iPod Click Wheel Stops Working

My iPod photo’s click wheel stopped working this afternoon, and I was getting ready to make an appointment at the so-called "Genius Bar" at the local Apple store.

A quick search online found the answer to the problem, though, and I figured I’d document it here so more people can find it later:

iPod calibrates its touch-sensitive surfaces when you turn off the Hold switch. Touching the buttons or the touch wheel on a sleeping iPod at the same time that you turn off the Hold switch causes iPod to calibrate to the capacitance of your finger instead of the air. This can cause iPod to turn on but appear unresponsive when waking from sleep.

So the solution might be to just switch HOLD ON and then OFF again, without touching the wheel in the process

In my case, this solved the problem. Beauty!





108 responses to “iPod Click Wheel Stops Working”

  1. renart Avatar

    Wow! Thanks. I found your blog through Google when I had the same problem with my iPod Photo.

    A simple flick of the hold switch fixed my problem as well! Yippee!

  2. Ken Suzuki Avatar
    Ken Suzuki

    Thanks for the documentation on fixing the unresponsive click-wheel issue.

  3. Dave Avatar

    Thank you! You solved my problem too.

  4. myf Avatar

    cool tip…however, in my ipod it only works for a few seconds…
    im so desperate..should i restore it to factory settings??

  5. concerned Avatar

    i had the same problem, but it only works for about 2.5 mins (resetting the hold button) and after that it randomly stops again. i dont know what im doing wrong. I have now made it top priority to not touch the wheel when un-holding, but it doesnt work. send help to superapf@aol.com

    thanks in advance

  6. Matt Avatar

    I to have got the same problem on my 4th gen. it only works for a short time then it stops and wont work when you turn the hold switch on and off!
    Please email me on any advice you can give.

  7. Nick Avatar

    Awesome! Thanks, this has been bugging me for a while too, and I couldn’t figure it out. Just fixed it though!

  8. Ashley Avatar

    I am having the same problem, if you have any more advice will you please email me. I have tried this and it works for a few seconds but then it fails to scroll through options anymore. Thanks

  9. Brook Avatar

    Thnaks i had same problem and found this blog through google. it worked for me, cheers

  10. greg Avatar

    that completely solved it. thanks

  11. wendy Rubin Avatar
    wendy Rubin

    Toggling the hold switch used to work, but now it doesn’t. The reset also seems to be taking longer everytime as well. I called Apple, but of course, they claim no knowledge of this issue (which is all over the web) and said that I could trade my ipod in for 10% off a new one? It is just a couple of months out of warranty and the issue started while it was under warranty, but the toggle thing worked so I didn’t call Apple. If you are redaing this post while your ipod is still under warranty-call apple now!! The toggle is a temporary fix only.

  12. jason Avatar

    Yes I had the same issue and toggling the hold switching on and off periodically fixed the problemÂ…but eventually it stopped working completely. Apple will fix it for only $257…which happens to be $10 less than a new one.

    I’ve read that a hard reset can also help, toggle the hold switch then hold down the select and menu button until the system reboots. WARNING: This will remove all content from your device. Unfortunately this didnÂ’t work for me.


  13. Adam Avatar

    I have a 4th generation ipod with click wheel, and I had the same problem with a click wheel that stopped working suddenly 1 1/2 years after buying it.

    For me at least, the problem is a small nick on my click wheel that causes a problem in how the ipod measures the difference in capacitance between my finger and the air. For a few days, the wheel would respond in a U-shape area, with a gap where the nick is. I cleaned out the nick with an razor blade, and the click wheel worked. Further evidence for my theory is the fact that the click wheel will work after sliding the hold button back and forth (recalibrating the capacitance sensors) and then, when my finger leaves the wheel, the ipod must recalibrate its sensors, and the click wheel fails to respond in total. However, all I must do is slide the hold back and forth, and the wheel works.

