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How long is the maximum battery life of every iPod model?
For your convenience, EveryiPod.com lists the maximum battery life of every iPod, as estimated by Apple, on the main iPod Specs page along with other basic information.
Apple formally states that "rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. As with other rechargeable batteries, you may eventually need to replace your battery".
However, as a general rule of thumb, BatteryUniversity.com states that the Lithium Ion battery used in the iPod models should provide somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 to 500 charge cycles.
If your iPod displays icons that do not make sense for the situation -- such as a charging icon when the iPod is not plugged in to a computer or wall outlet -- or is otherwise behaving oddly, you may be able to correct this situation by resetting the iPod. Try the Apple recommended "five R's" and see if this solves the problem.
If this doesn't solve the problem -- particularly if the iPod is a couple of years old -- in all likelihood the battery has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.
The Apple Support Site provides "Tips and tricks to get the most out of your iPod's battery". This document offers some useful information including updating to the latest version of the iPod software, setting the Hold switch to the Hold position when the iPod is not in use, and keeping the iPod at room temperature, among others.
Generally, keeping the iPod from becoming completely discharged also may prolong the life of the battery. BatteryUniversity.com also provides some additional tips on how to prolong lithium-based batteries.
If it is out of warranty, Apple will replace the battery in your iPod shuffle -- whether it is the original iPod shuffle, the iPod shuffle 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen or 4th Gen -- at a cost of US$49 plus US$6.95 shipping.
Unfortunately, because new iPod shuffle models cost US$49, it makes little financial sense to have Apple replace the battery. Since the designs are difficult to open without damage, the batteries are soldered, and there is little demand, third parties rarely offer repair services or self-installation options either. However, iFixit does provide instructions for those who are both environmentally responsible and technically inclined.
Ultimately, Apple has designed the iPod shuffle to be discarded when the battery dies. Although a truly dedicated and technically skilled individual can replace the battery, the iPod shuffle definitely is the least "green" iPod option. Those who care about the environmental impact of their electronics purchases would be wise to instead initially purchase a different iPod model.