iPod mini 8GB Upgrade
Copyright Apple Computer

by: jason parry

Copyright Apple Computer

Some people were disappointed when Apple discontinued the most successful iPod model of all time and introduced the slim, flash-based iPod nano. Of course it was color and sleek and all that, but it didn't offer an improvement in storage capacity (in fact, quite the contrary). Those of us hoping for an upgrade to the battery life and capacity of the mini were out of luck -- and it will be a while before flash drops in price to make an affordable 8GB nano. An iPod mini 4GB was sufficient for a time, but what if you want more space, but still like the size, colors, and durability of the mini?

There is now a solution for ipod mini-users. Seagate Technology has just released a large compact-flash type II+ hard drive called the CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive. Just as many once purchased a mini in order to remove the hard drive for digital photo applications, now you can buy a photo drive and use it to expand your mini's storage. This works because the drive is formatted to the same 'Fat 32' standard that digital cameras and iPod minis use. Of course, you will have to tear open your ipod mini, much the way you would to replace the battery, but once you are in there, its simply a matter of unwrapping some tape and delicately removing a connector to the Hitachi 4GB drive, and replacing it with the Seagate 8GB Photo Hard Drive.

Copyright Seagate Technology

If you start up the mini it will flash a question mark, as there is no OS on the drive. Not a problem at all, just sync it with your computer, run the iPod Updater to restore to factory settings, and viola, you have 7.4 gigs of accessible space for your music and files.

I ran this and did it successfully the first time on my green first-gen iPod mini synced with my Apple Powerbook. I assume it works on the second-gen (brighter, 4 or 6GB) minis as well. I'm sure this will void your warranty and you have to be handy with small tools to get into your mini. Don't blame me if you break something, I'm just letting everyone know that it is possible and a totally viable option to double your capacity of a 4GB mini. Note the street price on these drives seems to be around $200.

Copyright Sonnet Technology

You might use the time you are inside your mini to replace the battery, as you can get a new double-capacity battery from Sonnet Technology and it comes with all the necessary tools to get into your iPod mini, plus and an instructional video. Otherwise there are other online resources depicting how to open a mini.

From this point, I can help with the hard drive upgrade:

1. Once you have replaced the battery, remove the tape from the outside of the Hitachi drive and the blue pads.

2. Adhere it to the Seagate Drive or use your own electrical tape, along with the blue padding. This is used to keep the drive in place and ease shocks.

3. Carefully pry the multi-pin connector out of the Hitachi drive, and re-insert it into the Seagate Drive (using the same orientation and pin placement).

4. Follow the instructions on the CD or reverse the process to re-assemble your mini.

5. Plug your mini into your computer with the dock or cable to sync.

6. Download and run the newest version of iPod Updater software on your computer and click RESTORE. This will install the OS and file structure onto your new 8GB mini.

7. Add 7.4 Gigs of music!

To save you the hassile, i have upgraded one for you! Check out my ebay auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270008746736

Copyright © 2005 Jason Parry for copy and process only. The images and products mentioned here are the copyright of their respective owners and as noted. This site is for informational purposes only.  Attempt the upgrades at your own risk. You could render your iPod useless if you don't do this right. Don't say I didn't warn you. I can't be held responsible if you mess up, and you will probably void your warranty regardless. That being said, I succeeded the first time around, so as long as you are careful and have a knowledge and interest in taking things apart, go for it. Contact me if you have a question or comment, I can try to help but I don't know how to troubleshoot a Windows PC. Let me know if you found this helpful and if you think folks would be interested in a type of upgrade kit at retail.