Restoring an iPod Classic with a new Screen and Hard Drive

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last few weeks folks. Work commitments at a school I offer IT support to have kept me away from repairing things, but now that all of that insanity is over with I can get on with putting some love back in some technology.

The focus on this repair is an iPod Classic. I was given this a few months ago broken and the owner had no use for it anymore. Nothing gets wasted in the world of Skippy, so its high time I got started looking at the iPod to see what was wrong with it.

For a start the obvious problem was a broken LCD screen. Only about a quarter of it had an image on it, so I’ll start there. It needed a new one to get it working again, so off I went, online, looking for a replacement part.

As often happens with looking for obscure parts I seem to end up on Ebay. There was an auction for a broken iPod Classic that was broken, but I could salvage parts from it to get my iPod working. I spent a few days bidding on it, I was prepared to spend up to £30, but the auction ended when I was refereeing a football game (have I mentioned i moonlight as a referee?) and I missed out on the auction by £1! Undeterred, on my way home from football, I found just an LCD screen for the Classic for £20, and ordered it.

A few days later it arrived and the repair could begin!

New LCD Screen for an iPod Classic

To start, unclip the back with a prying tool, and gently release. Don’t pull it too far apart as two ribbons are attached. These need to be disconnected with some tweezers to separate the back. Unscrew 4 of the tiniest screws ever to release the hard drive. Gently lift the hard drive up from the top to get it away from the adhesive holding it down, and then disconnect the ribbon from the bottom.

Two further screws need unscrewing on either side at the top, and then the front of the iPod can be lifted up and removed to reveal the components inside. The front button might come off, this is fine. Unclip the screen ribbon from behind and gently lift the broken screen out.

iPod Classic Disassembled

While the iPod is apart take the opportunity to clean all of the non-electronic parts with a small amount of warm water, a sponge and cloth. Don’t put any unnecessary pressure on any ribbons or electric parts. Be very gentle.

Position the new screen on the front of it iPod and click it into position. Then attach the ribbon to the connector. Remove the film that is covering the new screen to show off that shiny new look.

Fitting the new LCD Screen

Clean the plastic front cover and gently slide it back into position, lining up the buttons and frame so it fits neatly together. Clean up the back of the iPod with some Brasso if you have it (or a cloth will do just fine), and then connect the ribbon for the button controls using a pair of tweezers to get it slotted in.

Reconnect the ribbon for the hard drive, and then gently position it on top of the other components. There is a gap in the rubber holders for the button ribbon, use that as reference to position the hard drive. It is a tight fit, but it does go in.

Fitting all the components back in the case

Put the smalls screws back in around the sides of the iPod.

Gently reconnect the battery ribbon and push the back in place until it clips together.

Charge the iPod for a few hours. You may need to restore the iPod using iTunes to get it working fully.

At this point I was expecting the iPod to fire up and start working, but unfortunately I was greeted with a horrible clicking noise from the hard drive. It had sadly failed. I would need to replace it. I found a working refurbished hard drive on Ebay for £7 with 30GB of capacity, identical to what the iPod Classic already had, and ordered it.

A few days later…

The hard drive arrived and looked to be in great condition. I removed the broken hard drive from the iPod and swapped the ribbon cable into the new one, and then reattached.

The New iPod Hard Drive Arrived

Once again I reassembled the iPod carefully and switched it on. This time the menu appeared! I could now plug the iPod into my laptop and use iTunes to restore it. At long last the iPod worked once again!

The iPod Classic Restored

Following the repair of the iPod I tested it worked, gluing the back into position to hold everything securely. The end result was a stunning example of a classic iPod that worked perfectly. I had no use for it myself, and so decided to put it up for auction on Ebay for anyone who wanted to own it.

The LCD screen cost me £20, and the hard drive £7, totalling £27 to restore it to working condition. The iPod was listed on Ebay for a week and ultimately sold for £37, making a £10 profit. Not the greatest amount of profit ever seen, but what is important is that a wonderful piece of technology has been saved from landfill.


Software Developer, Website Creator and Digital IT specialist over at The Legend of Skippy. I make stuff, that's essentially my job. And when I'm not making stuff, I'm fixing all manner of other stuff. It's a fun life to lead, and I'm here to share it all with you.