After Hours

Cracking Open the Apple iPod Nano (4th generation)

Nanos are colorful

Cracking Open iPod's from Apple is not for the faint of heart. We had already lost one iPod Nano to the Cracking Open process. Did the fourth generation iPod Nano survive our prying?The fourth generation iPod Nano from Apple is taller and thinner than the previous generation. The media player is also well built and difficult to crack open, but that didn't stop us from trying -- even if it meant sacrificing the device's ability to operate.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

30 comments
Tink!
Tink!

I should have totally read this before I tried to open my Ipod Nano. Impatient me, tried to open it to disconnect the battery because I didn't want to wait hours for it to die on its own. Totally regret that now! Broke the teeny ribbon cable that connects to the touch wheel. Any ideas on possible ways to repair it?

a.c.e.is
a.c.e.is

hey i know how to disconect that screen wire when you pull the screen out just a bit like the pic just push in and down on the screen protector then it pops out so now you can unclip that wire with your finger ok have fun

gcymwtag
gcymwtag

I just surpassed the flaw. In your post it says the screen is held in by the inards but i got the screen off at the point where you decided to break the ribbon. If you apply pressure to the bottom half of the screen and slide down it will pop open. I'm currently stuck there right now though. I'm hoping to replace parts from water damage if you're wondering why in the hell would I ever try to open an ipod lol. It went through the wash so the warranty diappeared :( Post back if you have any ideas what to do next, I'm going to keep trying though.

Marco73
Marco73

I'm still in love with my 8GB Fatty. Almost nothing bad to say. My only complaint is that I can't get video to my older universal dock. Will the pin-outs be going back to the standard for this version or will still have to buy a new universal dock?

fabrice002
fabrice002

Since there was no final permanent assembly process, like metal staking, they had to assemble by sliding the whole thing into the case. You saw glue holding the battery to the case. If you could approximate *where* on the case that glue would be, and apply localized heat to the outside with a suitable heat gun, it might soften the glue enough to slide out without having to use a feeler gauge. But all the easier if you could get a gauge in there to dislodge softened glue.

bikingbill
bikingbill

How did they manage to manufacture the device?

bubbles1142
bubbles1142

Hell of a waste of a magic Entertainment Unit that I would not now be without. My first MP3 Player and I wonder what took me so long. I am mystified as to what the White Cradle Accessory provided is for, I can find no apparent use for it but would love to know what it is for, Please, Noel

tkeller
tkeller

So follow the lead of legions of users/abusers before you.. shove it all back together and turn it in under warranty. Be sure to practice your "it just stopped working" face beforehand. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Remember, when you've run out of useful features to differentiate yourself from the competition, when you've reached the entire target market with nothing useful left to drive sales, there's always the final option of making things in different colors. Big whoop.

doug
doug

One wonders how they got the guts inside in the first place, since the ribbon cables would presumably prevent easy assembly.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I know I broke it -- I feel bad about it, but I could find no other way to get the device open. If you have a better suggestion let me know here in the discussion thread. If we come up with good strategy, I'll try it again and look for better results. I hate to lose a patient on the operating table.

redfreethrowaway
redfreethrowaway

If you got the glass out, you're close. From other sites I've visited, I learned that Apple supposedly "dry assembles" these then heats them... which sets glue strips holding everything inside the case. I found a plastic cover from one of my kids' agendas (a blister pack plastic shell would work), and cut a strip which I slid down behind the battery to cut the glue loose. Then, I ICED the case. That hardened the glue and kept it from sticking. I removed the screen out the bottom of the iPod, though. I figured if shoving it up broke the ribbon, it must have been put in from the bottom of the iPod. Looks like it was. I was able to get everything out intact, but because the glue caught while I was disassembling, the screen broke. I forced it. Mine went through the wash, too! I think it was beyond repair, though, anyway; there was corrosion over most of the screen connections and components. Someone try this and see if you can fix yours!

freaknout
freaknout

Nice job guys, this is one of the best ones as nobody would ever want to destroy their own in this case.

