updated 10:05 am EDT, Thu October 26, 2006
Apple, Shuffle woes
Apple has released iPod shuffle Reset Utility 1.0 for Mac, an application designed to restore its first-generation iPod shuffle by completely erasing all data on the device and reinstalling software version 1.1.4. The utility fixes several issues related to first-generation (512MB and 1GB) models, such as the flashing "lights of death" typical of unresponsive Shuffles. In late June iPod shuffle owners banded together after discussing the widespread issue on Apple's own support forums, hoping the company would recognize the problem and address the issue. Affected iPods flash amber and green LEDs when the play button is pressed, and the units will not play any music or sync music from iTunes. The iPod shuffle Reset Utility only works with first-generation 512MB and 1GB iPod shuffles, requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, and is available for free from Apple's website.
The utility fixes Shuffles only recognized on Macs in Apple System Profiler under USB Hardware that fail to appear or mount in the Finder, and ensures the iPod is recognized when attempting to restore the software. iPod shuffles that fail during the restore process with errors such as "Firmware update failure. Disk write error" are also repaired, according to the company, even if they take several minutes to be recognized.
The iPod shuffle Reset Utility also fixes an issue where the iPod appears in My Computer on Windows systems as a "Removable Disk," but fails to mount correctly. The utility requires an admin user password, and does not require users to restore the Shuffle a second time after using the iPod shuffle Reset Utility. Apple notes that any iPod shuffle that cannot be restored with the new utility may need service.