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Archived - iPod: Frequently Asked Questions

Learn the answers to some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding iPod.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
  1. Is iPod compatible with my computer?
  2. How do I tell which iPod I have?
  3. What music (jukebox) software do I need on my computer to use iPod?
  4. How do I transfer music between my computer and iPod?
  5. I have a computer at home and one at work. Can I update my iPod music collection from more than one computer?
  6. Can I update more than one iPod with my computer?
  7. I have both a Mac and a PC. Will my iPod work on both?
  8. Can I use my existing iPod for Mac on a PC, or my iPod for Windows on a Mac?
  9. Can I use iPod while running, or doing other activities? Will my music skip?
  10. How does iPod provide skip protection?
  11. How much music does iPod hold?
  12. What if my music collection exceeds the storage capacity of iPod?
  13. Will music sound as good on my iPod as on my CD player?
  14. What is the equalization (EQ) feature on iPod?
  15. Can I standardize the volume for all the music tracks in my MP3 player?
  16. What audio formats does iPod work with?
  17. What is Audible?
  18. Can I connect iPod to my home stereo?
  19. Can I connect iPod to my car stereo?
  20. How long does the battery last?
  21. How do I charge iPod?
  22. Can iPod charge while my computer is asleep?
  23. How does the hard drive feature of iPod work?
  24. Can I start up my computer using iPod?
  25. Is there a clock on my iPod?
  26. How do I add contacts and notes to my iPod?
  27. How do I update my calendar on my iPod?
  28. How long does my iPod service warranty last?
  29. How long is iPod complimentary telephone support?
  30. Where do I find help for my iPod?
  31. How do I clean iPod?
  32. What iPod accessories can I purchase?

Using iPod with your computer

Question: Is iPod compatible with my computer?
Answer: iPod is compatible with Macintosh computers running Mac OS X and PCs running Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
For additional information, see iPod: System Requirements.

Question: How do I tell which iPod I have?
Answer: It's easy to see which iPod model you have. Some of the things you can do include checking if it has a scroll wheel, a touch wheel, or a Click Wheel and checking the size of its hard drive. See Identifying different iPod models for more details.

Question: What music (jukebox) software do I need on my computer to use iPod?
Answer: iPod comes with iTunes for Macintosh and iTunes for Windows.

iPod is fully integrated with iTunes. iTunes allows you to "rip" tracks from CDs into MP3 or AAC format and organize your music library by creating playlists. And every time you plug iPod into your computer, your music library--complete with playlists--is automatically transferred over FireWire or USB 2.0. See the iTunes website for upgrades to iTunes.

Question: How do I transfer music between my computer and iPod?
Answer: iPod offers multiple ways to transfer music from your computer. You can set the transfer mode in iTunes 7 or later by selecting the iPod icon in the source pane to reveal the iPod settings. The following modes can be configured on the iPod:

  • Automatically update all songs and playlists. This is the default mode, in which your entire music library, including playlists, is automatically synced to your iPod. If the music library on your computer exceeds the iPod storage capacity, iTunes will offer to choose a selection of songs to sync to iPod.
  • Automatically update selected playlists. With this option, iTunes automatically copies only the playlists you have selected to iPod when you connect it to the computer. This option can be selected by accessing the Music tab of the iPod settings.
  • Manually manage music. You can also choose to transfer music to iPod manually. This allows you to drag and drop individual songs and playlists from iTunes to iPod. You can find this option by accessing the Summmary tab of the iPod settings.

Question: I have a computer at home and one at work. Can I update my iPod music collection from more than one computer?

Answer: Yes. When you first connect iPod to your computer, iPod recognizes that computer as its "home" computer. Each time you connect, iPod automatically downloads the music library stored on it. When you connect iPod to a different computer, iTunes will inform you that iPod is linked to a different iTunes library and will ask whether you wish to erase iPod's contents and sync with the new computer's library. If you will be connecting to multiple computers frequently, configure your iPod to manually manage music. This will allow you to selectively drag songs, albums, or playlists from the second computer to your iPod without compromising the existing music.

