How-to Record On Your Ipod (for Free)


apple cripples recording on an ipod so belkin and griffin then have to sell us add-on devices for over $50 that can only record at 8khz, which is all pretty shitty. apparently (the rumor is) apple does this so people don’t use their ipods to record stuff they think we shouldn’t, like concerts, whatever.

but don’t worry, there’s a way around it and you can record at high quality, all for free.

1. Install Podzilla on your iPod (not all models are supported).
2. Boot in to Linux on your iPod.
3. Go to Extras > Recordings, choose 8,32,44.1,88.2 or 96kHz the higher, the better quality.
4. Record via Line In a microphone or even use your headphones.
5. Boot back in to the normal iPod OS plug in to the doc, grab your files from the iPod in the “Recordings” folder.

i suspect the next version of the ipod won’t allow booting in to linux and/or this type of recording. enjoy it while you can.

with all the podcasting people out there apple should consider not crippling our ipods so we can all use ipods to record, apple could do this now with a simple software update… or i guess i can keep booting in to linux and never update this ipod or just buy a cheap recorder, bah.

216 thoughts on “How-to Record On Your Ipod (for Free)

  1. im having a problem. i have a 4th generation ipod that i booted linux onto. now when i unhook it from my computer the apple logo appears then a folder with a caution sign on it, then it reboots itself and does the same thing. when i plug the ipod back into my computer the ipod says ok to disconnect, so the software does not think there is an ipod connected. what should i do?

  2. This installed after a few tries and the Linux part ran, but it wouldn’t boot back into iPod. Some mp3s played at the wrong speed and some where garbled on playback. After restarting with the two outside buttons held down to go into disk mode, I reinstalled the firmware with the latest iPod updater and then with iTunes put all my music backon. I’ll wait a few more versions before trying this again.

  3. I am having the same trouble sko is having. I suspect there may be something we need to do to “activate” recording on the iPod. In other words, I’ve never bought the Belkin recorder or anything similar. As a result, I can’t find a “Recordings” folder anywhere. And I’ve looked everywhere.

    I also can’t get it to record for very long.

    Can anyone point me to a good tutorial on iPod recording? Maybe there’s something obvious I’m missing.

  4. #7 : I’d rather buy any of the other players who have more features, and doesn’t require strange hacks to be used properly. If you’re happy with your overpriced piece of sh… er, electronics, fine for you, but there’s other people who’d like to read about more interesting hacks (as #11 finely said).

    Hack-a-day started fine, but the last entries seems less and less interesting, i hope it’ll change for the better (let’s say more hardaware hacks ?).

  5. I think the ipod hacks are okay, so keep it up. It interesting even though I don’t own one.

    This is similar to that story from nvidia where they unlocked the MPEG2 decoder on the geforce 6600 in a software update. Why not tell us what the hardware is capable of, even if they haven’t worked the kinks out? Maybe some of us can help work those kinks out???

    Another story describe the $20 cyberhome dvd player as having a hidden menu where you could unlock region blocking. Nice. Maybe put that in the manual next time?

    Get to know your IC datasheets folks, because my guess is that hardware is going to ship crippled more often than not in the future, as the MPAA and RIAA place unsually strict deamnds on electronics sold in the US but made elsewhere. We’re going to get the same feature rich hardware as everyone else, but the software an interfaces will keep it from us.

    Well, most of us…


  6. o.k. after install can I change the bit rate in linux and then record using italk in the apple installed os. I am able to make a file but there’s nothing recorded when I try recording in the linux os. Itrip doesn’t seem to function as a mic there. If you add some instruction at line 4 of your instructions it would be helpful. I think this is where I’m giong wrong. I do find files in the recording folder but nothing was recorded.

  7. I just downloaded Podzilla onto my 3G 20GB iPod. Works fine. What NEEDS TO BE KNOWN is that is is a VERY early Beta. The battery meter doesn’t work, the iPod doesn’t attempt to sync with your computer, the “bounceback” feature has powers/uses unknown to all that speaks of it, the music player is barely that, in that only one song can be played at a time, going through menus is a serious battery killer, and more that I can’t really think of right now. is the place to go along with SourceForge to get updates.

