How to Restore (or Replace) Your Beloved iPod

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When Apple quietly announced the end of the iPod earlier this month, some of you became nostalgic for the digitally encoded soundtrack of your youth. Others were quick to tell us how your old mp3 players still work like they did in 2004. And a surprising number of you had questions.

How do I remove all items from my iPod? Does Apple still fix these issues? And, most important to some, what are we supposed to listen to now?

In this week’s edition of Ask Help Desk, we tackled these issues and hopefully convince a few people to crack open their iPods for fun. And if you have a tech dilemma yourself that you’re trying to solve, don’t be shy: email [email protected], or fill in this form. We’re all watching them, I promise.

Now let’s move on to this week’s questions.

Prepare for the worst: I love my iPod, so what will replace it if it breaks? I have movies (which I made) and tons of music, more than I keep on my computer. And I don’t like my iPhone, so I probably won’t use it for music. [I’m] also old school when it comes to streaming – I just don’t want to pay for it.

Tori, Granville, Texas.

If it helps, Tori, you’re definitely not the only person who still loves their iPod. And your question touches on two fascinating topics that other people have written about as well. Let’s take them in order.

Recovering your old music and movies

It is quite possible to remove media from iPod, even the oldest ones. The process can be a little tricky, though – whether you’re using a Mac or PC, you’ll need to make sure your computer can show hidden files and dig into the file structure store on your iPod. Once successful, you can drag and drop your files directly to your computer, even if it’s not the iPod you’re using at the time.

But, if you’re willing to pay a little, there’s an easier way. I spent the weekend trying a handful of apps that claimed to easily migrate iPods to PC or Mac, some of which even failed to recognize a connected mp3 player. (Here’s looking at you, AnyTrans.) But one app, called iMazing, worked like a charm.

If you’re only looking for a handful of tracks and movies, you might not need the service at all – iMazing lets you transfer 50 files from iPod to computer for free. More than that, and you’ll have to shell out some cash; the company’s one-time fee starts at $34.99 for use with a single Apple device and increases depending on how many iPods you want to use.

Find a replacement music player

I know it seems like the world has given up on mp3 players, but that’s not quite true. Sony still makes Walkman-branded portable music players, and SanDisk – a company best known for making storage chips for other gadgets – also offers a range of tiny ‘Clip’ music machines.

The problem? Unless you can find a good deal on a Sony, most affordable models are a bit junk. And the ones that play — and sound — like rock stars can cost more than most people expect. This viewer of a media player of Korean brand Astell & will set you back $749, and it’s the cheapest they make.

So here is what I would recommend. For years, LG – arguably the company best known for TVs and home appliances – has made smartphones that sound wonderful with the right headphones. The secret? They were pretty much the only company to put quality DACs or digital-to-analog converters in their devices.

My site friends Android Authority do a great job unpacking the geeky details, but long story short, some LG phones – like any of its V-series phones, or the G7 or newer – make excellent music machines. And from LG smartphones basically tanked in the US, you can find these devices on sites like eBay for a relative steal. (That is, until supplies finally start to dwindle.) Either way, once you have one in hand, just move your music to the phone, and voila: you basically have an iPod Touch that plays music better than the real deal.

Alternatively, you can do your best to spruce up your current iPod to make it last longer, something another reader was keenly interested in.

Bringing a classic back to life: I still have an iPod classic which, unlike many other Apple products I’ve owned over the years, broke down in about a year. Would love to get it working again as new cars don’t have CD players and my CD collection is huge. Where can I have it repaired? Does Apple still take care of repairs if it has discontinued the devices?

—Chris Dortch, Chattanooga, Tenn.

As you probably guessed, Chris, Apple officially considers your iPod obsolete. In practical terms, that means two things: first, Apple won’t even bother trying to fix it for you. And second, Apple says on his site that authorized service shops cannot even order spare parts for these products (apart from some rare circumstances, anyway).

With that in mind, I’d say you have a few options. You can, for example, scour Chattanooga to find local repair shops that might be willing to take on the case. Most of these outfits tend to work with smartphones, tablets, and computers, but you might get lucky. Failing that, the ubreakifix repair chain offers a mail-in repair service and always seems to fix older iPods like the one you own.

But if you’ve got even the first spurt of interest in DIY, you might want to try fixing your iPod yourself. There’s no shortage of how-to videos to help you understand how to replace potentially problematic parts. (Some of them, like this one from Australian YouTuber DankPodsmanage to be funny and complete.)

And if highly visual step-by-step guides are more your style, iFixit’s collection of guides is hard to beat.)

And with the right parts – say, a bigger battery and a adapter that replaces aging hard drives with easy-to-find SD cards — your iPod classic could perform much better in 2022 than Apple ever imagined.

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