Rockbox for the iPod Classic
iPod 6G/6.5G/7G (Classic 1G/2G/3G) (2007-2011, 80/120/160GB)
‘I love Rockbox’ [cooperpwc]
‘My Classic runs beautifully on Rockbox firmware’ [WildmaN86]
‘I feel that the sound quality is amazing on Rockbox’ [yosh]
‘Just opened the iPod's box, and I didn't even turn it on! It's straight to Rockbox!’ [putente]
- Uninstallation - back to Apple's original firmware
- Useful links
Installing alternative software/firmware on your iPod Classic is not supported by Apple. We are not responsible in any way for any damage you might do to your iPod. If you would like to use EmCORE/Rockbox on your iPod Classic we strongly advise you to carefully read the manuals both here and on freemyipod.org. The information on installing and managing Rockbox on the iPod Classic is written for users with a Windows-based pc.
What is Rockbox? Why should I use it?
Rockbox is an open source firmware replacement for a growing number of digital audio players. It has been in development since 2001 and receives new features, tweaks and fixes every day to provide you with the best possible music listening experience. Rockbox aims to be considerably more functional and efficient than your device's stock firmware while remaining easy to use and customizable. It is a goal to not only offer a wide range of functionality, but where possible make sure that this functionality is presented in a consistent manner that is easy to learn and use. It is written by users, for users.
Another top priority of Rockbox is audio playback quality. Rockbox, for most models, includes a wider range of sound settings than that device's original firmware. A lot of work has been put into making Rockbox sound the best it can, and improvements are constantly being made. All models have access to a large number of plugins, including many games, applications, and graphical demos.
You can load different configurations quickly for different purposes (e.g. a large font for in your car, different sound settings for at home). You can even customize your While Playing Screen to display only and exactly what you want to see when your music is playing. In addition, Rockbox features a wide range of languages, and all supported models also have the ability to talk to you - menus can be voiced and filenames spelled out or spoken.
Key features of Rockbox for the Classic
- Support for over 30 sound codecs
- Advanced On-The-Go playlist creation
- Gapless playback
- 10-band fully-parametric equalizer and crossfeed
- Standard USB file transfer, no iTunes or other software needed
- Navigate through music using both folder structure and database from meta info
- High resolution volume control
- Ability to create own themes or use user-uploaded ones
- Advanced crossfading
- ReplayGain support
- Cuesheet support
- Album Art support
- JPEG image and text-file viewing
- Multilingual interface
Why this topic? Isn't all the info I need on their official website www.rockbox.org?
Well, that's true for all the models supported by the Rockbox Utility and meeting certain criteria. This isn't the case for the iPod Classic, this installation involves a little more attention.
All the information and software mentioned in this topic is NOT (fully) supported by Rockbox, but they also link to freemyipod’s emCORE.
Please follow the instructions closely, step by step. If any doubts arise, please ask for support before playing around. You could permanently damage your device!
To use Rockbox on your iPod Classic you first need to install emCORE. This tiny operating system ables you to boot Rockbox. This install method will completely replace the iPod Classic's original firmware, making dual boot impossible.
- Check if your iPod actually is the iPod Classic, check here and here. For installing Rockbox on other models, go to www.rockbox.org.
- Follow this manual to install EmCORE: http://freemyipod.org/wiki/EmCORE_Installation/iPodClassic
- At the second step, choose the most recent emCORE version (r859) from the Releases page
- When you get to the bullet point saying Download the "rockbox-ipodclassic.zip" file, we advise you to use a newer version from here: http://build.rockbox.org/data/rockbox-ipod6g.zip Alternatively, you could try one of the more experimental custom builds, listed here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b5xbw6cp4ikfxwn/MjELjmDNJ_
- Install the font pack for compatibility with new themes. Unpack the following file and drag the folder to the root of your freshly Rockboxed Classic. Click yes to combine folders. Font pack: http://download.rockbox.org/release/3.12/rockbox-fonts-3.12.zip
- [Optionally] You can now uninstall iTunes from your computer if you want to. First make a backup of your iTunes library in case you ever decide to go back to Apple's original firmware.
Updating emCORE is not recommended unless you really know what you're doing. You can install a different version of emCORE by booting into the emCORE menu. If you have the default boot option set to Rockbox you need to press any button while booting to get into the emCORE menu. Go to Tools -> “Run UMSBoot” and connect with your pc. You should now see a 64MB-sized volume called “UMSBoot”. On this drive you can place the desired version of emCORE, which is a .ubi file.
All emCORE builds can be found here: http://builds.freemyipod.org/ but keep in mind that the warning on that page is there for a reason. If you are not sure, ask in this topic what experience other users have with the version you’re planning to install.
Download the firmware you want to install and unpack it (you should now have a “.rockbox” folder). Plug your Rockboxed iPod Classic into your computer, wait for it to be recognized and open the drive unit. Copy the previously unpacked new “.rockbox” folder over the one currently on your iPod. When prompted to overwrite files and folders, just click “Yes” to all. When the copy is completed, safely unplug your iPod from the computer and it should display a message that the boot was changed. Choose “Yes” to reboot and you’ll have the version you copied running. This method can be used both to upgrade or downgrade your current Rockbox version.
Uninstallation - back to Apple's original firmware
WARNING: Be careful, as all data in your iPod’s drive will be erased in this process!
- Install and start iTunes (preferably version 9.2.1).
