What's a non-Apple replacement for an iPod Nano?
November 10, 2019 12:44 PM   Subscribe

It finally happened: my iPod Nano 7 bit the dust. I bought the Nano 7 as a replacement for a previous Nano 5, even though the 7 was the obviously inferior model, lacking the scroll wheel. I see that the Nano is no longer manufactured in any model, leaving only the iPod Touch, which has all the drawbacks of the 7 and is also way too huge. It's clear that Apple no longer makes products I want to buy, so where do I go from here?

All I want is to download music and podcasts, load them onto an MP3 player, and listen to them in my car via the AUX jack. My current (or previous, I suppose) workflow for that process involved iTunes for Mac, which I have allowed to manage all of my albums and podcast subscriptions, so the ideal replacement would be compatible with iTunes, if such a thing is even possible in Apple's walled garden.

What should I buy? Or should I just go back to burning files onto CDs?
posted by Faint of Butt to Technology (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Is a used iPod nano an acceptable option? eBay shows them for $50-75 for 5th gen.
posted by AgentRocket at 1:14 PM on November 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

If MediaMonkey still reads iTunes databases, you could use it to load any smartphone or generic MP3/AAC player with whatever you have selected in iTunes.

When I say smartphone I don't necessarily mean something with a touchscreen. An old N95 (to pick one example) makes a perfectly good audio player, and compatible batteries are still manufactured today, as the BL-xC batteries have become a de facto standard in many kinds of portable electronics, clones and otherwise.
posted by wierdo at 1:37 PM on November 10, 2019

I recently bought a Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player and from what I've read you can use it with iTunes (I don't have personal experience there, though). Downsides: Only 16 gig & kind of pricey, but I've liked it (it's also non-Bluetooth, but I didn't really care about that).

The Sansa Clip is still hanging in there & comes in a 32 gig version. I went with the Sony instead because I've bought so many Sansa Clips over the years I wanted something different (and I liked the battery life of the Sony).

Mostly, though, there's not that much out there. You're going to find a lot of cheap Chinese players and while I like the novelty of some of them, I've always regretted buying them.

You may find some more information in this Wirecutter article (which is how I found the Sony) but unfortunately, it's kind of slim pickings out there for this sort of thing.

(I was working in an office where we're restricted on what Internet we can use -- so no streaming -- and I was trying to save my phone data/battery.
posted by darksong at 1:43 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Does your car have a USB port? If so, you cab load up a flash drive and plug it in.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:24 PM on November 10, 2019

In my experience iTunes works with most mp3 players. You plug the player into your computer and it appears in iTunes and you drag and drop or whatever like normal. This may have changed in a past while, but my most recent experience is that it works just fine.
posted by hippybear at 2:24 PM on November 10, 2019

USB flash drive interfaces on a lot of in-car stereos are pretty difficult to navigate without a lot of pre-planning. I totally get wanting a player to use via the AUX jack, to have a better interface.
posted by hippybear at 2:31 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Apple has abandoned the iPod market that it created.

Look at the various options by SanDisk as a good alternative.
posted by megatherium at 3:07 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

You can load your music files on to micro-SD card and use it in an Android phone that has a slot for it. Google Play has lots of iTunes-like apps to play music files. Choose another app for podcasts and manage them over wifi. You wouldn't ever have to activate the phone with a carrier.
posted by Leontine at 3:15 PM on November 10, 2019

The Sansa device is pretty good, but it's got problem: e.g., loses it damn mind when there are over I think 8000 items to process -- which, when you can stuff in a 128GB microSD card, becomes a certainty. :7( It has something to do with an onboard database with a low limit of items, I believe.

Also, make sure your MP3 tags are correct and complete, or else it lists tracks within an album randomly.

All I want is an original iPod -- with those awesome physical buttons -- or a clickwheel iPod, that will hold like 64GB.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:00 PM on November 10, 2019

I've had good luck with the Fiio line of music players.
posted by mhoye at 7:38 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Sansa device is pretty good, but it's got problem: e.g., loses it damn mind when there are over I think 8000 items to process

This and any other shortcomings are erased by putting Rockbox on it.
posted by Bangaioh at 1:42 AM on November 11, 2019

I have a SanDisk clip that was in the $30 range and works wonderfully. You can just plug it in and copy mp3 files to it like any external drive. I put in a 30 gig card.
posted by soelo at 5:01 AM on November 11, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks, folks. I found a refurbished 5 on eBay.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:08 AM on November 11, 2019

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