Synchronization generally occurs only in one direction, from your computer to your iPod. This means you typically cannot transfer music, automatically or manually, from your iPod to a computer, and you cannot use iPod to copy a music library from one computer to another. An exception to this is the transfer purchases feature which allows you to restore purchased iTunes content to your computer from your iPod. Additionally, if you legally are allowed to copy music or other media files, you can configure your iPod as a storage drive to move media files.

Question: Can I update more than one iPod with my computer?
Answer: Yes. Each iPod communicates a unique device identification number to your computer, allowing you to take advantage of automatic music transfers to your iPod even if you share a computer with another iPod user. You can choose to automatically update your entire music collection on multiple iPod players or choose to update selected playlists, allowing you to transfer custom playlists to individual iPod players.

Question: I have both a Mac and a PC. Will my iPod work on both?
Answer: No, not at the same time. iPod is configured for either Mac or PC. You can use iTunes 7 or later to restore iPod to work with a Mac or a PC. See "Restoring iPod to factory settings" for more information. Note: Using the iPod for Mac on a PC, or using the iPod for Windows on a Mac, is not supported by Apple. FAT32 is the format used by Windows, and while some FAT32 iPod models may work with your Mac, Apple only supports using the iPod shuffle in FAT32 format on Mac. For more information see the iPod shuffle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Question: Can I use an iPod formatted for Mac on a PC, or an iPod formatted for Windows on a Mac?

Answer: It is not possible to use an iPod formatted for Mac with Windows. This is because Windows does not support the HFS Plus file system and therefore will not see the drive. When you connect an iPod formatted for Mac to your PC, iTunes will prompt you to restore the iPod.

iTunes will allow you to use an iPod formatted for Windows on a Mac; however, Apple currently only supports using the iPod shuffle in FAT32 format on Mac. For more information see the iPod shuffle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Skip Protection

Question: Can I use iPod while running, or doing other activities? Will my music skip?
Answer: iPod was designed for people with an active lifestyle. It is compact and lightweight enough to take with you wherever you go. It was designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand or to be slipped into a pocket or purse for easy transport. iPod offers up to 20 minutes of skip protection — twice that of other hard drive-based MP3 players on the market — so you can enjoy outdoor athletic activities without missing a beat. Also check out the skip-free iPod shuffle and iPod nano.

Question: How does iPod provide skip protection?
Answer: In addition to the hard drive, iPod has a memory cache. It is made up of solid-state memory, meaning that it has no mechanical or moving parts, so it is not affected by movement of the device. iPod skip protection works by preloading up to 25 minutes of music to the cache at a time. iPod plays music from the memory cache rather than the hard drive, so even rigorous activities won't cause music to skip.

Storage

Question: How much music does iPod hold?
Answer: iPod comes in many storage capacities from 512 MB to 80 GB.2 The amount of music iPod can hold depends on the compression rate of your songs. At 128 kilobits per second (kbit/s), the most common compression rate used for MP3s, 20 GB is equivalent to over 5000 four-minute songs, or more than 500 CDs. At the near-CD-quality 160 kbit/s compression rate, 20 GB equals over 4000 four-minute songs, or 400 CDs.

iPod shuffle includes capacities of 512 MB and 1 GB for up to 120 or 240 AAC format songs respectively.

Question: What if my music collection exceeds the storage capacity of iPod?
Answer: If you have more music in iTunes than you can fit on iPod, you can choose to update selected playlists only or update manually. With the first option, only the tracks in the selected playlists (rather than the entire music library) are downloaded to iPod when you connect. With the manual update option, you manage what goes into your iPod by dragging and dropping selected songs or playlists into iPod.