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

The little white cradle won't be of much use unless you buy one of those home entertainment accessories that allow you to plug in your ipod. The white cradle is an adapter so your nano can fit in the dock, since the nano is smaller than other ipods.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

In the Apple Store they were using that thing to stand the iPods up and connecting the ear buds. Personally, I never have much need for them.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I don't want to be dishonest about it - I broke it and I can live with it. Besides, it serves as a good warning for "don't try this at home."

mnemennth
mnemennth

You know, some people will talk out their arse just to have something to say. First off, Apple INVENTED the product, and they are constantly RE-inventing their products (possibly the last American brand even bothering to try anymore) - so they really cannot be guilty of "marketing ennui". Furthermore, the ORIGINAL PRODUCT came in a rainbow of brilliant colors; their move AWAY from that feature with the Nano3G generated a fair amount of flak from their faithful PAYING customers; I know, I was dismayed at the decision to offer only a few pastel shades in this family. This reaction was doubtless the driving force behind the decision to cut production of the Nano3G when it could have easily remained profitable for at least 2 or 3 more quarters; they were getting PLASTERED in the usergroups. So please; before you post something negative just to stroke your own ego, make sure it is relevant and worth the electrons inconvenienced by its existence. mnem

cupcake
cupcake

Differentiate itself from the competition? What competition? And anything the competition is doing is stolen directly from Apple's innovations. New to the iPod Nano.... the accelerometer has been added and new features to the software. And the colors? If they are so unimportant, then why does every technology company still try to copy Apple's lead in use of color?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

My best guess is that the entire assembly went in as a single piece with the glue on the battery hot. When the blue cools, the assembly is in permanently. Any manufacturing engineers have a better suggestion?

robert.marquez
robert.marquez

because it is such a tight fit, warming up the outside (within operating limits of course) and using a bench clamp (to get both sides along the length) squeeze it gently, while using a metal feeler gauge to try and get between the battery/chassis and the cover. That might work.

jeff.allen
jeff.allen

I was given one of these as a present. I was also given a set of black Logitec speakers. So my silver iPod, looks great (!) with it's WHITE cradle in a set of black speakers (not). Doesn't matter anyway because the iPod doesn't fit securely in the cradle anyway! Sort of a loose floppy "just-resting-there" kind of fit. If you bump it, it disconnects. Sort of like my old CD player did before they invented anti-skip.

jeff.allen
jeff.allen

Don't forget the obvious "marks of destruction".... "Oh them? We tried to open it because we thought it might be a dead bettery... How do you replace the battery anyway?"...

cupcake
cupcake

Couldn't have said it better myself... thank you M!

herr_howard
herr_howard

SanDisk has a kid-oriented MP3 player called the Shaker that has been out for well over a year that (wait for it) changes songs when shaken. Sounds like accelerometer usage going on to me. Apple didn't innovate this. They took an idea already in use, glossed it up, put it into a premium package and shouted "Look what WE did! Aren't we still cool?"

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

is itself, specifically the existing older 'white only' models. Nobody is copy Apple's lead in using color. Apple and the rest are all following a long-standing marketing trend: when you run out of significant new features, add color. Apple could just as easily offered color from the beginning, but at that stage of the marketing process it wasn't necessary. Early adopters will buy regardless of external trivialities.

bbasel
bbasel

steel feeler gauge to loosen the battery from the case. I was also thinking that sacrificing the window would have at least left you with a working unit. Leaving you with the possibility of replacement later.

cupcake
cupcake

that Apple 'innovated' the accelerometer... I said it was new to the Nano line of iPods. And, Apple has been using the accelerometer in the iPhone line since its introduction, which has been over a year now too. And, like it or not, the use of the technology is innovative and yes, Apple is cool.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Okay, I do have a cheap Toshiba I use when I miss the broadcasts of 'Car Talk' or "Wait, Wait...". Other than that I have no use for an .MP3 player, regardless of color.

cupcake
cupcake

appeared early, with the introduction of the Mini. I don't think Apple believes adding color is a 'feature'... its just what the people want. I don't know many people who are willing to spend another $150 or $200 just to change color. Obviously there is something else attracting them... You can go back to listening to your Zune now...