Our memories of the iPod

It’s official: the iPod is over. After 20 years, Apple announced this week that it would discontinue the final product for the brand that defined music players in the mid-2000s and helped propel Apple to mainstream success.

many of us in the edge You have fond memories of the days we spent using music players over the course of two decades, so we decided to write some of them to reflect not only what a great music player but also what important device it was in our lives back in the day. Plus, we have a lot of scars from destroying or “losing” these things.

Here are our memories of buying iPods, rediscovering them, bringing them back to life, and sometimes even losing them.


I have two iPod stories: one about the first one I ever got and one about the last one I bought new.

My first MP3 player was actually a 2GB Walkman, but as soon as I saw the “Nano-chromatic” ad for the 4th generation iPod Nano, I decided I’d buy it. The main problem was that I was 12 and it was $149 Much money for me – so I spent months collecting allowances, money from lawn mowers, and gift cards. When I finally had enough, I headed over to Toys R Us and picked a blue one. Finally, I was about to get my first iPod.

I didn’t think about sales tax and was short a few dollars. The cashier must have realized how broken I was because they offered to cover the rest in what was surely the greatest act of kindness I had ever experienced in my young life. I still have this iPod, even though its battery is no longer charging.

Fast-forward a few years later, and I was a stereotypical tech teen with the fourth generation iPod Touch. At one point I uninstalled something that was apparently necessary using the Cydia jailbreak tool and was completely unable to get my iPod back to working condition. After a few months, I decided to take the device out of my locker and put it back in again. It worked miraculously, and my iPod went back to running iOS 5.

The next day, as I was getting out of my super cool pickup truck, it slipped out of my pocket and fell onto the concrete driveway, shattering the screen. RIP to a real one. – Mitchell Clark


The iPod was the first “cool” gadget I ever owned. I’ve owned a series of other MP3 players, such as Diamond Rio and Archos Jukebox, but I bought a gold iPod Mini. It had four sets of music, which up until then sounded less like some of its competitors, but it was small and fast and the thing was like magic. Most of all, it didn’t get skipped every time the car hits bumps like a bunch of other guys using my hard drive.

The mini went everywhere with me for years until it was stolen from my car in my high school parking lot. (I could still imagine where my car was parked, the weather that day, and everything about the moment I found out it was gone.) I couldn’t afford another device, so I went back to my other machines, which all now looked lousy though They actually kept a little more music. But I kept the white headphones because as long as I had those, I felt like I still had an iPod. Until it hit the potholes and the thing skipped the tracks. – David Pierce


The fifth generation iPod.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

My first iPod was the fifth generation iPod Video. The first generation iPod came into my freshman year of high school, and for years I watched with envy all the rich kids showing their kids between classes. In my junior year, I basically compiled a PowerPoint for my dad, detailing my grades and all my silly high school accomplishments. My father said nothing, I backed down, and surrendered to my Egypt.

I was quite surprised when, a few weeks later, a parcel from Apple arrived at our door. My father had a smirk on his face. It was the black version, too, because he knew I was a goth teen. (This was despite the fact that he wished I could stop being goth with every iota of his being.) My dad was a sober man, so he didn’t say much but ‘have fun’. Needless to say, I’ve carried this baby in as many movies and songs as possible. He was my companion on late-night study sessions and commute to school for an hour. However, more often than not, that’s what I turned to when my parents were working their way through a messy breakup.

Maybe you could say something about the rambunctious teens who listen to emo music while their parents break up in an explosive way. But it was very comfortable to wear my headphones and play my music, uninterrupted by notifications and apps.

My iPod Video lasted for three years, until one day I dropped it on the dock and it split. By that time, you were so much past your buggy interface and clicking wheel that you didn’t want to collaborate anymore. I wanted a new iPod Touch. But something about my poor, loyal iPod Video lying on the sidewalk made me cry.

I took it home and kept it in a box for years. I couldn’t get rid of it. Then, I forgot it for nearly a decade, and oddly enough, I found it when cleaning up the trash in 2018. My father had just passed away, but there, when I missed him so much, it was one of the most precious gifts he ever gave me—a reminder of how much His love for me even if he couldn’t express it. And, perhaps, I may have found that day my father was comforting me from beyond the grave. – sung victoria


My “first iPod” story is very similar to David’s. My first MP3 player was Rio that could only have a handful of songs, and for some reason, I have a very strong memory of one of those songs that was a James Bond remix. My iPod Mini – its cool blue color – was a massive upgrade. It could have a lot more songs than my Ryo, and it was just fun to use. I still miss the scroll wheel! (I don’t know if I put a James Bond song on it.) It’s one of my all-time favorite devices, and I wish I still had it. – Jay Peters


