It almost seems like the iPod was designed to be dropped repeatedly, with its smooth corners and sleek face–it’s like a damned bar of soap sometimes, and there’s no worse feeling than accidentally dropping your iPod and wondering whether you just broke it.
Most of the time, an iPod can come out of a fall pretty OK. However, sometimes a fall will break one or more of the iPod’s components, requiring a repair. Here’s a guide for diagnosing and repairing an iPod that’s having issues after taking a fall.
1. Figure out the symptoms. As with any diagnoses, you need to think logically about the problems that your iPod is having. If it makes a loud noise, especially a clicking or whirring sound, the drop probably damaged the hard drive (it’s the only moving part in the iPod, so it’s a pretty safe bet that a mechanical sound is a problem with the HDD). If it sounds fine, but there’s no sound, the earphone jack was probably pushed out of place or ruined, especially if earphones were attached when it fell or were ripped out of the audio jack during the fall. If you hear nothing at all, not even the normal spinning sounds, it could be the electronics or, again, the hard drive.
2. Buy what you need. You can either go it alone or send the iPod to a repair company. Dropping the iPod probably voided your warranty, but if you’re feeling lucky you can try sending it into Apple to see if they’ll repair it anyways. They’re one of the more liberal companies when it comes to user-caused failure. If you’ve diagnosed a hard drive, broken screen, or electronics issue, I recommend attempting the repair yourself if you’re at all technical minded. It’s not too difficult a process, and I actually find it a bit fun. If you’ve got a problem with the audio jack, though, you’ll probably want to send the iPod in for a repair at a website like iPodMods.com, unless you’re really handy with a soldering iron. You can buy any parts you need at many iPod repair websites, on eBay, or by searching for iPod parts on Google. Be sure to buy parts that work with your model of iPod, which are organized by “generation” of release. If you don’t know what generation you’ve got, check the guide here.
3. Do the repair. It’s not brain surgery to take apart an iPod and replace a malfunctioning part. I’ve written a guide for hard drive replacement here, and for electronics you’ll be doing mostly the same stuff. For a broken screen, you’ll go a bit more in depth, and the most difficult part is simply remembering where everything goes, but here’s a guide to use for that repair.
4. If you don’t want to repair, sell the thing. You can get some good money for a broken iPod on eBay–the companies that sell the iPod parts buy them and resell them. With the extra money, which might get up to $100 or more, you can start saving up for a new iPod, and a case with some serious shock-protection for the next time you accidentally drop it.
Have you ever dropped an iPod and broken one or more components? Post in our comments section below.