The little iPod that could and still can

After a long hiatus, I recently started deliberately exercising again. I’m turning “an age” this year — you don’t need know what age, just that it’s evenly divisible by a horribly large number — and, while I’ve been fortunate enough to never really have to struggle with my weight, it was becoming apparent that the incidental exercise I was getting by just having a kid was no longer enough for continued living.

Now, deliberately exercising is horrible. I’m not alone in knowing this known fact. Please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just saying truths here. One way to make it less horrible is to listen to music while doing it. But running with an iPhone in your pocket is problematic and I’m not sure if I’m iPhone armband material since my biceps are more CGI skinny Steve Rogers than real-life Chris Evans.

Fortunately, my house is full of old Apple devices. As you might imagine.

So, re-enter my 2nd generation iPod Shuffle.


This model came out in September of 2006 and I used it extensively for a few years until it just didn’t make sense to be managing music on it and my iPhone anymore. That also probably coincides with the last time I conducted deliberate exercise regularly.

Needless to say, it was completely drained when I picked it up, so I recharged it for the four hours Apple says it needs for a complete charge. Then for some reason it wouldn’t let me update the playlist that was on it, but that was fixed with a quick restore.

Apple’s specifications page for this model says it will play music for up to 12 hours on a full charge. So, I got curious. How long would this neglected 7.5-year-old devices still play? I plugged in some headphones, fired it up and let it go.

Realistically I only needed it to play music for maybe an hour while I was, ugh, exercising. My expectation was that it would probably play for a couple of hours, given what I’ve experienced with long-term battery life on other devices like iPhones, hard drive-based iPods and my Nexus 7.

How long did it continue to play?

11.5 hours.

Someone smarter than me can probably explain why this isn’t amazing. “It’s flash-based and, because the device is so small, the ions don’t have that far to travel through the acceleration matrixometer and you’re an idiot.” But the fact that it still gets almost the same amount of battery time as it did the day it rolled off the sweatshop factory floor seemed pretty amazing to me. I don’t know that you can draw any conclusions from this about how super-awesomely made Apple products are, but this one at least is pretty good.