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A Quick Guide to Changing the Batteries On Your iPod

written by: •edited by: Jonathan Wylie•updated: 8/12/2010

iPod batteries and their short lifespan, are a big complaint often laid at Apple's door. Find out when you need to start changing your batteries, if you should replace the iPod battery yourself, and how to use external batteries. Tips on extending your iPod battery life are also included.

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    Should I Replace My iPod Battery?

    iPod batteries are rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries, and much like any other rechargeable battery, are likely to need replacing atipodinternal  some point. Each time you complete a charge cycle, the iPod battery capacity diminishes slightly, and although it will take many charges to do so, you could soon be looking at your battery holding only 80% of what it originally did .

    There are a few signs to look out for, to know when it's time to start changing battery:

    • You are charging your iPod much more frequently than you used to.
    • You have been using your iPod frequently for about 3 years. (Apple claim that an iPod battery will retain up to 80% of its original capacity, after 400 full charge and discharge cycles. If you charge your iPod this way 2-3 times a week, it could take less than 3 years for you to get to this point.)
    • You've done the Apple test to accurately determine battery life and your iPod doesn't measure up to the stats on the chart.

    As the Apple test appears to be charge up your iPod and get it to play continuously until the battery runs out, and see how long it lasts, the first sign is probably the best one to look out for.

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    Changing Batteries

    There are four options to consider when changing iPod batteries:

    • Buy a new one and replace it yourself - these batteries often come with a longer warranty can be higher quality batteries than the original. To buy a replacement battery for an iPod classic (original battery 600mAh) costs $29 with tools (for a 1200mAh battery), $15 with no tools (for a 750mAh battery). Nano batteries are usually sold at the same power as the original (350mAh), and cost $30.
    • Buy a new one from a company that will replace it for you - Approximate cost : Classic $43/ Nano $49, plus shipping.
    • Use Apple's iPod battery replacement program. Presuming your iPod is out of warranty, the following charges for changing iPod batteries will apply: $49 Shuffle, $59 Classic, Mini & Nano, $79 iPod touch - plus $6.95 shipping
    • Use an external iPod battery (see below).

    It seems a popular held belief that replacing the iPod shuffle battery isn't worth the time and money, and I would say the charge from Apple would bear this out, as the latest iPod Nano currently retails at around $50.

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    External iPod batteries may sounds like a tempting option, but just how good are they? Find out the advantages and disadvantages of using them, and how much one is likely to cost you. Tips on extending your iPod battery life are also included here.
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    External Battery Power

    External iPod batteries are a great idea for the following situations:IPod-Nano-5G-ends 

    • For long flights or road trips when you have no way of charging your iPod.
    • As a backup battery option when you've overestimated how much battery time is left.
    • If your internal iPod battery is losing charge quickly and you need something to tide you over until you can afford a new iPod.

    External iPod batteries clip into the bottom of your iPod using the USB slot. You can get up to 30 hours extra music playback and 6 hours of video, depending on which size of battery you choose. They work on the iPod touch, and five generations of the iPod classic, but most only work up to the 3rd generation iPod Nano so it's worth checking this out before you order. External batteries don't work with iPod shuffles. Approximate cost $15-40 depending on battery size.

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    Extend Your Battery Life

    Now your batteries are all juiced up, you'll want to keep them that way for as long as possible. Here are some iPod Tips and Tricks to help you extend the battery life of your iPod :

    • Set the "hold" switch when you aren't using your iPod to prevent accidental usage.
    • If you have an iPod touch, change your settings to fetch data (emails, etc.), manually.
    • Change the backlight settings to prevent it from being "always on".
    • Use the "EQ" function on songs less frequently. This information isn't contained within the song itself (it uses the iPod processor), so uses up battery life. Turn EQ to "off" or "flat".
    • If your iPod has this feature, then turn the "energy saver" to "on" (found in the settings menu). This works by shutting down the whole screen when you aren't using the controls, while rather than just the backlight.
    • Use the "set volume" function to a lower volume. Playing back songs at a higher volume also consumes more of the iPod battery.
    • Playing iPod games, and anything else that keeps the screen on for a lengthy amount of time, will also use your iPod battery more quickly.
    • Charge your iPod batteries at room temperature and don't leave it in a case when you are recharging, as this can generate excess heat which again, can affect iPod battery life.

    Whether it's time to start changing iPod batteries, use external batteries, or just extend the life of the iPod battery a bit longer, using the tips and advice above will ensure you can enjoy your iPod for years to come - or at least until a new one comes out that you just can't resist!

    Prices quoted are approximate and correct as of 16 July 2010.

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    Image Credits

    Internal view of iPod - Brucedes: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ipod_mini_drive.jpg

    iPod ends - Lubyanka: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IPod-Nano-5G-ends.png