The iPod Touch has many features, apps and the capability to play a wide array of media files. Apple intentionally left these devices with as little buttons as possible in favor of on-screen buttons. This can cause confusion when troubleshooting an iPod Touch and if the home screen doesn't load.
Use Home Button
The main button on an iPod Touch is the black circular button with a white square on it. Called the Home Button, pressing it should exit the application you are in and bring you back to the main screen--also called the Springboard. If your iPod Touch is not responding the first thing to try is to force the iPod Touch to quit the app it is currently using. On the first- and second-generation iPod Touch, hold the Home Button for five to 10 seconds. This should force-quit the current app. On the third-generation iPod Touch, hold the power button at the top until the shut down screen comes up. Release the power button and then hold the Home Button for five to ten seconds. Performing the appropriate task resolves a locked app most of the time and tells the iPod that it needs to force-quit the app.
When an iPod Touch is locked and will not return to the home screen, a force-quit should work. If your app is still open and will not exit, the next step is to reboot--also known as power cycling--the iPod Touch. Hold the power button until the shutdown screen appears and then slide to shut down. If the shutdown screen does not appear, a hard reset will be necessary. To hard reset an iPod Touch, hold the Home Button and the power button together until the Apple logo appears. Release both of the buttons at that time. Within one to two minutes the iPod Touch will be completely rebooted and ready to go.
An alternate means of getting an iPod Touch to respond to commands is to connect it back to your computer and let it sync. By connecting it, iTunes should get the iPod to progress out of whatever software is locking it up and begin a sync of data. Once connected to the computer, open iTunes if it is not already running and let a sync complete. At that time, the iPod Touch should be responsive again. If it is not, then a hard reset would be necessary to proceed. Once the sync is complete, try running the app again to see if it locks up. If the app consistently locks up the iPod Touch, then the app should be removed and reinstalled onto the device via iTunes. If locking continues after reinstalling it, it would be wise to check for newer versions of the app within the App Store or contacting the developer of the app to file a bug report.
Wipe and Restore
When an iPod Touch exhibits many issues with locking up at times, a software issue with the underlying operating system may be causing the issue. At times like this it is best to completely wipe the iPod Touch and rebuild it back from the ground up. Called a "Restore," this can be easily done from within iTunes. It is recommended that you make sure your data is backed up before restoring as anything on the iPod Touch will be erased. Perform two to three syncs before proceeding. Once completed, select the Restore button within the iPod Touch settings screen in iTunes. This will begin a wipe of the OS and a complete rebuild of the device. The process will take a little while so be sure you do not need the iPod Touch for at least an hour before doing this operation. Once complete, your iPod will be rebuilt and your data synced back.
If an iPod Touch does not return to the home screen after performing the suggested steps the issue could be the iPod Touch itself. The physical button may be broken or the underlying hardware on the device may be bad. Luckily Apple support is available via their website, phone and retail stores where a "Genius" can assist in person with issues and perform fixes of the iPod Touch. The support is available regardless of where the iPod Touch was purchased but support may also be available from the point of purchase. It is wise to explore all options available before deciding which avenue of support works best for you. All Apple hardware comes with a standard one-year warranty and this can be utilized for replacing the unit if physical issues exist.
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