iPod Nano: Quickly Fast Forward or Rewind Using the Wheel

I recently discovered a cool trick with the iPod Nano. I usually fast forward by pressing and holding the forward button. I can also rewind using the back button. However if I’m listening to a long audio book or podcast, this can take forever. Luckily there is a feature that allows users to get where they need to be in the audio file quicker.

While playing a track, simply press and hold the Center button until the bar appears. You can then use the wheel to move back and forth throughout the track.


  1. Lois says

    My iPod Nano is quite old as these things go and I despaired of getting help. This was perfect.

  2. Sarah says

    Brilliant ! Thanks !
    I made a 12 hour audiobook file and when the battery ran out I had to start FF from the beginning . . .I had a very sore thumb.
    Now it takes 20 seconds. THANKS THANKS THANKS

  3. jamowa says

    Thanks, Paassens, for the tip on the freeipodsoftware. The converter is free, easy to use, works great and plays w/o problem on my Nano 4 gen player. Now I can really enjoy my audio books!

  4. Phil says

    That worked! Thanks!!
    Now, why aren’t things like this documented more clearly, and how did you know about it?

    Thanks again!

  5. gordon aven says

    Try just a quick tap and release of the center button. Don’t hold it for more than a fraction of a second. It works for me and mine is also 8GB 4th generation. Hope this helps.

  6. Phil says

    This doesn’t seem to work on the 8GB iPod Nano. When I press and hold the center button while a song is playing, a menu list drops down from the top. It looks like this:
    “Start Genius”
    “Add to On-The-Go”
    “Browse Album”
    Using the wheel here only goes up and down this list. It does not fast forward or rewind within the song. Any further info?

  7. Larry Craig says

    Why so cryptic. He means Creative Zen.

    Just go to google and type ‘best mp3 players for audiobooks’

  8. gordon aven says

    Sorry, in relation to post number 12 forgot to say that the player for audio books initials is cz.

  9. gordon avenf says

    There are better mp3 players for audio book that the nano. There is one 4 gb that sells for about 70 dollars that will let you save 10 accurate bookmarks and return exactly to that point at any time you wish.

  10. kb says

    On the newest nano, it seems we have to use two hands to get the diamond. First we have to keep the forward or reverse pressed with one hand and then click the center button with the other hand.

  11. Cordelia Henton says

    Hi, I’m having the same problem as Mike (Feb 09). I’ve just bought my ipod nano but when I hold down the centre button to forward wind I get a dropdown browser menu but no bar that I can use my wheel with. Any help will be gratefully received :)

  12. Mike says

    I just bought a new 8 GB Nano and I’m having
    a problem fast forwarding. When I Press the center button, a menu drops down and I can’t
    fast forward quickly using the wheel.

    I have a mini which allowed me to fast forward that way.

    How do I keep that drop down menu from coming down? Just pressing the next/fast forward button takes forever if the song is long.

  13. Wolfi says

    many many many many thanks, this was exactly what I was looking for. I listen to audiobooks when going to bed with my Teufel iClock and its timer function. Just sometimes I fall asleep before switching the timer, so it was fast forwarding the classic way for 20-30 minutes on my 6 hours long audiobook.
    But now no longuer !

  14. Ann says

    Does anyone know of a way to reliably, safely move back just a little bit? The ‘sudden leap’ feature described here is why I’ve learned to hate my iPod. I try to go back just a sentence or two, and sometimes it works but other times, wham! I’m 2 hours away.

    Or does anyone know of a different mp3 player that’s actually good for audiobooks? I want a player that keeps my place in a book (the Nano is better than most at this) and that reliably allows me to move short distances within a file, again without losing my place. Sometimes my Nano seems to be stuck in this “blue diamond” mode where it totally refuses to move less than an hour or so at a time, and it seems to be pulled to certain spots (chapter divisions?) over and over. Having to settle for only getting to within an hour or two of where I was is not the kind of precision I expected from iPod. A separate volume slide and a way to turn off the “leap” functions would make the Nano a lovely, perfect audiobook device.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I would be very grateful for any help.

  15. Ryno says

    On my nano, this works:
    Press select (center button), playbar appears;
    press select again, and a blue diamond appears;
    now scroll to wind or rewind.

  16. Paul says

    I noticed that you actually have to push down the center+play/pause at the same time to activate this feature, but it sure is a better way to move back and forth.
    This is on a Gen3 8gb nano

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