Secrets of the iPod mini

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Savvy iPod users know that you can perform such tasks as resetting the device, throwing it into disk mode, and invoking the hidden diagnostic screen by pressing a combination of the iPod's buttons.

The iPod mini sports different controls -- ones where the Menu, Play, Back, and Forward buttons are on the scroll wheel (the Select button remains in the middle of the wheel). Pressing the wheel in the the four compass directions invokes the command associated with them -- Up for Menu, Right for Forward, Down for Play/Pause, and Left for Back. Given that you can't press multiple buttons at a time, how would one reset the iPod mini or produce the Diagnostic screen?

I decided to find out by visiting the Apple booth and, in the guise of an interested user, pressing every button combination I could. Here's what I discovered:

To reset the iPod mini you must press and hold the scroll wheel at opposite sides -- press and hold the Menu and Play or Forward and Back sides of the wheel, for example. After holding down the wheel for about 6 seconds, the iPod resets.

After you reset the iPod, press Select and Back to invoke the Diagnostic screen. On this screen you'll find these tests:


Some of these tests are new to the iPod. Of particular interest to me are the STATUS, AUDIO, DISKMODE, and DRV TEMP tests.

The STATUS test appears to report the state of the display and whether the iPod is connected via FireWire or USB and if it's plugged into the charger. There's also an HP ok entry in here that may or may not have something to do with the HP music player that's based on the iPod.

The AUDIO screen reports the gain (120 by default) and, when you press the Select button, plays a burst of noise.

Selecting DISKMODE and pressing the Select button throws the iPod into Disk Mode -- a mode similar to FireWire Target Disk Mode that forces the iPod to mount as a FireWire drive. I couldn't find another way to invoke Disk Mode with a button combination at startup (on regular ol' iPods you invoke Disk Mode by resetting the iPod and then pressing Forward and Reverse.

The DRV TEMP reports how hot the iPod mini is currently running (mine reported 36 C). It also lists MIN and MAX (20 C and 46 C respectively).

The iPod mini includes one more secret button combination. If you Reset the iPod and then press Select and Forward, up pops a mysterious screen that reads:

CrossOver Bootloa v 3.0.0 Jan 04 200 0MB19 ------------------- App failed

Bear in mind that the software installed on the iPod mini is not final. When the device is released next month, these key combinations and tests may change (or disappear).

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