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I've been the happy owner of an iPod nano 5th gen, 8Gb for a few years. Over the years, I've added and deleted many songs, lyrics, album art, etcetera, and I recently assumed that something was corrupted in the drive: when I would add new album artwork to a song, it would either not work or add the album art of one song to a lot of other totally unrelated songs.

This thread is excellent to start troubleshooting, but didn't really help on a iPod nano (diagnostics mode is limited on this model).

Permissions Repair (or actually "First Aid" as it is now called) didn't find anything.

So I backed up all the songs I had on the it to my MBP. I also checked that the files were not corrupted.

I would like to restore the device the best possible way, before I put the tracks back on it.

When I launched the (brand-new) El Capitan's Disk Utility, there was a new setting I hadn't seen in previous versions, called "scheme".

enter image description here

The options are:

  1. GUID Partition Map
  2. Master Boot Record
  3. Apple Partition Map

I'm not really sure which one to use for an iPod nano, and couldn't find anything online.

  • From all this I understand that you would like to reset your device.Am I right ? – leovarmak Dec 23 '15 at 8:10
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    Restore it in iTunes, not Disk Utility. If I could find my old iPod, I'd add an answer with pics... – Tetsujin Dec 23 '15 at 8:27
  • @Tetsujin could you expand your comment into an answer? Thanks! – MicroMachine Jun 24 '16 at 16:19
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The best way to handle an iPod Restore is to do it from iTunes.

iTunes knows what it is & how to format it - it will even actually format differently depending on whether you have iTunes on a PC or Mac, to enable easier file handling afterwards.

  • If it's a model with a lock switch at the top [red dot visible] switch the lock off first [white dot] - Some models will crash if you don't.

  • Plug it into the computer, launch iTunes if it doesn't launch automatically.

  • Click the device icon in the top bar, choose the iPod if you see multiple devices listed.

  • Click Restore. Follow the onscreen instructions.
    You will need to resync afterwards.

enter image description here

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If you prefer the command line to format your device, this did the trick for me on a 4th gen Nano :

diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ mydiskname diskX
  • with "mydiskname" being your personal choice, and

  • X to be replaced by the corresponding device number.

The latter you can determine via

diskutil list

You might also first have to unmount the device with

diskutil unmount [force] diskX

The "force" option may not be always necessary, so you might be able to leave it out. (But I figured, since the goal is to blank the device anyhow, a force should not hurt too much.)

Good look! It took me a while. Nothing I found online seemed to work out for me. So I finally went down trying the trusted old diskutil command, worked like a charm. The nano was immediately recognized in iTunes.

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