is the ipod Mini still practical?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by mayuka, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009

    Since my ipod touch died, I'm thinking about replacing it with a cheap variant for just listening to music, nothing else. You can purchase a used ipod mini in acceptable condition für about 10 $ nowadays. You just have to replace the battery and eventually put a compact flash inside.

    What about battery life? Anyone still using it?

    I don't need cover art but what about playlists? I'm often listen to self-compiled playlists. Does the ipod mini remember the position where you left of listening when it has shut down after 48 hours? I think the ipod nano (1st gen) had that particular problem, maybe the ipod classic (4th gen) too.
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2010
    One Infinite Loop, Cupertino CA
    Well for acceptable condition, you're looking at about 20-30 probably.
    There are playlists, and once you put in a CF and a new battery, the iPod will play for hours, I get around 14, and is just a great little device.

    The iPod mini does remember where you left off listening.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    Not sure why you want to go through the hassle of adding a new battery and memory but that's your choice.

    It will remember where you left off.
  4. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    You are better off buying a brand new Shuffle or even Nano. You're going to end up investing too much time and money trying to make the Mini work. You have to remember that these things are almost 9 years old, and any parts you find will have been in storage since its introduction and could not only be in the same state, but even DOA.

    Any iPod with a color screen will be a much better investment.
  5. macrumors 601


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I disagree with the above 2 posters. I think the mini is a great device (if a little big). If that doesn't turn you off, then go for it.

    A new battery is pretty inexpensive and the swap is very easy. The CF swap isn't too difficult, from what I've read. Just make sure you get the right kind of CF card.

    For very little cash, you could have a mini that holds a ton of songs and has a great battery life. Perfect for storing in a car or leaving connected to a stereo system.
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    I really thought about buying a used 2nd gen nano but the mini is just more appealing to me and cheaper. I know it's old and outdated but I simply don't want to spend much money for a device that's carried around all the time. You can get 4 GB CF cards for about 6 $ and a replacement battery for under 5 $. The update procedure is a bit awkward, though.

    I also find the click-wheel very appealing since it allows to skip to the next track without looking at the screen (a feature all the newer touch ipods don't support, obviously). I always hated it to turn on the screen on my now-broken touch while biking...

    Which generation do you use?

    Do you also know of problems with the headphone connector? My touch had problems with it before it died.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    It's practical and a cheap alternative to the classic. I bought a perfect condition 2nd gen blue iPod mini 4gb off ebay for $27. I put a new battery from eForcity in it, and 64 GB of compact flash storage. If you want to see pictures of my project type in iPod mini project in the search bar.

    If you need help along the way, just let me know! It works wonderfully. The only problem is, to sync to iTunes I have to put it in disk mode and then restart the iPod when I'm done. Other than that the sound quality is pretty good and battery life is decent on the 2nd gen.
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Has the ipod mini a filesystem size limit? 64 GB is a lot. Maybe that's the reason why iTunes does not recognise it the way it should be?

    I've read about sound quality issues with ipod minis. Are they true over headphones? I've also seen ipod mini docks sell for some bucks. Do they provide better sound quality when at home?
  9. macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    It's possible that it has some sort of limit at 32 gb. However, I can access the entire 64 GB (well, more like 59 including the partition and iPod OS) when I put it in disk mode. iTunes recognizes it as an iPod mini and it works normally when plugged in under disk mode.

    Sound quality issues? Such as what? If you want to do some reading, look up the DACs. The iPod mini uses a Wolfson DAC, which many users feel is superior to the Cirrus DACs we see in today's iPods.

    And as for the dock, it really depends on the company that makes it.

    By the way, you should note that with older iPods, the headphone jack is often worn out and the actual connection may be weak between the jack's output and your headphones' input. Just some food for thought.


    The monochrome display is small and boring but it serves its purpose. Making the mini work with a mod is pretty easy, you just have to be careful when opening it up if you don't want to scratch anything. The best way to do this is with a hot glue gun...
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Sometimes you read that ipod minis have low bass performance. Some people claim Apple used undersized capacitors. I'm not sure if that's true. The ipod nano is much smaller and shouldn't have this problem... Maybe it's just the plain Apple headphone speakers.

    That's a good advise. I'll ask the seller for that particular problem. My broken ipod touch suffered from the same problem.
  11. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you're cosidering an old iPod mini, I'd say either go with an older iPod nano or maybe one of the original high-end iPod touches; like 32GB First or Second Gen. If you don't care about a lack of app support, then those iPods are pretty awesome sans apps.
  12. macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    Yeah it's pretty annoying when you order something off ebay and discover a problem that was below your concern prior to buying the item.

    Also, the iPod mini and the iPod classic are IMO the easiest iPods to open up and service. This is a benefit because if you ever have a bad battery, it's easy to pop it open without damaging the case or components, and replace the battery. On something like a mini, the battery is soldered on and users quite frequently damage the case.
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Yeah. Especially when you ask the guy if the headphone jack is okay or not and then he answers: "don't know, haven't tested". Maybe that's the reason why some sell for just 10 bucks, but others with obviously defects sell ridiculous high for over 40 bucks... I really don't understand why...

