Thursday, July 02, 2009

Can This iPod Mini Be Saved? Yes!

I'm having a happy moment - I just replaced the battery in my ipod mini.

This is the ipod that I swim with, but one day this spring, I neglected to close the waterproof case before entering the pool. Took me half a length to figure out what was wrong. By then, the ipod had drowned. At first the display would show but the click wheel didn't work so it wouldn't play. It wasn't very interested in charging, either. Eventually the display disappeared as well, but I was hoping that was due to dead battery, not forever dead ipod.

Kent went right to the internet to research what to do. I also sent out a few tweets requesting advice. Based on what we read, I put it directly beneath the air conditioner so the condenser do its thing. We also gently blow dried it, but it didn't look good. However, people online said to give it lots of time.

I don't remember how long we waited, but I think it was after a few weeks that the ipod showed signs of convalescing. One of our attempts to charge it made the Apple logo appear on the screen. However, both the charger and the ipod became hot which I figured was a Bad Thing. We let it rest some more.

A week or two later, Kent was able to plug it into a computer and add music it it. However, the click wheel didn't spin so you could only play what it wanted to play and you couldn't adjust the volume.

At long last, (I think it was approximately two months after the accident) the click wheel began working again. The battery also quit heating up. However, the battery life was very short. Kent did some research and found that replacement batteries were easy to come by, so I brought the ipod back to the US with me when I made my summer visit.

I've been home in the USA for two and a half weeks. I listen to the mini on my Logitech speakers and in my car using the FM digital transmitter I've had for years. Both devices charge it while I listen to it. I can also use it for approximately 30 minutes on its own before the battery is completely dead and the ipod loses its memory. The ipod had made such an amazing recovery that I decided it was worth investing in a new battery.

I did some research online. Originally I was going to get a more powerful battery that would last longer. However, those are thicker than the old battery and a few people wrote that cracked the display or crushed the circuitry when they reassembled the ipod.

Based on that information, I opted for a replacement battery the same size as the original. After reading more reviews, I went with the Sonnet Technologies' Battery for iPod. I ordered it from for around $21.00. It came with a Phillips screw driver, a flat head screw driver and a prying tool. Reviewers had warned that the prying tool wasn't up to the task of getting the end cap off, but since Kent had already opened the ipod numerous times, that part of the process wasn't so hard.

Although the battery came with an instructional CD-ROM, reviewers hadn't found it terribly helpful, stating that better were to be found on You Tube. I Googled "How to replace an ipod mini battery" and found a great tutorial in the forums that was created by It was clear, showed each step, and was full of helpful tips.

After watching it through, I grabbed my ipod and watched again, stopping the video as needed. I didn't notice the time when I started, but I suspect it took only ten or fifteen minutes from start to finish. It was a great feeling when I turned it on and the Apple logo appeared on the screen. It is charging right now. I hope this gives me more time with this trusty device.

So, despite my lack of experience doing this sort of thing, I recommend it to anyone with an aging ipod mini. Of course, you do this replacement at your own risk. I hope it goes as well for you. Let me know how it goes.

Photo by Jason Prini.