There are mistakes, and then there are mistakes.
Any mistake that ruins a $250 piece of electronics, for example, would be a mistake.
The last thing you need when your iPod breaks is to know that it’s your fault and could have been prevented, so I’ve compiled a quick list of common iPod mistakes that iPod owners make constantly–that can ruin an iPod permanently.
1. Not using a case. The iPod looks so great on its own, especially the new iPod touch models, and many owners don’t want to cover it up.
Once you’ve had an iPod for a week or two, though, you quickly learn that it’s extremely susceptible to scratching and nicking, possibly to the point where the screen isn’t even legible.
A case is a must. If you’re in love with the classic finish of your iPod, there are clear cases available, but it’s important to get a leather or hard plastic case for the iPod as soon as possible.
If you’ve got a non-touch iPod and you’ve already got some scratches, try this trick to get the original shine back: buy a bottle of Brasso and some tape. Put the tape around any edge and over the buttons and wheel of the iPod, then use some Kleenex and a bit of the Brasso to rub with fairly even pressure for about 20 minutes. You’ll notice the original shine coming back pretty instantly. If you’ve got a touch iPod, though, doing this could potentially damage your unit. Don’t try it.
2. Unplug it without ejecting it properly. This is akin to turning your computer off without going through a proper shut down sequence; you might be unplugging your iPod while it’s attempting to write or read files, and if you’re not careful you may have problems with sector corruption (or worse, iPod failure and that fun little icon with the folder and the exclamation point).
To avoid this, always eject your iPod from iTunes, not the little icon on the Windows task bar. If it won’t eject, close every program you can. Use Ctrl+Alt+Delete to open the task manager and check for any programs you might not have known were running and close them. With all of your programs closed, you should be able to eject the iPod now.
3. Carry it around water. As a person who has dropped his iPod into a toilet, I would like to make special note of this.
There’s no reason to keep your iPod around a pool, bathtub, bucket, or any other form of liquid unless you’ve got a special case to keep water out in the event of an accidental drop (which they do make, and a link’s at the end of the article).
If you already dropped your iPod in water, here’s a guide on what to do next.
4. Keeping the only copies of your music on it. iPods are awesome, but they’re not indestructible. In fact, any hard drive is susceptible to failure, so don’t keep all of your music on one hard drive unless you’re willing to re-rip and re-download everything that you’ve got in your collection.
If your iPod already has all of your music, use a program like Ephpod to get it off and keep multiple copies from now on. It’s not worth the work it could take to rebuild your music collection.
5. Leave it in your car. A lot of people don’t think of their cars as a dangerous environment, but other than the obvious danger of burglary, leaving your iPod in the sunlight can do a number on its screen and possibly damage its internal circuitry, especially in the summer. The winter’s possibly worse; extreme cold can cause hard drive heads to break down and potentially permanently damage data. Keep your iPod at room temperature and around minimal humidity if you want it to last.