plunked down $72 on a 32GB CF Speedy Compact Flash by Adata from NewEgg. Within 20 minutes of receiving the memory, I had a fully operational iPod with 30.2 GB reported memory. More than enough for my 20+GB library. Whoo hoo!

  279. Bo @ 30 September 2008, 23:53 :

    Need help guys.

    got myself a speedy a-data flach card, fitted to my ipod mini, did the restore and i get itunes asking to restore the ipod over and over again and the ipod dont run after ipod reboot.

    If I fit the card to my card reader, I get nowt and the only way to recover the card is to use disk manager and format the card plus for some reason there is a 32mb partition on the card I cannot get rid.

  280. mike D @ 6 October 2008, 02:02 :

    sammy, when the minis were coming out, flash memory was more expensive than microdrives. Flash memory became cheaper and now all the nanos use flash memory

  281. Milan @ 8 October 2008, 09:31 :

    Hi Mark, Thanks a lot for this wonderful tutorial.I changed my broken micro drive with 4gb sandisk CF card.It continuously played 19hrs. And more responsive than micro drive. Now its working perfect.Thanks again.

  282. Gome @ 9 October 2008, 00:00 :

    I have 3 Mini’s with 8GB drives. I am amazed at how much more run time I get with the batteries. Thanks for your Mod!

  283. Sammy @ 14 October 2008, 13:38 :

    mike d, thanx for your answer. i had forgotten that the first eva flash memory card i bought, in 2002, was a 256mb sd card. cost me £100. how things have changed. thanx alot

  284. Sammy @ 14 October 2008, 13:58 :

    hi bo,

    soz ive only just read ur message im sure uve already got ur ipod working bt if not i may have some handy tips.

    you need 2 do the full restore on ur ipod thru itunes and make sure u r running the latest firmware, 1.4.1, whilst your hard drive is still in ther. then u can take it apart and fit the flash memory.

    as for formatting the memory card putting it in a card reader on a windows pc wont work it either needs a deep format with a special prog, or it needs to be formatted with a camera, if u have, or know, someone with a digital slr with compact flash try that first then if your struggling try this program,


    this will erase ur card then try putting it back in the ipod u may have some luck bt i havent tryed this out yet.

    hope this proves useful to u or anyone else.

  285. giuseppe @ 15 October 2008, 06:45 :

    I tried it with a 8GB Peak card on a 1st gen mini, but the data transfer (via firewire on an emac) doesn’t work that well, it nearly always hangs at some time during the transfer, and I have to disconnect and reconnect the ipod quite a few times when I want to put some stuff on the ipod. No problems with playback, though. Is anyone having the same problem?

  286. Renaat @ 15 October 2008, 21:23 :

    I have a cheap (ebay : 40€) 16GB compact flash card in my mini for 2 months now, and I very pleased. Songs start playing faster, and battery life has increased with 3 hours… This iPod Mini will be my first and my last iPod ever, I want to keep it working for another 5 years :)

  287. Deb @ 20 October 2008, 22:08 :

    For those interested in the PEAK CF, here is the URL (USA) for the 4 GB card:


  288. Luke Walker @ 24 October 2008, 14:18 :

    In Memory of Mark I have just completed the succesful upgrading of my Original Ipod Mini to a 32gb monster!
    Peak cards were available for £50 Uk incl P&P and I had so much success with the 16gb which was now full that I thought I would celebrate Mark’s inspiring ideas and generosity of spirit by keeping my Mini going for another 4 years!
    Thank you so much Mark you will be greatly missed.

  289. Flo @ 11 November 2008, 11:23 :

    it seems to me that I’m the only one who doesn’t get a Transcend 16GB Ultra Speed 133 to work on an 2gen 4GB Mini. The firmware is version 1.4.1, but when I put the CF card in and I reboot the Ipod it gives me first the Apple Logo, then the sad Ipod face and then an (empty) battery symbol (although the battery is quite new and fully charged). When I plug it via USB in my Windows PC it’s not even recognized as a plugged-in USB device (same with Firewire). So no chance to Restore it. Also, what is strange with this Ipod is, even with the original MicroDrive when the Ipod is running perfectly there is no way to get into disk mode. I can get into diagnostig mode, but it looks different to what everybody else is seeing there. Mine is like

    “iPod Diagnostics
    SRV FEB 03 2005


    I ran some of the tests, they are OK.

    When I have the CF card in I can’t even get to diagnostic mode…?!? I also checked the CF card, it seems OK in a card reader. As a last attempt I used this program to wipe the card completly but there is no change…
    Well, I’mm running out of ideas now, maybe somebody else has a clue why this isn’t working…

  290. Richard @ 26 November 2008, 01:36 :

    I got a cheap CF-1 8 gig card (TOPRAM ?) from a seller in Taiwan on eBay (au$20), plugged into my 2gen 6 gb mini and it worked fine.
    (seller- http://myworld.ebay.com.au/3c_expert)
    I am going to get some more and convert my Ipod photo.

  291. Norm @ 28 November 2008, 15:04 :

    I just replaced the battery on my iPod mini. Saw your site and would like to give it a go. What kind of connector is used to mount the flash drive. I do not want to buy a drive with connectors that do not match the iPod.

  292. Nathhan @ 5 December 2008, 03:17 :

    Holy moly Mark, this worked brilliantly…R.I.P. man…

  293. Dylan @ 6 December 2008, 05:36 :

    Just wanted to let you guys know that the SUPER cheap generic CF Flash Cards off eBay, do indeed work. I bought an 8GB one for $11.88, and it’s working like a charm!

