Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its Language Selection menu.

How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3 Clean

In this post, we show how to wipe an iPod Nano 3 clean, and restore it to default settings.  Note though, that this routine does not delete the media files on your Nano right away.  These erase the next time you plug the Nano into a device running iTunes.

How to wipe an iPod Nano 3. Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Generation portable player, paused while playing an audio file.
Nano 3rd Generation portable player, paused while playing an audio file.

How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3 Clean

1. Bring up the iPod’s Home Screen

First, press the top of the touch ring, the Menu labeled area until you see the main menu show up. You may have to press the ring a few times to get back to the main menu.





The Nano’s main menu shows in the next pic.

Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its main menu.
iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its main menu.

2. Find the Settings Menu Item

Next, move your finger clockwise around the touch wheel.  Stop when you highlight the Settings menu item with the blue bar, as shown next.

Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its main menu, with the settings item selected.
iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its main menu, with the settings item selected.

3. Go to the Settings Screen

Then, press and release the Enter button at the center of the touch ring. The Settings menu then displays, as shown next.

How to wipe an iPod Nano 3. Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its Settings menu.
Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its Settings menu.

4. Find the  Reset Settings  Menu Item to Continue with How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3

Then, move your finger clockwise around the touch ring. Stop when the blue bar highlights the Reset Settings menu item, as shown next.

Picture of the player showing its -Settings- menu, with the -Reset Settings- option selected.
The player showing its -Settings- menu, with the -Reset Settings- option selected.




5. Bring up the  Reset Settings Confirmation  Screen

Then, press and release the Enter button again. The Reset Settings confirm screen then comes up, as pictured next.

How to wipe an iPod Nano 3. Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its Reset Settings confirmation screen.
iPod Nano 3rd gen portable player, displaying its Reset Settings confirmation screen.

6. Select the  Reset  Button

Once again, move your finger around the touch ring until the blue color highlights the Reset button.

Then, press and release the Enter button. This starts the reset. This can take some seconds to finish. Once done, the Language screen shows, as seen next.

Picture of the Language Selection menu.
The Language Selection menu.

7. After Reset Finishes, Choose Language to Continue with How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3

Then, move your finger clockwise around the touch wheel until the blue bar highlights your preferred language.

Then, press the Enter button. This puts into effect your chosen language, such that all menus appear in that language. We chose English on our iPod Nano.
The main menu once again appears.  Note that our music files still reside on the iPod.  How do we know that?  Because one of their artist pictures still shows on the right side of the screen.  But the music stays on the iPod only until you connect it to a computer running iTunes.  Then, all media files on the Nano will disappear.

Picture of the Main Menu after factory default reset.
The Main Menu after factory default reset.

8. iPod 3 Wipe Now Done

You have now successfully reset all the settings in your 3rd generation iPod Nano to default values. Resetting restores the tone settings to flat, sound check, repeat, main menu item display, and so on, to default values.  It also schedules all the files on the iPod to delete the next time it connects to iTunes.

Picture of the player playing a file normally, after factory default reset.
The player playing a file normally, after factory default reset.

You can completely wipe your Nano by connecting it to a computer running iTunes. Then, follow iTunes menus for removing the media files altogether.  You can also reset iPod settings that the routine we just did does not reset.  These include the iPod Nano’s name.





How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3 Without iTunes

We found that the music on the iPod does not completely erase until you plug the iPod into a computer running iTunes.  Our iPod erased fully at that time, but not before.  There indeed may be ways to wipe an iPod Nano 3rd gen without iTunes.  But our impression is that these are awkward. Plus, they may brick the iPod Nano, rendering it non bootable.  So, we suggest that you use the method of wiping an iPod above.  But then, plug the iPod into an iTunes computer to finish the erasure process.

Firmware Version Tested

  • The method above works with iPod Nano firmware version 1.1.3.

Related Posts to How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3

  1. Factory Default Reset of Apple iPod Touch Media Player
  2. How to Reboot iPod Touch Player with Unresponsive Touch Screen
  3. iPod Nano 3rd Generation Reset Instructions
  4. Factory Default Settings Reset of Apple iPod Video Player
  5. How to Reboot iPod Touch Player with Unresponsive Touch Screen

Suggested Reading

  1. Clean a Cordless Electric Kettle, How To
  2. How to Clean CDs and DVDs, Tips, Advice

References for How to Wipe an iPod Nano 3

  1. How to Wipe Your iPod   from GlydeCast
  2. How To: Wipe your old iPad/iPhone/iPod touch ready for resale   from ZDNet

Revision History

  • 2019-05-08: Tuned the targeting for ‘Wipe an iPod Nano 3’, deleted ad code, and added tags.
  • 2018-04-16: Revised post title and content for better keyword targeting.
  • 2017-02-13: Originally published.
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