How to Turn Off Every Model of the iPod nano

7th Gen. iPod nano
7th Gen. iPod nano. image credit: Apple Inc.

If you just got an iPod nano and haven't had an iPod before, you may be looking for a way to turn off the iPod nano. Well, stop your search: Many versions of the iPod nano don't have a traditional on/off button.

So how do you turn off the iPod nano then? The answer depends on which model you have.

Identifying Your iPod nano Model

You need to know what nano model you have in order to know which instructions to follow.

This is particularly tricky because so many models of the iPod nano look pretty similar. Check out this article for descriptions and pictures of each generation of the iPod nano so you an figure out which instructions apply.

Turn Off 7th and 6th Generation iPod nano

In order to turn off the 7th generation nano (read review) or 6th generation nano (read review)—rather than just put them to sleep, which was the only option when those models were first released—do the following:

  1. Make sure you're running iPod nano OS 1.1 or higher. This update was released in late February 2011, so you probably have it on your 6th generation model already. If not, learn how to check for and install iPod software updates.


    The 7th generation nano comes pre-installed with a newer version of the OS, so there's no need to upgrade it. It supports all the features you need for these steps
  2. Once you're running that software, you can turn off the iPod nano by pressing down the hold button on the top right of the nano. You'll see a progress wheel on the screen. Hold the button until the screen goes dark. The nano is now off
  1. To turn the nano back on, simply hold the button again until the screen lights up.

It's important to note that most functions of the nano—music, voice memos, pedometer, etc.—will be stopped when you turn it off. However, if you turn the nano back on in less than 5 minutes after turning it off, whatever music was playing will be remembered.

Turning Off the 5th Generation iPod nano and Earlier

The 5th generation iPod nano (read review) and earlier models can't be completely turned off. Instead, you let, or make, them go to sleep. There are two ways this happens: gradually or right away: 

  1. Gradually: If you use your nano for a minute or two and then set it aside, you'll see its screen start to dim and then eventually go black altogether. This is the iPod going to sleep. When an iPod is asleep, it uses much less battery power. By letting your iPod sleep, you conserve your battery for later.
  2. Right Away: If you don't want to wait for that gradual process, put the nano to sleep right away by holding down the play/pause button for a few seconds.

Keep Your iPod nano Asleep Using the Hold Button

If you press any button on your nano when it is asleep, the screen will light up quickly and your nano will be ready to rock.

If you plan not to use your iPod for a while and want to store it, you can make sure that you conserve battery power and keep your iPod from playing a concert inside your backpack by using the hold switch.

The hold switch is at the top of the iPod nano. Slide it to the On position when you put the iPod away. To start using your iPod again, just slide the hold switch into the other position and click a button to start it up again.

On the 6th and 7th generation nanos, the hold button doesn't slide; you just press it (similar to the hold button on an iPhone or iPod touch).