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 replies on “iPod Click Wheel Stops Working”

  1. I tried everything and nothing..!! ipod video still not working the wheel…but still playing all songs (from 1 to 6232) please… help… I paid for this brick more than 400 bucks.. any advises….????????? cachetegus@yahoo.com Thanks a ton.!

  2. OMG, I DID IT!!!

    Had to share. So I have an ipod mini, click wheel goes dead. You have to reset it, but again, the click wheel does not work. So you have to go in…yes open it. Don’t worry, just find a video instruction on Youtube related to your type of iPod. As an example this is the one I used:

    She is cute and articulate on top of that, which I guess made me more comfortable with this whole operation…yes I know go figure.

    The reason you want to open it is to unplug and re-plug the battery inside which acts as a reset. And VOILA!!! Close it up and that’s it.

    If you are careful as she says you will find this operation to be very rewarding ; )

    Hope this works for you as it did to me. Somehow I know it will. So GO AHEAD, COMMIT TO IT, and within 15 minutes you will be happy and relieved.

  3. got my ipod 40gb photo wet about a month ago. i tried the nail varish method, i gave it a thin layer then a thick one. it didnt work.

  4. Ok this might be a new one…. My ipod will not turn on unless i turn hold button ON. Put then scroll wheel is inactive…so click hold button off and ipod shuts down. ANY ideas? napaeyez@yahoo.com

  5. Click wheel and middle button were not working
    Tried turning the hole on and off
    Tired resetting
    Tried restore to factory defaults –ended up stuck at language selection with no where to go

    Tried putting moistened tape on it. IT WORKS PERFECTLY! THANK YOU!

  6. Instructions for using Nail Polish.
    I had the same trouble as others with the Nail Polish. I’d put it on and then it still wouldn’t work, but that’s because most nail polish is too thick. Not knowing that I made it even thicker like some others and made it even worse. So I knew it had something to do with the thickness. Try these steps below. I hope it works for you as it has for me.
    1) brush the nail polish on the click wheel
    2) Let it dry completely
    3) Scrape it off with a mini standard screwdriver until it’s no longer shiny. It’ll leave a very thin coating on the click wheel and it works really well.
    4) (Optional) Buy an Ipod cover set from ifrogz for $5 to make it smoother to use. =)

    I am wgjhstt24/7 and I approve this message. =P

  7. Alright, I’ve got a 5th Generation iPod Video 30GB Black.

    I was in the middle of using the iPod, when suddenly I thought it froze up. I switched hold on and off and saw the little lock icon appear and disappear. Not a single button on the click wheel worked, and I could not scroll. Although menu and select do not work, when I use them together, I can reset the iPod.

    So far, I have tried resetting the iPod probably 30 times. I tried to restore it to factory settings. I tried cleaning around the edges of the wheel. I tried scotch tape. I popped the iPod open, used dust-off to spray it out. Also, I disconnected the battery ribbon for 30 seconds and re-inserted it.

    Still, the only thing I can do with it is reset it and switch hold on and off. The iPod works fine with iTunes and the rest of my PC. Also, I have an iPod dock with Menu/Select/Prev/Next/Play-Pause and also up and down arrows for scrolling on the remote. These work, yet scrolling with a down arrow takes ages.

    Help!!!!!!!

    JFSnowboarder2005@hotmail.com

  8. I HAVE TAKEN MY IPOD APART 50 THOUSAND TIMES THEN I FOUND THIS.

    HERES A NEW TIP PAINT THE WHEEL WITH AN AIRBRUSH (I USED AUTOMOTIVE ACRILIC-CAR PAINT) IT WORKED PERFECT GOOD AS NEW

    THANKS A MILLION

  9. The wax works great!

    My wheel would not work at all after running in the rain with my ipod.

    I put a couple of coats of car wax and voila! it works like new!

  10. Thanks for the solution, stopped by the Apple store and the tech didn’t even mention try resetting or simply turning off and on moght do the trick.. Saved $$$$$$

  11. I have an ipod nano 2nd gen and i have the same problem with the reset thing working but none of the other buttons doing anything. will try the tape thing but if anyone else has any suggestions, e-amil me at Donnah320@yahoo.com thanks.

  12. You are a lifesaver! I had just purchased a 30gig Ipod and was furious when the clickwheel became inactive but through your sheer brilliance, the problem is solved!

  13. Worked an absolute treat been struggling with it and getting quite annoyed over a week.
    Suparb advice thanks for the post A

  14. But the wax over the clickwheel? my ipod 30GB 5.5 have been keep water, and now the clickwheel not work… only for startup when is off and for resetting with munu button. HELP ME PLEASE!!!

