I found a smooshed iPod touch that works! Kinda.
April 16, 2012 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Good news: I found an iPod Touch (3rd Generation, model A1318, 64GB) on the ground by the highway! Bad News: It looks like it was run over by a truck, or a few trucks. Good News: it turns on when I press the button! Bad News: The touch screen glass is completely cracked off, so it doesn't respond to touch. Good News: it responds and operates otherwise perfectly, it charges, iTunes sees that it's plugged in (but won't let me proceed without a passcode), the screen looks crisp and bright. What are my options from here?

Basically, the chassis is a little bent and scratched, and the glass of the touchscreen is pretty much gone. The two buttons work, though; I can give it a hard reboot. And the charging port works, too: I have brought it up from halfway charged (the way I found it) to fully charged. The screen itself seems to be unaffected, except that without the glass covering it, it won't respond to touch.

If I bring it to an Apple store — before I schlep over there — what will they be able to offer to do? If I want to try to swap out the working parts into another chassis, what steps should I take, and what parts should I get?

Also, how can I use the serial number to tell if this was stolen, or simply dropped out of a car window and run over a couple of times?
posted by not_on_display to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
It belongs to someone else. I suggest taking it to the apple store so they can reunite it with its owner
posted by Ironmouth at 4:54 PM on April 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

Check your MeMail.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:58 PM on April 16, 2012

Apple really doesn't have a repair option for touches that damaged, they may be able to offer a discounted replacement unit.

Also there isn't a central database for lost or stolen devices (even though Apple could easily provide one). These guys provide one here, but it's mostly for PacNW residents.

If the device does have an AppleCare account active, which means it was registered to someone, you could look up it's status here. In theory Apple should be able to contact the person on file, but I haven't heard of them actually doing that.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:02 PM on April 16, 2012

Also, how can I use the serial number to tell if this was stolen, or simply dropped out of a car window and run over a couple of times?

If you took it to the Apple store to fix, they'd get the SN when they plugged it in. If the owner registered it, it would show up on the Genius's iPad. They won't give you the address, but they may take it from you and call the owner if they have the info on file. If they did agree to fix it, I think they have a flat $149 fee on iPods but that's only when it is something that regular warranty would fix, or some accidental cases like dropping it and breaking it, getting run over by cars might not be serviceable.

If you want a discounted iPod touch out of the deal and don't care about the karma, you'll need to go through a third party repair place or fix it yourself. You can look in iFixit.com to see how hard/easy it is to DIY. If the chassis is bent/damaged to the point a replacement glass won't go on, you'd need a new back too. As with getting car parts from a junkyard, you can often find spare parts or people that want to sell a non-working but cosmetically perfect version
posted by birdherder at 5:08 PM on April 16, 2012

Thanks for the answers so far! I think I'll be taking it to the Apple store soon, see what's up there. If they say, "Take it," I'll start looking at the FIY options.
posted by not_on_display at 5:23 PM on April 16, 2012

Try posting to your local Craigslist Lost & Found, you can easily weed through the false claims of ownership by asking the people who think it is theirs to name some of the more obscure song titles (or other content) on the device. I was able to return a found iPod Nano that way once.
posted by jamaro at 5:28 PM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

This exact same thing happened to me recently (found a shattered iPod Touch on the road; turns on fine and home button works but touch functionality doesn't; was able to check out the photos on it and charge it by plugging it in), so thank you for asking this!

I posted on my community's Facebook Yard Sale page asking if anyone had lost one, and if so, if they could describe the lock screen's background image and/or the name of the iPod when you plug it in. You could try seeing if there's a similar group for your community on FB that you could post to. I also like the Craigslist idea above, but my city is small enough that we don't have our own CL. (Or Apple store.)
posted by meggan at 12:41 PM on April 17, 2012

Update: I called Apple tech support and gave them the serial number. The device was not reported as stolen. The tech informed me that they don't have a system to reunite iPods with their owner, and couldn't give me the owners' address. She suggested the CL/community bulletin board idea (but without the passcode, I couldn't glean any identifying information other than the serial number from the device; I also found it 150 miles away from where I live), and then talked me through me restoring the device to its factory settings. She then congratulated me on the acquisition of my "new" device.

Again, thanks for all of your suggestions!
posted by not_on_display at 5:01 PM on April 17, 2012

Update 2: I am returning the iPod to the police department in the town where I found the iPod. I was told there had been a rash of automobile break-ins, and that the house across the street from where I found the iPod was one of the places hit. So, hopefully the iPod will be reunited with its owners. Even in its half-crushed state.
posted by not_on_display at 2:47 PM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Leave your contact info with the police when you give them the iPod and get a case number or other Found Item identifier. Depends on the police department but they often give the item back to the finder if they are unable to locate the original owner within a relatively short time frame. Make sure you contact the police dept right after the time period closes to claim your item, otherwise it goes to the police auction.

It's kind of you to be so thoughtful about this.
posted by jamaro at 3:27 PM on April 20, 2012

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