Making an old iPod Mini Awesome Again

What's better than having every song you've ever purchased available wherever you are, without worrying about an expensive MP3 player getting stolen?

I've had my music library on my iPhone and iPad for some time now, but I find it cumbersome to listen to music on one of those devices, and I don't like taking them with me for a run, or setting them somewhere they might get stolen (like at a party, plugged into a stereo or sound system).

And I'm not going to buy a brand-new iPod mini or iPod touch just to play some tunes from time to time.

Enter the iPod miniā€”The best little MP3 player I've ever held (the click wheel was perfect, the texture was smooth, and the size was just right for my hands).

I just bought one for $20 from eBay (a 6GB silver edition), and the battery was dead. Plus it only held half my iTunes library. So, I wanted more storage space, and a longer-lasting battery (10 minutes of listening to music is rather boring).

After watching a YouTube video demonstrating the process of field-stripping the iPod mini and replacing the battery, I was confident I could do the same on this little guy. The hardest part was prying off the top and bottom vanity covers, as they were held down by some pretty strong adhesive. After those were off, I slid out the innards, popped out the MicroDrive (which is actually a CompactFlash card with a hard drive...), and the battery.

What did I put in to replace them?

  1. Transcend 16 GB 133x CompactFlash Card ($30 from Amazon)
  2. Hi-Capacity 800mAh iPod mini battery kit ($2 from Amazon)

It was as easy as unplugging the old stuff, plugging in the new stuff, sliding it back together, and re-syncing the iPod mini with my Mac. Done, and done!

iPod mini size

Not bad for a $50 MP3 player.

Other advantages to using a CF card over a spinning disk (MicroDrive):

  • Battery life is further increased by lack of need to spin up disk all the time.
  • USB transfer speed is faster with the CF card (typically).
  • iPod is now absolutely silent.
  • Can get any size you want, really - 16 GB for $30, 32 GB for $50, and 64 GB for 50.