  294. Jeffo @ 26 December 2008, 00:00 :

    Hello. Thanks for the tutorial, I just replaced my microdrive with a 32Gb CF, it works great!

  295. Zac @ 28 December 2008, 22:51 :

    First of all, thanks for this! I now have a 30.1gb iPod mini with a new battery!

    To everyone: it does in fact work on 2nd gen iPod minis, don’t know where you all got the idea that it didn’t. Also, I put in this 32gb card, it’s the cheapest out there and it works great:

    And now a question:
    How can I format the 4gb microdrive out of the iPod? It still worked fine, I just needed more space. I plugged it into my card reader, and on windows, right click, format and it then says that there is no drive there. Even though it shows up as there being a drive there (in color, not grayed out). On my mac, it shows on the desktop but I cannot access it or anything. My cannon camera could not format it either. How the heck can I get it so that I can just use it as a memory card? I wasn’t looking to use it in the camera, just as a flash drive-type thing for backup of little things.

    I tried using the program which Sammy references, thanks, but it didn’t access it. It said: “this drive cannot be accessed because it is smaller than 65535 sectors” How can I get this to work? Thanks in advance!

  296. yamhill @ 29 December 2008, 06:51 :

    I’m having problems with the kingston 16gb elite pro x133. #226 above seems to indicate that this card should work. With the CF card, my mini constantly reboots and is never on long enough for itunes to recognize it and restore. I tried formatting the card but no change. Any suggestions?

  297. tom1992 @ 31 December 2008, 20:01 :

    i got this to work with the same card yamhill is using (kingston 16gb elite pro 133x) on a 2nd gen mini. i am using a mac to format it, would this make a difference?

  298. Rogh-sensei @ 1 January 2009, 06:13 :

    I can verify that SanDisk Extreme III CF cards work for this mod, so that’s a viable option for us Stateside podhackers.

  299. yamhill @ 1 January 2009, 20:45 :

    I’m just wondering if I stumbled on some other problem. I was getting the continual reboot. Here are a few more details. I was using the kingston 16gb elite pro 133x in a 1st gen mini. I tried it straight our of the package, and I formatted it with a PC – fat32 – both without success. I guess I’ll try another card.

  300. tom1992 @ 2 January 2009, 01:48 :

    yamhill what firmware are you using to begin with, i’ve heard that this can make a difference both i and whoever posted in post 226 have our mini’s on firmware version 1.4.1 try putting the harddrive in updating firmware and then trying again. it may not work but it’s worth a shot before you buy a new card. i also tried this mod on my sisters ipod mini and formatted it on a pc using itunes and this worked again mini was running firmware 1.4.1. this is similar problem to posts:

  301. Waarten @ 3 January 2009, 14:45 :

    is it possible to use sd?
    because there are sd to cf adapters… and they are “Truly plug & play, and hot swapping.”

    for example: http://cgi.ebay.nl/SDHC-SD-to-CF-MEMORY-CARD-ADAPTER-fit-Sandisk-8GB-16GB_W0QQitemZ140291708629QQ

  302. tom1992 @ 3 January 2009, 18:34 :

    i would be wary as sd cards are electrically different to compact flash, it may work but i don’t think it would. however if you do try and it is a success please report back as a few other people have been asking similar questions. if you have a spare sd card and you don’t mind losing the money for the adapter if it doesn’t work give it a go. sorry to not have any firm answer

  303. Pakinci @ 7 January 2009, 22:25 :

    I have problems because a CF 16gb that I have in an ipod mini has blocked. It won’t let me write on it. This is the second time that this happens but the first one I tried to format it and I only got to erase the songs but not format it at all. Now it’s happening again but I’m not erasing anything until I find a solution to this problem. Does anybody know how to solve this problem?

  304. yamhill @ 7 January 2009, 23:13 :

    I was using 1.4.1 firmware from the start when I encountered the continual reboot with the new 16gb cf card. I just sold the problematic kingston 16gb elite pro 133x to a friend who wanted it for his camera. What are the suggestions on the most likely to work 16gb cards?

    Does it matter if my ipod mini 1G was used with a mac previously? I don’t know since I bought it used. It does sync fine with my pc.

  305. perry @ 8 January 2009, 03:14 :

    I used Transcend 16GB 133x CF that I bought from Amazon on 1st generation Ipod Mini. It works!

  306. tom1992 @ 8 January 2009, 10:58 :

    I don’t think that it matters whether it was used with a mac previously. It’s a shame it didn’t work.

  307. Joecoffee89 @ 12 January 2009, 06:51 :

    I bought and successfully added a 16GB to my ipod mini. It worked flawlessly! So I decided to take the plunge and buy a 32GB card from TOPRAM and it works too! Although I have noticed that the bigger the size of the card the more space that the ipod won’t allow to be music. 16GB used 1GB in dead space and the ipod claimed that it only had 15.1GB of space avalible. And my 32GB has only 30.2GB of capacity. It may just be the cards but I don’t know.

  308. 808PodModder @ 12 January 2009, 11:27 :

    My condolences to Mark’s Family and Loved Ones.

    I just got my 16 GB Kingston Elite pro 133X (P/N CF/16GB-S2 package says Copyright2008) from Amazon 2 bucks per Gig – (I wonder if others with problems got counterfeit cards) Works Awesome Dude! Just slapped it in a 2nd Gen 6GB mini straight from the package. Changed the battery too. Using OSX 10.4.11 – Itunes 7.6.1 – Ipod 1.4.1

    FYI to Joecofee – Drives are rounded off to get the “size” so it’s to be expected.