Audio

Question: Will music sound as good on my iPod as on my CD player?
Answer: iPod is designed to provide the best-quality sound. iPod has a powerful 60 mW amplifier so it can deliver audio as loud as you want. It also has a 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, which means you can hear distortion-free music at the lowest or highest pitches. Even the iPod headphones are designed to give you the best-quality sound. The earbud-style headphones rely on Neodymium transducers, a rare earth magnet that significantly enhances frequency response and overall sound quality. Most other headphones use aluminum, cobalt, or ceramic drivers; at the same size, the Neodymium driver is five times as powerful. Because the strength of the driver increases the accuracy of the sound, the iPod headphones provide a high-energy listening experience while minimizing distortion.

To ensure CD-quality sound, be sure to use a compression setting of 160 kbit/s (the default setting in iTunes) or higher when you "rip" tracks from your CD into MP3 format, or 128 kbit/s in MP4 format (AAC).

Question: What is the equalization (EQ) feature on iPod?
Answer: An equalizer allows you to adjust various audio frequencies within the sound spectrum (much like the bass and treble controls on a stereo system). Equalization can be used to optimize audio playback for a specific room, genre of music, or individual's listening preference. The iPod comes standard with over 20 equalization presets, such as Jazz, Rock, or Bass Booster. Choose your EQ preset in the Settings menu.

Question: Can I standardize the volume for all the music tracks in my MP3 player?
Answer: Music CDs are all mastered differently, with large discrepancies in volume between songs on different albums. With iPod for the Mac, you can standardize the volume of all the songs in your music library with the Sound Check feature in iTunes 3 or later. You can turn Sound Check on or off by choosing Sound Check in Settings in the main iPod menu.

Question: What audio formats does iPod work with?
Answer:

  • Mac: AAC (up to 320 kbit/s), MP3 (up to 320 kbit/s), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, AIFF, Audible.
  • Windows: AAC (up to 320 kbit/s), MP3 (up to 320 kbit/s), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, Audible.

For additional information see "iPod: About compatible song formats". Click here for iPod shuffle compatible formats.

Question: What is Audible?
Answer: Audible is a service that provides digital spoken versions of over 18,000 audiobooks and audio programs such as daily digests of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, iPod can play the Audible format. You can listen to Audible files using iTunes 4 or download them to your iPod for listening on the go.

Using iPod in Your Home and in Your Car

Question: Can I connect iPod to my home stereo?
Answer: Yes. With its powerful 60 mW amplifier and 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, iPod will sound great on your home stereo. Third-party stereo adapters are available for listening to your iPod music library using home stereo speakers. Compatible devices must be self-powered and support audio output through a 3.5 mm headphone jack. For optimal sound quality when using external speakers, set the iPod volume at less than half the maximum output and adjust your listening volume through your stereo controls. This prevents overamplification, which can cause distortion and reduce audio quality.

Question: Can I connect iPod to my car stereo?
Answer: Yes. iPod will also sound great on your car stereo. Use an extension cable with 3.5 mm stereo connectors on each end to connect iPod to your car stereo system's auxiliary input, or use a cassette adapter if your car stereo doesn't have a sound input port. These items can be purchased at stores that sell car stereo accessories, or at the Apple Store.

Battery

Question: How long does the battery last?

Answer: The built-in rechargeable battery provides between 8-20 hours of music playtime3 depending on your iPod model. See "Accurately determine your iPod battery life" for more specific information.

Question: How do I charge iPod?
Answer: There are three ways to recharge the built-in battery. First, use the 6-pin FireWire cable or high-power USB cable that came with iPod and connect it to your computer. Note: Only certain iPod models will charge directly over USB (iPod shuffle, iPod mini, and Fifth Generation iPod). Second, If you use the 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire cable or if you don't have access to your computer, you can charge iPod from a standard electrical outlet an AC power adapter. Third, if you have an iPod with a dock connector and have a dock, just place iPod into its dock.

