Why iPod is Rockin’ with Rockbox

I realized that I've been using Rockbox instead of my iPod's stock firmware for more than 2 years already. It's rock solid and I never encountered any problems with it that I didn't even bother upgrading to the latest Rockbox version for the longest time now.

I want to convince people to install and use Rockbox because I can honestly say that it's the best thing that ever happened to my iPod by pushing its limits and making it more capable and useful. So, I thought I should share to everyone some of my reasons why I use Rockbox (and you should too) and why it is still rockin’ after all these years.

* Copy and paste. Yes we can.
With iPod's stock firmware, you will have to install iTunes or any of those iTunes replacements to manage and transfer files to and from your iPod. With Rockbox, all you have to do is connect your iPod to a computer and transfer files by copying and pasting just like when using a USB flash drive. No more syncing hassles.

* Look Ma! I can play Doom on my iPod
Only few iPod owners know that it’s possible to play Doom on their beloved audio player. With Rockbox, you can install Doom on iPod and I can assure you that it will work smoothly and you will have lots of fun. What a way to take a break from listening to Barry Manilow’s greatest hit songs.

* Zoom in, zoom out
Have you sometimes wished that your iPod’s own photo viewer could zoom in and out on the photos you are viewing? With iPod’s tiny screen, I’m sure you have. Rockbox’s JPEG viewer plugin has a zoom in and zoom out feature that you will likely find useful.

* Theming
Like me, I’m sure you want to change your iPod’s default theme to fit your mood, to be unique, or whatever your reasons. Rockbox will make theming possible. In fact, I made a post about some of the great themes for Rockbox that you can easily download and install.

* More games and plugins
With Rockbox, you are not just limited to playing Doom because there are plenty of wonderful games to choose from via plugin. To name a few, there’s Chessbox, Brickmania, Bubbles, Packbox, Sudoku, and Jewels. Also included are useful plugins like Calculator, Calendar, DiskTidy, RockPaint, and so much more. For a full list of plugins and for more details, you can go HERE.

Since Rockbox is constantly being developed, I expect to see more features coming real soon. So, that’s about it. I hope some of you out there will get to try Rockbox after reading this. And, to those who have used or are already using Rockbox, we also want to hear your experiences through comment.


  1. Too bad there's no installer for nano 2nd gen.

  2. too bad it doesnt ever plan to support classic

  3. It isn't that we do not plan to support the iPod Classic - we don't plan to support any device. New ports happen when the people come forward with the device itself, the motivation, capability, and time to make the port happen.

  4. RockBox is great - but at the end of the day, it IS beta software for MOST players. Including the iPod.

    And this, by far and away, is it's biggest problem.

    Of course you get many features - but you also inherit an amount of risk no regular user really wants to take. And no - I don't mean the risk of bricking your player. This risk - while present - is actually relatively low. The bigger risk comes in the form of bugs - bugs that can, for example, kill your battery.

    I used to run RockBox on my iRiver H3xx. It now has a non-existent battery. That's why my next music player will natively support FLAC. I don't want to buy a music player and then flash it just to realise that I've killed it's battery.

  5. >RockBox is great - but at the end of the day, it IS beta software for MOST players. Including the iPod.

    No it was released for the Ipod about 6 months ago.

    >The bigger risk comes in the form of bugs - bugs that can, for example, kill your battery.

    A bug can't really kill your battery. At least its never been observed to happen.

    >I used to run RockBox on my iRiver H3xx. It now has a non-existent battery.

    Thats normal. Lipoly batteries only last 2-3 years typically, and the H300 has been out for nearly 5 years. If you want to use a player longer then that, you'll have to change them from time to time. Nothing software can do about that.

  6. I've been using RockBox for a while too. Haven't had any problems so far, and it even helped me recover my iPod when the partition died or something. (This is a hardware problem of which you can find information on apple's site).

    >The bigger risk comes in the form of bugs

    The only way of avoiding this risk is to not use software.

    RockBox FTW!

