The Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) was released in May 2019. This was a move that took everyone by surprise considering it was the first upgrade Apple had made to its portable music and video player since 2015.
According to Apple, the updated iPod Touch has enhancements in power, capability and communication over its predecessors. But, without a doubt, the iPod Touch (7th generation) was geared towards gaming, with its release coming just in time for the launch of Apple's gaming service, Apple Arcade.
But is the iPod Touch 7 also a worthy music player like the many iPod Touch devices that came before it? The answer is: yes. That's why, despite the fact a steady (but slow) stream of portable music players continue to be released by other brands, it's still one of our top picks in our best MP3 players guide. The problem, however, might be finding one...
Since the release of the iPod Touch 7 we're reviewing here, Apple has officially discontinued the iPod line. But rather than mean that iPod Touch devices like this one are old news, there's been fresh demand for the portable music players as people are desperate to get one before they're no more.
Read our Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) review below to find out whether Apple's music player in your pocket is worth snapping up.
Apple iPod Touch (7th generation): price and availability
- Discontinued, so could soon be difficult to find
- Relatively cheap for an Apple product
Capacity: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
Dimensions: 123.4mm X 58.6mm X 6.1mm (H X W X D)
Battery: 40 hours
Display: 4-inch Retina Display, 1136x640-pixel resolution at 326 pp
Camera: 8MP camera, 1080p HD video recording, FaceTime HD Camera
Audio formats: AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2, Protected AAC, MP3, Linear PCM, Apple Lossless, FLAC, Dolby Digital (AC‑3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC‑3) and Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX+)
The Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) is still on the Apple website, but has been sold out for some time.
Since Apple discontinued the whole iPod range in Spring 2022, demand for the Apple iPod Touch 7 has been high, so it's no surprise last remaining stock from Apple is no longer available.
However, many third party retailers do have some models and colors of the iPod Touch (7th generation) available – we're just not sure how long they'll stick around.
At the time of writing, you can find the 32GB model for $199 / £199 / AU$299 / AED 849, with the price rising to $299 / £299 / AU$499 / AED 1,269 for the 128GB model.
The most expensive option is the $399 / £399 / AU$599 / AED 1,689 256GB model, which is the version we tested for this review.
This price isn't cheap, but it's good for an Apple product. Especially considering how good music playback and gaming is on this little device.
When the The Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) was first released, there were six colors to choose from: space grey, silver, pink, blue, gold and red. However, with stock levels low, space grey seems to be one of the few shades still available. Of course, this depends where you look.
Apple iPod Touch (7th generation): design
- Slim and sleek build
- Good choice of colors
- It has a 3.5mm headphone jack
The Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) looks identical to the iPod Touch that came before it, like the 6th gen and even the 5th gen version. It has a four-inch display and a sleek, lightweight build.
At the bottom of the iPod touch you’ll find the home button. Annoyingly, however, it doesn’t feature Apple’s Touch ID technology. This was introduced way back in 2013 with the iPhone 5S, so it's a shame it's not here.
This means you have to remember a six-digit passcode to unlock the iPod, which might not be ideal for younger users who could struggle to remember a passcode – although parents who want to limit children’s usage of their device might find this useful.
As with pre-iPhone X iPhone models, the on/off button is situated on the top of the iPod, while you’ll find the volume buttons on the left-hand side of the display. There are also front- and rear-facing cameras – more on those later.
The bottom edge of the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) houses a built-in speaker, Lightning port, and, puzzlingly, a 3.5mm headphone jack. Apple stopped including headphone jacks on its smartphones a long time ago in favor of its own multi-purpose Lightning port, with the last jack-friendly models, the iPhone 6S and iPhone SE, being discontinued in 2018.
We’ve speculated as to why Apple would include a headphone jack on the new iPod, with possible explanations ranging from the superior audio quality provided by wired headphones to the theory that Apple is trying to appeal to children who may find wireless headphones fiddly and annoying to use.
Reunited with the 3.5mm headphone jack, we’re reminded of how convenient it is to use if you have regular wired headphones to hand – which you will do, as the iPod Touch comes with a pair of Apple’s infamous EarPods, as well as a Lightning cable for charging.
That said, we realized that we hadn’t really missed the headphone jack as much as we thought we would. After all, wireless headphones are getting better all the time – take a look at our pick of the best wireless headphones if you need a new pair – and there are plenty of Lightning-enabled cans on the market if you still prefer a wired connection.
At just 88g, the Apple iPod Touch 7 feels incredibly light, while its 4-inch display means it’s easy to hold it and navigate the touchscreen with one hand, making it accessible for kids as well as adults.
