So, you say you can’t update your iPod?

Looks like I’m not alone in not being able to update my iPod.

I downloaded iTunes 4.5 – great. I downloaded the iPod updater – great. Then I plugged in my iPod, all wiggly with excitement and looking forward to the goodness that is Apple’s new lossless compression format. iTunes wakes up and says, “would you like to update your iPod?” Darn tootin’ I would!

Then, a femtosecond later, the updater says that my iPod is not attached. iTunes doesn’t show it. But it’s there on my desktop.

So, after much hacking (both in the poking at computers sense, and in the allergy sense) I managed to wedge the update into my iPod. Here are the comments that I posted on Chris Hiller’s blog this morning explaining what I did.

Given the state of code licensing these days, following these instructions might void your warranty. I don’t know; I understand knitting instructions and code, but not legalese. Use at your own risk.

I think I fixed the problem; however, I can’t guarantee that this works for everyone, and it’ll probably void your warranty, etc.

Okay, here’s what I did.

In /Applications/Utilities, you’ll find all of your iPod update packages. I’ve had my Mac for a while, so I’ve got six different updaters there.

The two most recent ones are the ‘iPod Software Update’, which contains the update labeled “iPod Updater 2004-04-28”, and ‘iPod Software 2.1 Updater’.

Open up Terminal and cd into /Applications/Utilities/iPod\ Software\ Update/iPod\ Updater\ This directory contains all the resources for the updater.

If you look in a previous updater application (like the 2.1), you’ll notice that most of the files are the same. The 2004-04-28 one is a little more complex because it looks like it is intended to work on three different models of iPod, whereas the previous updaters seem to only work on one each.

In the 2004-04-28 updater, there is a subdirectory called ‘Upates’ which contains a bunch of icons and three different Firmware files:

I’m assuming the first one is for scroll-wheel/1st gen iPods, the second for dock-connector iPods, and the third for Minis. I’ve got a dock-connector, so I grabbed the 2.2.2 version.

Copy the Volume and Firmware files over to the older iPod updater application, then run that updater. It will tell you that you’ve already updated; ignore it and select ‘Reset’ anyway. It will then update the software on your iPod.

At least, I think it does. :-) I’m not an Apple hacker, so I don’t know if I really managed to perform the update as intended, but when I look at the About screen on my iPod, it does say that I’m running v 2.2 now. And it plays, and it syncs with iTunes, so I’m happy.

Here are the commands that I issued in Terminal to make this change. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.

/Applications/Utilities/iPod Software 2.1 Updater/iPod Software 2.1

/Applications/Utilities/iPod Software Updater/iPod Updater


cp Volume /Applications/Utilities/iPod\ Software\ 2.1\ Updater/iPod\ Software\ 2.1\
cp Updates/Firmware-2.2.2 /Applications/Utilities/iPod\ Software\ 2.1\ Updater/iPod\ Software\ 2.1\
open /Applications/Utilities/iPod\ Software\ 2.1\ Updater/iPod\ Software\ 2.1\

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