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Customize and Hack Your iPod to be a PDA

Updated on January 26, 2010

The Apple iPod has become a pretty neat thing. It not only plays music, but you can watch video, save pictures, and play games on it, well on the iPod Touch. As for other iPod models, they generally just play music, but for the most part, MP3 players are generally just treated as a miniature jukebox that you can carry around, even if you have all the other applications available.

This is a shame because with the proper software, you can use your MP3 player to its fullest. You can install Rockbox so that your iPod can support new codes, playback, and even Doom.

Rockbox is an open-source replacement firmware for MP3 players. It supports a wide range of MP3 players ranging from Apple, Archos, Cowon, iRiver, Olympus, San Disk, and Toshiba MP3 players. (See below for exact models that Rockbox supports.)

Install Rockbox to your MP3 player

You want to go to the Rockbox website ( and download Rockbox utility, which will include an automatic installer tool that works with the supported MP3 players.

Run the utility and it will automatically detect that it's the first time it's been run. The program will ask you if you want to install Rockbox on a new device. Plug in your MP3 player, select the drive that it was assigned, and specify what model the device is.

The Rockbox utility will allow you to customize your installation. Generally, click Complete Installation is advised, as it will go ahead and install the full set of extra plugins that allow you to get the most out of the hacked MP3 player.

Sit and wait until the installation has fully completed and select the theme that you want installed on your iPod or other device. Once the firmware has completed its installation, you've got a hacked device.

You can change the theme whenever you get tired of the current theme, using the Rockbox utility. Read the FAQs and info in order to find out how you can further customize your options and features.

Rockbox features that you can customize your MP3 player with include:

  • Upgrade the iPod Photo (the one before iPod Video) with the capability of playing .mpeg files
  • Add voice menus and voice recognition
  • Tons of apps and games 

MP3 Players Supported by Rockbox

1st through 5.5th generation iPod, iPod Mini and 1st generation iPod Nano 
Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio  
iAudio X5, X5V, X5L, M5, M5L, M3 and M3L  
iHP100 series, H100 series, H300 series and H10 series
M:Robe 100
Sansa c200 series, e200 series and e200R series (not the v2/AMS models)
Gigabeat X and F series (not the S series)


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