OK to disconnect: The death of my iPod classic after 14 years

It was Saturday night and I was at my San Francisco apartment listening to BT’s new album “_” on my iPod classic. I was trying to get the mood right to explore some prototypes I have been wanting to finish up. Suddenly I heard the sound all-too-familiar with other devices. The hard drive was trying to spin up…quickly, and then fading away.

I knew what it this meant but was in denial. Suddenly, it locked up. I frantically plugged my iPod into the nearly-obselete 32-pin adapter and into my iMac. I tried restoring. iTunes couldn’t read it. I checked disk utility to give it another try…even tried to format it. Didn’t work. My iPod gave it’s last spin attempt…and failed.

I was devastated. It felt crazy to feel so hurt by the loss of an inanimate object. However, it hit me. My iPod represented more than what it physically was, but more than 14 years of my life. To put it in a bit of perspective, my iPod is the same age as my cat Wilson, both I received while in college.

I still had my papers and art projects from college on the hard drive. These iPods were ones that you could use as an external drive as well. So many memories of art history papers about Caravaggio sketches of explorations.

And of course, there was the music and podcasts. All the playlist I had on it was curated carefully by me. Looking at the playlists, I can remember the reason it was created, whether it was in honor of the death of a friend, parties, or especially created for

In an age of streaming, shuffle, remixing, reboots, adapters, and annual upgrades, the iPod classic represented intention, focus, and longetivy. It was just your hand on the wheel, turning, and exploring.

Now that they are discontinued, I’m not sure if I ever will own an iPod classic again, but I am so thankful for more than a decade of experience with something that was quite literally the soundtrack to my life.