Listening to videos and battery life
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I like to play video concerts on my iPod just for the music, but the video drains the battery too fast. If I set the the iPod to TV out so that the video doesn’t show up on the screen, will this extend the battery life?
A: This will extend the battery life, although on a hard-drive based iPod it will not be as much of an increase as you might expect.
The two major sources of battery drain on the iPod classic and prior models of hard-drive based iPod are the LCD backlight and the hard drive. Setting your videos to play audio only via the “TV Output” option will increase battery life by preventing the backlight from turning on, but will still have an impact on the hard drive.
The problem is that the hard-drive based iPod models conserve battery power through the use of a memory buffer—when listening to a playlist, the hard drive spins up, loads a certain amount of data into the buffer, and then spins down and goes to sleep. This means that most of the time the iPod is playing music from the memory buffer rather than accessing the hard drive. Since the buffer is a finite size, however, the larger the original source track, the less information the buffer can contain—therefore the hard drive has to be read more often to refill the buffer.
For normal 128kbps music tracks, the buffer can hold approximately 30-60 minutes of music on a fifth-generation iPod or iPod classic. However, a video file is significantly larger, and even if you are not playing the video portion of the file, it still needs to be read into the iPod’s buffer. The result is that the hard drive needs to spin up considerably more often—generally every 5-10 minutes depending upon the bit-rate of the source video itself.
This same scenario applies to higher bit-rate audio tracks. For example, Apple Lossless and AIFF tracks have a dramatic effect on battery life as compared to 128kbps MP3/AAC tracks.
So while you will see some battery savings from not having the backlight on, the increased hard drive access is still going to drain your battery at a much faster rate than if you were listening to audio tracks.
If battery life is a primary concern, you may want to consider extracting the audio portion of these video tracks and transferring it to your iPod as a separate audio-only track. There are a number of video/audio editing tools out there that can be used to accomplish this for non-DRM-protected videos.
Note that this will not be a factor on flash-based iPod models such as the 2007 iPod nano (with video), or the iPod touch or iPhone. These models have no hard drive and are therefore more power-efficient in this regard. Unfortunately, these models also do not offer the ability to enable the TV Output feature without connecting a compatible accessory. If you tag your tracks as “Music Videos” and fill in the artist/album track info, you will be able to access them through the iPod’s “Music” menu to listen to the audio portion only. This avoids the need to enable the “TV Output” feature when you only want to listen to the audio, although it unfortunately does not change the way in which the iPod reads in the track information, since the video information must still be read in to play back the audio.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Honeywell debuts Lyric T5 HomeKit-enabled smart thermostat
- Executives talk Apple Music successes and failures
- Apple Q4 earnings call set for October 27
- Sonos speakers available on Apple’s online store today, in Apple Stores next month
- Apple lacks lobbying power in fight with EU
- Apple to offer ‘Spoken Editions’ of written content from top publishers
- Apple working to turn HealthKit into diagnosis tool
- Hackers expose security flaw in iOS 10’s local backups
- Apple releases iOS 10.0.2 to fix headphone controls, iCloud Photo Library
- Report: Apple’s Siri home hub has reached the prototype stage
- 808 Audio XS Sport Rugged Wireless Speaker
- Mass Fidelity Core Bluetooth Speaker
- Thought Out Simplex Tablet iPad Stand
- SmartX Galaxy ZEGA Starter Kit
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case
- Apple Watch Series 2
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Twelve South HiRise 2 for iPhone + iPad
- Nomad Pod Pro for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Sevenhugs hugOne Sleep Monitoring System
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps