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

Restore iPod Nano 3rd Gen Player, How To

You can partially restore iPod Nano 3rd gen media player without iTunes.  This does the following. It restores most audio, video, and system settings to factory default values. Indeed, you can do this without a computer.

Note though that this routine does not erase any music, video, or playlist files on your Nano.  These files will go away the next time you plug the Nano into a computer running iTunes.

Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Generation portable player, paused while playing an audio file. Restore iPod Nano 3rd generation.
iPod Nano 3rd Generation portable player, paused while playing an audio file. Restore iPod Nano 3rd generation.

How to Restore iPod Nano 3rd Gen Player

1. Bring Up the Main Menu

First, press the top of the touch ring, the Menu labeled area until you see the main menu display. Depending on where you were prior on the Nano menus, you may have to press the ring a few times to get back to the main menu. The Nano’s main menu appears next.

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

2. Find the Settings Option

Next, move your finger clockwise around the touch wheel until you highlight the Settings menu item with the blue bar.  Shown next.

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

3. Tap the Enter Key

Then, press and release the Enter button at the center of the touch ring.

The Settings menu then displays, as shown next.

Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its Settings menu. Restore iPod Nano 3rd generation.
iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying its Settings menu. Restore iPod Nano 3rd generation.

4. Find the Reset Settings Option

Run your finger clockwise around the touch ring until the Reset Settings menu item is highlighted by the blue bar, as shown next.

Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player. displaying the Settings menu, with the Reset Settings option selected. Restore iPod Nano 3rd generation.
iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player. displaying the Settings menu, with the Reset Settings option selected. Restore iPod Nano 3rd generation.

5. Tap the Enter Key Again

Then, press and release the Enter button once more.

The Reset Settings confirm screen then pops up, as seen next.

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. Highlight the Reset Button

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

7. Press the Enter Key One More Time

Then, press and release the Enter button. This begins the factory default restore process. Restoring can take some seconds to finish.

Then, once restored, the iPod Nano shows the Language Selection screen, as shown next.

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

8. Pick your Preferred Language

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

9. Press the Enter Key One Last Time

Then, press the Enter button. This sets your chosen language, such that all menus will now appear in that language. We chose English on our iPod Nano.

The main menu once again appears.

Note that our music files have not been erased, as proven by the artist picture displayed on the right side of the screen. But the music will only remain on the iPod Nano until you connect it to a PC or Mac that runs iTunes.  At that time, all media files on the Nano will go away.

Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying the Main Menu after factory default reset.
iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, displaying the Main Menu after factory default reset.

10. Done!

You have now restored all the settings in your iPod Nano 3rd generation player to factory default values. Restoring does the following.

  • Restores the equalizer to flat, sound check, repeat, main menu item display, and so on, to the values they were when this Nano arrived from the factory.
  • It also schedules all the files on the iPod to be deleted the next time it connects to iTunes.
Picture of the iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, playing file normally, after factory default reset.
iPod Nano 3rd Gen Portable Player, playing file normally, after factory default reset. Restore iPod Nano 3rd.

You can completely erase your Nano by connecting it to a computer running iTunes, and following iTunes routines for removing the media files. Connecting to iTunes also restores those settings that this routine we just conducted does not. E,g, The iPod Nano’s name.

Qualifier Statements

  • The above-enumerated procedure applies to iPod Nano firmware version 1.1.3.

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Suggested Reading

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References 

Revision History

  • 2019-05-06: Added targeting for ‘Restore iPod Nano 3rd’.
  • 2016-02-28: Originally published.