When the first generation iPod hit stores in 2001, everything was hunky-dory between Apple and its growing legion of ear-bud-sporting fans. Two years and three model generations later, some consumers' love affair with their favorite mp3 device screeched to an abrupt halt. The lithium-ion batteries inside the iPod failed to hold a charge. To make matters worse, the iPod isn't designed to allow users to replace the battery.
The media credited brothers Casey and Van Neistat for publicizing the iPod battery problem in 2003 [source: Musgrove]. Casey bought an iPod in 2002, and its battery gave out the following September. Much to his chagrin, Apple refused to replace the battery in accordance with company policy. He even attempted to reach Apple CEO Steve Jobs about the problem, to no avail [source: Neistat]. Deciding to take to the streets, the Neistat brothers spray painted Apple advertisements with the tagline "iPod's unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months" [source: Popular Science].
Though not directly because of the guerilla campaign, Apple instituted a battery replacement program in November 2003. Meanwhile, a group of iPod owners filed a class action lawsuit claiming that Apple had misrepresented the gadget's battery life. In 2005, Apple settled and agreed to replace iPods with faulty batteries purchased prior to May 2004 and extend warranties on batteries.
Today, when you buy an iPod, Apple has you covered for the first year. Barring owner-induced damage (i.e. ruining your iPod by dropping it in the toilet), Apple will replace a failing battery free of charge for the first 12 months. After that, you must shell out the cash for a new one.
For about $59 plus shipping and handling (prices vary, depending on model), Apple will replace your iPod battery. You can also take it to an Apple retail store for repair. But the iPod you get back won't be what you had before. Basically, you get a brand new iPod. Why is that important to know? The replacement device includes a new hard drive; anything not backed up on iTunes, such as documents or photos, will be good as gone.
When the initial battery bonanza was in full swing, some clever iPod users decided to chance it. Why not replace the battery on their own and save a few bucks? With mixed results, standard operating procedures now exist for DIY iPod battery replacement.