  15. YOU ARE AWESOME! Every article I read wasn’t helping. Even did the restore and lost all my music. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  16. As simple as this sounds. I had the same problem the wheel would not work. I reset the ipod over 20 times then retored the ipod twice over 2,000 songs and 30 movies but stil did not work. I then noticed the transparent cover i put on the wheel was still on. I took it off and bingo my ipod worked. I spent three days trying to get it to work and this transparent wheel cover was the problem

  17. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how scared I was. I thought it was broken and was trying to console myself with the fact that it’s one of the original 20gig models and I did get it free from freeipods.com years ago. How could I complain. I kept trying to reset it and kept pressing on the wheel harder and harder. Thank God, I did a search and found this . . . before I restored – like so many other posters here. What a horrible thought.

  18. I’ve been trying to cover my click wheel using slightly moist tape, but I never can eliminate all the air packets, and after multiple attempts, the click wheel is still unresponsive. I’ve given up and are asking you guys for help please. Could you go into more detail about covering your click wheel? I am currently trying with Scotch packaging tape, not regular Scotch tape… think that would make a difference?

    Andy’s Ipod 4G 20G

    boch0018@umn.edu
    414-324-5039

  19. Did you put the tape over the wheel and cover the groove made between the wheel and the case, or just the wheel itself?

  20. Here’s what I did. Worked like a charm.

    Get some thin, but wide, packaging tape.

    To start–put the iPod on lock.

    CLEAN the wheel with a damp cloth to remove and oils and whatever that might have accumulated.

    Make sure it’s dry.

    The single piece of tape needs to cover THE ENTIRE WHEEL, so make sure it’s wide enough before you start.

    Lay the tape down, being as careful as possible to avoid air pockets.

    Make sure you cover the entire wheel.

    Now–take an Xacto and carefully, carefully trim around the outer edge of the wheel. There should be a tiny little gap there that’ll help you trim right onto the edge of the wheel.

    Go slow, get it right, not a ragged edge.

    Now–with the iPod STILL on lock—use a fingernail to “push” the air bubbles to the edge and out of the tape. Be careful not to snag the tape or tear it.

    Once you’re sure it’s a clean as it can be, un-lock the wheel, being careful not to touch it.

    HOpefully, if you’re lucky like me, it’ll work!

    E-mail questions to superbadj at gee mail dot com

  21. hey guys i need some help about my ipod when i touch the screen its not working please help me send me in my email please thanks

  22. I too suffered from the clickwheel which didn’t feel me.

    I tried the tape…no luck. So I removed the tape.

    I opened the case (and and marveled at the beautiful layout). In the process, the connector from the headphone/hold switch module to the main board became unattached.(Looks like a flat gold colored ribbon with circuits printed on it.) I reconnected it and closed the case. I don’t know what, if anything, I did in the process to fix the clickwheel, but it seems to work now.

    Perhaps I knocked free some dust that was causing a short.

    Good luck to all.

  23. thanks so much, my click wheel stopped working, i tried some ludicrous method of cleaning it, then found this on google and the hold-switch-flick fixed my click wheel.. yay

  24. ok so far reset of hold worked great finish still looked good on wheel, this was a 20g second first gen i am glad i do not have to buy new one

  25. my ipod wheel works for a few moments just after turning it on. Then I can no longer go forward or pause on the wheel. The back or menu key works but not the forward or pause. If i turn it off and wait a while, turn it back on then fully functional again for a few moments. Then the pause and forward functions on the wheel no longer work.

  26. my ipod nano was left face up outside all night and of course it rained…i let it dry for three days. then after failed attempts to turn it on, i plugged it in to the computer, it turns on the click wheel nor the center button shows no response. since i have no money to replace it what can i do?…..please help…..

    my email oeftgerj@yahoo.com

  27. i have a 4th gen
    and my click wjheel def wont work
    i’ve spent ages trying to fix it
    and ive also tried different sites

    i can hear songs but on shake so ther all sufled and it suckks
    i did some urged help
    please?

    can you please send me some advice at thi address:
    bhupikarocks@hotmail.com

    thxs for your time

  28. Hey thank you for this information. i was already panicking about the problem,i thought i broke it. thanks again!!

  29. ok i really need help 2 fix my ipod. its a 5th Generation ipod video and i got it wet like a while ago (probably like last year =-) but the click wheel and the main button doesnt work and i really want it to work really bad. and the only time my ipod works is when i put on my speaker chager thingy and it plays all the songs i have added on it b4. but when i dont have it on the charger then thats when it doesnt work. and i cant even add songs on it either, when i try to hook it up to my computer all it does is flash on and off.
    and idk if i should buy the click wheel buttons off the internet, cause im scared if i put wax on my ipod or put the wet tape on it that it might get worse……..but idk im not good with electronics so ya i need SERIOUS HELP WITH THIS!!!! so…..ya i need serious help
    SO PLEEAASSEE HELP ME!!!!!