    So if you can live with sliding the hold wheel back and forth whenever you want to use the click wheel, I think that you can avoid paying someone to change your click wheel. Check your wheel to see if there is any physical damage to it, and try to clean it out as best you can. Hope that helps.

  14. chris Avatar


  15. Afam Avatar

    I have an ipod photo, my girlfriend had put on her birth control stocker on it for aesthetic value, after a wheel, i took it off, then my clickwheel stopped workinmg. well, it works, then stops, then when I slide hold, it works until I press any key, then it stopped working. After researching on the web, including the advice that I got from this post, I opened up the ipod, I dismantled every componenet and cleaned it out. After putting it back togeter it still doesnt work.

    Long story short, the click wheel works by capacitance, it has no moving parts. as long as it is not directly exposed to air, it should be fine. The wheel itself has a special coating on top (that explains the ipod gloss) to keep air away from it. If used for long periods of time, most of you have had it for a year at least, some of that gloss wipes off and it start coming in contact with air. So solution, paint the wheel with a waterproof gloss, or like I did, Use scotch tape. Lemme know if it works.

  16. jon Avatar

    I have an iPod 4th generation black & white with click wheel and have the same issue as you: malfunctioning clickwheel. I have tried the hold /un-hold function but it only works for about 30 secs and it resumes to its initial state. Please send help to my email. Thanks

  17. tim Avatar

    I had the problem with the click wheel not working . Sure enough after switching it on hold andwaiting a few minutes then turning it back on the click wheel would work but only for a few minutes. The answer is to get something very thin but quite tough (I used the corner edge of a blister foil pack of pills I had) and very carefully go around the outer and inner edgesof the click wheel. You will notice that small debris gunk will come out. After having done that switch to hold and wait for a couple of minutes and then switch the hold off and away you go. Completely fixed. I’m over the moon

  18. Jon Avatar

    worked a treat…thanks

  19. monica Avatar

    this is such a scam,isn’t it?
    i have two ipods. one mini, one nano. both are JUST over their warranty, and this has started to happen to both.
    the reset works on the nano (for now), but has given me a new problem? if i start playing a song, it will, within a second, move to the next song in the playlist??
    the reset didn’t work for the mini, nor did cleaning the click wheel, nor did a software update, nor did a complete system update.


  20. calvin Avatar

    If you want to replace a clickwheel/faceplate (45-58$) go here :


    It’s better than buying a new one.
    (if you want to go even cheaper do ebay)

  21. CALVIN Avatar

    I HAVE A FIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS IT!!!

    (this is sorta tricky, but does NOT require you to open your ipod and void your warranty)

    I have read and tried EVERYTHING about this problem and this is what I have found. The problem begins when the click wheel’s finish starts to wear off (the finish isolates the sensors from the air), therefore the fix would be to re-finish it. I realized how impractical it would be to do this so I found an alternative:

    Step 1: Find some scotch tape and cut a piece that would completely cover the click wheel

    Step 2: Slighty wet the sticky side of the tape in order to insure that air pockets are eliminated (the goal is to isolate the click-wheel from the air)

    Step 3: Check to see if it works, and if not don’t panic. It took me 3 times to eliminate the air pockets.

    Step 4: Once you get it to work you are going to want to reinforce your tape with one more layer because when you wet the 1st layer you consequently weakend it’s hold. And once that is done your good to go!!!!!

    I have been using it for about a half hour now with no problems.

  22. CALVIN Avatar

    actually forget step 4, the 1st layer holds fine on its own

  23. duncan Avatar

    i wanna thank you so much omg you have no idea thanks so much man wheewww where would i be without my music i wanna hug you hahaha…see ya

  24. TJ Avatar

    Wow! I spent ages trying to get the click wheel to work after it got wet. Working fine now. Thanks. TJ

  25. Michael McNeela Avatar

    Thanks so much, really simple but effective 🙂

  26. TS Avatar

    Rather than using the tape above (i dislike how nasty tape gets over time) I put one coat of my wifes clear finger nail polish on the wheel and viola!! We are back in biz… thanks so much for the info!!!

