Forgive me for using ancient technology, but over the last couple of weeks, my 40GB 4G iPod Classic has been acting up. It started with being unable to turn it off by holding down the pause button. After holding down the pause button, it would turn off, and then back on again. I bit my tongue and coped with the occasional difficulty until this week.
The symptoms became more pronounced this week. Not only would it not turn off, but the menu button didn't work right. It behaved more like the center button. Here I was in the midst of an episode of Leo Laporte's The Tech Guy podcast and I couldn't go back to the previous menus.
I discovered that I could turn the iPod off if I pressed down on the middle button and at the same time, held down on the pause button. Granted, in a split second, the iPod would turn off and back on again just as before. I knew the hold switch would prevent the iPod from responding to any input from the controls, so I cleverly repeated this step and kept another finger hovering on the hold switch to catch it as the unit turned off. That worked. Okay, time to crack 'er open.
So I went about troubleshooting the problem slowly. I already have some experience with opening up a 1st generation iPod, so I wasn't scared to pop this sucker open. Of course, opening an iPod is no simple task.
I approached from the bottom edge along the silver metal backing with a very small flathead screwdriver. Eventually, I was able to pry apart the seam and advance along to one of the corners, prying up the guts of the iPod as I went along. After about 30 minutes of trying to get that part started, I had the iPod wide open.
Everything looked okay inside. I worked my way all the way down to beneath the battery which was glued on a bit too good. I scratched my head again.
I went ahead and flipped the hold switch off and tried using the iPod without the case sealed shut. The controls worked fine. That meant something was pressing up against the back side of the controls keeping them from working properly. There was only one thing I could think of removing.
On just about every iPod hard drive, they've affixed a foam backing to cushion the drive and separate it from other parts. Yes, it's glued on. No, it's not fun trying to remove the stuff, but that's what did it. Pull that foam off and your iPod will be back to its jolly old self again.
Sorry I can't provide photos. It's a straightforward fix. Nothing is really wrong with the iPod itself, but after reading several threads and quick fix web sites, I was convinced nobody had approached this problem yet. Hopefully this post helps some poor soul who thinks their iPod needs to be repaired or replaced.