Apple iPod Mini at the Apple Computer Store in Soho.,

iPod mini.
Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The iPod Mini was my very first iPod, and I’m sure it helped with some minor hearing loss. I used it every day, tucked into my handy plastic cradle and tucked into my waistband, to hear the beat of my favorite music while learning how to play, a hobby that helped with said hearing loss. The iPod also joined me on board my family’s tractor when I had to mow the lawn every week, a chore that may have contributed to my hearing loss as well. I don’t have any incredible tales to tell about my ownership of this iPod, other than that it went with me everywhere and faithfully did its job as a no-nonsense music player that he had too brick game built-in. – Cameron Faulkner


My first iPod was my first iPod – and it was bought in a gentle attempt by my mother to please me. You’ve been excited to have plenty of storage space on one device and have an MP3 player that works out of the box with iTunes. I used it constantly, sometimes it plugged into one of those horrible tape sets and sometimes one of the horrible FM transmitters. Tunes carried me 12 hours back and forth from college, and having all my music in one place eliminated the loss of my favorite cover of mixed CDs in Dillard’s parking lot in Toloma, Tennessee.

The investigation of the disappearance.
Screenshot: Alex Kranz

Then one day he disappeared. It was not in any of my wallets. It was not in my car. It was not in my bedroom. I was home on summer vacation from college, so it definitely wasn’t in my dorm room. It’s simply gone. I got a much cheaper iPod Shuffle to replace it, and it wasn’t nearly as good. For years I wondered if my younger brother secretly took it so it would look cool to other high school students.

Recently I tried to investigate this long-standing mystery, but the results of my investigation were inconclusive. – Alex Kranz


My first iPod was the 40GB Click Wheel model. I bought it in brand new condition from eBay in 2005. My favorite thing about it wasn’t the large storage space, the glossy finish I protected in the clear Griffin case, or the regular wow factor. My favorite thing was the top-mounted FM radio transmitter accessory called iTrip. It looked like a water tank connected to the headphone jack but somehow seemed like a natural extension to the iPod. Since the iPod ran out of battery, I could hop into a friend’s car and set it to 87.9, which is great because many cars didn’t have an aux jack or Bluetooth yet.

When the iPod video came out, I knew I had to get it. So I sold my iPod on eBay and bought Apple’s first new product: a black 5th generation 60GB iPod. I really wanted to protect this iPod, so I took it to a commercial booth that used clear vinyl protectors – a huge mistake. They used a razor blade to cut through and scratch the entire iPod wheel. They didn’t take responsibility for it, so, to my sadness, I sold it on eBay at a loss. I couldn’t get myself to buy another new Apple device for a long time, but for now, I’ve played MP3s on Windows Mobile devices like the Cingular/HTC 2125 and on the Game Boy Advance licensed MP3 player extension that comes with a 32MB built-in flash card. – Omar Shakir


I grew up hating Apple as a kid with ridiculous tendencies to hate their products because I was all about games and computers. At first I mocked early iPods in favor of my own Discman. You are the embodiment of this Penny Arcade comic. I haven’t tried or used an iPod for the longest time, but I do endorse some “beautiful, actually” letters similar to what I’ve heard about them that they don’t even have good sound quality. When downloading MP3 files became a way of life, my eyes were trained on exotic players from other brands like iRiver and even Intel. (How fitting, as an annoying computer enthusiast, to think “Intel!”)

I couldn’t afford any of them in high school, but early in college I landed on a Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen which was basically a laptop hard drive in an ugly plastic shell with a tiny monochrome screen. This thing was like a little tank of cheap removable storage that once made me laugh out loud at a drunk friend’s basement party when it was my turn to plug in the speakers. I certainly didn’t talk to them while I was secretly jealous of their stylish iPods. not at all.

My strong, misguided views of Apple products began to wane when I started using Macs for college photography classes, and eventually picked up my first and only iPod—the lemon-green third-generation iPod Shuffle. I bought it cheap on eBay to use while running, which of course didn’t work. But I loved it despite its buttonless design. I still have it to this day, and if I find the annoying 3.5mm to USB charger I’ll probably turn it on and see if I can remember the earphone button sequence to control play, pause, skip, and rewind.

Or maybe I shouldn’t because I shiver when I think of the degraded music you might still be living on. – Antonio C. de Benedetto


It was my first iPod from my older sister. The iPod Classic was black and full of angry songs that maybe even seventh graders shouldn’t have had access to, like Panic! at the disco Lying is the most fun a girl can have without undressing.

That little machine was with me during the entirety of my most awkward (and trying emo) phases. When I finally got a blue second-generation iPod Nano, things didn’t change. I plugged it into the family computer and uploaded it to my sister’s collection of emo songs from iTunes, and got myself a copy of each P! ATDAnd Academy isAnd Get it back on Sunday Songs a teenage girl can hope for.

My iPod is now collecting dust somewhere in my parents house. Wherever you are iPod, I hope you are comfortable in the blue sock I bought you. – Emma Roth

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