  309. January King @ 14 January 2009, 20:37 :

    I replaced the drive in my mini with an 8GB 133x CF. If anyone gets stuck in the iTunes restore loop referred to several times, I fixed this by using a standalone iPod Software Updater for Windows (dated 2006)
    from the Apple support site. This reinstalled the firmware and got everything off the ground. After this a) iTunes connected properly and b) I was able to restore it to its Mac format with no glitches. It’s great, thanks!

  310. yamhill @ 16 January 2009, 19:35 :

    Given the success of 808PodModder, maybe I should try again with the elite pro card. I bought my Kingston 16GB elite pro at Fry’s, so I doubt if it was counterfeit. 808PodModder had success with a 2G mini, but the same card failed for me in a 1G mini. Do 1st and 2nd generation minis need different things from the compact flash card? Maybe I should get another one and experiment.

    Also, if I encounter the continual ipod reboot, does anyone have suggestions to get out of that loop? Is there any software that would allow me to image the CF card in a card reader instead of the mini? I tried formatting in a card reader and that didn’t help.

  311. yamhill @ 19 January 2009, 01:45 :

    Update – I tried again with another Kingston 16GB elite pro and it worked easily.

  312. Renaat @ 21 January 2009, 20:49 :

    I have my 16GB iPod mini for 5 months now, worked very good, but now I have a huge problem :
    I accidentally connected a wrong cable to the audio exit, and now one side plays loud,while the other plays silent :(
    If anyone wants to give their broken iPod mini as a donor, let me know :)

  313. davied @ 26 January 2009, 17:44 :

    Thanks Mark – my mini has now been resurrected from the dead with double the space (8Gb)!

  314. Ian B @ 29 January 2009, 07:27 :

    well, i feel the need to hop aboard the band wagon and put a CF card in my old ipod mini (actually the drive went bad and i just want an extra one around!) i work at the local Staples and and get a 4Gb sandisk ultra II for a good price, can anyone give me a verification as to if these cards work? im going to get it tommrow, ill let everyone know of the result. BTW anyone who is doing this project may find it interesting to dissassemble their old microdrive. i actually hooked mine up to a CF reader and was able to see the pladders and needle moving. pretty cool!

  315. Ian B @ 29 January 2009, 07:28 :

    well, i feel the need to hop aboard the band wagon and put a CF card in my old ipod mini (actually the drive went bad and i just want an extra one around!) i work at the local Staples and and get a 4Gb sandisk ultra II for a good price, can anyone give me a verification as to if these cards work? im going to get it tommrow, ill let everyone know of the result. BTW anyone who is doing this project may find it interesting to dissassemble their old microdrive. i actually hooked mine up to a CF reader and was able to see the pladders and needle moving. pretty cool!

  316. bw @ 30 January 2009, 21:17 :

    i installed a 16 gig kingston once it was reformatted using os x disk utility it worked fine. tested one song and now the mini is back together and syncing a lot more music :) thanks!

  317. Jorgy @ 4 February 2009, 23:43 :

    Thanks mark hoekstra for the guide and all for the help! I’ve installed a CF 8gb OPTIMA from PNY and (with some difficulties and following some suggestions here) now work!
    At first i’ve tried installing directly the new cf replacing the microdrive but once connected at pc itunes restored the ipod several times with no success (the exlamation point and folder error at all restart)...so i’ve reformatted (under windows) in fat32 the cf, putted the same files that are on the microdrive in it and after two restore it worked BUT only for one time…just the time to delete the old music and when i disconnect and riconnect the ipod i’ve see the assistance error…so i restore again, disconnected the device, pressed for about 5 seconds the central button and menu and BOOM...now it work!!! Now i’m playing some files and all seems ok :) (sorry for my english :P)

  318. Bill @ 22 February 2009, 02:55 :

    Thanx man! This worked great. As a Christmas pressie for my bruvs girlfriend, I replaced her knackered Ipod Mini drive with a flash one and now works flawlessly. Ace!

  319. Hmmmm @ 27 February 2009, 18:36 :

    I can get the iPod to run with menus and all that but iTunes wont recognize it, any help?

  320. Luca @ 10 March 2009, 02:29 :

    Heyy i ordered my CF card and was just inquiring if you could send me a link to a download for the ipod linux installer for mac, i just cant find one

  321. Ambergnat @ 20 March 2009, 14:59 :

    Contrary to some reports listed above – I have successfully managed to install a 16Gb Kingston Elite Pro (133X) in my iPod Mini – using Marks instructions above.

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the Generation and revision of the iPod? Mine was a 2nd Gen – 6Gig (rev 1804) (its now a 16Gig 2G mini :o) )

    Pleased? – Smug Mode ‘On’ :oD

    On a more serious note tho, I only just discovered Marks passing when reading through these comments – my condolences to his family and friends – he must have been fun to be around.

  322. Norm Rowe @ 25 March 2009, 21:11 :

    To Ambergnat
    What kind of connection must the 16Gb Kingston Elite Pro have in order to work. Will any compact card work?

  323. Nomad @ 8 April 2009, 00:24 :

    Great guide!
    Worked flawless with:

    iPod Mini 2nd Generation 6 GB, revision 1826 (I’m not sure), firmware version BEFORE conversion: 1.4.1

    Transcend CompactFlash Card (CF) 133× 8GB (TS8GCF133)

    Worked after resetting via iTunes.
    Thanks to everyone for the good advices for compatible CF cards.

  324. ambergnat @ 9 April 2009, 19:44 :

    To Norm Rowe:
    The 16Gb Kingston Elite Pro Compact Flash Card needs nothing in order to work.

    I don’t wish to sound patronising, or rude – but that was the whole point of the guide you have just read through to get to these comments.

