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I've had this iPod lying around for years. I'm about to sell it and I'd like to erase all the data. Is there a way to do this without installing iTunes?

I was particularly hoping that there might be a magic combination of click wheel presses and switch toggles, or maybe a menu item I'm missing somewhere that would perform a factory reset including wiping all the data.

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Why not take it to any store with a Mac on display, you can restore an iPod nano in seconds and if it's an Apple store, they'll have a cable for you to borrow. Also, do you want to tag/restrict this to Mac or PC OSes? –  bmike Dec 17 '12 at 17:55
    
In most cases, you will have to install iTunes because the drivers that allow computers to access iPods do not come preloaded on a Windows PC. Any software that accesses iPods uses drivers installed by iTunes. –  duci9y Dec 17 '12 at 18:11
    
@bmike Hm, that sounds like an answer :) I hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, it's a pretty good idea. –  romkyns Dec 17 '12 at 18:36

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The iPod nano and classic iPods get loaded a custom firmware that could be downloaded from the internet and possibly loaded with a tool other than iTunes, but on a PC you could easily use whatever disk tool you want to erase the drive by reformatting it.

Since this would render the device unbootable, you will not want to sell it to a user that's not familiar with why it's not working, so the elegant solution would be to rent another computer with iTunes and restore it.

Apple's retail stores usually will even loan you a cable to restore your device from any of the display Macs. iTunes on a new computer would want to erase all the content anyhow - so going another step to wipe and restore the device will leave a clean slate and you might even be able to sync some demo content to the device depending on how iTunes is set up in the store you visit.

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