Lithium-ion batteries have allowed manufacturers to design smaller, sleeker devices because they pack more power in a compact space. On the flip side, they're expensive and have a relatively brief lifespan -- usually two to three years [source: Musgrove]. And although Apple's iPod catalogue has evolved rapidly, battery capability hasn't followed suit. Following a few tips can help fill this technology gap.
First, don't store iPods in hot places, such as a glove box. The lithium-ion battery creates usable power through chemical reactions; heat excites those particular reactions. Therefore, if you leave your iPod sitting in a steamy car for extended periods of time, it depletes battery life more rapidly than it would otherwise. Although you aren't actively using the gadget, the battery wear and tear will accumulate. For that reason, Apple strongly advises storing iPods in temperate locations with the Hold button engaged.
When using your iPod, limit your use of the following functions [source: Apple]:
- Third-party apps
Each of these require more battery power to activate.
The way you download and arrange your music also affects battery life. For starters, compressed files (160 kbps mp3s and 128 kbps AACs) eat up less battery power [source: Apple]. The iPod (excluding nano and Shuffle models) delivers that music from the hard drive to a memory cache, or temporary storage unit. The larger the file, the more frequently the iPod must reload its cache; that activity drains the battery. For similar reasons, fast forwarding through a series of songs also depletes the battery. Each time you skip a song, it requires extra energy for the iPod to reload the hard drive.
Fortunately for iPod addicts, part of keeping the lithium-ion battery healthy includes putting it to work. An idle lithium-ion battery will simply drain out if left alone long enough. Likewise, Apple urges customers to run through at least one full battery cycle per month [source: Apple].