Must... Kill... ... iPod
December 3, 2005 9:27 AM   Subscribe

How can I get a new iPod, or at least a new iPod battery, for free using my still current Apple Care Plan?

I have a G3, 20gb, black/white iPod with an 8 hour battery. I timed the battery yesterday and now it lasts 4 hours and 35 minutes! My Apple Care Plan expires in March of 2006, but I can't take advantage of it unless my battery charge drops below 4 hours (50% of original). I must make my battery fail, or get my iPod to stop working altogether, before the expiration date! How can I abuse my battery to get it to drop below 4 hours in the next two months?

NOTE: I talked to Apple, and they told me that dropping it, smashing it, and other similar solutions are out. They don't cover accidental damage.
posted by crapples to Computers & Internet (20 answers total)
Apple says on their "maximizing battery life" page that the ideal temperature range for the ipod battery is between 32°F and 95°F. Perhaps keeping it outside that environment might help?

Also, repeatedly charging / discharging might do it (see their page on charging.
posted by aberrant at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2005

And people wonder why warrantys are so short.
posted by deadfather at 9:48 AM on December 3, 2005

deadfather, the issue is that the companies set arbitrary hard limits on warranty coverage (less than 50% charge within one year, we'll replace it. crapples has 57.3% charge after 8 months). If they stood by their products' longevity a little better, people would be less likely to try to game the system.
posted by aberrant at 9:54 AM on December 3, 2005

If they stood by their products' longevity a little better, people would be less likely to try to game the system.

This is so ridiculous that I can't even believe that I'm highlighting it, except to say wow.

BACK ON TOPIC, the easiest way to kill a Lithium Ion battery, while making it look completely natural, is to keep it on until it dies every day, recharge it every night, and continue this process until it's charge is so low you can return it. You'll basically max out its load cycles in a very short period of time (especially if you have time to do this twice a day).

I think what you (the OP) are doing is completely unethical, cheap, and detrimental to the larger population who use iPods (the more people who return them or ask for exchanges, the more likely that Apple will continue to enforce restrictive policies).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2005

You could try using your iPod normally until it drops below 50%. It seems like your well on your way...
posted by parallax7d at 10:09 AM on December 3, 2005

Not to hijack your thread or anything, but has anyone gotten their "bad iPod battery" rebate?
posted by fixedgear at 10:13 AM on December 3, 2005

Actually, i take SeizeTheDay's criticism to heart. What I'm suggesting probably is unethical.

To clarify, I paid $50 for the extended (2-Year) Apple Care Plan one year and ten months ago. I bought it specifically because I had read in a thousand places that the battery would be toast before my two years were up. I've treated the battery really well, and now I find myself with two months left on my purchased warranty, and only 35 minutes of battery charge short of getting a replacement battery. I was hoping to find an easy way to shave off that 35 minutes so I could get a new battery.

Probably an unethical idea, though. I appreciate the feedback. Maybe if I just use it often enough I'll get lucky.
posted by crapples at 10:25 AM on December 3, 2005

You think they're actually going to spend 4 hours testing it? I suggest lying.
posted by cillit bang at 10:34 AM on December 3, 2005

Here's the ethical way to do it: Keep backlighting on.
posted by thayerg at 10:43 AM on December 3, 2005

Play it at full blast and you'll probably get under 4 hours. Or if you're actually listening to iPod while doing your battery test, skip around a lot. Even in shuffle mode, the iPod loads several minutes of music into the buffer and shuts the disc down. Skipping to the next song often will keep the hard drive going and thus the battery draining.

To cillit's point, I doubt they will see if it last 4 hours. They probably have a diagnostic app that will measure the amperage.

The 4 hours and your test time of 4:35 is pretty close. If you're nice about it they'll probably replace your battery. If not, or they think you're trying to screw them, they won't. Don't go looking for a new 5G iPod though, that would be unethical.
posted by birdherder at 10:47 AM on December 3, 2005

I think what you (the OP) are doing is completely unethical, cheap, and detrimental to the larger population who use iPods

The OP paid extra money just to cover the potential future defectiveness of Apple's product. Lo and behold, the battery is flaking just as he predicted. Normally this kind of additional "insurance" is just a scam for the retailer to get a few extra bucks from a purchase (see: Best Buy) because properly manufactured electronics products don't die two years into normal use. In this case, I'd say it was a wise choice, and covers the "ethical" and "cheap" issues straight off the bat.

As for the "detriment to the larger population" of iPod users, I'd suggest that the real detriment is in signing up for the extended service plan on a known defective product to begin with. A class-action lawsuit would be far more effective, since I'm sure it doesn't cost Apple $50 for a new battery.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:51 AM on December 3, 2005

Why let the ethics bother you? They certainly didn't bother the companies that sell you the warranties:

Here's the CBC and Epinions on the extended warranty scam and how it works. In a nutshell, it's like playing the lottery, except that - if you win- the house gets to try and con you ("Ooops! You've got 53% left instead of 49%? So sorry.") instead of having to pay you off.

Yes, warranties are the only game where the house not only gets to know the odds(Defect rate) without telling the players(customers), they also get to change the odds (What constitutes an acceptable claim) without telling the players - Often while the game is in mid play.

And that, in my opinion, is unethical.

And also, on preview, what Civil_Disobedient said.
posted by Orb2069 at 11:06 AM on December 3, 2005

You think they're actually going to spend 4 hours testing it? I suggest lying.

They most certainly will. In fact, they'll keep it overnight to run their battery test.
posted by toddshot at 11:21 AM on December 3, 2005

Um. That's called fraud.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2005

For less than $30, you can buy an aftermarket battery that will hold more charge than the original battery held when new. This battery will come with installation instructions and special tools for opening your iPod. Even if you could convince Apple to fix your iPod, doing it yourself is likely less hassle.

Note: I have not personally used any of the above battery replacements. But I have taken apart my 1st gen iPod just to look inside.
posted by ryanrs at 11:39 AM on December 3, 2005

Great link, ryanrs. For $64, will replace any battery in any ipod (including nano), except for shuffle. The $50 extended warranty is making less and less sense.
posted by aberrant at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2005

I had no problem sending in my 3g 40gig ipod under Apple Care about 6 months ago even though the battery life was over 4 hours. It was exhibiting some other weird behavior (occasionally turning off for no reason, sound stopping while the track continued to "play"..); but I'd be surprised if yours didn't also have some issues besides the battery life at this point. The 3gs seem to fall apart rather quickly.

If you do get a replacement ipod from Apple, it won't be a 5g. They'll just give you another 3g with its crappy battery.
posted by Orrorin at 11:57 AM on December 3, 2005

Reformat the iPod's disk with DiskWarrior and you'll get much better battery life. Oh. You don't want better battery life. You want worse battery life. Never mind then.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2005

Insider note, as I used to work for Apple's iPod technical staff; if you have AppleCare, that number is actually flexible. Send it in. If it's anywhere near 50%, they'll replace it for you.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 3:48 PM on December 3, 2005

I've had my 3g replaced three times for battery issues (twice for not holding more than 2 hours) once because the replacement was not as sensitive as the one I had and pressing the buttons three times to get it to do it was a chore)

I LOVE APPLECARE. I really can't recommend it more. I had ti for my powerbook and prolly got $3000 of work on it and replacements parts from apple. (helllooo extra keyboards.... which made it worth the money alone, have you SEEN the price of a Powerbook keyboard???)

anyway I've toyed with spending the $60 to get a third party battery with 12 hour battery life... probably will once the warranty runs out next feb.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 10:39 AM on December 4, 2005

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