iPod Touch 4: Most Fragile Device Ever?

We’ve been fixing hand held devices since 2007 and while that’s not a long time in comparison to “ever” it has given us a lot of knowledge about which devices are durable and which ones are fragile. In those 4 years we have repaired well over 10,000 cell phones and iPod Touch devices. So I have some expertise in this area and you can believe me when I say that the 4th generation iPod Touch is the most fragile device I’ve ever seen.

To give you an idea, within a week Christmas, when we weren’t even fixing the device yet, we had received a bunch of calls from customers asking if we could fix their iPod Touch 4. Let me put that in perspective: We had no advertising or even a page on our website dedicated to a cracked iPod Touch 4 and yet demand for the repair outstripped every other device we fix except the iPhone!

We have now been fixing the iPod Touch 4 since February and I can tell you why we got so many calls: It is unbelievably fragile, easily dropped, and the #1 owners are kids under the age of 15. Those three factors make this device, while beautiful and powerful, very prone to damage.

One of the big reasons for this fragility is the construction of the iPod Touch 4. It is extremely thin, slippery, has a large glass surface, and the steel frame that holds the glass in place is not very strong. That weak steel frame is particularly troublesome. It’s quite common for us to fix the cracked glass on someone’s 4th generation iPod Touch and it the metal frame will actually be bent and deformed from a 3 foot fall.

With the 8GB model costing $229 and the 64GB model listing for $399, this “small” fall can have a big financial cost. So the question is, what do you do?

First, if you decide to buy an iPod Touch 4, get a good case for it. My personal recommendation is the Speck Pixelskin for the iPod Touch 4. It costs just $25 and it is constructed from rubber (which is a great shock absorber), is reinforced in the corners, and has a small lip all the way around the glass screen. All of these features mean great protection for your iPod Touch. We sell a lot of these Speck Pixelskin cases for our iPhone repair customers and extremely few of them come back for another repair.

Secondly, Apple offers a non-warranty repair service on their iPods. The service starts at $99 for the 8GB version and goes up to $199 for the 64GB version. The one thing I don’t understand in their non-warranty repair description is the following line: “Service may not be available if your iPod has been damaged due to accident or abuse.” Since the phone was damaged due to an accident it appears that Apple might say they can’t fix it once they receive it. In addition, they are not likely to send you back your iPod but a different one. Again from their site: “Replacement iPods may be new, used or refurbished.” This means that any data you had on your iPod Touch would be lost (so make sure to back up your data if you go this route).

Lastly, if your iPod Touch 4 has been dropped and the glass cracked, you can get it repaired. Our iPod Touch 4 screen repair costs $109 at the moment (for all models of the iPod Touch 4) but I expect that price to come down in the near future as the prices on parts starts to drop (we’re actually in the process of evaluating parts from a new supplier that are quite a bit less expensive than our current supplier). We keep these parts in stock so we can fix your iPod for you in under 24 hours. That means it’ll take about a week, with shipping, for the entire repair process. In addition, we actually fix your iPod Touch and don’t send you a refurbished one. This means all of your data should stay in tact.

Bottom line: The 4th generation of the iPod Touch is a great device but it is extremely fragile. So if you’re going to drop a few hundred dollars on one, spend the extra $25 and get a case for it. And if something does happen to it, don’t fret, there are repair options that can save you a lot of money over buying a new one.