iFlash converts iPod Classic hard drive to flash instead

Apple may have discontinued the venerable iPod Classic, but it still has its fans, for its click wheel design and capacious storage. Now you can keep yours going and bring it into the flash storage age, too.

This isn't a review — I can't find my iPod Classic at the moment, though I plan to tear my house apart looking for it, but a recent Twitter post from Other World Computing got my attention and I thought you ought to know. Turns out the company offers a DIY kit called the iFlash (opens in new tab), which enables you to replace the tiny internal hard drive in your iPod Classic with an SDHC or SDXC flash media card.

With OWC iFlash, you can get up to a massive 128GB of capacity and store your music, movies and photos on non-volatile flash memory with faster access times and better skip protection than the original HDD that originally came with your iPod.

Taking apart an iPod Classic isn't a simple job, but it's something a lot of iPod owners have done over the years, to replace batteries and hard drives and other parts that have worn out.

It's available with or without a card; without, it costs $49 plus shipping. With, it's $99.

Obviously you can get an iPod touch if you prefer, but Apple's still limiting capacity on that model to 64 GB. You can double that with an SDXC card. Larger cards than 128 GB are available, of course, but some iPod Classics have software limitations that will prevent larger ones from being used. Either way, you'll end up with an iPod that works even better than the original.

Peter Cohen
  • This looks so cool. Unfortunately my iPods are all too old! Maybe it's time for a new old iPod. I'd weep if this mod worked in a Mini.
  • If im remembering correctly (granted its been a while since ive busted open a mini) but they use a 1.5 in drive, which is essentially a CF card... you should be able to throw one in there and upgrade. unsure on max cap though.
  • Huh?! My old iPod classic has 160GB and works just fine.
  • Good for you! Not everyone's iPod classic is as big, or still works.
  • Good points. I forgot they came in smaller sizes. Mine is in mint condition with a Zagg shield on both sides. With 128GB iPhones, I wonder if it will ever get used again.....?!
  • Peter , I also have a old iPod classic with 160 GB and it works well. My walker and travel companion for a long time. I would like to Upgrade it 512 GB which should be sufficient for my life time. But I am in a dilemma if Flash Dual would work ? I have an alternate of upgrading my HTC Desire to HTC 10 and use a 512 GB micro SD to store my music files with tech support available from HTC for another few years and more for HTC 10. What is your view ?
  • or my old ipod photo. Though I'd want to put a new battery in that too.
  • Two birds, one stone. ;)
  • looking at prices of parts for my old 5th generation ipod. It would cost almost nothing to completely refurbish it. the cosmetic pieces are really cheap. Under 10 dollars for the front and back pieces. a battery is under 10 bucks as well. the most expensive part would be the flash upgrade. I'm actually really tempted to do this.
  • Hmmm...wonder if I could hack this into my 1st gen ATV...
  • This is a cool idea, but I'm not sure massive is the correct adjective for the 128GB capacity, when the iPod Classic has been rocking a 160GB drive for the past six years. I'm curious as to whether it uses less power.
  • And how it looks in closed case?? As it look that SD card stick out??
  • The SD card is not fully inserted in that image. It should be flush with the compact flash adapter when fully inserted. Otherwise, it wouldn't fit in the iPod.
  • OWC is reselling a product by Tarkan (www.tarkan.info). I considered trying the mod back when I replaced my iPod's battery, but CF cards seemed pricey and the CF to SD adapter hadn't been tested.
    This post just gave me the nudge I need to take the plunge. I might try RockBox (http://www.rockbox.org) too (they have a nice cover flow theme). According to Tarkan, the mod appears to significantly increases runtimes over the original HDD:
    Also, Tarkan makes an mSATA adapter (backordered at this time), if you ever want to store 500gb or 1TB of tunes in your iPod. Unfortunately, runtime takes a hit with mSATA.
  • I just installed the kit from OWC last night and after a couple of rounds of the SD card not being detected, I got it working and it's great. Here's the issue I ran into: OWC doesn't send any installation instructions (or soft tools), so I used the images that they provided on the web site. They show the final installation with the SD card facing the inside of the iPod. In my case (because I suppose it could be different on another model), when I installed it like this, it didn't work at all. At first I thought that I might have damaged the data cable somehow. But when I flipped the kit over, so the SD card would be facing the back case, it worked like a champ.