Anatomy of the 4th Gen. iPod touch Hardware, Ports, and Buttons

4th gen ipod touch hardware
iPhone image credit: Apple Inc.

4th Gen. iPod touch Ports, Buttons, Switches, and Other Hardware Features

Because Apple doesn't release new models of the iPod touch as often as it does the iPhone, it can seem like the touch is often standing still. But it's not. [Editor's note: The 4th generation iPod touch is no longer produced. Here's our article listing all current models, including the current one: The History of the iPod touch and Its Many Models].

The 4th-generation iPod touch, shown in the photo above, introduced a number of major improvements to the device. While it doesn't have as many ports and buttons as the iPhone, it's still got a lot of hardware features to learn about. Knowing what each one does will help you enjoy your iPod touch.

  1. User-Facing Camera—One of the 4th gen. touch's two cameras. Since it faces the user, this one is especially important for use with FaceTime and when taking selfies. As is standard with Apple products, the user-facing camera is lower resolution than the one on the back. This camera can capture both photos and video at 800 x 600, at up to 30 frames per second for video.
  2. Volume Buttons—The two buttons on the side of the iPod touch let you raise and lower its volume. Volume can also be controlled from within most apps that can play audio of any kind.
  3. Hold/Sleep Button—This is one of the most versatile buttons on the touch.You can use it to lock the touch's screen, which puts it to sleep. It also wakes the touch up. In addition, it's used to  restart the touch.
  1. Home Button—The other most versatile button on the touch. The Home button is used for accessing the multitasking menu, restarting the touch, and quitting crashed apps. Clicking it also brings you back to the home screen from any app. When you're rearranging icons or deleting apps, it's also the thing that saves your choices.
  1. Headphone Jack—Headphones, and some accessories like certain car stereo adapters, are plugged into the jack to the right of the Dock Connector.
  2. Dock Connector—This connector is where you plug in the USB cable to sync the touch with a computer. Some accessories, like speaker docks, also connect to the touch here. This is the older, 30-pin port. Later versions of the touch use the 9-pin Lightning connection.
  3. Speakers—The speakers located at the device's bottom play the audio that comes from apps, whether it's music, video, or sound effects from games.

4th Gen. iPod touch Hardware Not Pictured

There are a number of other interesting hardware features of the iPod touch that are worth knowing. They're not shown in the picture above either because they're internal or because they're on the back of the device.

  1. Back Camera—The camera on the back of the touch is the higher-resolution option on the device. This camera takes photos that are just under 1-megapixel (960 x 720) resolution and records video at up to 720p HD at 30 frames per second.
  2. Microphone—This tiny pinhole located next to the camera on the back of the device is a microphone. It's used in recording audio when shooting a video, making a FaceTime call, or doing anything else that requires audio input.
  1. Apple A4 Processor—The heart and brain of the touch is a 1 GHz Apple A4 processor. It's a solid step up from the 640 Mhz Samsung chip in the previous generation.
  2. Three-Axis Gyroscope—This sensor lets the iPod touch understand how it's being held and respond appropriately. This is what's used for games that you control by moving the device itself.
  3. Accelerometer—Another motion-detection sensor. This one tracks how quickly the touch is moved and in what ways. Another element of some of the cooler, more-physical ways of interacting with the device.
  4. Ambient Light Sensor—Just like on an iPhone, this sensor detects how much ambient light is in the location where the touch is being used. If your touch is set to automatically adjust its screen brightness based on ambient light (a good idea to conserve battery life), this is the sensor that takes that reading.