iPod Shuffle 4th Generation Teardown



Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

This is the first of three iPod teardowns this week! We'll be taking apart the new iPod Touch and iPod Nano the moment we get our hands on them. Stay in the loop on twitter as the week progresses.

In case you missed it, last week we celebrated a major milestone. In addition to enabling Apple repair, we now have parts and repair manuals for most game consoles! We decided to celebrate by taking a trip through time and ripping apart five retro consoles:

Still want to keep your old Shuffle running? We have complete iPod Shuffle repair manuals and parts.

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Edit Step 1 iPod Shuffle 4th Generation Teardown  ¶ 

  • Apple's latest incarnation of the Shuffle bears little resemblance to its immediate predecessor.

  • Although the Shuffle features "new, smaller packaging," it doesn't feature a similarly resized shipping box. Apple could have shipped 30 iPod Shuffles in this box. Literally.

  • Its Apple model number is A1373, updated from the previous Shuffle's A1271 designation.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • The 4th Gen Shuffle is priced at a paltry $49.99! The original iPod shuffle cost $99, and had only 512 MB of storage.

  • There's a button just for VoiceOver: push once for artist and song, twice for battery status, and hold for playlist menu.

  • Apple admitted that people actually like buttons and brought them back for this generation.

    • Pshhh! Those of us with 3rd Gen Shuffles just printed out this convenient chart and carried it around for reference.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Here's the full lineup.

    • There seems to be pattern here: skinny, fat, skinny, fat. It seems like Apple can't decide what shape they like best.

  • iPod Shuffle 4th Generation:

    • Height: 1.14"

    • Width: 1.24"

    • Depth: 0.34"

    • Weight: 0.44 oz.

  • A bank was robbed last week in Ba Sing Se. Witnesses were given this lineup to identify the perpetrator.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Although this step makes it look super-simple to open the Shuffle, it's not. It took us a good half hour of prying and heat-gunning to open the little guy.

    • Pro tip: Aluminum gets hot when it's heated!

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • The exposed internals.

  • The logic board is stuffed alongside the battery in the outer case.

  • Notice the glue residue along the edges of the opening.

    • Apple press-fit and glued the back clip onto the body. No wonder it was such a doozy to open!

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Even the seemingly simple task of disconnecting the control pad ribbon cable turns out to be quite a chore when the connector is 1/8" wide.

  • We have a feeling that as technology advances, we'll need smaller and smaller tools to take devices apart. You won't be able to see our hands in pictures, just little pointy tweezers.

  • We already have a microscope ready and waiting in the back room for when that time comes -- but we're not there quite yet (thankfully).

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Our huge #00 screwdriver makes short work of the logic board screw.

  • A plastic opening tool is needed to lift the battery off the light adhesive holding it to the case.

  • After the battery is out, a small plastic logic board retainer must be removed with none other than a dental pick.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • We remove the logic board and battery together from the iPod, because Apple once again chose to solder the battery to the logic board.

  • The loss of user-serviceability is the price we pay for small, sleek design.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Removing the last four screws in the iPod Shuffle, which secure the control pad to the front of the iPod.

  • The button and control pads pop out together with a gentle push.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • The control pad comes out of the front case without any additional trouble.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • With a listed capacity of .19 Whr, this small 3.7V lithium-ion battery pumps out 15 hours of audio playback.

    • To calculate the capacity in amp-hours, we know P(power) = I(amps)*V(volts), so I = P/V. That yields a capacity of about .051 amp-hours, or 51 mAh. To say the least, that's diminutive in the world of batteries.

  • It's remarkable how long a battery lasts when it doesn't have to power a backlight.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • APPLE 338S0860 C0AN1021 TWN

  • 339S0128 / K9GA608U0E BC80 / FDEF26QV 1025 / 8443 ARM / N2N63MQ1 1031

    • Unsurprisingly, the date codes on this package indicate die manufacture dates in late June (1025) and early August 2010 (1031).

    • "K9GA6" indicates Samsung 16Gb flash, unlike the Nano and touch which use Toshiba flash.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • iPod Shuffle 4th Generation Repairability: 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • Good: The control pad is attached to the logic board via a connector, allowing it to be easily separated.

    • Good: The lack of a screen eliminates a large weak point of other devices, making the Shuffle more resilient to falls. Just don't flush it down the toilet.

    • Bad: You essentially have to break it to open it.

    • Bad: The battery is soldered to the logic board, making replacement that much more difficult.

    • Bad: Apple keeps shrinking connectors. These super-small cable connectors are increasingly difficult to open without breaking them.

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Comments Comments are onturn off

That guy stratched PCB, broke edge of a chip and totally wrench one capatitor. Seen on step 12. Thanks for HQ photos. I wish more patience to author, next time...

quido speedy, · Reply

Thank you very much. The guide is very good and I was able to change the battery of my ipod shuffle. It is working again.

Helena Matias, · Reply

I love that iPod shuffle shipping box.

PrizedPixul, · Reply

That robot is oddly familiar......

Alex Jansen, · Reply

Sorry if I'm missing something here, but what is that secured to the rear panel (visible in step four)? I see four screws holding the clip onto the rear panel, but there doesn't seem to be any teardown of that segment of the Shuffle.

threebkk, · Reply

Towards the bottom right, there appears to be a small tab to help keep the back attached. The black goop I'm assuming is glue or a seal of sorts. And the grey-ish blob towards the top right looks like foam with probably a metal mesh surrounding it. I'm not sure what the technical name is, but that type of foam is common in electronics.

Mitchal Fej,

what is the size of the control pad?

arvin de castro, · Reply

Based on my measurements on my own device, the diameter of the control pad is pretty much dead on 2.5cm.

Mitchal Fej,

From the photo it looks like the big chip on back is marked "8443 ARN", not "8443 ARM" ... I'd guess that it's the Flash, and the (much smaller) chip on the other side is the (probably ARM-based) controller.

Wim, · Reply

Interesting: there's a blank space for an IC that's not present. I wonder what could go there? (Or maybe it's for a connector?)

cityzen, · Reply

Wouldn't it be 2gb instead of 16gb, since the shuffle is only offered with 2gb.

Shawn Parker, · Reply

Those are bits, not bytes.

Andrew Bookholt,

Which one of these chips handles the D/A conversion and audio output? I'd like to know so that I might compare it to the iPod Nano and touch.

threebkk, · Reply

Where part of it holds the memory??

Christian, · Reply

my mom dropped my shuffle in the water(i have a 2nd.gen)

I took it apart to find fried circuits

It will be $$$$$$ if dropped in water and given power

Nick, · Reply

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