What to Do With Your Outdated iPod: 6 Nice Concepts

Do you have an old iPod? You can leave it in the back of a drawer until it gets "retro". Then you could probably sell it on eBay and get back almost what you originally paid for it. But why not use the device in the meantime?

old ipod

If you have an old iPod standing around collecting dust, read on. Here are our top tips on how to deal with an old iPod.

1. Install the new firmware

Unfortunately, many otherwise good MP3 players are disappointed with the quality of their proprietary firmware. Apple's iPod is by no means the worst offender, but there is one major downside that most people loathe: iTunes (if you're on Windows) or Apple Music / Finder (if you're a macOS user).

While there are many alternative music management tools out there, the biggest problem for iPod users is that these alternatives have difficulty syncing music correctly. You cannot just drag and drop music onto an iPod the same way you can with other music players. You need to synchronize a central library with the Apple software.


If you have an old iPod but you no longer use iTunes / Apple Music, this is a problem. The solution is Rockbox, an open source firmware that replaces your device's original user interface. It is compatible with every iPod model up to Nano (second generation) and Mini (as well as a variety of other non-Apple models).

It's easy to set up, and once it's installed, your computer (and your music software of choice) will recognize your iPod as a generic MP3 device instead. You can then drag and drop your music instead of using Apple's apps to transfer everything.

Aside from the obvious benefits, Rockbox also has a number of other features, including support for more than 30 sound codecs (such as FLAC and OGG Vorbis), a fully parametric 10-band equalizer, advanced crossfading, and even allowing you to play games, read text files, and yours thematize old iPod.

2. Replace the battery

One of the biggest problems with MP3 players is the condition of the battery over the life of the device. If you are an avid user, you cannot expect your battery to last more than three years, especially on older models. Perhaps poor battery life is why your old iPod ended up in a drawer in the first place?

In theory, you can swap the battery on any model. It's probably only worth it if you focus on the iPod Classic models, however – they have had the longest production run time, so it's the model people are most likely to have.

Be warned: while this is not an easy process, what do you have to lose? If you can't fix it or are blocking your iPod, at least you've learned something.

To get started, you'll need a 1.5-inch spatula, metal spudger, regular spudger, and plastic opening tools.

The replacement battery costs between $ 10 and $ 20, depending on the model you have.

3. Use your iPod as a portable hard drive

Even if you already have a newer iPod or iPhone, you can still make good use of your old iPod. Just as you can use your iPhone as a USB drive, you can also turn your old iPod into a storage drive. This is an especially good idea if your screen is broken but you don't want to pay for a replacement.

Some of the later iPod classic models have up to 160 GB of storage space, with models already in the third generation having up to 40 GB. Because of their weight, size, and portability, they're an underrated option for storage.

First of all, you need to format your device. Use Disk Utility if you are a Mac or right-click iPod in Finder and select format If you are working on Windows. Format the drive as a ExFAT to ensure maximum compatibility.

After that, you have two options to convert the device to a USB drive. The first is the Rockbox mentioned above, which turns your player into a pure USB device. The second option is to complete the process using iTunes / Apple Music software.

Aside from the obvious use of a portable USB drive, this means you can also use your iPod as a backup device or to create a startup disk for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

4. Replace the hard drive

Hard drives will eventually die. This was a serious problem in the early days of iPods, with the third generation version being particularly affected. But like the battery, you can also replace it if you feel the inclination.

Before you start, check if your iPod's hard drive is actually failing. You can do this by accessing the diagnostic mode and running some tests.

To switch to diagnostic mode on a Classic model, place your right thumb on the Choose Button and your left thumb on the Menu Button. Press both thumbs down for about six seconds until your iPod restarts. Immediately after the reboot, move your left thumb to the Rewind Button and hold it down together with Choose for another six seconds.

Once it's loaded, press Menu and choose Manual test, then choose I / O> Hard Drive> HDSMARTData.

Let the test run. If your results show that you have a high number of Reallocs or Pending Sectors, you can be sure that your hard drive will soon need to be changed.

You need the same tools to change a hard drive as to change batteries. The hard drive itself costs $ 60 to $ 100, depending on the model.

5. Music in the car

While your smartphone can play music in your car, you may want to avoid it. It's too easy to damage your device by spilling a drink or throwing it away on a sudden stop.

With your primary device safely in your pocket, you can use your world-weary old iPod instead. They have storage capacities that often overshadow modern smartphones, and using such a capacity prevents you from gobbling up the battery life of your main device.

Charge your old iPod with whatever music you want and it can stay in the car for months – you never have to remember to take it with you when you leave home. You can charge it through your vehicle's USB port (or the cigarette lighter on older cars) and play it through either the USB or a standard AUX port.

6. Sell it!

iPod Amazon listing

If all of this sounds like too much of a hassle, there is always a way to cut your losses and sell your old iPad. For an idea, you can find many 160GB seventh generation iPod Classic models on eBay for around $ 200.

You wouldn't leave that much money in a drawer. So why leave an iPod with this value?

Learn more about using old iPods

Now that you know your old iPod is better to use than just sitting around. Some estimates suggest that Apple has sold more than 400 million iPod devices since it was launched in 2001. Hence, it is not surprising that many of them are still in the wild.

But before you try any of the methods described here, make sure that you have old music stored on the device so that you don't lose it.

Transfer music ipod pc

How to Transfer Music from Old iPod to Your Computer or iPhone

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About the author

Dan Price
(1387 articles published)

Dan joined MakeUseOf in 2014 and has been the partnership director since July 2020. Contact him for information on sponsored content, affiliate agreements, promotions, and other forms of partnership. You can also see him walking around the exhibit space at CES in Las Vegas every year. Say hello when you leave. Prior to his writing career, he was a financial advisor.

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