Gaming iPhone and iPad

Hacking Tips: Download Free Games for Your iPod

Simon Slangen 23-06-2009

ipodgames On the move, however nerdy it might sound, it’s always practical to have a gaming device at hand. You never know when you’re going to end up in line, stuck in traffic, or locked in an elevator for three days in a row.


However, before I switched Windows Mobile, getting some decent games on my pre-historic cellphone was pretty much impossible, and one doesn’t string a PSP around his neck all day and expect to be popular with the ladies. So, imagine my joy when I discovered that there are free games for iPod that I can download!

These games, which were mainly meant to be downloaded from the iTunes store, could help you kill that little time that was still moving, and although gaming sounds highly impractical with a scroll-click-weel and a center button, they’re great fun.

However, paying for these games gets old quick. Especially because you’re paying 5 bucks (or 5 Euros  – people really don’t seem to know how to convert prices) for games you’ve played in your browser a few years ago, like Tetris and music quizzes.

The problem with the iPod’s freeware games market is Apple’s overprotectiveness. It’s not easy to put games on your iPod that weren’t bought in iTunes. But today, we’re going to show you how it’s done.

Note that the iPods supported by this tutorial are the iPod Video 5G and 5.5G (pictured above). Trying this with iPod Nano’s, iPod Classics, or any of the newer models will be bound to result in failure (and there is no other alternative but installing Linux on your device).


Either way, everything described in this tutorial, you do on your own risk. MakeUseOf is not responsible for any potential problems, or damage to your iPod.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Prepping your iPod for free games

The process consists of three parts. First, we’re going to make sure iTunes won’t undo all our hard work with the next synchronisation. Then, we’ll need to copy the necessary files and folders to our iPod, and finally, we’re going to patch our firmware.

Configuring iTunes


First of all, let’s fire up iTunes and disable a few options. In Devices – iPod – Options in the Summary tab, make sure that Enable disk use is checked.


Also, go to the Games tab and disable the Sync games box.



Now, close up iTunes and make sure your iPod is mounted. If not, remove it and plug it in again.

Moving the files

Next, configure Windows Explorer to display hidden files and folders. If you’re using XP, go to Tools – Folder Options. On Vista, this option can be found in Organize – Folder and Search Options.

In the View tab, make sure Show hidden files and folders is enabled.



Open your mounted iPod in Windows Explorer and navigate to iPod_ControlGames_RO and extract the hex folder of your downloaded games. Read more about where to get these games at the bottom of the article.

Patching your iPod

For this one, you’ll need to download iPodWizard [No Longer Available] (v1.3) and the right firmware file – 5G or 5.5G [No Longer Available]. If you don’t know for certain which you need, the 5.5G iPod is the one with search function.

Fire up iPodWizard and make sure the edit mode is set to Firmware File. Then, browse to the correct firmware. Finally, press Write to iPod and follow the directions on your screen.


Congratulations, you should now be able to find your games on your iPod under extras. Have fun!

Download Free iPod Games

If you do a quick Google search, a few sites will pop up where you can find free games for your iPod that you can download, one of those sites is Emobilez. This site offers a wide variety of free mobile/portable software, and has a healthy arsenal of games as well.

Although I’ve got my doubts with some of them (e.g. Lost and Zuma), all games are believed to be in the public domain.

How do you find gaming on your iPod? What are your favorite iPod games? Let it all out in the comments!

Related topics: iPod, iTunes, Media Player, Mobile Gaming.

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  1. Naeem
    January 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

    How to download games any download link for my 5g nano

  2. tony
    January 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    i have firefox so i dont know how to do it with it please help

  3. tony
    January 15, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    hey i dont know how to do it because i have firefox as my internet page how can i do it

  4. colly
    December 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    it says, “Unable to access Ipod! Make sure programs who use the Ipod like iTunes are closed” but none other than the firmware modifier is open!

  5. Didiet
    November 29, 2009 at 11:04 am


    I've tried to patching my ipod, but when I click "Write to ipod" its goes freezing, is it normal? or any step I've skip?

  6. Rod
    November 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Hey Simon this is Rod when i choose write to iPod it says that iPod Wizard is unable to connect to it. What should i do?


  7. Rameez
    October 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    yar anybody tell me .what is the procedure to send a game for itunes .....???pls

  8. david
    October 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Now ive gotten this to work but after you load new songs you have I started using a different computer recently and when I went to try writing the 5g firmware to the ipod it said, "Unable to access Ipod! Make sure programs who use the Ipod like iTunes are closed". And I've looked all over and nothing is using it. any ideas?

    • Simon Slangen
      October 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      Not sure. Perhaps you could use different PC's to sync/crack the iPod.

  9. hollow
    July 20, 2009 at 2:34 am

    my ipod is 4th generation nano that i want to install games and i made all the things that shown in above but ipod wizard shows the error that "unable to access ipod! make sure program who use the ipod like itunes are closed" but i didn't open itune so plz help me

  10. John Wright
    June 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Wow, a good gaming devise RULES!


  11. mrk
    June 24, 2009 at 8:50 am

    any options for mac users?

    • Simon Slangen
      June 24, 2009 at 9:38 am

      Yes, there is. It's called iPodPatcher. Haven't tried it though.

      "1. Download [Broken Link Removed]
      2. Copy Games To iPod (In The Games_RO Folder)
      3. Open A Terminal Window
      4. Navigate To The Place Where You Downloaded Ipodpatcher To
      5. Type "ipodpatcher" and Remember The Number It Gives You
      6. Then Type "ipodpatcher NUMBER -w "Directory Of The Firmware File"
      7. ENJOY!!"

