Rockbox On An iPod 5th Generation.

There is an alternative to the Apple Firmware called Rockbox. The main advantage to Rockbox is that you can play various high resolution audio formats such as Ogg Vorbis and FLAC. Can’t do that on an iPod with Apple Firmware. A more compete list of what Rockbox does can be found here.

Basically what you do is hook up your iPod, download their installer program and run it. Easy, right? Didn’t work that way for me at all. They have a great manual and good instructions but alas, not all in the same order and not all in the same place. I suspect if you have Windows it may work as advertised. I have Mac and Linux. So here’s what I had to do.

Here’s the Rockbox Utility Program. Notice it is all grayed out. My iPod is plugged in. I get this.

Screenshot 2014-07-31 19.42.40Screenshot 2014-07-31 19.44.52

Click Ok and then this:
Screenshot 2014-07-31 19.46.31

Ok, that didn’t work either.

So now open iTunes and see what’s what. Notice that the format is Macintosh.

Screenshot 2014-07-31 19.47.55

Rockbox needs a FAT32 Windows formatted drive to work. By far the easiest thing to do here is to take the iPod to a Windows Box and reinstall the firmware. Barring that you can do the following.:

Download the appropriate bin file for your iPod. For example I have a 5th generation iPod with a 30 GB hard drive. So go to here and download the appropriate file.

Now go to a terminal and do the following.


diskutil list

and note that the iPod is /dev/disk4 This is important. Remember this.

Screenshot 2014-07-31 19.59.00

Now unmount your iPod in DiskUtility. Don’t eject it in iTunes. Now run the following command:

dd if=mbr-video30gb.bin of=/dev/disk4

Now take your iPod and format it in DiskUtility for FAT32 and click “Erase”
Screenshot 2014-07-31 20.03.45

Now you need to run the iPodpatcher. Do this:

  1. Download and open ipodpatcher.dmg from ipod/ipodpatcher/macosx/ipodpatcher.dmg
Double click on the file. Should work. You may have to navigate to the file and do this in the terminal


Ok. Almost there. Now you must run the RockBoxUtility as root. Run the following command and assume your Rockbox Program is in your Downloads folder. If not adjust accordingly

sudo /Users/hagensieker/Downloads/

Screenshot 2014-07-31 20.12.26

Make sure you select the proper mount point and then you can just “OK” everything and install.
Screenshot 2014-07-31 20.10.42

And that was way tougher than it should have been.

Some Screen shots:


Lots of controls that you don’t get with Apple Firmware.