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The iPod Touch’s collection of apps is not specific to your iPod Touch device, but instead to you as the user. You download the apps through your own iTunes account and Apple ID number. They are then saved for you so that you can do with them what you please. This includes games, which are downloaded and installed from the App Store with the rest of the software that runs on the iOS. However, what if you buy a used iPod Touch? Can you keep the games? There is actually a unique answer to that, which is determined by your exact purchase situation.
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Weighing Your Options
iPod Touch games are downloaded either initially to your computer and then synced to your iPod Touch or downloaded through the App Store app on your iPod Touch and then transferred over to your computer to save. You obtain the purchased or free games from a single account and then have the ability to download them again. The primary storage space for these apps is not on the iPod Touch itself in most cases, but instead on the home computer. In this way, you have to recognize that they are not just software installed onto an iPod Touch and then kept there, as they are tied into a store account. The person who purchased and downloaded those apps has the rights to them.
The question about “if I buy an iPod Touch can I keep the games,” can only be answered by the purchase agreement. If you buy a refurbished iPod Touch, this is not possible at all, as it has been returned to its original position and is like new. It does not have any non-original content installed, meaning nothing that was downloaded and added to it.
If you purchase the iPod Touch from a third party, such as on eBay or in a personal agreement, there may be content on it. The problem here is that the content will then be tied to the previous accounts, especially the Game Center log in. The easiest way to customize the iPod is to restore it, returning it to the factory settings. This would then remove all of the iPod Touch games and apps, though you would be able to tie it in to your Apple ID and iTunes account. If they choose to just give you their iPod Touch without any changes made you could, in theory, use all the games that are on that iPod. You may then be able to transfer them over to your computer, giving you the ability to re-sync them. This is not going to work as a guarantee, and if you will not be able to then update them. Since the user will likely want to use their iTunes account and will make you use your own on your newly purchased iPod you will then have your download history. This will cause some issues when there are games there that were not purchased on your account, but this will likely not be a problem for free games.
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The Bottom Line
The reality is that the best option is to forgo keeping games on the iPod Touch as most of them are either cheap or free and it is going to cause issues later on. You will not be able to use those that require log in information easily, and it will require a lot of time deleting some that will not work or creating new player information for others. It remains a fundamentally possible option, but instead it is best to restore the iPod Touch that you purchase used and then go from scratch. This allows each person to maintain his or her own account and download history so that you continue to have a positive relationship with the app store. This is going to be a completely different situation if you are dealing with a jail broken iPod Touch, and in this situation, you will be able to keep what is on the iPod as it has been freed from the centralized connection with Apple. For the jail broken iPod Touch, many of the conventional rules have been removed and you do not have the ability to have a centralized software account. Instead, your computer is really the only place and it is easy for someone to maintain their purchases for their new iPod Touch while they keep them on the iPod for the new user. What is going to be easier to maintain on the iPod Touch is music, video as this has not been standardized through the App Store and you can use any source to acquire the media that you then put on the iPod.
- Source: Author's Own Experience
- Screenshots by Shane Burley