How Can I Tell If My iPod Is 4th or 5th Generation?


Since the iPod's introduction in 2001, Apple has made significant improvements to the original device. The fourth generation iPod Classic was released in 2004 and discontinued in mid-2005, succeeded by the fifth generation of iPods. The fifth generation iPod Classic was released in late 2005 and discontinued in 2007. Basic differences between the different iPod generations include controls, capacity and features.

  • Examine the controls on your iPod. Fourth and fifth generation iPods have a single, touch-sensitive click wheel. Earlier iPod devices featured a button-based touch wheel or scroll wheel.

  • Determine the capacity of your iPod. An iPod's capacity is laser engraved on the back of the device. Fourth generation devices were available in 20 GB, 30 GB, 40 GB and 60 GB capacities. Fifth generation iPods were available in 30 GB, 60 GB and 80 GB capacities.

  • Check the color of your iPod. The fourth generation iPod was only available in the color white. The fifth generation iPod was available in either black or white.

  • Evaluate the iPod's features if it has photo display or video playback. If the iPod has a color display and can store and view photos, it is a fourth generation iPod. If the iPod has a color display and can store and play back video, it is a fifth generation iPod.

  • Check the serial number. An iPod's serial number is laser engraved on the back of the device. Fifth generation iPods manufactured in late 2006 have serial numbers that end in the following three digits: V9K, V9P, V9M, V9R, V9L, V9N, V9Q, V9S, WU9, WUA, WUB, WUC and X3N.

  • Examine your iPod to determine if it is a Special Edition iPod. Apple released two special edition iPods: the U2 iPod and the Harry Potter iPod. The U2 iPod had a black front with a red scroll wheel. The back of the device is inscribed with the signatures of the four band members. There were two U2 models: a 20 GB fourth generation click wheel and a 30 GB fifth generation, identifiable with a serial number ending in W9G.

    The Harry Potter special edition was released and based on a standard fourth or fifth edition model with the Hogwarts logo inscribed on the back. The Harry Potter fourth generation was available only with a 20 GB drive, while the Harry Potter fifth generation iPod has a 30 GB hard drive.

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