New life for old iPod touch?
January 17, 2012 8:17 AM   Subscribe

1st-gen iPod touch - still useful? It seems like a mixed bag.

I have my wife's old 1G iPod touch that's been sitting in a drawer for a year or two. Charged it up and it's holding charge for a few hours of heavy use, and I want to use it as a replacement for a recently deceased Android phone that I never used much for talking, anyway.

It's running iOS 2.2.1. iOS 3 is a paid upgrade ($5, but still), and I cannot find it anywhere in iTunes. The device will not support iOS 4.

I've noticed two things that are potential issues:

1. iTunes on the phone crashes whenever I open a podcast in the store. Podcasts are a big deal for me.
2. Seemingly every app in the store now requires iOS 4 or greater. So, for example, no Facebook or Twitter app for me.

So here are my questions...

Where is the iOS 3 download these days?

Is the podcast thing a known problem and would iOS 3 fix it? If they do work, do I need to sync with a PC or can the 'pod download podcasts on its own?

Will I go crazy trying to find useful apps that work on an "old" device running iOS2 or 3? Facebook, Twitter, RSS reader are 3 key needs.

Thank you!
posted by gazole to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You might just be resigned to using the web versions of things like Twitter and Facebook.

Have you tried to hook it up to iTunes on your computer to see if it'll update to iOS3?
posted by chrisfromthelc at 8:32 AM on January 17, 2012

Where is the iOS 3 download these days?

You can purchase the iOS 3.1 Software Update directly from the iTunes Store in iTunes.
posted by RichardP at 8:41 AM on January 17, 2012

Thanks for the link, RichardP. I could not find that, for some reason.
posted by gazole at 9:40 AM on January 17, 2012

I honestly tried to keep using my gen1 touch - it's been and Every Day Carry item for me since it was new and the things are built seriously tank like.

Eventually, though, I simply found the lack of updates and app incompatibilities a little too much. These days it sits in a dock on my night table and is the best programmable alarm clock ever.
posted by mce at 10:37 AM on January 17, 2012

We have a first generation - we have it as a backup mostly for podcasts and music (but also calendar, simple internet, a few games). It should run podcasts perfectly well; if you are having software trouble, try a factory reset.

If you aren't happy being a few years behind the times, perhaps someone you know might be able to use it - particularly if they don't mind not having the latest apps, and/or could not afford to get one of their own. I wouldn't buy a first gen, but I wouldn't let it sit in a drawer either - it would still work for my most important needs (calendar, ebooks on old stanza, podcasts, etc).
posted by jb at 2:56 PM on January 17, 2012

I have no problems downloading podcasts straight to my 1st-gen iPod Touch (3.1.3) without syncing, so your problem must be due to your OS....or maybe a factory reset. Not sure what luck you'll have in the app store, I've since moved onto an iPad and Android. But I still use the Touch every day in my truck. Solid little device still holds a long charge. Your's may have a new life yet!
posted by Hermanos at 3:06 PM on January 17, 2012

Do you remember web apps from way back before iOS ran custom apps? You should still be able to use all of those, through the broswer-

Personally, I still use a second generation nano, from before they even played video - it's built like a tank, I use it when I run, fly, etc. So no, your old touch is far from useless!
posted by R a c h e l at 4:18 PM on January 17, 2012

Give Whitedoor a look. It looks to port some of the newer iOS features to the older versions, and breathes some new life into your older iPod touch.

I havent actually used it yet, but I intend to. Someday.
posted by mhp at 7:38 AM on January 18, 2012

If you do end up going that route, the download page is a little confusing. "iPod Touch 1G WD5.1" is what you'll want to click on, but its right below the google ads that make it a little confusing, especially with the advertisements featuring the download button.
posted by mhp at 7:41 AM on January 18, 2012

Thanks folks. I'm giving iOS 3 a go for a while.

It does seem as though there are no apps at all that don't require iOS 4. I haven't found one yet.

I'm also annoyed with the way it handles podcasts. Can't you subscribe or do you have to manually download?

Finally, I wish there was a speaker.

Whitedoor looks interesting. I'll consider a jailbreak down the road to try that out.

Thanks for all your help.
posted by gazole at 5:59 AM on January 19, 2012

As far as I know, you can't subscribe on the ipod to podcasts. I use iTunes on my computer to subscribe and pull down many episodes of things that are not timely (like "In Our Time" from BBC Radio 1), and use the manual download on the ipod to pick up timely things, like the most recent news shows.

re new apps - it may be a recently developed glitch, as this article says. If they don't fix it soon, you could try jailbreaking it and installing Android. I'm tempted to do that with mine as it is.

That said - do you have apps already downloaded for another ipod/iphone, and then backed up to your computer? I was able to put all my apps on my husband's machine (a first gen) by just plugging it into my laptop and syncing it to my apps via iTunes. You're allowed more than one machine for your apps.
posted by jb at 10:41 AM on January 19, 2012

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