  30. im having suome troble with ma ipod nano. it doesnt show any kind sign. it just shows black screen. it doesnt even charge or connect to ma laptop. please help…..

  31. 4 years on from the first comment and the ipods STILL have this problem!!

    i thought my last ipod was fucked from this problem .. i guess not man

    cheers dude

  32. Man oh man! Thanks to all who have contributed to this post. I stumbled across this site while trying to find a way to fix my non responsive click wheel. After reading all the posts I figured I would try a few of the tips. Long story short I got caught in a real bad storm riding my gixxer home from work. I usually would’nt use it while riding if I know some bad weather is on the way but it poured down on me on the open highway with not a bridge in sight. Needless to say that my nano 2g was soaked. I got home and put in a jar of rice. Thats an old trick I learned from selling cell phones because the rice will absorb all the moisture out. After it dried I charged it and it would cut on but the click wheel did’nt respond. I tried the normal reset as most would do to no luck. Stumbling onto this site I learned that the click wheel internals have to be sheilded from outside air or the click wheels fuctions will be limted to only doing a soft reset. I opened it up following some youtube intructions and guess what I found? Sure enough the seal around the outer edge of electronic pad thats glued to the plastic click wheel itself were open. More noticably around the outer edge of the four little black sensors. It was also like this on the pad thats behide the center button. Dont worry its really not that hard to do this. All I did was apply some of my girlfriends clear fingernail polish around the outer edge where I noticed air could slip in. The same for the center sensor pad. After drying I put it all back together very carefully and presto works like new! I hope my lil story can help out anyone else who has lost hope on fixing a faulty click wheel after being wet. Thanks again to all who have posted.

  33. Not cool.

    Same unresponsive click wheel problem, and as I’ve checked many different websites, all of them with MULTIPLE PEOPLE complaining of exactly the same thing. It is completely unfair for people to have to pay for these errors in the function.

    I still have a warranty so I will take this in and once they’ve either fixed it or replaced it I’ll point out that many of my “friends” have had the same problem.

    Oh and BTW http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8479412&#8479412.

    Same thing. http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8413626&#8413626

    “I swapped out my nano at the Apple Store because of the clickwheel issue. It wouldn’t always respond — I told the guy at the Genius Bar, “well, of course, now that I’m here it won’t get stuck” and then, just by chance, it did get stuck while he was looking at it.

    Swapped it out for a new one… then sold it on eBay. I’m done with the 4G models!”

    Very true.

  34. I have a 4g iPod Nano, and my clickwheel is really slow. I need to put pressure just to move around in the menus. Is there a way to fix this problem? I alredy tried resetting, using the hold buttons etc…

  35. I think the IHOME docket is the problem. I connected my Ipod Nano to the docket and started having this same problem. A friend let me borrow her Ipod and I took it home, connected it to the IHOME docket to charge it and GUESS what? The click wheel stopped working. Now I have to spend money replacing both of ours.

    I think the common problem amoung us is the IHOME Docking station. It blew our ipods ;((((

  36. This is amazing. I thought I tried everything, but I didn’t realized when I switched it on and off, I was touching the wheel. Worked like a charm – and I thought it had finally bit the dust (it is 4 years old, after all). Thanks! 🙂

  37. have been trying all the tricks but still my 2nd generation click wheel wont work.The problem began when it was dropped in water.Please help those who can.

  38. yeah its not working, i have the video/photo ipod. the same one. its not working at all. it shows me the menu and responds to the touch but i cant do anything besides stay at the menu. and now that i pluged it up to my computerr its not letting my ipod program open up. any advice…. ->nicoleVIP27@yahoo.com. Please.

  39. Just wanted say Thank You Very Much!
    Your Method totally worked on my 20Gb.
    Had tried a couple of things, everything else was working
    cept the click wheel, gave it one more try with a bit of a delay between off & on and the screen came back along with the
    Click Wheel.

    Cheers!

  40. I have a similar but different problem. All the buttons on my click wheel work EXCEPT the play/pause button! Any suggestions?

  41. i have a 160gb classic and the scroll wheel won’t work, have tried resetting it but the buttons aren’t working, have tried restoring it and its now stuck in the language screen, any suggestions ?

  42. @ tommy (September 7/2009)
    @ Jesse (April 30/2008)

    Hi guys:
    I’m having the same problem with my 160g classic. Click wheel doesn’t working (not even the center button) after a lot of ways tested (reset, firmware update, etc.)
    Only working in the JBL dock with the remote.
    Have you find some way in order to fix it?
    Thanks a lot in advance!

    (mail: rubencio@me.com)

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