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Controlling an iPod or iPod nano

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Brad Miser explains the iPod's controls and how to use them. He also covers the iPod's menu structure and the major screens that you'll use.
This chapter is from the book


  • Connect an iPod to headphones or speakers so you can hear its sound.
  • Turn on an iPod and learn how to control it.
  • Tour the iPod's menus and screens.
  • Light up your iPod's world with the Backlight.
  • Put an iPod on hold.
  • Turn off an iPod.

The iPod is a well-designed device that is easy to control—as soon as you understand its controls and how they work, that is. Because the iPod is likely quite different from other devices you have used, it can take a little time to get totally comfortable controlling one. That's where this chapter comes in. You'll learn about the iPod's controls and how to use them. You'll also come to know (and love) the iPod's menu structure and the major screens that you'll use. You'll get into the details of using all these controls and screens in subsequent chapters.

In this chapter, you'll learn how to use specific controls on the current generation of iPods (current to when I was writing this book, that is). Previous generations used different kinds of controls. For example, before the Click Wheel was standard on all iPod models, some models had separate buttons for Play and other actions. Because the iPod and iPod nano were the current models when I wrote this chapter, it focuses on their controls. If you have an older (or newer) model, the controls might be located in slightly different places, but their functions will be the same.

Getting Ready to Play

To hear the audio stored on your iPod, you must attach a sound output device to it. The most common is the set of earbud headphones that were included in the iPod's package.

To use these, you connect the mini-jack on the earbud cable to the Headphones jack located on the top of the iPod video (see Figure 3.1). On iPod nanos, this jack is located on the bottom. When you do so, you'll hear any sound coming from the iPod through the earbuds.

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 The Headphones jack is where you plug in headphones, speakers, or other audio output devices.

Although you are most likely to use earbuds or other headphones with an iPod, those are certainly not the only audio or video output devices through which you can play an iPod's content. Following are some other devices you might want to use to play your iPod's output:

  • Powered speakers—You can connect a set of powered speakers to the Dock connector or Headphones jack to play your iPod's music on those speakers. For example, you can use any set of computer speakers to create a mini stereo system. (There won't be anything mini about the sound quality, though.)
  • FM transmitter—You can connect an FM transmitter to the Dock connector on the bottom of the iPod or the Headphones jack to broadcast your iPod's output over FM. You can then tune into your iPod's music on an FM tuner, such as the one in your car or home stereo system.
  • Home or car stereo—You can use various cables and connectors to connect the Dock connector or Headphones jack to an input port on a home stereo receiver, car stereo, or boom box to play your iPod's music over one of these devices.
  • AV cable—If you purchase an optional AV cable, you can view the video output of an iPod on a TV by connecting one end of that cable to the Headphones jack. You can connect the other end to a TV and home theater receiver to view and hear the iPod's output on those devices.
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