reusing an old ipod hard drive

so what happens when your ipod dies? what if you get a new one and simply have no use for your old one? if you don’t have a use for your ipod or it is broken and you have determined that it’s a model with a hard drive and it is still in working condition, you can simply turn it into an external hard drive. i had a 5th gen video ipod that had a circuit board go bad and it already had a battery that wouldn’t hold a charge. instead of buying parts to repair it, it just went ahead and bought a new one.

that left my old one for parts and pretty much the only thing of any value to me was the hard drive. mine has a zif/lif connector which i hadn’t ran into before but after doing a little looking around, i found that you could find fairly inexpensive enclosures on ebay (search for ‘1.8 ZIF LIF external usb’). from what i understand, some ipod hard drives are zif and others are ide. just make sure you know which one you own before ordering. the person i bought mine from on ebay had both types available.

IDE 1.8" ide drive

ZIF IDE 1.8" zif drive

the case that i bought is a hitachi mobile disk case. there really isn’t anything special about it as it is simply a plastic case with a circuit board which converts the connector to mini usb. i purchased it solely based on the plain look and small size. it is only about the size of a credit card (just slightly bigger) which is about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of a standard 2.5" laptop hard drive in an external enclosure.

the plastic seems to be much more sturdy than that of my 2.5" laptop enclosure which needs replacing badly. that is how the whole idea of looking for an 1.8" enclosure came to mind. if you can help it, i would try to keep the screwing and unscrew of the case to a minimum to prevent stripping out the plastic threads in the hole as they tend to easily break on enclosures. also do not over tighten them as that will definitely cause damage to the holes.


the case doesn’t come with instructions but installation was a easy and took about 2 minutes. if you have the ability to disassemble an ipod, you will easily be able to figure out how a zif connector works. if you don’t know how to disassemble your dead ipod, just do a quick google search and you’ll find plenty of assistance. the only reason the installation took 2 minutes was because the screws were so small, they were difficult to handle. once it was all buttoned up, i just plugged it in, reformatted the drive and it worked like a charm.