My battery is dying, repair or replace

Q: There are at least 2 things wrong with my iPod. One is that the battery doesn’t seem to last for more than a few hours at a time – nothing like the amount it should. Also, it refuses to be recognized by any computer. Is it worth paying to have it serviced by Apple or is it worth buying a new iPod? The one I have now is not in warranty.

– Catherine

A: There could be a number of things wrong with your iPod, given the symptoms you describe. If the iPod is old, the battery will lose its ability to hold a charge. As for it not being recognized, this could be caused by an internal problem, a bad cable, or ever a problem with your computer or the interface you use to connect it (USB or FireWire).

The first thing to do is back up your music – make sure you have a copy of all your music on your computer. Then, manually reset the iPod. (See this article for instructions.)

If your iPod is still not recognized, connect it to your computer anyway, then run the iPod Software Updater – in some cases, the updater will recognize the iPod even if it is not actually mounted. If so, use the updater’s Restore function to erase and reset the iPod. (Remember that note about backing up your music files… This procedure erases everything on your iPod.)

If this solves your problem, then you’ve been saved. Also, in some cases, iPod users find they have better battery life after running a Restore procedure. If this doesn’t solve your problem, then it’s more serious. You should try and connect it to someone else’s computer first, to determine if the problem is caused by your computer or by the iPod or cable. If this doesn’t give you an answer, then it’s time to consider service, or a new iPod (depend on how old yours is, and how much the service will cost).

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.
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