    They are exactly the same interface. You just unplug the microdrive, and plug in the CF card (simples mm! :o)

  325. Pedja @ 28 April 2009, 13:11 :

    hello guys
    my 1st gen 4GB mini fell out of my pocket and it’s hard disk was ruined.so one of my friends told me about this method.I tried a Transcend 2GB,and it worked.After that i decided to go for a bigger cf card,and i got hold of a takeMS HyperSpeed 120× 8GB.I put it in,went through the restore process,and voila,i have a capacity of 7.5GBs. I have to take note that i tried an old SanDisk 128MB could not make it work.Hope that my experience will be useful to some of you.By the way thanks to everybody for your posts.

  326. jimlat @ 12 May 2009, 00:26 :

    Just upgraded my wife’s 6gb blue mini to a 32gb with a Transcend CF card…available at Amazon for $90 or so…..awesome!!!!

  327. PrabCruz @ 14 May 2009, 00:51 :

    Im trying to do this mod on a 3rd generation ipod so i got a Kingston 32GB elite pro 133x card from buy.com and a CF adapter from dealextreme.com. Now I’m having this problem, When the ipod is put into disk mode and plugged into either OSX or Windows it is not recognized as an ipod and cannot execute the restore function.
    When i plug it in on my Hackintosh it shows up just fine but it says that i need to restore it via firewire which the laptop doesnt have. The card is formatted fat32 in windows and i dont know what to try next, anyone with any tips or advise i would be greatly appreciated.

  328. wet_pod @ 29 May 2009, 06:17 :

    @ PrabCruz:

    Put back together first, (or at least take off HOLD!) plug into usb if bat was dead,
    Turn on w/ click wheel…see Apple restore BS,

    should be seen by now, or unlupg/plug usb into different USB (not usb as SCSI on front) port.

    disconnect any network drives…winxp home has 3 max…

  329. Trash Can @ 4 June 2009, 23:43 :

    FYI: The Kingston 16 GB Elite Pro 133x card works fine and can be found in the states for $39.00

    Also, a few quick thumps (as you would thumps someone’s head) brought my 4GB Seagate HD to life. This I only found out 10 minutes after I had placed my order for the Kingston CF card. :~p

  330. Dennis @ 5 June 2009, 21:13 :

    Works “out of the box” with a Sandisk Ultra II 8GB card. Thanks alot for this how-to! :)

  331. sam @ 30 June 2009, 16:18 :

    hey guys,
    got it to work with a Kingston 16GB 133X drive.

    Im on a Mac, using a 2G iPod Mini.

    I couldnt get iTunes to reformat it (kept getting error messages). I read somewhere to try Apple’s Disk Utility (built-in to OSX) instead. Then the trick is to unmount the iPod drive (make sure iTunes is closed)- should be called the name of your iPod (in my case KINGSTON, after the CF manufacturer) ‘.... then you erase the drive and select to reformat it as Mac OS Journaled. Now when you try and reformat in iTunes, it should work.

    this best explains the Disk Utility process:

    “Try selecting the iPod’s drive volume (not the drive) in the Disk Utility sidebar. Then click the Unmount button. With that volume NOT mounted, select the iPod’s drive in the sidebar and try to erase it.

    If the above does not work, you can also try restarting the Mac with the iPod NOT connected. Run Disk Utility. Connect the iPod; hopefully it is not set to launch iTunes automatically. Immediately, try to do an erase on the iPod’s drive”

    see this site for more info: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1973561&tstart=0

    i can confirm Kingston 16GB x133 works in a 4GB 2G iPod Mini on Mac (OS 10.5.6)

    cheers : )

  332. kris @ 27 July 2009, 07:46 :

    Thanks Sam,

    I installed a Kingston 16GB Elite Pro 133X CF Memory Card in my 2G mini. It didn’t work, so followed your instructions and used disk utility. Worked great after an unmount and erase.

    The only thing I’ll add, is that I got an error from disk utility when I erased. I was worried about that, but it restored great afterwards, and has been perfect for a couple of weeks.


  333. Randee @ 27 July 2009, 10:30 :

    My 4gb mini 2g finally gave up the ghost.
    Instead of poking around for a new $300 ipod, (the nanos are too whimpy looking) I stuck an AData 32gb CF card I got off newegg.com for $60 during a special and the damn thing works great with 8 times the memory it had.

    When the budget improves, I may try a 64gb card.
    This is brilliant. Thanks!

  334. mr.hermen @ 15 August 2009, 16:33 :

    098 laocai phomoi nguyenhue

  335. Ku @ 20 August 2009, 07:02 :

    Had a iPod mini 2G hard-drive failure. Ran self diagnostic on HD which resulted in “Fail”. Purchased SanDisk Ultra II 4GB. Followed instructions in replacing microdrive with CF card. Works great now. Hope this will last. I hear CF cards also have a limited life depending on how well files are written onto the card.

  336. Jim @ 22 August 2009, 15:44 :

    Can anyone help?
    I replaced the battery and 1st gen 6g iPod mini microdrive for a Kingston 16GB Elite Pro 133X CF Memory Card. itunes won’t recognise my ipod now. I’ve tried re-nistalling itunes but it doesn’t work. Am getting a folder with ! error.

    Am running Windows XP. iTunes iPod mini running firmware version 1.4.1 **** iPhone/iPod Touch Sync Tests ****

    No iPhone or iPod found.

    Any ideas?

  337. Arvind @ 1 September 2009, 03:48 :

    Thanks for the info – I now have an 8GB ipod mini that works more than perfectly, bought the CF for NZ$35 (US$20) and it took me 20 mins to do the job.

