Why Does My iPod's LCD Monitor Flicker?


Apple's ubiquitous line of personal audio devices includes its iPod Classic, Touch, Nano and Shuffle models. With the sole exception of the iPod Shuffle, all these music players use a liquid crystal display, or LCD, to generate the pictures and colors you see on your screen. But if you have a problematic backlight that flickers or goes out altogether, you'll be left — literally — in the dark.

iPod Backlight

  • All LCD screens — including those used on Apple's iPods — are transmissive; this means they cannot self-illuminate and require a third-party backlight to illuminate the colors and images on the screen. The iPod Touch, Classic and Nano all use LCD screens illuminated by an LED backlight. The standard lifespan for an LED backlight is roughly 50,000 viewing hours. This means if you kept your LED backlight on your iPod turned on 24/7, it would last more than five years. A flickering screen is the first sign of backlight failure.

Brightness Setting

  • A flickering backlight can also be a sign of something far less severe than backlight failure. Check your iPod's brightness setting to ensure that its LED backlight is providing enough power to fully illuminate all parts of your LCD screen. Adjust the brightness setting by selecting "Settings," then "Brightness" from inside your iPod's main menu. You can use your iPod's touch screen or click wheel to increase or decrease the brightness.

Power Supply Problems

  • If your backlight continues to flicker, it could be a sign that it isn't receiving enough power. Your iPod charges whenever it is plugged into a syncing device, like your computer or laptop, or into an AC power adapter. Inspect the power port on the bottom of your iPod to make sure there is no dirt or debris obstructing it; likewise, inspect any cables you use to charge your iPod for damage that could impede the charging process. Even if these cables and ports are working properly, a dying battery could also cause a flickering backlight. Conserve your battery's life by switching on its "Hold" switch when it isn't in use; you can also change your backlight's settings by selecting "Backlight Timer" from the "Settings" menu. Adjusting this feature automatically turns your backlight off after a set period of time, conserving energy.

Apple's Replacement Policy

  • Apple offers a comprehensive one-year limited warranty on all of its iPods. If your backlight fails while your iPod is still covered under Apple's one-year limited warranty, Apple will replace it for free. Additionally, if you determine your iPod's battery is unable to hold a charge during this one-year period, that is also covered under your original warranty. However, Apple may refuse to replace your iPod if there are any indications you tampered with the unit.

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