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iPod Shuffle

In September 2010, Apple unveiled the forth-generation iPod Shuffle. The music player has the basic design of the second-generation iPod Shuffle, with the large control pad and postage stamp shape.

Unlike most of the computers, smartphones, and gadgets I disassemble, the iPod Shuffle isn't designed to be taken apart and put back together. And with a price of just $49, most people will opt to simply replace a damaged Shuffle instead of repairing it. But that doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

If you do decide to disassemble the iPod Shuffle, you'll need a Phillips #00 or #000 screwdriver and a thin metal blade or plastic spudger.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle top

Along the top of the fourth-generation iPod Shuffle are the 3.5mm headphone jack, VoiceOver button, and play-order/power switch.

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Opening the iPod Shuffle

The fourth-generation iPod Shuffle's case has two parts--a larger front enclosure and a rear panel. The clip is attached to the rear panel.

Holding the clip in the open position, you can see where the edges of the rear panel meet the front enclosure. The joint between the two case sections is extremely tight. To remove the rear panel, I pulled up on the open end of the clip until I formed a small gap between the two sections. I then inserted a thin metal blade and pried the panel free.

The rear panel is held in place with tabs that run along the left and right sides, as well as adhesive. You may bend the panel slightly during removal, but you should be able to pull it free without breaking it.

With one side of the panel free, you should be able to separate it from the front case enclosure. A very thin rubber gasket sits under the rear panel. Take care not to rip the gasket when removing the panel.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Rear panel removed

With the rear panel (left) removed, we get our first look inside the fourth-generation iPod Shuffle. The iPod Shuffle's clip and hinge are attached to the rear panel with four screws.

Taking up roughly half the space inside the fourth-generation iPod Shuffle is the 3.7V, 0.19Whr Li-ion battery. On the right, you can see the black, rubber gasket still covers the back of the logic board.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle gasket

You should be able to lift the gasket away from the iPod Shuffle without tearing it. With the gasket removed, we can see the underside of the logic board.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle battery

Unfortunately, Apple soldered the iPod Shuffle's battery to the logic board. You won't be replacing this battery without getting out your soldering iron.

The iPod Shuffle's logic board is held in place with a single Phillips #00 screw. You'll also need to disconnect the small ribbon cable for the control pad.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle's internal backing

Removing the battery reveals a portion of the metal plate that serves as a backing for the control pad's internal contacts. One of the screws that holds this plate in place is also visible. You can remove the screw now or leave it in place and remove it later. I chose to remove it at this stage.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Spacer in iPod Shuffle

A small, plastic spacer holds the logic board against the top of the front case enclosure. You should be able to pop it free with a small pointed instrument, such as the metal blade shown here.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle logic board

With the spacer removed, you can slide the logic board and attached headphone jack down past the top lip of the case.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Removing logic board

You should now be able to gently lift the logic board away from the case.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle control pad

With the logic board and battery removed, we can see a metal plate, which serves as a base for the control pad contacts. It's held in place with four Phillips #00 screws--one of which I removed earlier.

We'll need to remove the three remaining screws before lifting the control pad contact plate away from the case.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Hidden screw on iPod Shuffle

One of the screws is hidden behind this small cushion.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle contact plate

With all four screws removed, we can lift the control pad contact plate away from the case.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle control pad

With the control pad contact plate removed, we can see the back of the control pad.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Metal plate

The actual contacts for the iPod Shuffle's control pad are attached to this metal plate.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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iPod Shuffle control pad

The iPod Shuffle's control pad should pop free with a gentle push.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Empty iPod Shuffle case

At this point, there's nothing left in the iPod Shuffle's case but the play-order/power switch.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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Disassembled iPod Shuffle

With its hard-to-open case and soldered battery, the forth-generation iPod Shuffle wasn't really designed to be serviced--especially not by the average user. I wouldn't recommend cracking open your Shuffle unless you're prepared to possibly break the device.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic
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