5.x > 6.0 iPod Firmware Update

Some enterprising young hackers have managed to modify the 5.x iPod firmware to replicate the split screen GUI of the new iPod Classic. While the firmware update doesn’t add any extra functionality [ ie. Coverflow, new search, etc ], this was of particular interest to me as I had only just purchased a 80GB 5.5 gen a few weeks prior to Apple releasing the new version1 and I wanted to know if the new interface would help improve an already stellar product.Unfortunately, all the installation guides I came across used the Windows only utility ‘iPodWizard‘ to write the firmware to the iPod—not much help to a Mac user. However, I had used the command line tool iPodPatcher to modify my iPod’s firmware in the past with great success and decided to give it a try.What follows is a step by step guide for installing the latest version of the modified firmware onto a 5.5 generation iPod with Mac OS X 10.4

  1. Download and install the latest version of iPodPatcher
  2. Download the latest version of the modified firmware [ 5th gen / 5.5 gen ]
  3. Connect your iPod to your Mac
  4. Create a backup of your iPod
  5. Open a new Terminal session and launch iPodPatcher [ or drag and drop the file into an active window and hit ‘return’ ]. This will present you with some output which will contain the device address for your iPod [ ie. /dev/disk4 ]
  6. Type ‘c’ to cancel and exit the installer
  7. Write the modified firmware to your iPod with the following command;iPodPatcher "device address" -w "path/to/modified/firmware" 2
  8. Wait until the firmware is written you are presented with a prompt before disconnecting your iPod
  9. Disconnecting should reboot your iPod with the new GUI. Should your iPod become stuck in a boot loop [ ie. the iPod stays on the screen with the Apple logo for considerably longer than normal ], reconnect the iPod to your Mac and hold down the centre select button and the Menu button simultaneously to force a reboot

While this process doesn’t require you to reformat your ipod, void any warranties or render your iPod inoperable, you should exercise a degree of caution when performing this procedure, this is not supported or sanctioned by Apple in anyway. I will not except any responsibility should something go wrong.

  1. I was aware a new revision was due fairly shortly, but the opportunity presented itself and my original 5Gb iPod finally gave up the ghost.

  2. Obviously substituting “device address” for the correct address gathered in step 4 and “path/to/modified/firmware” with the location of the modified firmware—you can drag and drop the iPodPatcher/modified firmware files to auto complete their paths.

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