  338. osecours @ 9 September 2009, 01:47 :

    for Jim,
    I read something here : http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f15/my-32gb-flash-ipod-mini-290743/

    Try to update the firmware with the old microdrive then install the CF card and try to restore.

  339. mike @ 21 September 2009, 03:53 :

    I just upgraded my first generation Ipod Mini to 16gb flash using a Transcend CF card (TS16GCF133) bought for less than $40 on Amazon. I replaced the battery at the same time and now the player is flawless.
    Thanks so much to the original author for publishing these instructions, and to everyone else for compiling compatibility information about the different brands of cards. Very helpful.

  340. Jared @ 5 October 2009, 22:32 :

    I’m trying to do the mod on a 2nd Gen ipod mini and just installed the 4GB Transcend Industrial CF card but itunes won’t recognize it so I can restore. Does anyone have a copy of the itunes firmware (ipod_control folder) I can just try dropping onto the CF card?


  341. Chuck @ 25 October 2009, 03:32 :

    Many thanks to all providing input. After much time and effort, I have succeeded in transforming my 1st Generation Mini (4 GB) to 16 GB, along with a new battery. Here are my facts:

    I have a PC with Windows XP. After following Michael’s tutorial, my PC recognized my mini with the new Kingston 16 GB elite pro 133x Compact Flash, but iTunes did not recognize it. I was in the same loop trying to restore as mentioned by many others.

    The key for me was to upgrade to iPod firmware 1.4.1. reinserting the original 4 GB iPod drive. This option to install the updated firmware only arose after I reinstalled the Mini’s original 4 GB drive. I then replaced the original 4 GB drive with the 16 GB Kingston. I then did the restore on iTunes, and it worked….well, sort of. iTunes recognized my iPod, but decided it only had 4 GB of memory and my PC would not recognize the iPod at all.

    After a reboot of my PC, I decided to try the iTunes restore function again. This time it fully worked, with both iTunes and the PC recognizing the 16 GB of memory.

    A couple of comments. I actually have slightly under 15 GB of usable space for music. Still, it is 4X what was originally there. I did not need to format the Kingston CF as others have mentioned. I did not require external power at any time. And I did not have to use a separate stand-alone software updater for Windows.

    Hope this is a helpful summary to others with similar facts. Again, I could not have done it without the help of Michael and this communitiy. Thanks!

  342. Avi @ 29 October 2009, 17:09 :

    I was able to complete the hack but it was a bit difficult. I was able to add the card and but it wouldn’t leave the support screen.

    I then hooked it up to itunes and the restore wouldn’t work at first. I had to restart the PC and do some other jerry rigging and itunes finally recognized the ipod mini and followed through on the restore. It finally displayed the card and sizes correctly but then the next problem I had was the media player said it was syncing my music and it wasn’t. Lastly I had to delete my itunes library file and let itunes recreate it.

    some other things I tried were formatting the card in windows, renaming my iPod to a new name, telling itunes to forget my sync history, resetting the iPod, and a few other things. I think a big part of the porblem was that my music library was corrupted.

    Will try it again with a 16 or 32GB card when I can afford it.

  343. Kenaroo @ 31 October 2009, 02:13 :

    Well after several trials & errors I managed to get a brand new battery and 8GB Kingston CF card working in my iPod Mini 2G. The first one or two times running the software restore in iTunes, it wouldn’t complete and failed. Finally it installed and all seems ok. However, one odd thing – If I need to reboot the iPod without the computer (by holding down center button and “menu” button”, it starts to reboot, then gives me the Apple folder warning icon for a second, then shuts off. If I connect it to the Mac, it successfully reboots, then I can remove it.

  344. Jay Dubster @ 6 November 2009, 14:10 :

    Thanks for this walk thru; I got an 8Gb Peak CF card (£25 del. from ebay uk), fitted easily & now my 1st gen ipod mini works perfectly again! woohoo
    Kinda wish I’d bought a bigger card now though :D

  345. Ken @ 16 November 2009, 20:00 :

    I have a new 8GB SanDisk Ultra II (The packaging says “Ultra II” but the drive says only “Ultra”). I’m ready to roll, but one post said that you need to format this as fat32 first. My mini is a Windoz mini. Is this really necessary?

  346. Ken @ 16 November 2009, 22:15 :

    I just installed the GB SanDisk Ultra II noted above, which I picked up at Costco for $34.99. I did not format the card. It just worked after I restored the iPod. I also didn’t need to connect it to another power supply. I now have a “new and improved” iPod with a new 550mAh battery (about 16 hours — see http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-11293_7-6378822-1.html?tag=rb_mtx;wp_body) and 8GB of storage! Sweet! Thanks for this project post!

    If you decide to upgrade the battery too, you can find one here (http://store.l-f-l.com/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?pg=prod&ref=EC003-B) for cheap. Beware! They make their money on shipping and consumers who don’t read the fine print. The page states “Limit one battery per order.” If you don’t see this, and select multiple units in the quantity field, they will send you only one but charge you for all you requested. It’s not a big deal for this battery only deal for .01, but it could add up if you buy the kit for .99 (http://store.l-f-l.com/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?pg=prod&ref=EC003). I originally bought 2 kits then ordered a single battery after they cheated me for .99. I got it back by complaining through the bbb (more principle and helping prevent others from getting ripped off than for the money). I don’t recommend the kit, because when I bought the battery only, it came with the same tool pictured in the kit. Also, the battery in the kit was 400mAh as advertised, but when I ordered battery only I got one that was 550mAh, which is significantly more juice.

  347. G @ 5 December 2009, 06:07 :

    i just bought a San Disk Ultra 4gb flash card (not ultra II) will that be compatible with the minis? or is it just the Ultra II’s that are compatible?

