Apple’s iPod music player is the most popular music player on the planet. The iPod along with the iTunes store has revolutionized not only the music industry but also the complete music distribution business. It is this music business that has brought back Apple, the company, from the brink of bankruptcy and made it into the household name that it is today.
Even though there are many fans of the iPod’s simple and clean interface, there are many who would like their iPods to do still more. And for them the RockBox open source project brings hope.
RockBox is an alternative open source firmware for a lot of different music players including Apple’s iPod and today we’ll show you how you can also install RockBox on your iPod and make it do much more than what Apple ever intended.
Before starting the install make sure your iPod is connected to your computer and that iTunes is not running.
The fabulous guys at RockBox have made installing the firmware a breeze using the Automatic Install Utility. Download the installer for your operating system and execute it.
If this is the first time you’re running the installer, you’ll be prompted to choose the type of player you have. If you’re not sure, just let the Installer AutoDetect it for you.
Once your iPod has been identified, just click on either the Complete Installation or the Minimal Installation button.
RockBox comes with a lot of extra games, fonts and artwork. If you’re not interested in all of that, select the Minimal Installation or if, like me, you don’t want to miss out on anything, just click the Complete Installation button.
The installer will then go ahead and download the actual firmware files, fonts and other required files from the Internet.
Once the installer has finished downloading all the files it needs, you’ll be asked to choose the default theme that RockBox will use. The theme list is quite extensive and like everything else, you can change the default theme later, so just choose one which you like and click the Install button.
The installer will then go ahead and install the RockBox firmware on your iPod.
If the iPod doesn’t restart on it’s own, safely eject and disconnect it from your computer and restart it manually. The iPod will now boot up with the awesome RockBox using the theme that you selected.
The first time you boot into RockBox, you will not see your music on it. Don’t worry the music is still there, just that RockBox hasn’t added it to it’s database yet.
Select the Database option and select Yes to let RockBox initialize it’s database. RockBox will scan your iPod and find out all the tracks that you had there and add them to it’s database. Restart your iPod and voila, all your music is back !
Play around with RockBox and if you like it, keep it around and if not, Uninstallation is easy too. Just run the same utility that you used to install RockBox and under the Uninstallation tab, you’ll be able to choose between removing just the bootloader or the complete firmware.
If you want to completely remove all traces of RockBox, click the Remove the bootloader button followed by the second button to Uninstall Rockbox. This will remove both components of the RockBox firmware from your iPod.
Once you start using RockBox, I’m sure uninstalling it would be out of the question, though.