    With "low bass performance" I found this one here:

    Don't know if it's really the issue. Don't believe everything you read on the net... If so, only the 1st gen ipod minis should have low bass over the integrated headphones and I should be safe with 2nd gen...
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    OK. I received my iPod mini yesterday. It appears to be first gen. Sound is good even with the headphones. (I'm using custom headphones and not the ones from Apple.).

    Transferring files to the ipod is awfully slow. Only about 5 MB/s over USB. (I only have Firewire 800 and can't test speeds over this connection therefore.) What speeds do you get?
  15. macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    I don't know the exact transfer rate but it's really fast because I have a cf card in it rather than a hard drive.
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Well. I tested it out. Speeds are the same between Microdrive (hard drive) and the CF card. It seems that the bus is the limiting factor. It only roughly gets to 8 MB/s writing using USB. Maybe Firewire is faster. I still need an adapter from Firewire 400 -> 800 to get this working on my Mac mini.

    Another question: I want to use this ipod with 2 computers. My Mac mini which has all the music stored and my Macbook Air which has purchases stored (and where capacity is limited). Can I do this?
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    The new battery I bought only lasts for about 5 hours... :( It's supposed to have 750mAh. I can only listen to approx. 50 songs.

    My purchased iPod mini also has a strange Model-number: P9958FD. Have anybody seen this number before? I thought, the 2. gen models always had P9800FD.

    Hopefully someone answers this time...
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    Get a Sansa clip plus, or even better get yourself a Cowon :cool:
    way better sound quality than an iPod.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2008
    I actually buy old iPod minis and fix them up as a hobby. I don't sell them on, I have five sitting round my house. I really, really like using them. Here's some info to help you on your way.

    There are two generations of iPod mini. They look very similar on the outside, but a few of the internal components are completely different (e.g. click wheel assembly and cable). The easiest way to tell them apart is that the 2nd generation mini has the capacity written on the back (4GB or 6GB). The first generation doesn't.

    You can also tell by the symbols on the clickwheel (play/pause, MENU etc.). On the first generation, these are always grey. On the second generation, they're the same colour as the iPod mini's body. This doesn't help you if you have a silver second generation mini.

    Starting with the second gen nano (I think), Apple put an irremovable maximum volume on all iPods sold in the EU, to comply with French law. My nano 4g and 5g at full volume is the same as my minis at half volume.

    You can replace the hard drive with a CompactFlash card, and I highly recommend doing this. Two of my minis have 16GB CompactFlash cards. Doing this gives you slightly better battery life with the first generation, and significantly better battery life with the second generation.

    New batteries are pretty cheap. I pick them up from iPodjuice in the US, and they've always been good quality. You can get them a bit cheaper elsewhere, but you get what you pay for.

    There was a guy who fitted a CompactFlash to an iPod mini, stripped the surface and spraypainted it black. That article might give you some useful information on what you can do with an iPod mini. Sadly, you won't be able to contact the guy since he passed away a few years ago (check the blog homepage).
  20. macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2008
    Just read someone's post about bass response.

    I find the iPod mini to be slightly better than the 4G and 5G nano, but nowhere near as good as the iPhone.

    Tested all my devices by listening to Sssnakepit by Enter Shikari. It has some grimy bass that totally distorts the nanos and moderately distorts the minis.
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    I have two iPod minis now.

    The first one has the [4 GB] written on the back. With a brand new battery (and a 4 GB Transcend CF card) it only plays for about 6 hours. It has this strange P9958FD model number.

    The second one has [4 GB] written on the back also. With a brand new battery (and a 32 GB Transcend CF card) it plays for ~ 12 hours. It has the normal M9800FD model number.

    The curious about all this. Both appear to be identical inside.

    I used this site to verify the serial numbers:

    Whereas the site puts out legitimate information on the second ipod mini, the site prints only "2nd gen" for the first mini...

    Really strange. At the moment prices are too high on ebay considering to get another one. I guess I'll have to wait until april or so until prices are normal again.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2011
    Prince Edward Island, Canada
    I agree with the Shuffle recommendations. Either that, or look around for deals on iPod classics. You can still get the older generations for pretty reasonable prices.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2012
    So I have been doing some research on this topic since I would like to do it to my 1st Gen mini, but I have a few questions.

    Is the only requirement that it must have an ATA interface?

    Could anyone give me a model number of a 16 or 32 gig CF card that they have used or had success with?

    I was looking and a Transcend 400X 16 GB Card, does anyone know if it will work?

  24. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Battery is not difficult. If you get a cheap iPod Mini, I bought a battery for £3.99, so if you enjoy that kind of puzzle it's worth it. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it.

    The really difficult bit is to change the battery without leaving any traces. As long as you are Ok with very slight visible traces, adding the battery is not hard.
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    Yes you can use almost any CF card that's on the market. I think the ipod minis have a limit on 128 GB capacity.


    It helps to use a hairdryer and heaten the adhesive on the plastics a little before opening. You can use ipod or iphone opening tools (on ebay for 2-3 $). This way you can do it with almost no visible traces. I think, the most tricky part is to get the metal clip out...

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