How Do IPods Work?

ipods-work Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The iPod, a digital music player, works by storing audio and video files on a hard drive. A graphical menu system allows users to access and play files. The device integrates with iTunes software on computers to back up files and purchase new media from the iTunes store online. Headphones are needed to hear audio on certain models of iPods, as of 2014.

The iPod, a product of Apple Inc., was first sold in 2001. The iTunes software, which plays and stores media files, was released for Macintosh computers about eight months earlier. As of 2014, the most recent model of iPod was released in 2012. Four versions are available: the small iPod Shuffle, the iPod Nano, the iPod Touch and the iPod Classic.

Because iPods contain hard drives, they can be used to store data. The amount of data that can be stored varies among models and ranges from 2 gigabytes for the iPod Shuffle to 160 gigabytes for the iPod Classic.

The iTunes software, available as of 2014 for computers running both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems, is used to back up files on the iPod and to transfer photos, videos, music and books to the device. The iPod Touch functions similarly to a smartphone, allowing users to check email, browse the Internet and edit files.