    Bottom line, this is a beta program, and is currently very crippled compared to the original Aplle firmware. But remember kiddies, in the past, linux was on the iPod and did nothing at all. Steps are being made to make it much more functional. This should be very cool in a few months.

  8. Like he said in the begginnin linux on the ipod would only boot to podzilla and do nothing. you could’nt even lead your playlists let or play songs. Now things are alot better but you still need the apple firmware. But i think that as soon as they wrap thigns up it”l be really cool. Now with the ipod foto out that could intrest a programer to make a photo browser to mimik the ipod foto but in grayscale on our ipods. I wonder if an already existing foto browser for linux would’nt work on the ipod ?

  9. I think we should keep the ipod hacks coming… it attracts a lot of people who wouldn’t normally be at this site (and I’m assuming that we consider that a good thing…)

    Also, I don’t think that the photo browser for B/W ipods would work too well, given the much lower resolution. But considering that people boot linux on their iPod not for functionality but to be able to say “I have Linux on my iPod!” means that someone will probably make this anyway.

  10. recording has been a great feature provided by the Creative Nomad Jukebox since its inception. The Jukebox 3 even has a digital input. I’ve made several recordings at 16/44.1khz with my Jukebox 1 that sound superb. I’m certainly not trying to start any kind of mac vs. pc thing here, but Creative seems to have a better grasp on recording. They even added level meters to a firmware upgrade after users requested them.

  11. Do the math.
    They have posted more than enough ipod hacks to keep ipoder’s busy for the next little while.

    It’s time to post a VARIETY.
    I know for a fact that other hacks have been added, lets see some of them.

  12. try thinking about it like this…

    Agreed, ipod hacks will bring in additional outside users, however it may soon or already be at the cost of alienating current users.

    What good is 1 new user interested in 1 article, if you lose 2 loyal ones? I’ll agree however that you may keep a small percentage of these new users but they will pale in comparison to those lost.

  13. Idiots.

    To the guy who can’t get it working on his 4g iPod: did you read the site? iPodLinux doesn’t work on 4g iPods. You’re SOL, buddy.

    To the guy who can’t record using his iTrip: uh…what were you thinking? The iTrip hasn’t got a microphone. You can record from headphones because a speaker is essentially the same as a microphone, but what made you think a FM radio broadcaster would work as a microphone?

    Anyway, this really isn’t much of a hack, but I was pumped to learn that I could record with my iPod when I read it on the iPodLinux site. Shame I didn’t buy a less-crippled device, though. Damn Apple.

  14. > ipod hacks… attract a lot of people
    > who wouldn’t normally be at this site

    Exactly. This iPod hack brought me here (and I’m sure many udders) from! You guys should quit your bitchin’ and just move on to the next hack if you’re not interested in this one, sheesh…

    If you bother to actually think about this logically…. the more that people come here to this blog, the more it increases participation and generates more hacks in general. The blog will simply get more fruitful.

    So next time, please try to look beyond the end of your nose before you complain, fricken’ whiners. Let this blog roll. If anything, all your non-productive whining will do is get more people to shun this blog and lead it towards stagnation. Contribute, complain via email or shuddap….

  15. Thanks for posting this info!!!

    I managed to get Podzilla installed and record some sounds surprisingly easily! The only problem I had was after some puzzlement I discovered I had to manually make a new ‘recordings’ (Capital r!) folder in the main directory of the ipod. After that it worked fine. the internal preamp on the headphone socket seems a bit poor, so the sounds I recorded sounded a bit lo-fi, but were indeed at high sample rates! I soon hope to build a customised dock plug to access the stereo line input which the ipod contains though, that should be much more useful!

    Oh, and I bet all the naysayers here are apple shills trying to subdue discussion of their sneaky crippling of ipod features! :)

    People take things so personally on the internet. If ipod hacks don’t interest you, wait for a hack that does… chances are it in turn might not interest me, but I can live with that.

