nano6A few years ago, I obtained a 6th Generation iPod Nano by virtue of a product recall (the 1st Gen nano had a battery problem). I’ve used the replacement iPod far more than the 1st Gen version, so I was a bit dismayed when the power button stopped working a month or so ago.

Repair via Apple didn’t seem terribly worthwhile, so I investigated whether it might be possible to sort this out myself. When the 6th Gen iPod Nano was released, iFixit wrote a teardown guide – there’s an astonishing amount of stuff crammed into a tiny case! I found a blog with a description of how to fix the power switch problem, which seems to be relatively common. After a bit of procrastination, I set about attempting the repair.

It’s not quite clear what the malfunction really is – there’s a surface mounted switch (it’s the gold coloured circle mentioned in step 7 of the repair instructions), and I guess that something wears out or gets dislodged making it inoperative.

I didn’t really have the specialised tools needed – I used the plastic lid of a Bic biro pen as a spudger/lever, the tweezers from a Swiss army knife, and the small blade of the knife as a screwdriver. To get in, I used a hairdryer to melt the glue and the knife to lever up the screen. I avoided disconnecting the screen or detaching it completely, and once I had the battery loose, I used a rubber band to hold it to the screen. I noted that of the four screws you remove for the repair, there are three different sizes (all tiny!) – I took a quick photo and labelled it so I knew where they go. I fashioned a small square of plastic to glue to the gold switch with contact adhesive.

Too much of the original glue was lost, so I reattached the screen with a contact adhesive using a bulldog clip to hold the screen down while the glue set. The result was a bit messy, and I doubt the unit is waterproof any more. But hey, once I had reassembled the iPod, the switch was working again. Who knows how long for…