Apple has been producing iPods, in particular iPod Touches for a number of years and as Apple makes good solid hardware there are a number of these available second or third hand through eBay and similar sites. I was fortunate to be able to pick up a first generation iPod Touch last week and wanted to set it up as a backup music player for myself and with some educational games for my toddler.
The 1st gen iPod Touch uses iOS just like the iPhone, but while the modern iPhone uses iOS 7 my iPod Touch is still using iOS 3.2.2. This has a number or repercussions but the most important is that most apps in the Apple App store have a minimum level required level which is higher than this. That means that the vast majority of Apps will not run. Unfortunately despite Apple adding the facility for app makers to serve older version of their apps most have not done so and there is no way to tell if an app will run without trying it.
So what is the solution? iOS3.2.2 has been out for a very long time and its security flaws are well known. The upside of this is that it is relatively easy to jailbreak and install non Apple approved apps. One of the best for older devices is a jailbreak called Whited00r. This makes a number of changes to the device, but most importantly from our point of view it adds its own app store called the Time Machine filled with older versions of popular apps that will run on the older hardware.
Installation is not simple but not too complicated. The Whited00r website walks you through it step by step, but you have to be relatively tech savvy to be comfortable doing it. It took me around half an hour and after a couple of mis-steps the iPod Touch feels and acts like a new device.
Would I recommend jailbreaking and flashing an old device? If all you want to use your Touch for is listening to music I would leave it as the stock OS. If however you want to run apps, surf or use the iPod Touch’s other capacities then I would recommend this. It made a frustratingly slow and app free device usable for me and my toddler.
It should be noted that there is a small risk that you could brick the iPod doing this. In theory you should always be able to restore to the stock OS but there is always the chance of a bigger problem and a bricked device.