And, after a long struggle, I have won. I know, I know. A few people advised me to wait until the next WWDC, in case any new iPods were announced. But to be honest, I couldn’t see going that long with no music on my commutes. Besides, as soon as I bought my fist iPod the photo and video iPods were announced. So there’s always going to be a new one around the corner.
But before my success, I spent four hours on the phone with Apple Care support and made a trip to the Genius Bar at the Apple store to get the new iPod working. And after all that I ended up solving the problem by doing some googling, and finding the one answer that none of the experts at Apple Care or the Genius Bar came up with. (And when they finally did, I found a much easier way to do it than they recommended.) I will now attempt to relate my experience here, and unfold the mystery a troublesome file named “iPodDriver.kext.” If nothing else maybe some other hapless person will come across it and be helped.
I figured the old iPod was dead. So we went to the mall yesterday and I took it to the Apple store and had it confirmed by the folks at the Genius Bar that the hard drive was fried. I could have it replaced or I could recycle it and get a discount on a new one. I took the latter option and picked the black 30GB video iPod and a hard case with an display stand, and hurried home to plug it in. I installed the new iPod Updater software from the disk, plugged it in and waited.
Then the trouble started.
ITunes detected the iPod and started updating it, but not before giving me a message that my software was too old and some songs couldn’t be loaded on the iPod. Sure enough, the songs and video I purchased on iTunes that day wouldn’t load. I tried everything I could think of and finally realized I’d have to wait until morning to call tech support and see if they could help me.
This morning I called and spent two hours with a tech support person who had me basically reinstall everything, restart the computer, and try to update the iPod. Not only didn’t it work, eventually I couldn’t even restore the iPod, because the new one doesn’t support firewire and the updater was telling me to use firewire to restore it to factory conditions. From what I could tell, iTunes thought it was still looking at my old iPod. It even claimed the iPod was formatted for Windows (my old one was, before I switched to Mac and reformatted it). Nothing I did convinced iTunes that his was a new iPod.
Finally, the iPod refused to do anything and when I turned it on simply showed me a screen saying I had to restore it iTunes (which I couldn’t do either). She finally told me I would have to take it back to the store and determine if it was damaged.
So I went to the store after going online to make an appointment with the Genius Bar. I got there, the woman at the desk listened to my tale of woe, took a look at the iPod, reformatted it and told me it should work. So I took it back home and tried it again, with the exact same results. And I got back on the phone with tech support and started jumping through the same hoops.
The time they got a product expert on the line to walk me through any issues with the mini. Same flaming hoops, with a few more added. None of them working. While I was talking to him I remembered something I saw on another website when I was looking for answers to fix the old iPod, and it recommended killing specific iPod related preferences by deleting the “iPodDriver.kext” file. I’d tried it before but it didn’t work. So while the tech support guy was blathering on I googled “iPodDriver.kext” to see what would come up.
I found this MacWorld comment thread from people who had the same problem I was having. The last comment offered what looked like a possible answer.
1) Delete the “iPodDriver.kext” file from System/Library/Extentions
2) If you don’t already have the file, download the latest iTunes installer package.
3) Download Pacifist, a shareware program that will allow you to extract individual files from an installer package. http://www.charlessoft.com/
4) Open Pacifist and extract from the iTunes package the file “iPodDriver.kext”
5) Place the file “iPodDriver.kext” in System/Library/Extentions
I mentioned it to the tech support guy and he didn’t seem to know much about it, but directed me to this Apple support solution that basically offered a more complicated version of the MacWorld solution. But when it didn’t seem to work he recommended that I try an archive and install procedure to basically restore my hard drive to factory condition. I figured, with my luck I’d do that and either it wouldn’t work on I’d end up erasing all my data somehow. Or maybe both.
So hung up on him and went back to the first solution, downloaded Pacifist and tried to extract the “iPodDriver.kext” file. What I found out was that there were some extra steps required. Here’s the process that worked for me.
- Delete the “iPodDriver.kext” file from Systems/Library/Extensions.
- Download the latest iTunes installer package.
- Download Pacifist.
- Open Pacifist and open the iTunes installer package.
- Extract the “iPodDriverJag.pkg” package to the desktop.
- Open “iPodDriverJag.pkg” with Pacifist.
- Extract the “iPodDriver.kext” folder to the desktop.
- Copy “iPodDriver.kext” folder to Systems/Library/Extensions.
After following those steps, I plugged in the iPod, started the iPod Software updater and it finally recognized my new iPod. It even changed the icon to a little black iPod just like the new one. Then I turned on iTunes, and it finally recognized the new iPod and started updating it with ALL of my music including the new songs and the video I bought yesterday.
Just to be sure, I tried to play a the video I purchased, “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks, and it played. Victory.
As aside, if you’re someone who switched from PC to Mac, and switched your iPod as I did, you may find that there’s no “iPodDriver.kext” in your Systems/Library/Extensions folder. It seems that in switching the iPod over, it carries over the Windows structure too. My “iPodDriver.kext” file was in Systems/Library/PreferencePanes. I had to delete it and put a copy in the correct location before it worked.
Now that it’s working, so far I’m happy with the video iPod. I wish it was 40GB, like my old one, but I’ll make due with 30GB, take it easy on the videos, and rotate out music I don’t listen to as much. I’ll have to read the guide on how to load photos, and then I’ll load some pictures of Parker so I can pull out my iPod instead of my wallet when I show him off.
The long battle of the iPod is over. And I think I won.