How to Update iPod Software Using iTunes

update iPod software
image credit: Apple Inc.

Apple doesn't release updates to the software that powers the iPod as often as it does for the iPhone, but you should install iPod operating system updates whenever they're released. These software updates include bug fixes, support for new features, and other improvements, and they're always free.

Unlike with iOS devices, which you can update wirelessly over the Internet, iPod software can only be updated using iTunes.

What You Need

How to Update iPod Software

To update your iPod's operating system, follow these steps:

  1. Use the USB cable to connect your iPod to your computer. Depending on your settings, this may launch iTunes and/or sync your iPod. If iTunes does not launch, open it now and sync your iPod
  2. Click the iPod icon in the top left corner of iTunes, just beneath the playback controls
  3. Click Summary in the left-hand column
  4. In the center of the Summary screen, the Version section indicates whether your iPod is running the latest operating system or if there's a software update available. If a new version is available, click Update
  5. Depending on your computer and its settings, different pop-up windows may appear. They're likely to ask you to enter your computer's password (on a Mac) or confirm that you want to download and install the software. Follow these instructions
  1. The software update is downloaded and installed
  2. After the update is installed, your iPod automatically restarts. When it's started up again, you'll have an updated iPod.

Restoring iPod Before Updating Software

In some (not very common) cases, you may need to restore your iPod before you can update its software.

Restoring your iPod erases all of its data and settings and returns it to the state it was in when you first got it. After it's been restored, then you can update the operating system.

If you need to do this, sync your iPod with iTunes first. Then read this article for step-by-step instructions on how to restore your iPod.

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