Buying and selling the Apple iPod Classic

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A1238 iPod Classic

The iPod Classic is known to Apple as the A1238, though this designation actually covers three sub-variants, each variant being available in two colours, and one also coming in two different sizes. There are thus eight different model numbers associated with the A1238 iPod Classic.
 
There is much scope for confusing the original 160GB iPod Classic released in 2007 with the final 160GB iPod Classic launched in 2009. This matters because the two models have different dimensions – meaning that cases that fit the 80 GB, 120 GB and newer 160 GB iPod Classic may be too tight for the original 160 GB iPod Classic. The two 160 GB models also use a completely different Hard Drive – the early 160 GB iPod using a so-called ‘dual platter’ disc, which can only be replaced by another ‘dual platter’ disc, and which cannot be transplanted into any of the ‘single platter’ models. One is not ‘better’ than the other – they are just different, with different advantages. The original 160 GB iPod Classic has a battery life allowing 40 hours of music playback, for example, while the later version allows 36 hours. On the other hand some believe the dual platter hard drive is less prone to damage or corruption. The black version of the original 160 GB was black (as were the 80 GB and 120 GB models), where the corresponding version of the later 160 GB model is dark grey.
 
It’s therefore important for buyers to know what version they are buying, and (if they want to maximize the price achieved) for sellers to know what they are selling.
 
The original ‘sixth generation’ iPod classic was a hard drive-based iPod offered with 80 GB capacity or with 160 GB (the higher capacity models having a dual platter drive and a 0.53-in deeper enclosure).
 
The iPod Classic used a slightly thinner case than the previous ‘Fifth Generation iPod’ with an anodized aluminum front and a chromed stainless steel back, instead of the traditional polycarbonate front used on previous models. The iPod Classic was the first "full size" iPod model to not be offered in white, the options instead being silver and black.
 
The 80 GB models had Apple model numbers MB029LL/A (Silver) and MB147LL/A (Black), while the 160 GB models were designated MB145LL/A (Silver) and MB150LL/A (Black).   
 
You can distinguish the original 160 GB iPod classic from the later 160 GB classic by the model number and by the last three digits of the serial number. The original iPod Classic had serial numbers with the last three digits: Y5N, YMU, YMV, or YMX.
 
The original 80 GB iPod classic was replaced by a 120 GB single platter version on September 9, 2008, and the dual-platter 160 GB iPod was discontinued.
 
The 120 GB iPod Classic used Apple model numbers MB562LL/A (Silver) and MB565LL/A (Black).
 
The 120 GB Classic gave way to a single platter 160 GB model on September 9, 2009, and this became the last iPod Classic model on sale. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Seventh Generation iPod Classic’, though Apple does not use this terminology.
 
The new 160 GB single-platter models were known as the MC293LL/A (Silver) and MC297LL/A (Black). The new ‘black’ iPod Classics were actually a metallic dark grey, which stood out from the black click wheel and centre button, whereas previous black iPod Classics had been a truer, darker black.
 
The iPod Classic was discontinued in October 2014. 

What’s my iPod?

It’s a relatively simple matter to determine what model your iPod is. The model number and serial are printed on the back of the iPod itself, albeit in a minute font that is not easily readable without powerful magnification.
 
Fortunately, for those not blessed with super sight, the serial number (and model number) are presented in the iPod’s Menus.
 
Menu>Settings>About>(3rd page)
 
Press the Menu button. From the Menu headed ‘iPod’, with a list starting ‘Music’, scroll down to ‘Settings’ and press the centre button. On the list headed ‘Settings’ scroll to ‘About’ and press the centre button. Press it twice more to navigate to the third page, which contains the serial number, the model and the version.

‘Cheating method’ of telling old and new Classic 160 GB iPods.
The original iPod Classic had three lines of text between the box containing the size (eg 80GB, 120GB and 160GB) and the FCXCE nonsense, whereas the newer iPod Classics have just two lines of text here. 

Recommended nomenclature for iPod Classic models

MB029LL/A - silver ‘6th Generation’ iPod Classic 80 GB
MB147LL/A - black ‘6th Generation’ iPod Classic 80 GB
MB145LL/A - silver 160 GB ‘6th Gen’ dual-platter ‘fatback’ iPod Classic (2007)
MB150LL/A - black 160 GB ‘6th Gen’ dual-platter ‘fatback’ iPod Classic (2007)
MB562LL/A - silver 120 GB ‘6th Generation’ iPod Classic
MB565LL/A - black 120 GB ‘6th Generation’ iPod Classic
MC293LL/A - silver 160 GB ‘7th Gen’ slim iPod Classic (2009)
MC297LL/A – black/space grey 160 GB ‘7th Gen’ slim iPod Classic (2009)
 

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