While the display isn’t the most advanced we’ve seen from Apple (it’s the same resolution as 2013’s iPhone 5, in fact), we found the 326ppi LED Retina display bright, clear, and attractive.
The 1136 x 640 pixel display is definitely a step down from the color-accurate OLED display utilized by the iPhone X, but it’s worth remembering that the cheapest new iPod touch model is only a fifth of the price of Apple’s latest smartphone.
Whether you think that’s a fair trade-off largely depends on how much you care about screen resolution. Steve Jobs originally gave the Retina Display its name due to the fact it's meant to be so high-res that it's actually more than the human eye can cope with. Take from that what you will.
Apple iPod Touch (7th generation): battery life
- Up to 40 hours of music playback
- Up to 8 hours of video playback
Apple says the battery life of the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) gives you up to 40 hours of music playback, and is good for up to eight hours of video playback.
Moderate use over a few days, including music playback and casual gaming, didn’t deplete the battery too drastically, although playing demanding games like PUBG (Player Unknown Battlegrounds), and streaming video at full brightness, predictably drained the battery faster than using more basic apps.
Apple iPod Touch (7th generation): sound performance
- Hi-Res Audio support
- Sound quality depends on your headphones
We decided to test the iPod 7’s audio performance using the Apple EarPods that are included in the box, and we were pleasantly surprised by how well they handled our music.
Streaming via Apple Music, we listened to Dutch Uncles’ 'Oh Yeah'. We were impressed by the new iPod touch’s lively and detailed rendering of the track, with tight bass notes and precise percussive hits.
'Cat Rider' by Little Dragon had a similarly precise feel, with swirling, smoky synths accentuated by snappy trap beats and subby bass lines. Vocals sounded smooth and clear, from the crystalline high notes right down to the wavering lows.
Having reached its 7th generation, the iPod touch finally supports the Hi-Res Audio codec FLAC, as well as Apple Lossless, giving you more options than ever when it comes to accessing audiophile-quality music.
Using a Hi-Res Audio playback app for iOS called Vox, we listened to Mozart’s 'Requiem in D Minor'. The strings had a warm and natural quality, while soprano vocal duets soared sweetly above the mix without ever sounding harsh.
There’s hardly any point in listening to Hi-Res Audio with Apple’s EarPods, however; they just can’t do the music justice. So we donned a set of Master and Dynamic MW65 Active Noise-Canceling headphones to listen to Foals’ Spanish Sahara, and we were struck by how accurate the gently strummed guitar and soft vocals sounded.
The headphones you use with the iPod touch will have a huge impact on how good your music sounds. Check out our pick of the best over-ear headphones as these will always outperform the cheap in-ears you bought from the gas station.
That’s not to say the EarPods sound terrible; for casual listening they’re convenient, easy to use, and won’t break the bank if you need to replace them in the future. They’re popular for a reason.
We also tested out the inbuilt speaker at the bottom of the iPod touch, and it packs quite a punch despite its size. It won’t do for listening to your Hi-Res music, but if just want a little background music for your gaming sessions and can’t be bothered to dig your headphones out, it works just fine.
Apple iPod Touch (7th generation): gaming
- A10 Fusion chip is good news for gaming and AR
- Quick and fun to play with
With Apple’s A10 Fusion chip built-in, the iPod Touch 7 is optimized for gaming, including what Apple calls, "immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences".
When this iPod Touch was first released, it come just in time for the launch of the company's new gaming service, Apple Arcade. To find out more about it, take a look at our selection of the best Apple Arcade games.
To put the iPod Touch’s AR capabilities to the test, we downloaded AR Dragon from the App Store. The game prompts you to hatch an egg, from which emerges a cute baby dragon that can interact with the real world through the magic of AR.
As you look ‘through’ your screen via the Camera app, you can see your dragon interacting with the objects in your surroundings. We found the game loaded quickly; something that will appeal to impatient younger users who want to see their dragon in action as fast as possible.
We also tested the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) on something more simple: Whale Trail from ustwo Games is a colorful endless flyer, and it looked fantastic on the iPod touch’s backlit LED display, and we didn’t experience any latency issues.
However, to really put the iPod touch through its paces we had to give it something a little more complex to process.
Enter PUBG. A faithful port of the PC battle royale phenomenon, the mobile version of PUBG is known for demanding a lot from the devices it’s played on in terms of processor speeds, GPU (graphics processing unit) performance, and RAM capacity.
