External batteries

Q: Does anyone offer an external battery that an iPod can dock into offering extended playback times?  My 30 GB 5G iPod gives me acceptable battery life, but nowhere near what’s needed for extended uses like airport terminals and longer flights.

– Al

A: Yes, there are a number of viable options for iPod battery packs, almost all of which simply connect to the Dock Connector on the iPod and provide power in much the same way as an external AC adaptor or USB cable would.

These battery packs generally fit into two broad categories: Those that are an external rechargeable battery, and those that simply provide an interface for normal consumer replaceable (AA/AAA) batteries.

For most purposes, the AA and AAA battery chargers are the most practical, as you can simply buy batteries at any number of convenient locations to replace them with, rather than having to find somewhere to charge an external battery pack.

The extended life offered by these devices varies, of course, but for video playback, a standard four AA battery pack adapter will generally provide an additional 10 hours of audio playback or 3-4 hours of video playback time, on top of the iPod’s internal battery.

It should also be noted that despite connecting to the Dock Connector, these battery packs do not actually charge the iPod’s internal battery, rather they only provide external power to allow the iPod to continue to operate.

When using an external battery pack, the power will be drained from the external battery pack first, and the iPod will then switch back over to its internal battery once the external batteries are drained.

You can find more details on the available options in our iPod Battery Reviews section.