iPod Battery Replacement: Generations 1 - 3

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You can fully recharge lithium-ion batteries, such as the one inside the iPod, 300 to 450 times before they give up the ghost. When that ghost is gone, you need a new battery. For $99, Apple will replace the battery in an out-of-warranty iPod. iPodResQ will do it for $79. PDASmart will replace battery for $68, and Small Dog Electronics will tackle battery replacement on third-generation iPods for $50.

Or you can procure a battery and service the iPod on your own. iPodResQ, PDASmart, Small Dog Electronics, Laptops for Less, and Unity Electronics offer battery-replacement kits priced at $29 and higher. Along with the battery, these companies includes tools for opening the iPod and instructions for doing so.

If your iPod is still under warranty, return it to Apple rather than fix it yourself. If your iPod is out of warranty, before replacing the battery, reset your battery monitor by completely draining the battery and then recharging it.

First-Generation iPod

1. Press and hold the play button to turn off the iPod. Engage its Hold switch so it won't turn on.

2. Hold the iPod upright, facing you. Take the tool that shipped with your battery-replacement kit, insert it between the FireWire port and that port's symbol, and push forward toward the corner of the iPod. The corner of the back plate should pull slightly away from the front.

3. With the tool wedged between the back case and the front, continue pushing around the corner and down the side of the iPod, working the back plate away from the front. Remove the back plate when it's free.

4. The battery sits just under the back plate, atop the hard drive. It's held in place by sticky pads. To dislodge the battery, you must apply some force. While doing so, hold the hard drive in place with your fingers. If you don't, the hard drive is likely to pull up along with the battery, damaging the hard drive's data connector.

5. Fold the battery away from the iPod so you can access the hard drive without pulling on the thin battery cables.

6. Gently pull the hard drive away from the top of the iPod. When the top and bottom pads are free, detach the hard drive's data connector by grasping it and gently pulling the drive away from the connector.

7. Grasp the battery connector on the circuit board with a pair of needle-nose pliers or a couple of well-honed fingernails and gently pull up to detach it.

8. Using the replacement battery, reassemble the iPod, making sure that the wires of the new battery are out of the way (so the back plate doesn't pinch them).

Second-Generation iPod

The procedure for replacing the battery in a second-generation iPod -- the first iPod to sport a touch-sensitive scroll wheel and the one that also includes a cover for the FireWire port -- is almost the same as the preceding procedure. Here are the differences:

1. The back plate wraps around the top of these iPods, so you can't wedge them open from the top corner. Instead, insert your tool about halfway down the side and then run it around the case.

2. The battery is held in place with a piece of silver tape. Detach this tape from the battery.

3. You can detach the battery connector without removing the hard drive. When you lift the battery away from the hard drive, the connector will be in plain view.

Third-Generation iPod

1. Turn off the iPod, and engage its Hold switch so it doesn't turn on while you're working on it.

2. Hold the iPod flat, with its face up, and insert a very small, thin flathead screwdriver between the metal back and the acrylic lip of the iPod, six centimeters (just less than 2.5 inches) from the top right side of the iPod, creating a space large enough to insert the corner of a credit card.

3. Carefully run the credit card around the edge of the iPod, moving up toward the top left corner first.

4. Push the back plate away slightly to clear the external Hold switch from the internal hold toggle switch. Failing to do this could cause the toggle switch to break.

5. With the headphone port pointed up and the iPod's back toward you, carefully open the iPod's back plate to the right, as though you were turning a page in a book. Don't pull the back plate directly away from the front case; you could damage an internal audio connector.

6. To detach the hard drive, carefully lift up the EMI shield assembly (aka: "the blue rubber thingie"), and detach the data connector that sits beneath the copper tape on the left side of the iPod's circuit board.

7. To remove the battery, detach the power connector in the bottom right corner of the circuit board with needle-nosed pliers, untangle the power cable, and lift out the battery.

8. To reassemble the iPod, reverse these steps using the new battery. Make sure that the external Hold switch is in the same position it was in when you disassembled the iPod (in the Hold position). If it's not, you could snap the internal Hold toggle switch.

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