How To Restart a Frozen iPod Shuffle

frozen iPod shuffle
image credit: Apple Inc.

If your iPod Shuffle isn't responding when you click its buttons, it's probably frozen. To get it working again, you need to restart it. Luckily, resetting a frozen iPod Shuffle is pretty easy, but the specific steps are different for each model.

Identify Your iPod Shuffle Model

Since the restart process varies for each model, you need to make sure you know what model Shuffle you have. Learn about each Shuffle model here:

When you've confirmed which one you have, follow the instructions for it below.

4th Generation iPod Shuffle

  1. Disconnect the iPod Shuffle from your computer or other power source
  2. Move the hold switch on the Shuffle's top right to the Off position. You'll know it's off if you don't see any green in the area near the button
  3. Wait about 10 seconds (it's better to wait a little longer if you're not sure)
  4. Slide the hold switch back to the On position, so that it shows green
  5. With that done, the Shuffle should have restarted and be ready to use again.

3rd Generation iPod Shuffle

  1. Disconnect the Shuffle from your computer or another power source
  2. Move the hold switch on the Shuffle's top to the Off position. Look for the small Off text on the back of the Shuffle
  3. Wait about 10 seconds
  4. Slide the hold switch to the "play in order" setting. This setting is represented by an icon that looks like two arrows in a circle, chasing each other
  1. At this point, the Shuffle should have restarted.

2nd Generation iPod Shuffle

  1. Disconnect the Shuffle from your computer or another power source
  2. Move the hold button to Off
  3. Wait 5 seconds
  4. Move the hold button back to the On position. You'll know it's in that position because you'll see green next to the button and because it won't be near Off anymore
  1. Use the Shuffle as you normally would.

1st Generation iPod Shuffle

  1. Disconnect the Shuffle from your computer or another power source
  2. Move the switch on the back of the Shuffle all the way to the top position, next to the Off label
  3. Wait 5 seconds
  4. Move the switch to the first position after Off. This is the play-in-order position and is labeled with the icon of two rounded arrows circling each other
  5. The Shuffle should have restarted and be ready to use again.

What To Do If Resetting the Shuffle Doesn't Work

In most cases, you should be done. But if your Shuffle still isn't working after restarting it, try the following steps:

  1. Make sure the Shuffle's battery is fully charged. The device may seem to be frozen because it's run out of battery. Charge your Shuffle for an hour or so and try again.
  2. Update the Shuffle to the latest version of its operating system. New operating system updates bring with them bug fixes and other efficiencies that often improve performance.

If neither of these steps work, you're going to need to contact Apple for support. Because the Shuffle has fewer buttons than other iPods and no screen, the options for you to fix problems yourself are limited. Apple is in the best position to help you with advanced problems.

If you have a Shuffle other than the latest model, you may want to consider buying a new one. A repair is likely to cost about as much as the current model (as of this writing, US$59), so why not upgrade to the latest and greatest?

And, if you want to really learn a lot more about your Shuffle, download the manual for your version free from Apple.