  348. Felipe @ 10 December 2009, 16:48 :

    Hello, i´m trying to put a compact flash card 8GB on in my ipod mini, but not work yet, like, sometime appears on my computer that is connected, but my computer get slow, and sometimes stop work, because this I can´t format my compact flash card. Can I use windows to do this, or only work with linux? Please, someone help me.

  349. videoflyer @ 23 December 2009, 23:15 :

    I finally screwed my courage up to the point of cracking open my second gen 4GB iPod mini and installing an Adata 16GB “Speedy” series CF card that I’d picked up ages ago from Newegg (~$30) for exactly this purpose before I lost my nerve. Well, I can now report that I have what appears to be a fully functional 16GB second generation green mini. This is awesome.

    One peculiarity is that everytime my Mac goes to sleep, the mini disappears from itunes. If I quit and restart iTunes it comes right back and I can use it as I always have.

    Overall, I’d have to say this officially rocks! Can you believe this damn thread is more than two years old now?? :-)

  350. LLee @ 24 December 2009, 11:14 :

    Installed an 8GB Peak CF Card and a 16GB Topram CF Card with no problems. The Peak CF Card even solved a “sad face” problem on my 2nd gen Mini that a new battery did not solve.

    For removing the plastic caps, I used a hair dryer to soften the contact glue, and then carefully pried out the caps with a guitar pick – the pick works great!

    Thanks for this thread!!

  351. Cam @ 3 January 2010, 20:01 :

    Windows iPods are formatted in fat32. It should be fine, though, if you take a fresh card, not formatted, pop it in, and restore it through iTunes.

  352. Mike Duralia @ 21 January 2010, 03:38 :

    THANK YOU! My iPod crashed about 2 weeks ago and I felt for sure I had lost the hard drive. I found this site and ordered a new battery and 8GB flash for it. They arrived in the mail and I put it together and still NOTHING! My ipod would not connect to the computer!!!!!

    I spent a few hours taking apart…flipping the new flash card…trying different combinations. I finally saw that one of the SMT inductors had fallen off the board?!?!? Not knowing what size it was, I had nothing to lose so I made a jumper and soldered it in place. BAM! It started working.

    My Details:
    iPod Mini Model M9801LL
    Version 1.4.1
    8GB Sandisk Ultra p/n SDCFH-008G-P36

    Words of Caution:
    1. Be VERY careful with the scroll wheel connector at the bottom of the ipod board. I had to re-solder a few of the pins and it was a pain!!!! GO SLOW when removing

    2. To determine “right side up” on the flash card look at the two slots on the hard drive BEFORE you remove the 50 pin connector. The slots on each side of the original hard drive are different sizes and SO ARE THE SLOTS on the new flash card. Match the slots to get the proper orientation for reinstalling the 50 pin connector.

    3. When reassembling the ipod, watch the board from the bottom “sync cable” side as it slides back into the case. The SMT components will touch the back of the scroll wheel so CAREFULLY flex the board so it will move past the the scroll wheel. Do all this with the screen facing “UP”.

    THANK YOU AGAIN! I am so glad I do not have to have a funeral for my iPod!

  353. Maximus @ 1 February 2010, 23:18 :

    iPod mini 2nd Gen (originally 6GB)
    Version 1.4.1
    CF card: SanDisk Ultra II 8GB

    I had no trouble. Just had to restore iPod and let iTunes do the work. I was so glad to see another option for the Mini because I didn’t want a new one. I just want a reliable MP3 player and that was what the mini was for me. Now I have more capacity, faster playback, and better battery life. Also, I had 800+ tracks and the sync didn’t take very long.

    Great mod, I recommend it for anyone!

  354. james braselton @ 6 February 2010, 17:30 :

    hi there why did you do this becuase the ipo nano already comes with 8 or 16 gb flash memory built in did you read the specs on apple web site or was this a realy old version before ipod nanos used flash memory but i never hard a hard drive ipod nano

  355. satpalram @ 7 February 2010, 00:07 :

    32GB – Done!

    Followed the above; unwrapping the hard-drive rather than unplugging from the board. I stuck a ‘type one’ (not ultra or anything) 32 GB Peak CF in its place, fresh out the box – no formatting beforehand.

    First connection: nothing – ‘do not disconnect’ only. No disk mode, no icon in iTunes. So I disconnected :/ and reconnected straight away…

    Second connection: Bingo! ‘Your iPod’s corrupted, restore?’ Did so…

    Now I have 30.5GB of space, and my whole music collection on my old blue beauty.

    Thank-you so much for the idea, and the help in the comments below :)

  356. Javi @ 17 February 2010, 16:20 :

    Hi. I managed to install a Kingston 16GB Elite Pro Compact Flash. And by the way, it seems that it also works with other players. In particular, I checked a Samsung YH820MC. I say this because there is very few information about replacing the hard drive for this model and tons for the ipod.

    Now the ipod mini works perfectly and I’ve installed Rockbox too which I think is a good option. I’ve got one question. Maybe someone knows.

    How can you put the metalic piece which is at the bottom of the ipod mini again in its proper place withoud breaking anything?

    I had to use an screwdriver applying force to take it out and I was about to break the connector of the wheel button trying to put it back.

    Maybe I glue the plastic cap not using the metalic piece any longer even if it is weaker.

  357. Jeffrey @ 27 February 2010, 15:28 :

    I can confirm that a Kingston Elite Pro 32 GB 133x CF works.


