Real World nano Battery Life

by Derrick Story

I've managed to go a few days without writing about the nano... but that's over now. Why? Well, I've been trying to figure out what the real world battery life is with this device.

The Apple tech specs list nano battery life as 14 hours when fully charged. I consider these specs in the same light as I do "miles per gallon" on car stickers... with a big grain of salt. So I figured my nano should get around 10 hours per full charge.

But my feeling was that the 4GB iPod was getting much less than 10 hours. Seemed like every few days I'd notice the red battery icon. I don't listen to that much music. Before jumping to conclusions, I decided to do a little formal testing. I had a road trip this weekend to shoot a wedding. The drive was four hours each way -- perfect nano testing conditions.

As a side note, I have to say that I think the nano is the best sounding iPod I have. After listening to it shuffle though a variety of songs, I was impressed that many of my favorites sounded new again on this device.

Anyway, under controlled conditions that let the nano play song after song, I'm happy to report the battery performed better that I thought it would. I discovered what I think was a key factor to my previous misconception: I wasn't putting the nano to sleep in between listening sessions. It seems that it continues to draw substantial juice when not playing. I knew this in theory from my other iPods, but the effect wasn't as noticeable on them, especially my shuffle (which seems to play forever on a charge).

I'm not sure that putting the nano to sleep was the key to better battery life. Maybe I was just losing track of time. I'm still testing in real world conditions. If you're not already using the sleep function on the nano, you might want to give it a try. See if you notice an improvement in battery performance.


2005-09-20 01:01:06
what the hell?
How can someone write an article on the Nano's battery life and NOT tell us what the results were?
2005-09-20 08:35:18
RE: what the hell?
Well, since you asked so nicely, I'd be happy to add what I've learned since I wrote this post.

This isn't a lab test, but a "real world" experience as the title suggests. Now that I'm putting the nano to sleep in between listening sessions, I got 8 - 10 hours of playing from the last full charge. I'll continue to monitor its performance.

2005-09-28 11:06:43
ipod nano battery
experiencing similar problems would be interested in how you put the nano to sleep
2005-09-30 18:04:53
lots of probems w/ nano
just got the nano (2GB) on yesterday, and i let it charge overnight & took it out this morning at 8 am and at 3pm it was complettely dead. completely. what's wrong with it? plus i've had it one day and have been extremely careful but i already have a crack in the screen!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm not happy !
2005-10-01 23:32:22
re: ipod nano battery
Just hold down the "Play" button for a few seconds, and the nano will go to sleep.
2006-01-30 08:14:20
I was so psyched to get my nano and loved how sleek it is -- but the battery life? either I've got a lemon or it's waaaaay exaggerated!
I got it just before a trip overseas -- so glad I didn't have to carry around batteries for a disc player etc. The nano was fully charged, used it for first time -- and it was dead after 3 hours on the flight.

When I got back to the States I did a controlled test (ie I wrote down the time I turned it on/off) and each time it lasted less than 3 hours! What the f!*k?!

And yes, of course I 'put the nano to sleep' after I'm done listening to music, that is, I turn it off, and slide the button over to key lock so it doesn't turn on accidentally.

Bummer. We'll see what Apple has to say about this, but it's been a real disappointment.

2006-02-10 12:39:31
Folks, be sure the Backlight Timer is set for as little time as you can stand (you can find this in the iPod's "Settings" menu). The backlight drains a lot of power. Even if it's set for 2 seconds, if you're relighting it often to change the volume or visit the menu, that will affect battery life as well. If you're frustrated with 3 hour battery life, try turning the backlight off altogether for one full charge and see if that makes a difference.
2006-02-27 10:11:26
And what would the mAh be of the battery? It would help to know the capacity and then you can do some math.
2006-03-20 21:49:17
Has anyones nano battery gone competely dead and not been able to recharge?
2006-03-26 16:23:23
My 4gb nano lasts LESS than 3.5 hours. It BRAND NEW i just got it yesterday. And what is the point of this if i dont list the test results? GAHHHHHHHHH I wasted $250
2006-04-17 13:15:28
same problem as Grif and Travis my ipod battery last around 3 hours and i baught it 2 days ago. whats wrong with it anyone knows?
2006-04-20 16:03:45
great tip 4 battery life,don't play solitaire.1 hr :-0

2006-04-23 00:55:29
how do you change the setting on the backlight timer? that is another frustration with this device. the instructions only cover the basics. i guess apple thinks i will figure everything else out on my own. so far i also get only 3hrs out of each battery charge with my 2 gig nano.
2006-04-26 13:53:23
just go on settings then backlight timer,iv got mine off most of the time(i got 2 gb):D
2006-05-17 13:38:21
I'm in the midst of a nano test as well.
4GB model, fully charged. I started at 0830 EST and have let it run uninterrupted throughout the day. It is now 1630 EST, and it's still going. The battery icon turned red around 1130 EST, but it hasn't died yet.

certainly not 14 hrs, but enough for a regular 8hr work day... too bad I work 10-12 :)

2006-06-05 22:32:24
Mine only lasts 3 hours, if that, when played straight through with no EQ and the backlight off.

2006-06-05 22:34:20
I heard the black ones get about 6 or so hours and the white ones get about 3. That's super gay cause I bought a white one.

2006-06-08 09:03:50
Just got a white 4gb nano this weekend...even bought an Apple wall charger for it. Uploaded music fine, plays music fine. However, even when it's fully charged and unplugged, the "Charging" icon still flashes... can't put it to sleep, I've reset it, restored it, done everything I could find to no avail. HELP!
2006-06-11 14:38:23
Hi people from the U.K here. Same problem with the nano (4gb). The battery was fully dead so i charged it for 5-6 hours and i thought it must be charged by now but its just on the red bit and hasnt charged much. I unplug the charge from my usb lead then charge it for another hour and its fully charged after that. There is something seriously wrong with the Ipod Nano's.
2006-06-12 08:36:56
Ipod Nano Battery Power-Falls short of promise
I purchased my 4GB Nano in Sept 2005. I have managed the battery as recommended and the most battery time experienced is 8 hours. Making sure to "sleep" the unit and set the hold button. I run 6-7miles 4days per week and during runs (either treadmill or street) I barely get one hour of battery life. Within the last two weeks battery does not charge. Going to the apple store and will report back. Any runners having similar problems.