According to Ars Technica (opens in new tab), the A10 Fusion chip’s built-in GPU delivers “about 56% the performance of the A12”, the chip that’s used in the latest iPhones, but we didn’t experience any latency issues while playing this rather complex game, and we found the graphics ran smoothly, with the iPod touch’s bright and sharp display handling the realistic military-style graphics of PUBG just as well as the colorful, cartoonish graphics of Whale Trail.
Plus, with double the RAM of its predecessor (2GB to be exact), the 7th-gen iPod touch has a lot more memory to run the increasingly complex titles available to mobile gamers.
Apple iPod Touch (7th generation): camera
- 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera on the front
- 8MP camera that supports on the back
- Overall quite disappointing photos
One of the applications that comes built-in on the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) is the Camera app. The camera hardware itself is exactly the same as its predecessor’s: on the front of the iPod touch is a 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera, while the rear sports a more advanced 8MP camera that supports autofocus, auto image stabilization and a f/2.4 aperture.
Modern luxuries like 4K video recording and Portrait Mode are nowhere to be found on the iPod touch, which does feel like a step backwards.
In fact, we found that compared to an old iPhone SE, the camera was disappointing. Photos just aren’t as sharp or detailed, and the hardware hasn’t improved over the previous iPod Touch either.
Is the iPod touch 7 okay to use for FaceTime or taking basic snaps? Sure. Will you win any photography competitions using it? Probably not.
Overall, we were impressed by the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) when it was first released and even a few years later, it's a solid choice if you want a way to listen to music, play games and use apps without the calling and mobile data capabilities of a phone.
In terms of design, we like the fact that Apple stuck to the 4-inch display of old, while the inclusion of the 3.5mm jack will be a welcome addition for anyone who still loathes Apple’s Lightning port. Older isn’t always better though, as proven by the dated camera and the lack of Touch or Face ID.
Playing music on the iPod Touch (7th generation) is seamless, and it generally sounds great, with the new support for FLAC likely to appeal to audiophiles.
Unlike with its predecessors, however, Apple has emphasized the gaming capabilities of the newer iPod Touch over its music playback capabilities – and it handles games superbly. Whether we were playing simple side-scrollers or complex battle royale games, we didn’t experience any latency issues, and the A10 Fusion chip means AR titles work equally well. If you like Apple Arcade, this is a great way to make the most of it – and not to mention the cheapest.
Which brings us to the question of who’s going to buy the 7th-gen iPod touch. Who, after all, would want what is essentially an iPhone that can’t make calls? Well, without the capacity for mobile data, parents don’t have to worry about kids downloading games over a mobile network and gobbling up expensive data plans with a few swipes, and limiting Wi-Fi access is much easier.
Plus, for parents concerned about exposing their kids to the potential hazards of the online world, the iPod touch could represent an attractive middle ground between regular ‘dumb’ phones and a fully connected iPhone.
With access to social media apps and messaging services like Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, you won’t exactly be cut off from the world if you use the new iPod touch as your primary device. Of course, you won’t be contactable away from a Wi-Fi network, but in today’s constantly connected age many are likely to feel that’s no bad thing.
If you're convinced the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) is for you, then check stock levels first. Now that all of Apple's iPods are officially discontinued, you might not necessarily get the color or size you want.
If our Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) review has you considering other options, here are three more MP3 players to look at.
Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T
The Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T has lavish specs and sounds fantastic. Two amplifier stages offer seven distinct options, while no fewer than four DACs are deployed to handle two channels of audio information. As you'd expect, it's incredibly expensive but if money is no object and you just want the best of the best sound from a portable music player, then look no further.
Read our full Astell & Kern A&ultima SP2000T review (opens in new tab)
Fiio M11 High-Resolution Audio Player
If you want a high-end audio player that handles music exceptionally well with a more premium experience than the Apple iPod Touch (7th generation) but without the eye-watering price tag of our Astell & Kern pick above, check out the M11 from Fiio. It's a product that skirts the line between a smartphone and an audiophile player.
Read our full Fiio M11 High-Resolution Audio Player review (opens in new tab)
SanDisk Clip Sport Plus
If you're looking for a way to listen to music on-the-go or an alternative option for kids, this cheap player from SanDisk is well worth considering. During testing, we found the battery life is impressive at 20 hours. The interface is dated, not as powerful as your smartphone and it’s not touch-sensitive. But it’s easy to navigate and as long as you don’t expect full audiophile-level quality, you'll find the sound very capable.
Read our full SanDisk Clip Sport Plus review (opens in new tab)
- First reviewed June 2019.