How to Fix iPod White Screen of Death

How to Fix iPod White Screen of Death
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The white screen on the Apple iPod is one of the most annoying, but thankfully fixable problems that can happen. It’s fixable, how? Well that really depends on why your iPod went white. To fix iPod white screens you can try any of the following options:

iPod Hard Reset

The hard reset is the easiest way to eliminate iPod white screen issues. Simply hold down the Power and Home buttons for about 30 second and your iPod will reboot. This usually takes care of the issue (and is also the first thing most people try). I can assume you have probably already tried this so you instead of the traditional hard reset you can try a different version.

This particular version of the iPod hard reset feature is slightly different than just holding the power and home buttons and the different key sequence seems to reset the software in a way the traditional hard reset doesn’t.

  • Switch Hold on and off.
  • Hold the SELECT and MENU button until the screen goes black.
  • Quickly switch to pressing SELECT and PLAY/PAUSE (hold these buttons for 20-30 seconds).
  • Next change to holding SELECT and MENU again (10 seconds or so).
  • When you let go of these buttons the Apple logo should appear.

If this particular reset doesn’t work to eliminate your white screen of death problem perhaps putting it in Disk Mode is the fix for you.

Putting Your iPod in Disk Mode

Although very similar to the hard reset putting your iPod in disk mode requires you to follow a slightly different procedure. Start out the same way you did with the hard rest.

  • Turn the Hold switch on, then back to off.
  • Next hold the Menu and Select buttons down until the Apple logo appears (this could take anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute).
  • Now make the same switch with your fingers that you did during the hard reset and hold Select and Play/Pause buttons until you see “Disk Mode” at the top of the screen.

In Disk Mode the iPod will not operate correctly. You will need to reset it one more time to bring it back to usable mode. Once you have reset your iPod the white screen should be gone, if it’s not don’t worry there are still a few other things you can try.

iPod Diagnostic Mode

Putting your iPod in diagnostic mode is another way to get to the rest option. Depending on your model of iPod there are different key combinations to get you to diagnostic mode. If you have an iPod 1G to 3G you need to hold down rewind, fast forward and the select key. iPod 4G+ including Photo, Nano, Mini, etc. just need the rewind and select held down.

Once you enter the mode you’ll see the Apple logo appears backwards (like you’re looking at it from the other side – the inside – of the iPod. Go to the “other” menu and select Reset Test. This should fix your white screen problem.

Dry it Out

If none of your fixes have worked you may have inadvertently damaged the connections in your iPod. Many times this is caused by water in the system. So, if you’ve gotten your iPod wet then you need to put it in a sealed Ziploc bag filled with rice. The rice will suck all of the moisture out of the machine. DO NOT turn the iPod on or you could short out the circuit board.

Bring on the Heat

If it’s really cold outside you may find the dreaded white screen of death trying to mimic mother nature by filling your iPod screen with snow. How do you fix this one? Warm up your iPod – the metal connections in the LCD ribbon will expand and cause them to fit more snugly in the port on the circuit board.

Reseat Your iPod Video Connection

There are three ribbon connections on the interior of the iPod, any one of which is apt to come loose during a rough bit of handling. Reseating these video connections may solve your problem. This isn’t a particularly hard job but does require a special torx driver to open the case. A detailed instruction video can be found at for every different iPod model.

If none of these solutions fix iPod white screen issues on your iPod you can try talking to one of the “Geniuses” at the Apple store. I have found that they are very helpful but often can’t pinpoint the problem with your iPod over the phone. They will give you several of the above options and then have you fill out a form at their warranty site where after entering the hardware code for your iPod the warranty and repair options will be displayed. Most of the time that the white screen of death can’t be fixed it is due to a fried ribbon connection due to water damage. This can be repaired by Apple (but it is pricey and isn’t covered by warranty) but there are several places online to have the repair done for a much more reasonable price.


Image courtesy of martijnbeijk at FlickR