How Do iPods Work?


What's in an iPod?

  • With the ever-increasing variety of iPods on the market, the exact specs of each part differ depending on which iPod you have. However, they all have these essential elements: Hard drive, Apple click wheel or touch screen, display, battery, microprocessor, video chip, and audio chip. The battery is a lithium chargeable battery that looks quite similar to a cell phone battery. The motherboard inside an iPod is similar to a super tiny version of a PC motherboard. HowStuffWorks has some great images of the inside of a 30 GB video iPod.

Music and Videos

  • iPods compress music and video files using codes. This allows you to upload a huge amount of data into such a tiny device. The audio and video chips inside the iPod translate the highly compressed files, so you can enjoy your music and videos. All iPods use an operating system, currently called Pixo OS. Much like Windows or Mac OS X runs on your computer, Pixo controls iPod functions and processes.
    iTunes is iPod's jukebox software. It is made specifically for use with iPods, so it's very easy to use and beginner-friendly. Some people love all the automatic features of iTunes, while others despise it. Whether your like it or not will usually depend on how much control you like to have over your music library and player.


  • Even though Apple makes the iPod, it is compatible with Windows or Mac systems. The average user must use iTunes to sync their iPod, that is to load it with music, videos and games. There are alternative versions of software that allow iPod owners a lot more freedom with how they choose to use their music. Winamp and Yamipod are good options. Yamipod is especially useful if you accidentally delete music files from your computer, but don't want to loose them forever. iTunes only backs up music you've purchased from the iTunes store. If you have ripped your CDs or otherwise gotten mp3s that aren't backed by iTunes, then syncing your iPod will result in permanent loss of those files. Software like Yamipod allows you to look at your music files as though they're just on an external hard drive.

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  • Photo Credit diana doherty
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