Everything You Need to Know About the iPod Touch

Hardware, software, models, and more

The iPod Touch was popular because it's a lot more than just a way to play digital music. Since it runs iOS, the same operating system used by the iPhone, the iPod Touch is also a web browsing device, a communications tool, a portable game system, and a video player.

Apple ended production of the iPod Touch in 2022.

What Was the iPod Touch?

The iPod Touch, sometimes incorrectly called the "iTouch," was the top-of-the-line iPod. In fact, it's missing just a few features that make it different from an iPhone. The iPod Touch has long been referred to as "an iPhone without the phone," and that's basically correct.

The hardware and software features of both devices are fairly similar (though the iPod touch isn't updated as often as the iPhone, so the closest relative to the latest iPod touch is the slightly old iPhone 6 series).

How to Set up and Use the iPod touch

Once you've gotten an iPod Touch, you'll need to set it up. The setup process is pretty easy and quick, and once you've completed it, you can get the good stuff, like:

Once you start to learn the basic features of your iPod touch, it's time to boost your skills by tackling some of these more advanced topics:

Hardware Features of the iPod Touch

While the early models of the iPod Touch all featured roughly the same set of hardware features, the options on the 6th generation (listed below) are modern and powerful, making the device a near alternative to the iPhone.

  • Screen: The 4-inch high-resolution, multi-touch, Retina Display screen is the same as the one used in the iPhone 5 and includes the same features, like zooming in and out by pinching. The 4th generation touch and earlier used a 3.5-inch screen. The Retina Display screen was introduced with the 4th gen. model and is now standard.
  • Home button: The button on the bottom center of the face of the iPod Touch is used in many functions, including quitting programs and multitasking.
  • Hold button: This button on the top right corner of the Touch locks the screen and puts the device to sleep.
  • Volume control: On the left side of the Touch is a button that can be pressed in two directions, one each to raise or lower the volume.
  • Wi-Fi: The Touch accesses the Internet via Wi-Fi, with all later models using 802.11b/g standards. The 6th gen. model includes support for both the 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands and adds support for 802.11a/n/ac.
  • Camera: The 6th generation touch sports two cameras, a higher resolution unit on the back for photography and a lower-resolution, user-facing camera for FaceTime video chats and selfies.
  • Dock Connector: This slot on the bottom of the Touch is used to sync content between a computer and the device, and to connect some accessories. The 5th and 6th gen. models use the smaller Lightning connector, while all earlier models used the older, bigger 30-pin version.
  • Accelerometer: A sensor that allows the Touch to respond to how the device is held and moved. This feature is most often used in games and gives players more immersive and interesting ways to control onscreen action.

iPod Touch Help

While the iPod Touch was a great device, it's not completely trouble-free. In your early days of using it, you may run into situations where it freezes. If so, you should be familiar with how to restart it.

When you're using the Touch, there are a number of precautions you should take the protect yourself and your device, including:

Eventually, you may start to notice some reduced capacity in the Touch’s battery. Squeeze more juice out of it with tips to improve its battery life. Eventually, you'll need to decide whether to buy a new MP3 player or look into battery replacement services.

Want help with your touch directly from Apple? Check out Apple's selection of iPod touch manuals.

All iPod Touch Models Explained

The iPod Touch debuted in Sept. 2007 and saw a few updates. The models are:

  • 7th Generation: This model was the first update to the Touch in almost four years. It's similar to the iPhone 7 series thanks to its Apple A10 Fusion processor and up to 256 GB of storage.
  • 6th Generation: This model brings many of the hardware features of the iPhone 6 series — the A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor, an 8-megapixel camera, 128 GB storage capacity — to the touch lineup while maintaining the same size and weight.
  • 5th Generation: This model of the Touch is very similar to the iPhone 5. It includes a 4-inch screen, the speedy A5 processor, support for Siri, and is very light and thin. Available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models.
  • 4th Generation: This model gained the high-resolution Retina Display screen, two cameras including one that records video at 720p HD, and support for FaceTime.
  • 3rd Generation: Storage capacity bumped up here to 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, and the device gained greater performance thanks to a faster chip and more powerful graphics hardware.
  • 2nd Generation: This model offered a better battery and added additional hardware features such as an accelerometer, updated shape, and Nike+ integration. Capacity and networking features were the same.
  • 1st Generation: The original model. Offered 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB of storage and an Internet connection via Wi-Fi.

  • What is the difference between an iPod and an iPad?

    The primary difference between an iPad and an iPod is how you use them. The iPod is a music player, although it has other features such as video and photo capabilities. An iPad can do everything an iPod can do, plus many more things, effectively making it capable of replacing your PC.

  • What is jailbreaking an iPod?

    Jailbreaking a device means that you are bypassing any restrictions placed by the manufacturer. Jailbreaking has pros and cons, such as enabling the ability to use non-Apple apps (a pro) and running the risk of "bricking" the device, essentially rendering it useless.

  • What is an iPod Photo Cache?

    iTunes creates a folder named iPod Photo Cache when you use iTunes to sync photos to your iPod, iPad, and iPhone. This folder is used to store optimized photos so that they will properly display on your different Apple devices.

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