iPod repair tips
Everybody loves their iPod, which makes it doubly infuriating when they break down. But before you bin yours, Time Out has some handy repair tips
‘I love it. It can be a nightmare, but I love it.’ This is one of the emails from a teeming mailbox of replies we got when we asked you if you had iPod issues. It’s typical of the love-hate relationship we have with the hugely successful music player. Apple is one of a tiny group of brands that people feel really passionately about, so people are delighted to purchase one (we had no emails complaining about the iPod being anything less than gorgeous) but when things go wrong, they’re majorly pissed off, although Apple claims the failure rate is no more than 5 per cent (not exactly negligible, though Apple points out that some pieces of electronic equipment – like mobile phones – have far higher failure rates). Your complaints ranged from iPods that didn’t stay switched off to headphones that blew, but most issues seemed to concern batteries that wouldn’t recharge (see ‘Further Advice’, below) and iPods that failed just after the warranty expired.
Although nothing can cheer you up when your iPod has gone bad, there’s good news as well. A recent survey of customers by www.macintouch.com found that more recent models seemed more reliable, which is an encouraging trend. But it also found that one model had a notably worse track record than others – deep breath now – the 40GB clickwheel. So if you do have problems, here’s what to do:
First stepsIf your iPod suddenly won’t play ball, or music even, there’s a series of steps to take before you throw it out of the window. First, try resetting your iPod by pressing and holding Menu and Select for up to ten seconds. For iPod Shuffles, switch it off for five seconds. If this doesn’t work, go to www.apple.com/support/ for more tips. If still no luck, it may be something more serious. If the unit is still in warranty (and you can check online by typing your serial number in to the same support page) then you may need to get it repaired. Go to http://depot.info.apple.com/ipod to start the repair process. Apple will send you a box to return the unit and will send you the repaired iPod or a replacement. In our experience, it’s a speedy and efficient process which is turned around in days. It’s certainly reassuring to know that if things do go wrong within the first year, the service Apple offers is extremely slick and effective, and has been praised by Time Out staff and readers alike. Be sure that it’s a technical fault, rather than user damage, or Apple won’t fix it. You can also take your ailing iPod into an Apple Retail Store, such as the ones in Regent Street, Bluewater and Brent Cross.
Too late to be freeIf your iPod is out of warranty, try a company like www.UKipodrepairs.com. This Brighton-based operation has been going since 2003 and has just performed its eight thousandth repair. It attends to all sorts of iPod problems: you can get a new battery fitted in a Nano for £30, or a new screen on the iPhone or iPod touch for £100. The site doesn’t fix Shuffles or first- or second-generation iPods, but it might be prepared to buy your broken iPod from you which it uses for training only. It claims most repairs are done within 48 hours. The most common repairs are LCD screen and hard drive replacements and the company offers a three-month warranty on parts and repairs. Having your iPod fixed here does void your Apple warranty, but presumably you’ll only be using this company when your warranty has finished anyway.
Further adviceOr look elsewhere for guidance. Method Shop, at www.methodshop.com, promises iPod tech support and repair help. It’s a US site, so it’s not as easy to take advantage of its repair service, but it is a mine of information. Here’s an example of the kind of stuff included on the site, suggesting solutions to battery problems: ‘Update your iPod’s firmware. An Apple Genius at the Apple SoHo store in New York City suggested people with battery problems should upgrade to the latest firmware, fully discharge their iPod, then charge it and just let it play, non-stop, without touching it. Anytime my battery acts weird, I set the backlight to “always on” and let my iPod play until the battery dies. I then recharge it and my iPod usually works fine after that. But make sure you have the latest firmware on your iPod.’
Beyond the iPodIssues with MP3 players aren’t limited to iPods. Fortunately other units that play up can be reset easily, too. The excellent Creative Vision:M, which offers a better screen than the iPod, and includes an FM radio you can record, requires only a paper clip in the reset hole. Not as elegant as Apple’s solution, perhaps, but it works. For more serious issues, http://uk.europe.creative.com/support/warranty will help.
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