  358. rico @ 27 February 2010, 17:18 :

    @356 i found it placing the metal clamb back easier than removing it, just do it gently with help of the small screwdriver . I would not use glue, that would make later tweaks , like new battery or going to 32gB more difficult

  359. Ken @ 4 March 2010, 22:56 :

    Thank you so much for this guide and for all those who replied. I got this working on a Kingston Elite Pro 32 GB 133x Although I ran into the restore loop and wasn’t able to get around it for awhile. I ended up trying the standalone iPod updater, having that fail, and reinstalling iTunes. I’m not sure why it worked flawlessly once I reinstalled iTunes, but I’m not complaining!

  360. WeiWei @ 10 March 2010, 17:10 :

    Great resouce & tips on upgrading ipod mini…
    Now I have a Kingston 16GB installed in my ipod mini G1 and its running happily.

    Its just great.. thanks again

  361. Darius @ 13 March 2010, 07:33 :

    Worked like a champ! I used the Kingston 16GB Elite Pro 133x CF card. Got it for $39.
    Removing the Molex orange ribbon is easy. No worries there. I had a little work getting the tape with the rubber edging back on.
    1st sync is fine and it automatically starts transferring music. If I try to Restore it does not seem to work. At any rate, I’ll let it finish adding music and use it for a while.
    I’m just stoked that it works and was pretty easy. All of maybe 30-40 mins.
    I’m still working to figure out how to affix the end pieces, but again, not a big issue since the big stuff is out of the way.
    Thanks for all the input, tips and feedback. You guys rock!

  362. Adam Schabtach @ 23 March 2010, 16:48 :

    Another success story. I replaced the 4GB HD in my 2nd-generation Mini with a 16GB Kingston Elite Pro 133x CF. The iPod had firmware version 1.4.1 before I did the swap. I run iTunes on Windows; it recognized the upgraded iPod and initialized the CF card without a problem.
    Many thanks to the owner of this site for your experimentation and sharing of your knowledge, and thanks also to everyone who posted reports of their experiences. I’m very pleased with my expanded iPod!

  363. rene @ 24 March 2010, 11:18 :

    The Transcend TS8GB133X worked very well yesterday. Thanks tousend times for this Blog.

  364. Cubask8 @ 27 March 2010, 07:46 :

    Man i just installed 8gb cf card to my mini and is just shagadelic man.. thnaks.. the only weird part is the charging stuff.. but that’s ok .. i love sk8ing with my Ipod, and as long as it doesn’t have moving parts in it i can slam my carcass as long as i want and my ipod will be “fine” (as long as i don’t land ON it jejeje) great and thanks again!!!

  365. Fettpride @ 28 March 2010, 12:28 :

    Just finished an 8GB flash card upgrade on a 4GB Mini. This works VERY well. The only thing I can add is that the restore would not complete until I used Disk Util to wipe the factory Windoz format from the card. After, it restored just fine. The card was a SanDisk Ultra II.

  366. tom1992 @ 31 March 2010, 23:21 :

    Don’t know if this will help but here’s a link to more images of disassembly


    i would also recommend the ifixit guide

  367. tom1992 @ 6 April 2010, 23:56 :

    ifixit guide


  368. Diy home solar panels @ 8 April 2010, 16:52 :

    Thanks, really useful information.

  369. Tim @ 10 April 2010, 00:20 :

    Thanks for the info. Now my ipod mini has new life! I got the above instructions to work with a:

    32GB RiDATA Lightning Series 233X (read 35MB/s, write 15MB/s) Flash Card that cost me around $80.

    I’ve had no problems with it after a week and I think the ipod is faster than before!

  370. Brett @ 19 May 2010, 21:32 :

    Anyone tried a SD-to-CF adapter yet?

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  372. Conrad @ 24 June 2010, 13:07 :

    My old iPod has been faulty for a while now, The microdrive was showing signs of internal damage and it had gotten so bad that I often had to give it a good smack against a hard surface to get it spinning again. I bought it in July 2005, It´s very old. The battery life became so bad that it had to permanently be on the usb chord, attached to a PC, or else the battery would die after 5 or 10 mins. It would not communicate with iTunes at all, I had the same music stuck on the iPod for over 1 year. Worse yet, it started corrupting the music on my PC one song at a time! I have had to replace quite a bit of music due to this.
    I tried absolutely everything to try and fix my iPod untill I found this article here, which turned out to be my iPod´s saving grace!

    After reading these articles & reading every single post intensively, I have EASILY managed to successfully upgrade my Green 4Gb iPod Mini (2nd Generation) with a SanDisk Ultra 8Gb 30MB/s 200x compact flash card (SDCFH-008G-E11). This is not an Ultra II card, its just plain SanDisk Ultra 8GB. After installing the new card, I switched the iPod on, connected to my pc / iTunes, hit restore, and boom! It worked! I did not require to plug into an AC power source to complete the upgrade. I should also mention that I did check that I had version 1.4.1 firmware on the iPod before starting the brain transplant surgery.

    When putting your iPod´s insides back into the metal casing, cut a long strip of paper just-just narrow enough to fit right through the metal encasing. Lie it inside the metal casing (most of the length sticking out the top end), with the clickwheel & screen down, and then insert the iPod insides from the top, battery side UP. Now combine gentle pushing from the top with gently pulling the piece of paper from the bottom, with lots of gentle wiggling, and it should go in nicely without breaking off any of the small parts on the motherboard or any snagging anywhere else. The piece of paper should then slide right out once your iPod insides are neatly in place inside the shell.

    Note that the standard Hitachi Microdrive is 5mm thick (CF Type II dimensions) and the CF card I replaced it with was 3.3mm thick (CF Type I dimensions). I used a folded piece of cardboard and some standard stickytape, along with the blue rubber/foam little corner padding things to safely and snugly secure my SanDisk Ultra 8Gb CF Card in my iPod.

