Q: I have a brand new iPod nano and I cannot get iTunes to recognize it. Do these things only work with a USB 2.0 port? My computer knows the iPod is plugged in, but iTunes does not. The only other thing I can think of is that I am using iTunes 9.0 and not the latest version, however when I try to upgrade, I get an error message. I had a first-generation iPod nano which worked fine but when they were recalled recently Apple sent me a new one instead, but it’s useless if my iTunes wont recognize it. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

– Julie

A: The sixth-generation iPod nano does in fact require iTunes 10 or later, as indicated in the tech specs on Apple’s iPod nano product page.

Apple usually releases a new version of iTunes whenever it announces new iPods or iOS devices, and as a rule this is the minimum version of iTunes required for that hardware. The sixth-generation iPod nano debuted in the fall of 2010, at the same time as iTunes 10 was originally released. Note that this same principle applies to new iOS versions for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The system requirements do indicate that a USB 2.0 port is required, although in this case the iPod nano should still technically work with older USB 1.1 ports, since the USB 2.0 standard is backward-compatible. However you will definitely find that transfer speeds are slower if you are actually still using the older standard, although they certainly won’t be any different than your old iPod nano was using the same ports.

The bottom line, however, is that you will need to upgrade iTunes to at least version 10. The system requirements for iTunes 10 for Windows are not significantly different than for iTunes 9, so you shouldn’t have any problem in that regard; as long as you’re using at least Windows XP SP2 you should be able to install iTunes 10 without any problems.

If the actual update process is giving you an error, then try uninstalling iTunes completely. You won’t lose any of your data or settings in the process—the “iTunes” folder and all of your media is left untouched by the uninstallation. You can then download a fresh copy of the latest version of iTunes from http://www.itunes.com and install it from scratch. When you first start up iTunes 10 it should automatically pick up your existing iTunes library, upgrade it for the latest version and you should then be able to plug in your iPod nano and sync it using the new version.