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Apple iPod nano: Everything You Need to Know


7th Generation iPod nano

7th Generation iPod nano

image copyright Apple Inc.
Updated May 28, 2014

Apple's iPod nano sits in the middle of the iPod line. It's not a big screen or big capacity device like the touch, but it's larger than the Shuffle. Despite not being clearly defined in the iPod line-up, the nano is a solid all-around traditional iPod (iPods that don't support the App Store).

The iPod nano has always been a lightweight, portable MP3 player, but has added features include video playback, video recording and an FM tuner over the years. While this has made the nano much more like its competitors (which long used an FM tuner to differentiate themselves), it's still among the top portable music devices of its kind.

iPod nano Models

The iPod nano debuted in the Fall of 2005 and has been updated roughly every year since. The models are:

1st Generation - The original model, which offered a small, color screen and 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB capacity.

2nd Generation - This update doubled capacity - 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB - and brought colors to the nano line.

3rd Generation - A big change to the nano. A squat form factor and video playback. 4GB and 8GB capacity models.

4th Generation - A return to the vertical form factor, capacity raised to 16GB at the high-end, and nine brightly colored models.

5th Generation - The same form factor as the 4th generation model, but adds a video camera and FM tuner to create a very versatile, capable iPod.

6th Generation - A major redesign. This model adds a multitouch screen, removes video playback and the video camera, and change how you use the nano in a way many users won't like.

7th Generation - Another major redesign. The 7th gen. model adds a big touchscreen and a home button, making it look like a shrunken iPod touch. It also brings back video playback and adds support for Bluetooth headphones and speakers.

Hardware Features

Over the years, iPod nano models have been built using many different kinds of hardware. The most recent models have included the following hardware features:

Screen - A 2.5-inch multitouch screen, rectangular in shape.

Touchscreen - Like its predecessor, the most recent nano has a touchscreen for controlling it (no more Clickwheel on the nano). Like the iPhone and iPad, it supports multitouch controls.

Memory - The iPod nano uses solid state Flash memory to store music.

Accelerometer - Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh generation nanos include an accelerometer like in the iPhone and iPod touch that allows the display to automatically re-orient itself based on how the nano is held. The Sixth generation model removed the accelerometer, but it was added back in.

FM Tuner - The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh generation models also sport an FM tuner that allows users to listen to and record radio, as well as tag favorite songs for later purchase.

Lightning Dock Connector - The Seventh generation nano uses Apple's Lightning dock connector, the same small port used on the iPhone 5. All previous nano models used Apple's dock connector interface to sync with computers.

Buying an iPod nano

The many useful features of the iPod nano add up to a compelling package. If it's compelling enough to you that you're considering buying an iPod nano, read these articles:

To help you in your buying decision, check out these reviews:

Compare prices on iPod nano at multiple stores

Setup and Use

Once you've gotten your new iPod nano, you'll need to set it up. The set up process is pretty easy and quick, and once you've completed it, you can get to the good stuff, like:

If you bought an iPod nano to upgrade from another iPod or MP3 player, there may be music on your old device that you want to transfer to your computer before setting up your nano. There are a few ways to do this, but the easiest is probably by using third-party software.

iPod nano Help

The iPod nano is a pretty simple device to use, for the most part. You may run into a few instances in which you need troubleshooting tips, such as:

You’ll also want to take precautions with your nano and yourself, such as avoiding hearing loss or theft, and how to save your nano if it gets very wet.

Later in its life, you may start to notice some degradation of the nano's battery life. When that time comes, you’ll need to decide whether to buy a new MP3 player or look into battery replacement services.

Got a tech support question? Ask it in the discussion forums.

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