Boy swaps third-gen iPod Touch battery for $8.59

If you've got a third-generation iPod Touch that needs a battery replacement, it will cost you $79 for Apple do it. But if you're adventuresome, you can do it for about $9 (as long as you already have a soldering iron).

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
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David Carnoy
3 min read
Apple charges $79 to replace the battery on your third-generation iPod Touch. This kid did it for $8.59. Ken Landau

A couple of months ago, I noticed that my third-generation iPod Touch (32GB) was having trouble holding a charge. After using it for a few hours, the battery was at about 30 percent, and if I left it sitting on my desk overnight, it was invariably dead in the morning, even after I turned Wi-Fi off.

I looked into getting a replacement battery and found out that Apple charges $79 (see complete chart of iPod repair pricing). Now I like my iPod Touch, which serves both as a Sonos remote and a remote for an old Roku player that I attached to a kitchen TV. But I wasn't sure I wanted to invest $79 toward a battery replacement when that money could potentially go toward a fourth-generation iPod Touch (the current model), though I was a little bit wary after having my battery wane in less than two years.

Solution: I put my 11 year-old nephew, Brett, on the case. He's appeared before in a couple of CNET posts ("Kid builds own iPad stand for $12.49" and "Boy fixes cracked iPhone screen for $21.95") and I told him he should take a stab at replacing the battery on my iPod Touch. I'd pay for the battery (it had to cost less than $10) and he was responsible getting the old one out and getting the new one in. What would happen if he bricked my iPod in the process? Well, he could pay me back when he got his first summer job. If he was lucky, I'd have forgotten by then as I played around with my paper-thin ninth-generation iPod Touch.

Boy changes third-generation iPod Touch battery (photos)

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Anyway, the process was a bit tricky. Brett's father picked up a replacement battery on eBay for $8.59 shipped (the seller had very positive reviews) and lent Brett his soldering iron. Watching a YouTube instructional video for guidance, Brett found that it was a lot harder to get the innards out of the Touch than the video seemed to indicate. Also, all the videos they found stopped at the part where you have to do the actual soldering, which is the trickiest part.

The good news is that Brett didn't kill my Touch during the battery replacement surgery. Also, the battery seems to be working well after a few charges. (I can't tell you how well it will work a year from now, but it's holding a charge like the originally battery did when I first got the device.) The only small blemish on the whole procedure is that that the glass covering the screen doesn't sit quite as snugly in the casing as it used to (one corners is slightly raised). But you can barely tell, and when I put the Touch in its protective case, it looks just fine.

If you're interested in changing your battery yourself, as I said, it's a bit tricky, and if you brick your Touch, don't blame us; blame yourself for not getting a kid to do the job for you.