Shiny new iPod Nano 6G… fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu

So I got an iPod Nano (6th generation) for Christmas this year, just in time since my trusty old iPod Mini started beg for retirement after almost 8 years of usage.

Since my old iPod was working like a charm all those years I expected a smooth sailing when I plugged in my new iPod Nano. Gnome recognized it correctly and mounted the device. The iPod showed up in Rhythmbox as I was used to and I started to fill it with some music. Everything worked as expected: Rhythmbox copied the music to the iPod without complaining and after unmounting the iPod and starting it — it was emtpy. Whait, what? Why is it empty? Didn’t I just… So I tried again, and again with the same result.

Half an hour later I found out that libgpod (the iPod “driver” for Linux) supports all iPods except the iPod Nano 6G. Bummer. Apparently Apple changed the algorithm to calculate the checksums of the files on the device and since that algorithm is unknown you cannot successfully write on it with free software.

That means technically this device is unusable for Linux users since iTunes doesn’t run on Linux. However, there seems to be a way to use the iPod Nano with libgpod if you are trusting this guy and willing to use his binary (only!) file with libgpod (which I am not). And somehow the guys over at Spotify managed to get the iPod Nano running in their Linux client but they don’t provide the code either.

Being already more than two years old, I don’t have much hope that the iPod Nano will work on Linux with libgpod in the foreseeable future. On the bright side I can say the device is not totally useless as it comes with FM radio…

8 thoughts on “Shiny new iPod Nano 6G… fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu

  1. Elessar

    Good luck. Personally, my relatives know that I despise locked-down systems, so they would never offer me such a thing. But if someone did, the first thing I would do would be to resell it without even opening the case, and use the money to buy a regular portable player (one that would be simply usable as a USB stick without having to worry about specific workarounds, which basically means: anything but Apple hardware).

    1. Bastian Post author

      I know, I know but it was a gift. I don’t want to be impolite by selling it or asking to bring it back.

  2. Joel

    It works in Banshee Ubuntu 12.04!!!

    1. Install libgpod4_0.8.2 and libgpod-common_0.8.2 from

    2. Downloaded and in root mode place it in /usr/lib/libgpod and put all permisions to read and write.

    3. Enjoy :)

    1. Bastian Post author

      As mentioned in my post — this is not an option for users who don’t trust the binary (which comes without the source code!).

      Also I tested in in a virtual machine and it does not work correctly. The lib is loaded but I still cannot fill the device with music. If I do the data base is corrupted and the ipod seems to be empty.

      I really wish we had the algorithm for the hash so someone could implement a proper library.

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