iPod Nano 6th gen software update brings playback control via the hardware buttons

One of the most welcome updates to the iPod line at Apple’s Sept’10 event was the overhaul of the iPod Nano, streamlined to be just a tiny bit bigger that the iPod Shuffle 2G/4G, while getting a fully-functional touchscreen interface. I myself immediately fell in love with this superb device and having been given it as a New Year’s gift, have never looked back since.

Unfortunately, using it in the not-so friendly winter climate of Russia is sometimes a bit difficult. Probably the most annoying is the necessity to wake it up and then find the pause button whenever I want to distract myself from the wonderful sounds it produces. It might not seem like a big deal but when it’s -25 degrees centigrade outside, doing all of the actions necessary to pause playback with the gloves off is not especially attractive. And my second frustration was with the podcast playback, which is what I mainly use my iPod for – after a track finishes you have to manually toggle the next one. Again, -25 degrees, remember?

Today having plugged in my lovely iPod for a podcast update I was excited to see a new software update was available. And with it, both my nagging issues have been resolved.

Official list of changes can be found after the gap…I’m off to enjoy my podcasts.


With iPod software update version 1.1 for iPod nano (6th generation), you will be able to:

  • Completely turn off the iPod, rather than just put the device to sleep.
  • Control music or radio playback using the Sleep/Wake button without having to look at the device.

You can also set the Sleep/Wake button to skip to the next radio station, or change the Sleep/Wake setting so that double-clicking pauses or plays live radio. See “Controlling Playback with the Sleep/Wake Button” on page 29 of the iPod nano (6th generation) User Guide.

Products Affected

iPod nano (6th generation)

Turning iPod nano off completely and turning it on again

Hold down the Sleep/Wake button for several seconds to turn iPod nano off completely.

Note: If the iPod nano (6th generation) is showing that it’s charging or attached to a powered accessory or cable, you cannot turn off the iPod until you detach the accessory or cable from the device.

To turn iPod nano back on, hold down the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds.

Turning iPod nano off completely causes the following to occur::

  • Music or other audio that’s playing on the device stops.
  • Paused radio clears.
  • If a slideshow is playing on the device, it stops.
  • If a voice memo is being recorded, it stops and saves.
  • The pedometer stops.
  • Nike + workout data stops and saves.


  • When the iPod nano is off, you will not hear or be alerted to any alarm or reminder set on the iPod. When you turn iPod nano back on, alarms or reminders that haven’t yet expired will occur as scheduled.
  • If you turn iPod nano back on within five minutes of when it was turned off, it will remember your music playlist and what was playing. However, if you turn iPod nano back on more than five minutes after it was turned off, the device will not remember what you were doing on the device or which application was active.

Controlling audio playback with the Sleep/Wake button

You can double-click the Sleep/Wake button to play the next audio track, or change the setting so that double-clicking pauses or plays the current track. To set the Sleep/Wake button for audio playback:

  1. On the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap Music, and then tap the Sleep/Wake Button.
  3. Tap the On/Off switch.
  4. Tap either Next Track or Play/Pause.

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