  27. bjoseph Avatar

    wtf, it workd

  28. Noel Avatar

    Well I guess if you want to do it neatly, or if you are just lazy like me, you can buy one of those kits designed to protect the screen and the click wheel… kinda like those kits you always see for the PSP screen, just a thought.

  29. christian Avatar

    Help Please
    my ipod 40Gb 4G works perfect i dont use it a lot, today i take it and the click wheel dont scroll, it works ok on the clicks menu play pause ff, etc, but no scroll, i update and restore everithing but it goes the same way, please Help 🙁

  30. ethan Avatar

    i tried evry thing i really really need help it dosent work i tried evry thing like restoring and reseting it but the click wheel still dosend work hello

  31. Jason Avatar

    I have tried everything but nothing fixes it. The only thing different with my click wheel is that only the top half works. Anyone else have this problem?

  32. ts Avatar

    I was really annoyed when this happened. The toggle switch solution only worked for a short time. I bought some clear plastic contact for $1, self-adhesive used for schoolbook covers. Cut out a circle larger than the wheel. Works like a dream! You can also buy new front cover for the IPOD but costs around $100 for a 40gb ipod.

  33. rickybee Avatar

    After reading all these posts I decided to try car wax on the wheel. If everything I am reading is correct, that there is a thin coating on the wheel that gets rubbed off in time and it changes the conductivity of the surface etc. then I thought this might work. I had one ipod where certain parts of the surface was unresponsive and spinning the wheel on the volume control would make it jump around erratically. Anyway, I tooka dab of car wax on a cloth and rubbed it into the wheel, buffed it off, and lo and behold it is working perfectly now. I don’t know how long this will last but it is quick and easy to do and the the wax hardens to quite a tough surface.
    FYI the type I used was Meguiar’s Gold Class clear coat paste car wax.

  34. Mark Avatar

    Also found this on google, much appreciated — I’ve got a 5.5G video ipod and the hold switch worked like a charm.

  35. Jeyney Avatar

    Wow!! Thank you so so much!

    My iPod got wet last night and stopped working. It was still turning on but none of the click wheel buttons were working.
    I was considering buying a new one but after finding this thread I followed the instructions and put clear nail varnish on the wheel. I wasnt expecting it to work but it did!

    Thank you! xxx

  36. Veronica Avatar

    Yes! I thought I fried my iPod out in the sun and was about to go buy a new one when i found this site.

    The tip worked like a charm.


  37. samina Avatar

    I was having a problem where my clickwheel wasn’t working for quite a while. Putting the hold on and off wasn’t making a difference. I read that it could be caused by debris getting in there. Sliding a piece of paper in the edge of the clickwhere didn’t help, BUT by blowing into the clickwheel area my clickwheel worked immediately. I guess there must have been something bad in there. I hope this helps you.

  38. Felix Avatar

    I really REALLY need help you guys!

    my ipod wheel stopped working but ive tried the lil hold thing .. and still doesnt work..

    well heres the problem.. i can turn on the ipod using the HOLD.. BUT the wheel wont move and when i click on in, it doesnt do anything..

    the only thing i can do is restart it.. by pressing select and menu.. THATS IT!

    well i just replaced my wheel with a brand new one.. and still doesnt work..

    does anyone know whats the problem? i REALLY REALLY need your help

    please email me at : ez2_4get@hotmail.com

  39. Joe Avatar

    Was at my wits end and was about to try cracking it open to take a look when I found this site. So far so good! Thanks!

  40. Jase (Pissed off Nano owner) Avatar
    Jase (Pissed off Nano owner)

    My Nano also decided it was tired of living and gave up the fight of life.

    So my Click Wheel hasn’t worked for awhile, ive been looking everywhere for a fix, i though of using one of those fake generic Chinese Ipod’s you can get and using the click wheel off that,

    But i saw this, and i will give it a shot, Apple really pisses me off at times, with no help.
    I think our Nano’s were made on Monday or Friday while the workers were still getting over the weekend or getting ready for the weekend. Or maybe soon as they JUST get out of warranty, apple has planned some time delay faults with them.

