Breathing new life into an old iPod with a few thoughtful upgrades

Editor’s opinion: Streaming services may seem like the holy grail for music delivery, but they have their drawbacks. Recurring fees can add up, and flexible licensing agreements mean content comes and goes without warning. Also, there is no guarantee that your provider will have everything you want, especially if you prefer more obscure ringtones. What happens if an artist you like gets in a fight with an ISP?

There are two points of view when upgrading an old iPod: upgrade it to make it compatible with music streaming services like Spotify, or… make it more like an iPod. Ellie Huxtable chose the second path.

A software engineer recently started updating the 5th generation iPod Video for 2022. Huxtable chose this model because of the plastic front and the fact that it was the last DAC from Wolfson. Armed with various guides from i fix it and an iPod tool kit, the first step was to break open the case and remove the 80 GB hard drive.

Huxtable replaced the spinning disk drive with iFlash Quad, which is a microSD adapter with four microSD card slots for iPod. It can be used in standard mode with one card, or with a full set of cards in JBOD mode (just a set of disks) for more storage capacity.

The adapter consumes less power than an HDD or SSD. Plus, it generates less heat than any of the aforementioned drive types, and it’s thinner, which means you can cram in a larger battery – wins all over.

Speaking of battery, Huxtable picked up a 3000 mAh unit from eBay. Also received from eBay is a transparent front panel and a new rear case reflecting the upgraded storage capacity.

Everything zipped up with no problem. Huxtable quickly installed Rockbox and a theme called “FreshOS” for a more modern look. As an added bonus, the iPod no longer needs to be connected to iTunes – it simply mounts as an external drive, so files can be easily copied.

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