If you have an old iPod sitting around collecting dust, you might as well get some use out of it. One way to do that is to turn it into a bootable drive where you can troubleshoot, test out other operating systems, or simply run a few quick programs in another OS without wasting space on your hard drive. Here's how to do it.
An old iPod is essentially a hard drive, and you can treat it like one. It's not properly vented, so it will get hot. That means you shouldn't treat it like a full-blown operating system all the time, but it still works well as a temporary place to boot into. For our purposes, we'll install a version of OS X onto the iPod, but once you do that you can install other operating systems as well.
What You Need
Here's what you'll need:
- An old iPod.
- A copy of the operating system(s) you want to boot into (OS X or Linux).
That's it! We're essentially treating the iPod like a hard drive, so let's get a copy of OS X installed on it.
Step One: Format and Partition Your iPod
If you eventually want to dual-boot from your iPod, you need to start by partitioning your iPod's hard drive. This is done with Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities):
- In Disk Utility select your iPod.
- Click the Partitions tab.
- Choose as many partitions as operating systems as you'd like to install. If you just want to install another copy of OS X, for example, select one. If you'd like to install Windows or Linux as well, choose two.
- Click the "Options" button and select GUID Partition Table.
- Click Apply and wait for the iPod to finish formatting.
Now your iPod is all ready to go as a startup volume, so let's install an operating system.
Step Two: Install Your Operating Systems
Now let's get a version of OS X installed.
- Open up the Mac App Store, click on the "Purchased" tab, and redownload your version of OS X.
- Run the installer, and select your iPod as the installation disc.
- Once installed, reboot your computer, and hold down the Option key throughout the Apple chime.
- Select the iPod as your boot drive, and let it finish the OS X installation.
Now you have OS X installed on your iPod. From here, you can do whatever you like with it, including installing and dual booting into Linux, or going out all out and installing Windows as well. Just make sure you're always selecting the iPod and its partitions if you install other operating systems.
The iPod hard drive is slow, and it's no replacement for a real external drive, but it does the trick for troubleshooting or as an emergency hard drive.