iPods, USB 1 and 2 compatibility, what do I need?


Q: I just bought the 2nd gen 4GB Ipod mini. The sales person said it would not work without a USB 2 port. After looking on iLounge, I see that there is conflicting info regarding the use of USB 1 with iPods. Your answer in the 1/27/05 Ask IPodlounge article confirms that USB 1 will work with the mini. Is this still the case with the 2nd gen Minis ? If so, is there a chance that this will hurt my Mini or void the warranty?

– Neil Cikins

A: As you mention, we covered this in the Ask iLounge column on January 27, 2005. Nevertheless, since this question comes up often, we’ll answer it again.

Any iPod model that works with USB 2 can also work with USB 1. The differences between the two are the data transfer rate (it will take much longer to sync your music using USB 1, especially the first time if you have a large library, or any time you add a lot of music to your library), and that the iPod will not charge from a typical USB 1 port. A powered USB 2 port will charge the iPod. So if you buy a new iPod and only have a USB 1 port, make sure to buy a Power Adapter as well. Alternatively, if your computer allows you to add a PCI card, you can get a USB 2 card to add to it.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.