How to Put PDF Files on iPod Classic

Updated July 20, 2017

In addition to its ability to hold and play more photos, music and videos than any other iPod -- 160 GB of storage as of January 2010 -- the iPod Classic can also store and display notes. Virtually any kind of file that has text in it, including PDFs, can be transferred to your iPod Classic. You will, however, have to convert a PDF to a text file before you will be able to read it on your iPod Classic. Once the conversion is complete, you'll be able to view the text of the PDF, although any photos or graphics will not transfer.

Open iTunes on your computer.

Connect your iPod Classic to your computer using the supplied dock connector to USB cable. When your computer recognises that your iPod is connected, an iPod icon will appear in the device menu on the left-hand side of iTunes, below the "Store" option.

Click on the iPod icon in the device list--this will bring up your iPod's "Summary" tab.

Click on the "Options" tab in the main iTunes window.

Click the box to the left of the "Enable disk use" option.

Click the "Apply" button to enable disk use. Once the change is applied, you will be able to use your iPod Classic as an external storage device--similar to a USB flash drive.

Open Adobe Reader 9 on your computer.

Click on "File" in the main control menu at the top of the screen and then scroll down to and click on "Open." This will bring up a pop-up window that you can use to browse for the file you want to convert. Most PDFs will be saved in your "Documents" folder.

Click on the file you want to convert and then click the "Open" button in the bottom right-hand corner of the pop-up window.

Click on the "File" button again and scroll down to the "Save As Text" option.

Type a file name and select "Desktop" from the drop-down menu in the save window. Click on the "Save" button, and Adobe Reader will convert your PDF to a text file.

Use the supplied dock connector to USB cable to connect your iPod Classic to your computer.

Open the iPod folder on your computer. If you're using a PC, double-click on the iPod icon in Windows Explorer, if you're using a Mac, double-click on the desktop icon.

Locate the "Notes" subfolder in the iPod folder and double-click on it to open it.

Drag your note from the computer's desktop to the "Notes" folder and allow it to copy over.

Use the click wheel on your iPod Classic to scroll to "Extras" from the unit's main screen.

Click the centre button to view your iPod Classic's extras.

Scroll to "Notes" and press the centre button.

Scroll through the notes you've saved to your iPod Classic and press the centre button to select the note you want to read.

Use the click wheel to scroll through the file.


The iPod Classic cannot read full PDF files--only the text. All of the text from the PDF will be in the note, but any graphics, photos or special formatting will be lost.


You can't transfer notes to your iPod until it is set as an external storage device. Doing this will not affect your ability to listen to music or watch video on your iPod, but adding notes will take up space just as a song or video does.

Things You'll Need

  • Dock connector to USB cable (supplied with iPod Classic)
  • iTunes 9 or later
  • Adobe Reader 9
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About the Author

Jared Huizenga is a journalist living in Minneapolis where he works for one of the nation's largest weekly newspaper groups, covering city government and school news. While in college he managed two weekly entertainment newspapers in central and southern Minnesota and has contributed to many entertainment websites. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communication.