  41. Therion Avatar

    Amazing!! I had NEVER encountered a problem (period) w/my Pod, and, just today, all of a sudden, I couldn’t control the volume, couldn’t scroll through any menus, NOTHING! I was livid!
    …and, voila! I accessed your blog and all is well.

    I’m EXTREMELY thankful (AND relieved!).

    Thanks a million!

  42. Daniel Avatar

    I have the same problem Felix has, none of the afore mentioned solutions work. I can hold/unhold and it turns the screen on. I can hold Menu and the click button to reset, but nothing else. On the screen it is asking for what language I want to use. No response beyond the reset ability. I have plugged it in and updated the softward, and I can even get songs to store on it, etc. But again, nothing. Any ideas (besides getting a new one of course)? : )

  43. jessica Avatar

    i am having so many problems with my ipod.
    i have had my 60gb for a little over 4 months now and i bought it used.
    very soon after i had bought it i started to have problems with the click-wheel.
    i had no idea what happened. i searched everywhere online to find a cure but nothing seemed to work. it was hopeless.
    i am still having trouble with my ipod to this day and i have NO idea what to do. i have tried toggling the hold button on and off and everything else. NOTHING has worked.

    my ipod started working about 5 minutes ago and i was so happy so i stared scrolling and looking at my songs when it all of a sudden quit scrolling and froze up…

    i dont know what to do.. ive tried everything and I’m fed up with it. im at the point where im banging it on the side to try and get it to work.
    ive pressed all the buttons and just fooled around but nothing changes!!! HELP.. PLEASE!!!!!!!

  44. Jamie Avatar

    That totally worked for me! Thanks a million. BTW, how did you figure that out?

  45. rob Avatar

    same problem as daniel and felix, except i have a ipod with the 4 buttons at the top and so I can only hold/unhold to get the screen to turn on – tried the nail polish and it didn’t work – someone help!

  46. spinydoudou Avatar


    i have the same problem since this morning, i bought it in 2005 but i did that you said but nothing
    What do you think? I must to replace the wheel or not?

    tks a lot

  47. Aaron Avatar

    I’ve had sporadic problems with my 5G iPod video for several months now. Ususally it would work for a very short time, then the clickwheel would become “jumpy”, then it would just stop responding all together. Usually within the span of a few minutes.

    After reading these posts I decided to try it without the protective skin I had placed on the front (nothing on the wheel itself), noticing that a little bit of grime had built up at the bottom edge of the clickwheel. That appears to have done the trick! I guess enough funk had built up under that lip (less than 1mm) that it was touching the wheel itself and affecting calibration as you described.

    This post is full of win and awesome!! A++++

  48. Joe Strell Avatar

    Re: “iPod Click Wheel Stops Working”

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I wish all my problems were this easy to solve. Switching the hold button off and then on again worked like a charm. I owe you one. Warm regards, Joe Strell

  49. Heidi Avatar

    Just wanted everyone to know. I have an Ipod Nano and I am experiencing the click wheel problem as well. Called customer service and they basically hung up on me when they typed in my serial number and discovered I had no warranty. I have reset, retried, restored, AND REGRETTED paying so much for something like this.

    So this occurred to me. If everyone is having a problem with their click wheel, why not report Apple for faulty material. Apparently, so many people complained about a screen problem a couple of years ago, Apple had to replace a whole bunch or give them back.

    contact the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.FTC.gov
    contact the Better Business Bureau
    Some one start a website.

    If everyone having this problem sends a complaint, they CAN’T deny there is something wrong. Threaten to buy a ZUNE or one of those other players. Tell Apple your gonna burn your entire Itunes library to CD and REIMPORT it in WINDOWS media.

  50. Eugene Avatar

    Thanks for posting this, you helped find a solution to a potentially very frustrating problem within just a few minutes! Thanks for your time, it was much appreciated!