  16. phil you rock – how bout modding my sidekick II for streaming web media content next? enough with these huge but finite lakes of sound with the ipod, i want to drink from the unlimited river

    also, maybe mod the ipod to store and play dvds so when i’m in a hotel i can hook up to the tv and play a movie

    Either way (or both) is cool by me

    happy new year to all

  17. To dan, who dissed me here, leading his post off with idiots. I never thought, as you wrote, “what made you think a FM radio broadcaster would work as a microphone?” Writing itrip was a typpo, at the beginning of my post I wrote italk which is what I was talking about. Since I reread the instructions it appears italk is only able to record 8bit (this is for people who might be having the same trouble I’m having, not people like dan who are completely unhelpful). I’ve tried a number of different headphones and besides feeling like an idiot, none of them worked. Has anyone successfully used headphones to record into their ipod? Just curious.

  18. Well, by installing the thing and trying it, I’ve learned that the sample size does indeed seem to be 16 bits. No more using my old Sony DAT walkman, at least until this iPod battery dies, though it looks like I’m going to have to buy a good pre-amp.

  19. How about trying to force the original firmware into voice record mode? I have a 4G pod and I’d really like not having to buy an iTalk to record sucky sound while waiting for linux to be ported.

  20. Haha – keep those hacks coming. Nice work. Too bad you’re running out of buttons and ways to interact with the damn thing. How inventive can you ipod folks get before you’re sick of McGuyvering a TOY and turn to iRiver for a useful TOOL? Next challenge for ya: hack a few extra buttons onto the ipod – you’re gonna need ’em.

  21. Haha – keep those hacks coming. Nice work. Too bad you’re running out of buttons and ways to interact with the damn thing. How inventive can you ipod folks get before you’re sick of McGuyvering a TOY and turn to iRiver for a useful TOOL? Next challenge for ya: hack a few extra buttons onto the ipod – you’re gonna need ’em.

  22. sorry, jonathon. i recently saw the iRiver and found it to be a weak me-too product. the interface is on par with the 1st generatin ipos and the device is a wee bit clunky for my taste. but don’t take my word for it, ask any of the 4 million people who got ipods for the holidays.

    as for ipod hacking, well, i’d be willing to wager they’ll go much further t han most any other device. that opinion is based on conversion and audience alone.

    sorry, you can’t argue with that.

  23. a suggestion to those who are complaining about ipod hacks:

    how about trying to conjure up some new hacks of your own? pt doesn’t create all of these, he just recognizes and and posts some of the great stuff people are doing with technology these days.

    i would add that this site is free. whatdaya want for nothing…rubber biscuit?

  24. hey mobile –

    it’s sooo easy to make a sweet interface when all you’re doing with your device is playing music. i’d never argue that iriver’s interface is better than an ipods.

    do a little research into iriver – the h320/340 has been out less than a year and already there’s a ridiculous amount of hacking going on to personalize the device – within hours of getting it i hacked mine to play videos.

    those of you who want a pretty device that plays music, stick with your ipods. if you want a multimedia tool, look into an iriver.

    it’s like comparing firefox to IE. one is a designer’s platform, the other is a user’s platform.

    make no mistake, i’m impressed with the ingenuity ipod users have shown, but the hacks themselves are a bit uninspiring. battle a big dog like apple and any amount of progress is cool, but IMO the user just doesn’t get enough out of the deal…

  25. By the way, I’m having success recording at Mic levels, but line levels are ridiculously low. I’ve recorded from my mics to DAT and minidisc at line level for years, and the ipod seems to think line level is 30+ decibels lower than other devices do. That is, it’s way too soft to hear.

    I guess at a concert I’ll be using mic level, and an attenuator cable if necessary.

  26. This was all very nice but it took me a bit to find out that only 3g and above iPods support recording through the headphone jack. 2G and below you get a little error message.

    Everything else went quite nicely, however. The Windows installer went flawlessly, it all worked, etc.

    One kicker – I had to really dig to find out how to ACTIVATE PodZilla after rebooting. The trick is to reboot, then hold down the rewind button to get the ‘non-default OS’ to load. Otherwise the default OS will load.

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