8 Replies Latest reply: Feb 9, 2007 9:21 PM by thepopularloser
thepopularloser Level 1 (0 points)
Hey, I keep most of my music on my 80gb ipod because I don't have enough room on my computer, so I'll often plug my ipod into the computer through the USB then unmount it so it can charge while I'm sort of tethered to the computer. My question is:

is this any better than using the ipod on its own?

will using the ipod while its plugged in eventually kill my battery life because it still uses battery cycles?

does using the ipod while its being charged drain the battery a little bit, then its charged a little bit, etc. etc., or is the ipod powered directly by the USB's current?

I kind of tried looking up a phone number or whatever for apple support for this because it'll basically dictate how I use my ipod for the next 2+ years (hopefully!) but I couldn't find anything, probably because they get so many questions. If anyone knows this sort of technical information or knows how to get in touch with apple about this, it would be much appreciated!

5.5 gen 80GB, Windows XP
  • gothjezebel Level 2 (330 points)
    the number for technical support and questions is 1-800-275-2273
  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,235 points)
    Using it while plugged in will not make the battery last less than using it normally.
    You should use a full charge cycle ~once per month.
    Also, if you let it run down and charge it fully once a month, it will keep the battery meter somewhat accurate.

    is the ipod powered directly by the USB's current?
    No, it is not powered directly by the USB.

    Since it runs on a battery, you should use the battery.
  • PT Level 7 (20,875 points)
    "No, it is not powered directly by the USB."

    While I do not know the technical details of the iPod specifically, my experience working with Li-Ion battery operated devices is that usually the device IS powered off the input power when plugged in while also charging the battery. Once the battery reaches full charge, the charging circuitry shuts down and the device runs off the input power. So my guess would be that the iPod does run off the USB power when plugged in.

    This is further supported by reports by people who's batteries are shot but the device still works while plugged in.

  • thepopularloser Level 1 (0 points)
    Will using the ipod while plugged in make the battery last longer than normal because it isn't using 'cycles'?
  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,235 points)
    Not using the battery will deteriorate it more than using it.

    One cycle consists of using 100% of the battery and charging it fully.
    Say if the battery is good for 10 hours and you use it 2 hours, then charge it. You could do this 5 times and that would constitute 1 cycle.

    You are not gonna wear out your battery as fast as you might think.
    Again, the iPod is built to use the battery so you shouldn't worry about using it.
    If you never run it unless it's plugged in, why are you worried about if it will preserve the battery?

    iPod battery frequently asked questions (FAQ)
    Apple Batteries web page
    Apple Batteries - iPod
    Charging your iPod battery
  • thepopularloser Level 1 (0 points)
    So if I'm interpreting the answers correctly:
    It seems like using the ipod while it's plugged in will run it directly off the USB's current for sure, but this isn't necessarily a good thing. I would think that running it this way would be the same as not using it at all, so I don't really understand why chris said "Since it runs on a battery, you should use the battery" and "Not using the battery will deteriorate it more than using it."

    In response to your question, I didn't say I never use it unless it's plugged in, I just said that I often use it that way. I use the ipod half the time away from the computer where I can charge it, so I'm still using the battery frequently. It's just that if I didn't plug it in while I used it the other half the time, I'd be charging it fully about every day (I watch videos and record memos/music with italk).

    So if these are my ipod using habits, it would be a good idea to leave it plugged in when I can to keep from wasting cycles, right? Or is there something I missing... [ipod newb X)]
  • PT Level 7 (20,875 points)
    Just continue to use it the way you are using it. The whole cycle count thing is an average that the battery companies came up with after testing and working with MANY MANY battery packs. It isn't an absolute. And like any battery system, sometime you get ones that work forever, some that are average, and some that crap out early. You never know. You might completely baby your battery and get 1 year and 1 month out of it while the next guy abuses the schitt out of it and his battery lasts 3 years. You just know and they way you use it is nothing extreme so you should expect to get roughly average life out of it. Hopefully not less than average and hopefully you get way more out of it, but your usage pattern is nothing to be overly concerned about.

  • thepopularloser Level 1 (0 points)
    At best, using an ipod while its charging doesn't affect the battery because its powered by the direct current; at worst, it uses the battery like normal while charging it. Either way it isn't bad, so I'll keep it plugged into my computer when I'm on it for a while just in case it can be good.