      ~~source: Gatonegr_Oâ„¢ on a warezforum after Google search

      • daniel
        June 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm

        Hi Simon.

        How to locate the Games_RO Folder in macbook? I am unable to see any games folder...Thanks for help in advance

        Yes, there is. It’s called iPodPatcher. Haven’t tried it though.

        “1. Download IpodPatcher Mac
        2. Copy Games To iPod (In The Games_RO Folder)
        3. Open A Terminal Window
        4. Navigate To The Place Where You Downloaded Ipodpatcher To
        5. Type “ipodpatcher” and Remember The Number It Gives You
        6. Then Type “ipodpatcher NUMBER -w “Directory Of The Firmware File”
        7. ENJOY!!”
        ~~source: Gatonegr_Oâ„¢ on a warezforum after Google search

        • Simon Slangen
          June 29, 2009 at 5:22 am

          Open Terminal in /Applications/Utilitites/.

          To enable the display of hidden files and folders, type: (and hit enter)

          defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

          Note that your computer might have to be restarted for this to work.
          After you've patched your iPod, you might want to change back, because Macintosh uses a ton of hidden files and your computer will look incredibly messy. To revert the process, type: (and hit enter)

          defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

        • daniel
          June 29, 2009 at 9:22 am

          Hi Simon,

          Thanks again for the info on hidden file. I have managed to do
          1. Download IpodPatcher Mac
          2. Copy Games To iPod (In The Games_RO Folder)
          3. Open A Terminal Window
          4. Navigate To The Place Where You Downloaded Ipodpatcher To

          but failed on both below
          5. Type “ipodpatcher” and Remember The Number It Gives You
          6. Then Type “ipodpatcher NUMBER -w “Directory Of The Firmware File”

          i pasted the ipodpatcher.dmg at my desktop. After navigated to desktop in the Terminal, i type ipodpatcher and hit enter but it does NOT give me any number. It says command not found

          the 5g Firmware.bin is also parked at desktop and is command
          [ ipodpatcher NUMBER -desktop ] the right command to enter the Terminal?

          using macbook is really tough learning experience.

        • Simon Slangen
          June 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

          Did you unpack the DMG file?

        • daniel
          June 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm

          Hi Simon

          Yeah, i did unpack the ipodpatcher.dmg file. and inside the package, there is one folder with empty content and another file with the "exe" appear on the icon. When i double click the exe, it load another Terminal and this time, the instruction inside the Terminal requested that i reformate my ipod to FAT 32 before i can proceed to install the content from this exe file.

          I think i am doing it wrong. I should not click the exe file and I should be getting a number after typing “ipodpatcher” in the Terminal. But instead nothing happen.

          Curiousity and the process is really a challenge. I am learning. Hope you can help.

        • Simon Slangen
          June 30, 2009 at 5:55 am

          My guess is that you need to move that one file to somewhere on your mounted iPod (doesn't really matter where, but I'd suggest the root directory, which is the lowest hierarchical level), then run it inside terminal (first enter "cd " to navigate to the right folder, then type "ipodpatcher")

          Did that work for you?

        • Simon Slangen
          June 30, 2009 at 5:56 am

          That would be:

          $ cd *folder path*
          $ ipodpatcher

        • daniel
          June 30, 2009 at 10:51 am

          Did as you said.. I run the ipodpatcher from the root of the ipod itself and what happen is i launch another terminal and run the script and requested that i format the ipod to FAT32.

          It didn't overwrite anything in the ipod and all those games copied still not playable

        • daniel
          June 30, 2009 at 11:10 am

          HI Simon

          this is what i get from the ipodpatcher via the Terminal

          Last login: Wed Jul 1 00:03:09 on ttys000
          kok-hoe-ngs-macbook:~ nkh1976$ /Volumes/Ng\ Kok\ Hoe’s\ iPod/ipodpatcher ; exit;ipodpatcher v1.0 with v1.1 bootloaders - (C) Dave Chapman 2006-2007
          This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO

          [INFO] Scanning disk devices...
          [INFO] Ipod found - Video (aka 5th Generation) ("macpod") - /dev/disk1
          [INFO] Reading partition table from /dev/disk1
          [INFO] Sector size is 2048 bytes
          [INFO] Part Start Sector End Sector Size (MB) Type
          [INFO] 0 63 98366 192.0 Empty (0x00)
          [INFO] 1 98368 39075359 76126.9 HFS/HFS+ (0xffffffff)
          [INFO] Ipod model: Video (aka 5th Generation) ("macpod")
          [INFO] ************************************************************************
          [INFO] *** You must convert this ipod to FAT32 format (aka a "winpod")
          [INFO] *** if you want to run Rockbox. Rockbox WILL NOT work on this ipod.
          [INFO] *** See
          [INFO] ************************************************************************
          Enter i to install the Rockbox bootloader, u to uninstall
          or c to cancel and do nothing (i/u/c) :i
          /dev/disk1: Resource busy

          [Process completed]

        • Simon Slangen
          July 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm

          There's a different between iPods formatted to work with Mac (macpods) or with Windows systems (winpods). Apparently the script requires you to use a winpod (i.e. formatted FAT32)

          I'd advise you to back up your music (no worries if you've got everything in iTunes), format/restore your iPod with a Windows PC, then sync it with your Mac.

  12. Simon
    June 24, 2009 at 3:41 am

    @danny: The 6th gen iPod is the iPod Classic. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he said you it will only work on the older iPod Video models (30GB and 80GB, and maybe 60GB)

  13. danny
    June 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    well, of course, i have a different version ipod - has anyone tried adding the games with 6th generation ipod?

    • arafat
      August 30, 2009 at 9:33 am

      i am falling in love with U