  7. Tried it but it proved to slow (in terms of response time) for my 5,000+ songs. Maybe if you have less than a thousand songs and files, it can prove great.

    Now back to my original ipod software.

  8. I for one got rid of Rockbox on my iPod as all I did was listen to music and for me it ate up the battery to fast. I also did not like having to wait for the screen to load which the apple OS is instant. Of course I know this it because it is the firmware of apple. I did like it that it supported the ogg format but I decided to wipe it clean and start over. I will just use what comes with the iPod and be happy with that.

  9. deuts - Turn on Directory Cache, it is off by default, but it will speed up the browsing of all those files.
    United Against - Rockbox now can whup Apple Firmware for battery life. It used to be a hog, though.
    Fucking undocumented hardware.

  10. I'm trying out Rockbox on my 5.5G ipod video right now and I have mixed feelings. I do love the Flac support, but the interface is kind of iffy. I hate how the iPod reboots everytime I turn it on, and it doesn't default back to the "now playing" screen after inactivity for a few seconds. I like the themes but to be honest, most are cheesey and remind me of mp3 players circa 2000. I think if Apple ever starts supporting Flac natively, I'll ditch Rockbox and just use the standard ipod software. Honestly, I think most people use "open source" things because they are open source, sort of like being vegetarian just to prove a point, but missing meat. I prefer to use things that work the best, I don't really care if something is open or closed.

  11. AnonymousJune 25, 2009

    Your iPod should only boot when you turn it on, not "reboot". Maybe you have a hardware problem.

    The fact that there's a language to theme your player should appear as a benefit to you. If this seems like a drawback then perhaps you are not part of the target demographic.

  12. AnonymousJuly 07, 2009

    Running Rockbox on my 5.5g Video playing FLAC. It rocks!

  13. wow, a very nice post and now need to explore rockbox! thanks

  14. You forgot to say that ipod software have no equalizer, a pre fixed profile means no equalizer. Rockbox can do better this specially when you have an ipod and his poor low frequency response. With that Rockbox rocks! also you can play almost of the commercials audio formats and you can play gameboy games in your device. It's a shame that people doesn't support a good effort to fight against the limitations that they impose on us! Rockbox was not programmed only for iPod, it has a lot of ports to be used in tons of devices. I have a Sansa C200 with very little fun from factory, with Rockbox it become great. Sorry for my english but it's not my native language. And remind Rockbox Rocks!

  15. best thing is u can use both the stock ipod setting or rockbox its simple and fast to switch between them just reboot and hold the menu button to get back to the apple settings

  16. Rockbox just sounds better! Also drag and drop is so easy.It is just great but does need more battery juice.

  17. AnonymousMay 09, 2010

    Now that I'm using the Classic, I'll be missing RockBox every single day.

    I can only wait.

  18. I've been using rockbox since i got my 80gb 5.5gen ipod and their were a few bumps but now using Rockbox 3.7.1 with no problems. to all those who complain about battery life so what, I love having better sound with a full eq dithering, compressor, and a custom stereo width. The original firmware sucks has nothing that can offer you but crap eq settings WOW! But to each his own.

  19. Rockbox killed three of my IPODS. One was running solid for 7 years without it. Rockbox killed it in a year. And no, not the battery, but the whole unit. Rockbox then wiped out two more of my ipods in the next few months. It sucked the life out of the batteries. I could not get the units to charge on my charger, then one day the units just would come up with errors when powering on. Rockbox is a great concept that needs to be fully developed but I'm 0 for 3 with it

  20. Some of these guys have to admit that maybe rockbox was not what killed their ipods. If you were running your ipod "solid" for 7 years then it was a miracle by itself. Most likely it would have died just the same without rockbox.

    I've been using this ipod nano 2G for 8 years and honestly, I'd rather it be killed by rockbox than keep using its BS firmware. I am so tired of all the complications of itunes. Only reason I have a nano is that it was a gift for finalists at a programming contest and so I have a personal attachment to it, else I would have switched to another mp3 player the day after. I switched to rockbox this week and so far so good. My only complain is that doom has no music.