If you are a frequent traveler, you can purchase the World Travel Adapter Kit, a set of "duckheads" with prongs that fit different electrical standards, so you can charge your iPod through any electrical outlet around the world. The World Travel Adapter Kit includes six AC adapter plugs for use in North America, Japan, China, the UK, continental Europe, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Question: Can iPod charge while my computer is asleep?
Answer: Yes, in some cases. If you connect the iPod to your computer by FireWire, and your computer is sleeping and also connected to AC power, in most cases the iPod will charge. If the iPod does not charge when connected this way, either wake the computer or connect the iPod directly to an AC power adapter.

Non-music Features

Question: How does the hard drive feature of iPod work?
Answer: iPod can double as a hard drive for your computer. This allows you to transfer files and applications from your computer to the iPod and take them with you wherever you go. iPod is smart enough to keep your data files separate from your music collection so that they will not be accidentally erased when you are updating your music.
See Using your iPod as a hard disk for more information.

Question: Can I start up my computer using iPod?
Answer: Yes, iPod can be loaded with system software and used as a startup disk for your Mac or to install system software on your Mac. Using iPod to start up your Mac with system software is an unsupported feature. iPod cannot be used to start up a PC.

Question: Is there a clock on my iPod?
Answer: Yes, iPod has a digital clock so you can keep track of the time wherever you go — especially convenient for working out.

Question: How do I add contacts and notes to my iPod?

Answer:

iTunes can automatically transfer contacts stored in Address Book to your iPod. To enable syncing of Address Book contacts:

  1. Open iTunes and connect your iPod to your computer.
  2. Select the iPod icon in the Source pane of iTunes.
  3. Click the Contacts tab.
  4. Select the "Sync Address Book contacts" checkbox.

iPod is also compatible with popular applications such as Microsoft Entourage, Microsoft Outlook, and Palm Desktop.4 Simply export your contacts as vCards into your iPod, and you can access names, phone numbers, and addresses on the go. For instructions on creating notes click here.

Question: How do I update my calendar on my iPod?

Answer: iTunes can automatically transfer calendar data stored in iCal to your iPod. To enable syncing of your iCal calendars:

  1. Open iTunes and connect your iPod to your computer.
  2. Select the iPod icon in the source pane of iTunes.
  3. Click the Contacts tab.
  4. Enable the "Sync iCal calendars" checkbox.

iPod also supports industry-standard iCalendar and vCalendar files, which can be exported by many applications including Microsoft Entourage, Microsoft Outlook, and Palm Desktop. iCal also works with the iPod calendar. Simply drag your iCalendar or vCalendar files to your iPod, and you can access your calendar even when you are away from your computer.

Service and Support

Question: How long does my iPod service warranty last?
Answer: iPod comes with a one-year limited hardware warranty. An AppleCare Protection Plan (APP) for iPod is available. For more information, see the APP for iPod website.

Question: How long is iPod complimentary telephone support?
Answer: Newer iPods come with complimentary telephone support within the first 90 days. The complimentary support offering applies to:

  • iPod classic
  • iPod nano
  • iPod shuffle
  • iPod touch

Question: Where do I find help for my iPod?
Answer: iPod comes with extensive AppleCare built-in service and support, including onscreen help in iTunes, online support via the Apple Support Discussions Forum and Knowledge Base, and 90 days of complimentary phone support.

Question: How do I clean iPod?
Answer: Click here for information on how to clean iPod.

Accessories

Question: What iPod accessories can I purchase?
Answer: A range of Apple and third-party accessories is available to enhance your iPod. For prices and availability, visit the Apple Store.

  • Carrying case with belt clip
  • iPod remote and earphones
  • Extra AC adapter
  • Extra USB or FireWire cables
  • World Travel Adapter Kit
  • Car tape deck adapter
  • Car power adapter
  • Splitter cable

Notes

iPod and iTunes are for legal or rightholder-authorized copying only. Don't steal music.

  1. Capacity based on average song length of 4 minutes and 128 kbit/s encoding, resulting in a 4.8 MB file.
  2. 1 GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less.
  3. Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings.
  4. Not all applications are supported.
Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Article: TA44535
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