- Connect your iPod with the USB-cable to your computer.
- Make sure the holdswitch is off. Now press and hold both the menu button and select button at the same time for around 15 seconds until your iPod completely shuts down. First it will restart and show the Apple logo, keep pressing the buttons until it seems to be completely off.
- iTunes will tell you that the iPod needs to be recovered. Follow the procedure.
Do I have the right iPod for this specific Rockbox port?
There are three generations of the iPod Classic:
- 6th Generation iPod: the Classic 1G (2007) with 80GB (slim) or 160GB (fat)
- 6.5th Generation iPod: the Classic 2G (2008) with 120GB (slim)
- 7th Generation iPod: the Classic 3G (2009) with 160GB (slim)
All Classics have a aluminium front and that makes them easy to distinguish from the iPod 5(.5) Generation which has a plastic front, also known as the iPod Video.
The Rockbox builds for the Classic work for all generations of the Classic. Usually, the builds have ‘6G’ in their name, but they work for all Classics, so also the 6.5G and 7G.
Does it work with my iPod dock or car stereo?
It will work with your dock/car stereo if it is just a simple line out cable. If your dock/car stereo has any kind of external iPod control or USB DAC function, it almost certainly will not work.
Will I lose the data on my iPod when installing/updating emCORE/Rockbox?
No, versions since r836 won't erase anything that's on the filesystem on the iPod. The media that's already on the iPod will work after it is copied with a program that copies media then it can be put back on the iPod.
My computer is not recognizing my Rockboxed iPod Classic!
- Check your antivirus for automatic pre-scanning of portable drives, turn this stuff off.
- Check other (audio)software that might interact with drives with music files on them, turn them off. Use the standard Windows Autoplay or wait for the drive to show at (This) Computer. Remember that it's not a flash drive (instant mount), so it might take up to 30 seconds or so before being recognised.
- Use an original Apple cable, no aftermarket stuff.
- Plug the cable directly into a USB 2.0 port on the motherboard, do not use a USB hub or USB cable splitter.
- Boot your iPod before connecting. Wait for Rockbox to be fully loaded and wait for the harddisk to be idle again (put the iPod next to your ear so that you hear that the head is not seeking on the drive anymore) before connecting the cable.
- And again, wait a little bit to get it recognized. When you see the drive popping up at (This) Computer/Hard Drives, the logo will be in grey first, don't click yet but wait until it's normal and below it should then show the x GB free / x GB total with the blue bar.
- If your iPod is still not recognized after a minute or two, reboot it by holding Menu + Select for a few seconds. Windows will often recognize the iPod on the second attempt.
Bootstrap isn’t recognizing my Classic in DFU Mode!
Make sure that the processes belonging to iTunes are killed if you have that installed. And temporarily disable your antivirus as it may prevent the bootstrap from being fully executed. Make sure that you’re using a decent cable and that you’re connecting it to one of the USB 2.0 ports directly on the motherboard. Connecting it via USB hubs or splitters usually does not work. Also see the steps from the previous question/answer.
Can I listen to music while charging my Rockboxed iPod Classic?
Yes, press and hold “MENU” when connecting the cable. This is both possible with a charger and with charging from a USB port. When connected, press “Select” to exit the Quickscreen you just entered.
My Rockboxed iPod Classic just froze and won’t turn off by holding the play/pause button!
Press and hold both “MENU” and Select (center button on the wheel) at the same time for some seconds to reboot.
Which themes can I use for Rockbox on my iPod Classic?
Most of the themes made for the iPod Video work just fine. They can be found here: http://themes.rockbox.org/index.php?target=ipodvideo
Can I use the original Apple firmware at the same time (dual boot)?
No, it's either Rockbox or Apple's firmware. To restore back from Rockbox to the original firmware see instructions above.
After installing Windows 8, my Rockboxed iPod Classic isn’t recognized any more!
Only an empty generic removable drive will show up when you plug it in.
1. Right click the 'Removable Drive', Properties, then Hardware tab
2. (Hopefully) you'll see your ipod, something like Apple ipod classic usb device listed under All disk drives. doubleckick it.
3. At the bottom of the Properties popup, click Change settings. There will be a new Properties popup. Choose the Driver tab.
4. Click Update driver > Browse my computer... > Let me pick from a list... > Choose 'Disk drives' and click Next. Click Next again.
You'll get a message that Windows successfully updated the driver.
The root folder of the ipod should pop up in the file explorer in a few seconds.
http://www.rockbox.org/ (Rockbox homepage)
http://freemyipod.org/wiki/Main_Page (FreeMyiPod homepage)
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b5xbw6cp4ikfxwn/MjELjmDNJ_ (a list of great custom Rockbox builds, by aroldan)
http://www.rockbox.org/dl.cgi?bin=ipod6g (Rockbox Daily builds for the Classic)
http://builds.freemyipod.org/ (all emCORE builds - use with caution as some are still under development)
http://www.head-fi.org/t/604266/review-modded-ipod-classic-7g-with-240gb-hdd-from-ebay (A topic about Classics with a custom 240GB hard drive)
- The people from Rockbox
- The people from FreeMyiPod
- Cástor Muñoz who introduced great powersaving patches for the Classic port
- aroldan who has been implementing merged patches and customizing the Classic port to make it even better
- All those who give support in this topic
- r100, putente, jtaylor991 and captainwolf for writing and contributing to this manual
Edited by Br777 - 2/28/13 at 7:26pm