Using the Original iPod in 2022: Can It Be Done?

Since Apple discontinued iPod, many fans have been dusting off their old devices for a bit of nostalgia. If you’ve got an original iPod buried away somewhere, you might be thinking about doing the same.

But can you actually use an original iPod in 2022? There’s only one way to find out, so we gave it a try.

Can You Use an Original iPod in 2022?

The original iPod (iPod Classic 1st Generation) launched back in 2001. Being a piece of tech that’s over 20 years old now, it’s not quite the same snappy experience you’ll find on most other Apple products. But can you actually use the device?

Does the Device Still Work?

The first thing to check is that the device still works. Being over 20 years old, the poor iPod has probably suffered some neglect. Whether it’s scratches from being carried around in a pocket, or dust from the draw it’s been hidden in, any original iPod is unlikely to be in pristine condition (you’re in luck if it is).

Besides any cosmetic issues, the tech inside will have likely suffered, too. The battery will have almost certainly lost some capacity, and the moving hard drive inside could have become damaged. While there are still some repair parts around, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fix the device due to its age.

So, your iPod is in pretty good nick, the hardware seems to be working as well as can be expected, now what? You’ll need to plug the music player in to juice it up. Never mind iPhone being set to receive USB-C, the original iPod needs a FireWire connector to charge and plug in.


The FireWire cable has a proprietary port on both sides, with no USB in sight (due to technical restrictions). This means you’ll need to have the right power brick too (see, Lightning doesn’t seem so bad now). If you don’t have one, you’ll need to head to eBay to track one down.

And if you’ve managed to get your poor iPod through all of that (bless the thing’s metal little heart), you can try loading it up with some music. Though, it doesn’t get any easier.

Loading it Up With Music

The quickest and easiest way to load up your original iPod with music is to use an old Mac. Most Macs released before 2012 came with a FireWire port built-in. In these cases, you can just plug the iPod in via the cable, and you’re set. Thrown away your ten plus year-old computer? You’re in for some hard work.

If you don’t have a Mac with a FireWire port, your next best bet is one with a Thunderbolt 2 port. You’ll be able to find one of these on most Macs up to 2015. In this case, you can purchase a handy little FireWire to Thunderbolt 2 dongle from Apple for $29. Plug the cable into the dongle, then into your Mac, and you’re good to go.

If you’ve got a newer Mac with Thunderbolt 3 or 4 ports, you’ll have to purchase an additional Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adapter for $49 from Apple. Yes, you’ll need to use both dongles in tandem, with the FireWire cable all the way back inside the iPod.

Finally got the music player plugged into the device? You’ll now need to sync the music. If you’re running macOS Catalina or later, you can sync your iPod via Finder. If you’re running an older version of Mac, you’ll need to sync it via iTunes.

Listening to Music on the Device

Once you’re all synced up and the device is full of charge, you’re (finally) ready to start listening to music. This is the fun part. Using the real click wheel (rather than the digital one found on newer models), you’ll be able to navigate the menus on the black and white display, and adjust the volume.

Around the wheel, you’ll find buttons that give a satisfying click when you use them. You can also use these to navigate the fairly primitive software and control playback. Plug a pair of headphones into the headphone jack, and you’ll be ready to bop away to your favorite tracks like those famous iPod commercials.

Should You Use the Original iPod in 2022?

Now that you’ve seen how to use the original iPod in 2022, it begs the question of whether you should. Sure, it’s nostalgic to use the music player that got tech to where it is today, but the antiquated software isn’t always fun to use.

The software on the original iPod was cutting edge at the time, but extremely bare-bones today when compared to iOS. There simply aren’t as many features on the iPod, so you’ll likely have a worse listening experience. Not to mention, the scroll wheel is a lot slower than multitouch scrolling on any Apple device with a touchscreen.

Apple’s original iPod is also a pretty hefty device. It clocks in at roughly half an ounce heavier than iPhone 13, which is impressive considering the difference between the two. If you’re carrying this around alongside an iPhone, it won’t be too much fun.

While using the original iPod is fun and nostalgic, it probably shouldn’t become your daily listening device. Celebrate every now and again with a track, but otherwise look after it. Otherwise, it might end up in the trash when you inevitably get frustrated.

You Can Still Use Your Other Apple Devices to Listen to Music

While Apple has discontinued the iPod, you can still use your other Apple devices to listen to music. Download your favourite streaming app and get access to more than 1,000 songs in your pocket. Or, if you’re old school, you can still sync music to your iPhone.


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