How to identify iPod models

It’s hard to believe, but the Apple iPod was first introduced over 11 years ago, at the end of October 2001. Technology years work in a similar way to dog years – you have to multiply the number of years by seven to find its equivalent human age – which makes the iPod an incredible 88 years old! It’s a venerable old device. Even so, the iPod line has managed to change with the times – going through many developments and upgrades. The differences between some models may seem minuscule to the average eye, but every new generation brings changes – from upgraded screens and greater storage to longer lasting batteries and new colours. There have been an incredible 37 models since 2001 – big iPods, small iPods, red iPods, green iPods, blues iPods, plastic iPods, metal iPods, touch screen iPods, wheel iPods – it’s almost like Bubba describing shrimp in the film Forrest Gump: The iPod family history There are five families of the iPod, each with its own set of generations. To understand them better and identify which one is which, I will split them up by family and then describe them by generation. iPod touch: 5 generations They have pretty different designs, with the exception of the second and third generation. But let’s find out more about each one below. iPod nano: 7 generations They all look pretty different, and their capacities and features have improved with every generation! iPod shuffle: 4 generations They come in a variety of colours, but they have the same shape and layout. iPod classic: 6 generations This was the first iPod released by Apple. It has a big rectangular shape –the top half is the screen and the bottom half has the famous round click wheel that you use to navigate. All are built on this core principle, but with various adjustments. iPod Mini: 2 generations It was launched after the iPod classic, to be more travel friendly. It had a short life, but still, it had two generations. To learn how to tell which iPod model you have, check:
  • Its key characteristics
  • Its release date
  • If it has a multi-touch display, control pad, click wheel, touch wheel, scroll wheel
  • Whether its earphones came with a remote
  • The hard drive capacity
  • Whether it has a colour or monochrome screen.




Short description

Release date

Navigation Control


Battery life

Touch First * It has a flat back, no camera, and a small black border around the sides. You can identify the capacity from the back. September 2007 Multi-Touch display 8, 16, 32 GB audio: 22 video: 5
Second * You can distinguish the 2nd generation from the 3rd on by looking at the back of the device and finding the model number. iPod touch 2nd generation model number is A1288. September 2008 Multi-Touch display 8, 16, 32 GB audio: 36 video: 6
Third * iPod touch 3rd generation model number is model A1318. September 2009 Multi-Touch display 32, 64 GB audio: 30 video: 6
Fourth * It has two built-in cameras and can fit five rows of icons on the homescreen. Is available in white and black. September 2010 Multi-Touch display 8, 16, 32, 64 GB audio: 40 video: 7
Fifth * It has a longer screen than the previous one, and fits six rows of icons. September 2012 Multi-Touch display 16, 32, 64 GB audio: 40 video: 7
Nano First * It has a glossy plastic front, and a shiny metal back. Is long and skinny, with a small square screen, and small click wheel. It comes only in black or white. September 2005 Click Wheel 1, 2, 4 GB audio: 14 slideshow: 4
Second * It has colored, brushed metal wrapped all the way around. Apple also introduced it in five new colors! September 2006 Click Wheel 2, 4, 8 GB audio: 24 slideshow: 5
Third * This Nano has a wider screen, so is shorter and more square. The front is of brushed metal, and the back is shiny silver. It has the ability to play videos and comes in 5 colors. September 2007 Click Wheel 4, 8 GB audio: 24 video: 5
Fourth * This Nano has the same wide, long screen, the body looks like a very skinny oval, and is wrapped completely with brushed metal. It comes in 9 colors. September 2008 Click Wheel 4, 8, 16 GB audio: 24 video: 4
Fifth * It comes with a video camera and a microphone on the back! It has a bigger screen (height-wise), and has a glossy shiny metal that covers the exterior of this nano. It comes in nine colours. September 2009 Click Wheel 8, 16 GB audio: 24 video: 5
Sixth * Completely touch based, this nano is incredibly small and it comes in six colours! September 2010 Multi-Touch display 8, 16 GB audio: 24
Seventh * This nano comes eight new colours, has a 2.5 inch screen and a home button on the bottom. September 2012 Multi-Touch display 16 GB audio: 30 video: 3.5
Shuffle First * It has a long shape in which the bottom has a cap. It has no display and the capacity is written on the USB part. January 2005 Control Pad 512 MB, 1 GB audio: 12
Second * Is smaller than the first generation, and the button configuration is on the right of the device. It has no USB, but the back also sports a handy clip for your clothes. September 2006 Control Pad 1, 2 GB audio: 12
Third *

Very different than the others, is very striking to see this shuffle. The back has a clip, and it's about as big as an AAA battery. It comes in five colours.

March 2009 Apple Earphones with Remote 2, 4 GB audio: 10
Fourth * This one has regain its navigation buttons. The button set is in the middle, and has a square shape. Is available in five colours. September 2010 Control Pad 2 GB audio: 15
Classic First * This iPod has sharp edges on the front face. October 2001 Scroll wheel 5, 10 GB audio: 10
Second * This iPod classic has sharp edges on the front face. It has a touch sensitive click wheel. July 2002 Touch wheel 10, 20 GB audio: 10
Third * The iPod features a central row of backlight touch-sensitive buttons. Is the first iPod to feature smooth edges on the front face of the iPod. April 2003 Touch wheel 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 GB audio: 8
*Fourth*(Photo) *(Color) * This iPod has a grey scroll wheel distinguishing it from older iPods. And has a monochrome screen. This is the iPod with the first Color Screen. The iPod Photo can store pictures to view later. *iPod Special Edition U2 - iPod with video *iPod Special Edition Harry Potter - iPod with color display July 2004October 2004June 2005 Click Wheel Click Wheel Click Wheel 20, 40 GB photo: 30, 40, 60 GB color: 20, 60 GB audio: 12audio: 15 slideshow: 5
Fifth * This iPod video has added video playback capabilities along with photo viewing capabilities, a screen size of 2.5 inches and smaller click wheel than earlier models. October 2005 Click Wheel 30, 60, 80 GB 30 GB audio: 14 video: 2 60/80 GB audio: 20 video: 3/6.5
Sixth * This model has the capability of displaying photos and videos and of course, plays music. Is available in silver and black. September 2007 & 2009 Click Wheel 80, 120, 160 GB 80 GB -audio: 30, video: 5 120 GB -audio: 36, video: 6 160 GB -audio: 40, video: 7
Mini First * It has a small size and it comes in lots of colors. The 1st generation one doesn’t have any size indication. January 2004 Click Wheel 4 GB audio: 8
Second * This one has its generation and his capacity written on the back. February 2005 Click Wheel 4, 6 GB audio: 18

Do these make sense to you? If not, do not hesitate to contact us via email or phone: 020 7078 4341. Our customer service team is knowledgeable and is always happy to help!

May 07, 2014