How to Update iPod Touch to 3.1.1 Firmware For Free

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Well, I’ve been using my iPod Touch for quite some time now.  I’ve had to upgrade the software every once in a while and that was a bit of a problem.  As noted earlier, the upgrade files are huge and it’s not something that I can do over my local library’s wireless network.

So anyway Apple announced the iPhone & iPod Touch Firmware 3.0 upgrade awhile back.  Only one problem: For the regular iPod’s and the iPhone units, the upgrade was free.  For those with an iPod Touch, the upgrade was ten bucks.  Few folks upgraded, especially considering that some said it wasn’t much of an upgrade.

Anyway, after recently getting a few “You need to upgrade your OS” messages when trying to install or upgrade new iPhone applications, I decided to finally go ahead, bite the bullet and get the upgrade.  Especially since the OS is now up to 3.1.1.  Still though the poor wireless connection here in the library was a factor.  Like before, I had to work out a method to grab the files via a different method than the iTunes interface as the upgrade file tops out at about 245 megs or so.  Again, my only choice was a manual upgrade to the 3.1.1 firmware.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and install iTunes 9 and whatever version of Quicktime that comes along with it.  I’m stuck with doing that through the web which isn’t a good solution for me.  The complete download was about 70 megs and it took a couple of tries.  I wish Apple would do a direct download for that software.
  2. Grab the restore firmware file you’ll need for the specific generation of iPhone or iPod Touch that you have.  Last time I posted links but I’ve discovered that Apple changes them every so often so instead I’m going to link you to this website: iPod and iPhone Firmware Download.  Make sure you grab the correct file for the specific generation version of iPod that you have.  The iPod Touch links are after the iPhone ones.  That confused me the first time.  Don’t know what you have?  There’s a form on that page where you enter the last three digits of your unit’s serial number and the site will tell you.
  3. Connect your iPod to your computer.
  4. Start iTunes (Remember: This is after you’ve upgraded iTunes in the first step.) and select your iPod unit from the Devices List along the left.
  5. While holding down your Shift key, press the Restore button on your screen within iTunes.  That’s important as you’re telling that you want to use a local restore instead of downloading one.
  6. You’ll get a popup asking for the location of your iPod Touch ipsw files that you downloaded in Step 2.  Gotta be there somewhere. 😉
  7. Let it run.  Don’t disconnect anything.  It’s going to take a while and reboot the iPod a few times. 

I’m torn on if I like the upgrade myself.  For me, the new Search page is actually an annoyance as I don;t have the need to search that often.  Plus I’m used to flipping with my thumb back to the first page of icons.  Now doing that brings me past the icons and to the search screen so I have to flip backward if I flip too many times.

Make sure you do a backup first of your files.  Some of the videos that I had on my iPod were not accessible after the upgrade.  Had to reinstall them afterwards. 

I hope this helps someone.  Please let me know how things work out for you.

3 thoughts on “How to Update iPod Touch to 3.1.1 Firmware For Free

  1. You helped a LOT. This was the first complete and intelligent explanation I found on how to do this. I can’t believe some of the lame advice out there – “download update from YouTube”, “start iTunes”, etc., with no directions on how to do this manually. Anyway, many thanks. BTW, you can hold down the shift key and click either Restore or Update.

  2. It won’t work for me when i click the restore and i click on the firmware a notification comes up saying firmware is not compatible, so what do i do? :O

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