Rockbox is an open source firmware designed for several different mp3 players, including the iPod. The free firmware is available to anyone with one of the supported players. Loading Rockbox onto your iPod will add a great deal of features – in addition to the ones already present – to the player, including: the ability to change wallpapers and icons, game plug-ins (Doom, Pacman…), screen savers, calculator, dictionary, Gameboy emulator, and many more. Loading Rockbox onto an iPod is simple and relatively easy, even for those will basic computer knowledge. This tutorial will demonstrate step-by-step how to place the firmware onto your device.
Supported iPod (Video, Color, 1st generation Nano, Mini)
iPod data cable
Computer with Internet access
Step 1: Connect your iPod to your computer and make sure that it is recognized as normal.
Step 2: Go to Rockbox.org and download click on the ‘Current Build’ link on the left of the site. Navigate down the page and choose the correct build for your model of iPod. Don’t choose the wrong one, or you’ll mess your device up.
Click okay to save the Zip file to your hard drive. After it is saved to the hard drive, right click it and tell it to extract the folder directly to your iPod.
Step 3: Navigate back to the homepage at Rockbox.org and click on the ‘Manual’ link. Choose the iPod manual at the bottom of the next screen. Scroll to the Installation section and look for the link to download the iPodPatcher.exe. Download it to your hard drive.
Step 4: Start up iPodPatcher.exe – make sure the .rockbox folder is in your iPods main root and that the player is still connected to your computer. Run iPodPatcher. It should identify your iPod, and then wait for instructions – type the letter ‘I’ to install. After about five seconds, it will install the bootloader. After the installation is complete, hit ENTER to exit.
Step 5: Disconnect your iPod and restart it. It should show a quick screen displaying the bootloader, and then the Rockbox logo will appear, followed by the new firmware.
Step 6: Now that you have installed the firmware, you can download extras from the Rockbox.org website, including plug-ins and themes.
Note: If you want to load the original firmware for whatever reason, turn off the iPod, then turn it back on. As soon as it turns on, press and hold the Menu button until the original firmware appears.