    I have no rattling of the iPod´s insides. My iPod is now much lighter and it seems way more responsive, and the original battery which used to only last 10 or 15 mins will now last over 2 hours and still going strong. I will probably soon replace the battery as well (once I find a good one)

    I am VERY impressed and VERY happy with my new twice-the-amount-of-music iPod which was on the brink of being thrown away!!!

    This has been a HUGE success for me, and a great relief as well!
    I encourage EVERYBODY to post their successes and failures on here for ALL to learn from!
    NB! please state what kind of iPod you have and BE SPECIFIC what kind of compact flash card you have used!!!

    R.I.P Mark Hoekstra, Thank you for doing this for iPod users world-wide.

    Thank you and Greetings from Durban, South Africa!!!

  373. Jules @ 10 August 2010, 13:03 :

    geweldige mod, ik heb het zelf al heel lang geleden gedaan met een highspeed sandisk 16 gig kaart maar nu ook voor mijn vriendin, dit werkt ook proma met hema huismerk compact flash!:P

  374. flovo @ 13 August 2010, 15:03 :

    Hi, i did the hack today on my 2nd gen. Ipod mini with a Kingston 16GB elite pro 133X Card. Worked like a charm.

  375. podman @ 31 August 2010, 20:41 :

    you don’t have to plug it into the wall to complete. use a usb and just plug it in really slow, just until the power prongs meet power. they are usually longer than the data ones. barely plugging it in has always saved me from having to go to the wall outlet.

  376. Silke @ 1 September 2010, 13:08 :

    I tried it with the 16GB Kingston Elite Pro 133x CF on my 2nd Gen iPod mini on my Mac
    I was in that loop many of you described.
    Then I replaced it again with the old 4gb Hard Drive.
    Now, the iPod doesn’t connect to my mac. Just seeing that “sad face” and the apple icon.

    Any suggestions what I can do now?
    Resetting it doesn’t work.. the “sad face” appears when I do it
    Have I damaged something?

  377. battery @ 4 September 2010, 09:29 :

    It worked! I did not require to plug into an AC power source to complete the upgrade. I should also mention that I did check that I had version 1.4.1 firmware on the iPod before starting the brain transplant surgery.

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  380. Ryan @ 3 October 2010, 06:25 :

    Just did it with the 16GB Kingston Elite Pro 133x CF card I got off ebay for $50, and it works great. I also replaced the click wheel, since the connector broke the first time I tried to take the mini apart.

    I get a weird problem though, sometimes when I play a song, the entire interface will freeze up for 5 or so seconds. This didn’t happen with the other hdd.

    My battery life is still really bad though.

  381. Imtiaaz @ 12 October 2010, 21:50 :


    My connector also broke, what do you mean with “replaced the click wheel”? I think that re-soldering is the only solution?

  382. AJB @ 13 October 2010, 11:41 :

    Hello, just fitted my blue iPod mini 6GB second generation with a 16GB 133x Transcend CF card from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transcend-16Gb-133x-Compact-Flash/dp/B000W0BC7I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1286959676&sr=8-2 and it works great – exactly as described. Loving my new solid-state high capacity iPod! Cheers.

  383. cheap replica watch @ 27 October 2010, 19:18 :

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  384. Collin @ 22 November 2010, 18:45 :

    hello, i just replaced the old microdrive with a 4GB CF, somehow it can be read, but fail to restore, it did the process but nothing’s done. also the screen light doesn’t work anymore.. did i accidently broke some parts ? please give me some advice~ thank you~

  385. Mark @ 30 November 2010, 06:46 :

    Wow!!! This actually works, thanks for the write up! It is greatly appreciated!!

  386. Jason @ 4 December 2010, 23:29 :

    Worked for me! awesome and thanks!

  387. Christopher @ 21 December 2010, 12:02 :

    My old mini was purchased at Costco back in the day, was a 4 gb and had the HP logo on the back – Model MP5001 – not sure if this makes it first or second gen. Anyway, I replaced the drive with a Kingston 32gb elite pro 133x cf card I found online for about $75. Wow! I made sure to check for updates before installing the card, so I had vs. 1.4.1 on and had NO problems whatsoever with the restore. I didn’t even need to swap power sources – the apple cable worked fine! It shows a 28.39 gb capacity now and my entire computer music library only takes up a third of the space! Thanks for your site and good advice!

  388. Adam @ 8 January 2011, 09:07 :

    Okay… Great job. I have one problem though. On restoring and synching all is fine with the hold switch in “hold” (orange showing). This is also with the cable connected. I think it’s the battery and have ordered a new one. BTW, I’m using a Patriot 16GB, 266x drive. booted fine, none of the same error messages and has firmware 1.4.1. Perfect except for the hold switch. Any help?

  389. Adam @ 8 January 2011, 09:10 :

    Forgot something… Looks like battery is dead now and when I hook the cable up with the switch in “on” nothing happens…No loading of itunes, no charging, nada. switch over to “hold” and the apple come on, and it connect to my comuputer.
    Could this be a bad drive??

  390. John Luke Spade @ 11 January 2011, 01:56 :

    I tried the upgrade with a Transcend 8GB card (http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11298), and it worked, in the end. The microdrive had long been broken, and the iPod lying dormant in a box, waiting for big CF cards to become affordable.
    I got stuck in the «corrupted iPod found, do you want to restore?» loop, though. Then when I was about to bang my head on a wall, I read the precious hint of someone above, to send iTunes to the hell and use the good old stand-alone updater instead (on another pc, since recent iTunes won’t let you), and that solved the problem!
    I had previously formatted the card by means of a reader, in windows, but it was pointless, I guess.

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