Common Myths about iPod Touches

There are many myths and misperceptions about managing iPod Touches. I was so glad to read Tony Vincent's Learning in Hand blog post: Myths about IOS, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch which he published Sept. 20, 2011. His clarifications will save you a lot of time and grief. Below are the myths he addresses in his post, and some of our school's experiences.

1. "iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch do not have user manuals."

Actually, Apple Support and iTunes offer massive User Guides online as PDFs or iBooks. Do you really want a 200-page manual?

2. "You have to have a credit card associated with your iTunes account."

No, you don't. Read Tony's Learning in Hand post on how to set up an iTunes account without a credit card. We followed his instructions to the letter.

3. "You can buy an app once and install it on all devices in the classroom or school."

Wouldn't that be dandy for schools? Well, since August 2010, it is no longer legal to do so. Read up on the App Store Volume Purchase Program. You do get discounts, often up to 50%, but you need to go through the procedure and purchase for each device.

4. "Once you fill 12 home screens of apps you cannot install any more."

You do only have 12 home screens of icons, but you can add as many apps to an iPod Touch as you have memory for. We have over 170 apps on our 32 GB Touches and room for lots more. Students will have to search for an app using the Search Screen if the icon does not appear. You can also double-click the Home Button to see recently-used apps. Handy if you use the same apps frequently.

5. "You need a Mac to sync multiple devices."

A Mac does work best with syncing, but you can also use a PC. The PC may have more trouble syncing multiple devices (using a cart or case) but you can certainly sync iPod Touches individually with your PC. Plan to do a little "babysitting." The important thing is to sync a set of devices to the same computer and iTunes account each time. We use a dedicated MacBook Pro and separate iTunes account for each of our two iPod Touch carts. Syncing takes about 5 minutes per drawer of 20 devices.

6. "Apps stay open after you leave them and this drains the battery and slows down the device."

Double-click on the Home Button to see what apps have been used recently. Some apps do stay open and run in the background (Pandora, Twitter, TomTom), but most are frozen. Unless your device is acting strangely, you don't need to close those apps. Instead, use it as a monitoring tool to see what apps the students have been going to. Don't waste your time closing all the apps every day.

7. "For longer battery life you should occasionally drain the battery completely."

Really, it only helps the battery meter to be more accurate. We keep our iPods charged and ready to go.

8. "The screen scratches easily."

The glass used for hand-held screens is much stronger than the plastic screens of earlier devices. Cases and screen covers can be expensive and are not really necessary if you teach the kids how to take care of them. After one year of heavy use with PK-5th graders, only a couple of our 80 iPod Touches have any significant scratches on the screen. They are still 100% usable. The backs may be scuffed, but that doesn't matter. None are broken or chipped. Also, iPod Touches are much easier to clean when you don't have all the nooks and crannies of covers and cases. Save your money and buy more devices!