my iPod Nano cannot be unlocked

iPod Nano cannot be unlocked

My iPod Nano has gone into the equivalent of a coma. No matter what you do with the “HOLD” switch, it remains in a locked state. So while you can see when you connect it to a PC that the music is still there and the battery still works, you cannot use it, since the play-button (as well as all the others) does not respond.

Switching frantically between HOLD ON/HOLD OFF does not work, pushing excessively towards “HOLD OFF” (to the left) does not work. Is there a way to disable the HOLD button, or is that a mechanical connection that is not managed by the firmware? Can you open an iPod Nano and ‘clean the contact’?

The only other option I see is to buy a docking-station-with-speakers that includes a remote control. But why spend another 100€ on a 4GB iPod that doesn’t work properly …

Any ideas?

32 thoughts on “my iPod Nano cannot be unlocked”

  1. You can find some hints in the support section of Apple. I had to this once, after all my control buttons were locked.
    The trick is some combination of using the hold, menu and pause button.

  2. hold button is controlled by software, so indeed resetting to factory settings should do the trick. toggle hold button and hold select and play…

  3. The classic Reset (Hold/Menu/Play) doesn’t work because the buttons are locked. A ‘Restore to factory settings’ via iTunes doesn’t help either …

  4. i have the same problem but mine is worse
    i only have the bottom half of my screen and i just fixed it and then this happens
    has anyone got any solutions cheers

  5. Mine went the same way last week.
    It is a HARDWARE fault.

    I found a site that explains how they:
    A. pulled apart their nano
    B. broke the switch control off the internal circuit board
    C. Placed foil over the two points that set the Nano to un-Hold (of the three exposed under the switch)
    D. Glued the foil in place with clear nailpolish

    I decided to follow suit. But lost my nerve a the last hurdle and wasn’t confident enough (or have instructions how) to rip off the switch mechanism. The Nano still worked when connected to a PC when it was completely disassembled. Very hardy little buggers. Pity the switch isn’t.

    btw: I didn’t have a tool to get into the Nano. I used a blade to get in (to separate the join down the sides) then levered with many small screwdrivers to pry it open. Made a mess of the black plastic, but hard luck. Useless anyway if I did nothing, and out of warranty.

  6. Okay, so I got braver, and succeeded.

    1. I opened up my nano again, but DID NOT disconnect the LCD nor touch pad ribbon cables. You can do this fix without disconnecting them. (They are a pain to reconnect)

    2. You once the main board screws have been removed, the battery flipped out and the clips detached, you can twist the board away from the cover (LCD etc) enough with the ribbon calbes still attached, to access the faulty switch.

    3. There was only a couple of very flimsy solder point holding the swith to the back of the circuit board. the swtich bend off easily.
    It left three points, the two closest to the edge of the board being the ones that take it off hold. I checked this was true by holding a small piece of foil down on the points to bridge them, then watching the screen to see that hold went off.

    4. Using a soldering iron and a small screwdriver I was able to drop some solder onto the board to bridge these two point. Checking the screen to ensure I had succeeded.

    5. I then checked the scroll wheel etc to ensure everything worked and that neither of the ribbon cables had come loose. Made sure the metal case clips were bend the right way to ensure the case would go back together. Then put everything back together.

    6. I made a door for my Nano with a piece of chopped up credit card, some sticky tape, and some BluTack (to keep ther card clear of the scroll wheel. Works a treat.

  7. I fixed it!.after all options. ifixit will show you how to open(if everything else does not remedy). then found hold switch was poorly soldered so I had to detach and re attach which fortunately i could do with epoxy glue but really should solder it all back

  8. im soooo mad my ipod is being so dumb and all the buttons dont work, the menu button, select, play/pause or forward and backward. i got it like 2 years ago and OMG

  9. iHavee Thee Same Problem. :[ & iDont Want 2 Take It Apart.[Seems Like It Will Damage It More Than It Already Is,& Cause More Problems]..iNeed Help Seriously!

  10. Gosh i got the same problem, I already tried to disassemble my iPod but after that i got no idea what i had to do. . . By reading the comments above, i guess i’ll just buy some soldering iron to fix that hold button thing.

    It seems like it is the only solution. But i’m pretty sure some shops would repair it. Apple can repair it, but the price is so expensive you could buy a brand new nano.

  11. I’ve got the same issue. Very frustrating and I don’t want to open it myself. Am going to try going into the apple store and hoping they can fix this – it’s just too annoying

  12. it works, ı tried it on my ipod nano same thing hapend to me !!

    you have to restart it whit pressing menu and center buttons at the same time 😀

  13. I used the tin-foil method on mine!! I pulled the back off, then found that I didn’t need to take anything else off, so I poke a screwdriver in and ripped the hold mechanism out, then shoved the fattest bit of tin-foil I could fit into the gap, and voila, it now works fie, but without the hold function. No need to remove the battery or undo any screws.

    1. It REALLY surprised me, but the tin-foil method worded for me too! Taking the cover off was a very messy operation, I used my fingernails, push pins, and a screwdriver, starting from the bottom, and damaged the case somewhat in the process.

      With the case off, I then tried moving the internal slider switch back and forth with a pin, but that did not unlock the “hold” feature for me. So my next step was to remove the plastic switch. I could grab it with a pin, and it came out very simply. Then, following Bryn Jones’s suggestion, I stuffed a thrice-folded-over piece of tin foil into the gap. It’s really necessary that it be thick. When I pressed down on the circuit board, I could see the “lock” icon had disappeared.

      Putting it back together, the cover went on really easily just by pushing down on it. And, much to my surprise and delight, IT WORKS! (Obviously, I can’t lock it now, but that’s OK.) Also, the damaged case makes it harder to get the pc cable into its slot, but it still goes, with a slight bit of pushing.

  14. Mine is locked too. Will play hooked to a different player but I still can’t control which songs play. I would do the solder thing, but my Ipod reacts when I move the hold button so it does seem to be doing something.

  15. my ipod is broken the same way everyone says. at least ow i have a few ides on what to try. i know i can’t do the whole “take it apart” thing cuz my parents would KILL ME. 🙁

  16. i have the same freaking problem. do you think i should just send it back and get another one? i have looked at the suggestions above and i dont know what to do. i have tried a lot of them but none of them work.

  17. i thaught i was the only one with this problem……..
    Guys getting stuck by hold button is Frustrating… pls some solution… im scared to pop my ipod open..and where are the screws?

  18. Well, some updates:
    – the on/off switch was broken off and would have had to be soldered to work again. I never did that.
    – I gave the iPod to my daughter who has it attached to a Logitech Audiostation, so that it can be managed with the remote control of that device. Works like a charm.

  19. i swear to god even though i liked my ipod (now is dead cuz of the same problem) i WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER IPOD IN MY LIFE!! they are far to difficult!! i will buy other music device am done with the apple!!

  20. my nano has the same problem as everybodyelse’s and its annoying plus my parents wont let me take my ipod apart to fix it any other solutions?

  21. this is stupid i hate this;
    ive tried pressing the menu button
    &&the center button at the same time… doesnt work.
    this is dumb i just got this thing.

    screw ipods their stupid.

  22. omg i had the same problem my ipod nano’s lock botton malfactioned 10 mins ago but fortunately, HOLDING MENU BOTTON and SELECT BOTTON AT THE SAME TIME fixed my frozen ipod, JUST HOLD IT until the apple logo appears.. goodluck

  23. My iPad was stuck with the hold setting so I couldn’t use it. Eureka, soldering the points as outlined above worked! I don’t have the hold function, but that was always a pain in the ass anyway, but am functioning again!

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