Apple’s new iPod nano and shuffle won’t get Apple Music to prevent piracy

“You might have heard some discussing the state of Apple Music on the iPod nano and shuffle, two products that just got a minor facelift alongside a larger refresh for their bigger brother, the iPod touch,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac. “And you might have already guessed that streaming to the devices was a no-go from the lack of Wi-Fi capabilities, but it turns out you won’t even be able to store your offline Apple Music collection on the devices either.”

“By not allowing users to sync their offline songs to the iPod nano and shuffle, Apple can guarantee that users aren’t able to keep a collection of songs on their device after cancelling their Apple Music subscription,” Kahn reports. “That’s unlike other iOS devices that have access to the iOS Music app and Wi-Fi that Apple can use to authenticate an active Apple Music subscription.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Seems eminently logical.

iPod touch, of course, supports all Apple Music features.

Currently, Apple Watch can play Apple Music tracks that you’ve synced to your Watch. Also, with watchOS 2, Apple Watch will be able to communicate directly with known Wi-Fi hotspots, so we hope to see more Apple Music features to hit Apple Watch this fall.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]


  1. When I was a child, I did the things that children do.
    When I became a man (so to speak) I did the things that men do (so to speak).

    When the iPod was a nano/shuffle, it did the things that iPod nano/shuffles do.
    When it became an iPod Touch, it did the things an iPod Touch does.

  2. I guess if iPod nano and iPod shuffle contained a clock, then Apple could have simply expired all downloaded Apple Music tracks after 30 days. The expiration could then be refreshed each time the iPod was connected/synchronized to iTunes.

    1. I don’t think iPod shuffle has a clock. It’s the only iPod that has a physical ON/OFF switch. When it’s turned off, it’s really off (not just in sleep mode). So it won’t be able to track time since last sync and stop playing “subscribed” songs downloaded from Apple Music it that time exceeds 30 days.

      iPod nano definitely has a clock, and it’s “smart” enough to do some basic DRM-enforcing processing. Apple could have added onboard software to track time since last sync (and take appropriate action as needed). iTunes on the computer would do most of the work of enforcing the DRM. Furthermore, since the current “new” model is essentially the existing design with new color choices, Apple could have released the same “Apple Music” software update for the existing 7th gen iPod nano. And Apple could add this capability at a later date.

      This iPod nano design has been sold since 2012, so there are probably several million in use. Apple and content creators/owners should be motivated to make this happen. In any given week, at least half of my music listening happens when I go for my runs; I carry an iPod nano (which also tracks run stats). If I could put Apple Music downloads on my nano, I would do it. So, song plays on iPod nano sold since 2012 could count toward the revenue distribution scheme used by Apple Music. Play count already syncs back to the computer’s iTunes library. Why not make every play count…?

  3. Sorry didn’t read the full article but
    (By not allowing users to sync their offline songs to the iPod nano and shuffle)
    Is this true? If you have a CD and rip it ( legal) and import the tracks into iTunes you cannot put those tracks on a Nano or Shuffle? But, you cannot stream music to it either?
    (And you might have already guessed that streaming to the devices was a no-go from the lack of Wi-Fi capabilities)

    So WTF are you supposed to do with them, can’t put music you own on them and can’t stream? X-mas tree ornaments?

    1. Read the full article… 🙂

      You can’t sync downloaded (“off-line”) songs from Apple Music, the new subscription service. Of course you can still sync and play songs you OWN, from CDs, iTunes Store, Amazon MP3 Store, and other sources.

      Downloaded songs from Apple Music have DRM. Those songs are “subscribed” (not owned); they need to stop playing if your Apple Music subscription is not renewed; iTunes prevents syncing traditional iPods with those songs. For all other songs (that worked before with iPod), it works exactly the same as before.

      1. Thanks for explaining that it’s clear now when like G I really didn’t know what was going on. Years ago I would have read up about it all and tried to sort out the confusion but these days I have little to do with music and just download the odd song and sync with my iPod/iPad in traditional manner so when you hear talk of ‘downloading’ and ‘unable to sync’ when I had got the impression that Apple Music was replacing iTunes on Mac and Music on mobile simply because I am hearing snippets cue go lack of overall interest alarm bells start to ring. Especially as the Apple Music presentation at the Dev Conference both confused me, annoyed me and bored me to the point I turned it off through general lack of interest in the product. A sign of getting old I guess but the thought of streaming and downloading foes feel counter intuitive to those of us who don’t use the service.

  4. Question: what if you saved 128GB worth of Apple Music playlists onto the iPod touch, then permanently kept the wifi off? Wouldn’t that also mean you could indefinitely carry all that music after cancelling subscription?

    1. Maybe, but no one would use an iPod touch that way. You could ask the same question about a Mac or PC. Would you download a hard drive full of Apple Music songs, and then never connect your Mac or PC to the Internet? It’s possible, but no one would do that… 🙂

      And it’s possible (maybe even likely) that the onboard software enforces the DRM by stopping downloaded (“subscribed”) Apple Music songs from playing, IF the subscription has not been verified (with an online check that it’s active) for longer than the known subscription period (30 days or less).

      Unlike iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, traditional iPods are disconnected devices most of the time. They are only connected during active syncing.

    2. As I recall, there is a periodic check to verify that your subscription is active. If that check fails, then your Apple Music subscription content becomes unavailable. I believe that this is automatic and transparent to the user in the typical Apple way. An implementation on the shuffle would be problematic and could not be accomplished in the same way on the current design.

      The shuffle and nano are very fine dedicated music players and well-optimized for their purposes. Someday, Apple may figure out a way to extend their subscription music strive to these devices.

    1. @ Toby,

      I have answered your question above! Even though I have as usual been misunderstood.
      A sharp mind like mine fueled by extremely sharp crabapple juice tends to cut the chase instantly.

      When iPods were produced by Apple Inc. they had a purpose to fulfill, we all know what that was.
      When that mission was accomplished, the next iteration of the iPod fulfilled a different purpose and that has been the case for iPods until the iPhone came along.
      In all the above scenarios, the one constance was iTunes. ITunes has now matured and the demands made of it no longer fulfill today’s purposes entirely, hence the drop in sales on the iTunes platform. So for the first time in iTunes history, we have all witnessed a major metamorphosis of iTunes. That has meant that iPods from previous and distant pasts have been either excluded or included from the new capabilities that have been added to iTunes depending on the hardware on board.

      So, the best we can do is marvel at this new entity in the same way we marvel at the beauty of butterflies and their ability to fly thousands of miles in some species as compared to the caterpillar. I wouldn’t question why a caterpillar is ugly and destructive and in some cases dangerous (hairy ones) and why butterflies are not, so why should I question why wifi incapable iPods do not have access to Apple Music. They still have the full functionality they had when they were first created, I was happy with them! I even bought newer iPods with lower functionality (nano & shuffle) because that is what I wanted or needed at the time. I will not complain now since any complaining is an indication of at least in this instant, an overblown sense of entitlement.
      If your needs are to harken to the stillborn days of Microsoft dominance, where progress only occurred at M$’s will and chicanery, then revert back to M$’s products! We all have options in life. Some of this options we exercise freely so when we do, it is incumbent on us to accept our choices and not bleat about!

      Thats all!!!

  5. Apple has done a good job of helping honest people to pay for what they want. Dishonest people will always find a way around any obstacle placed in their way to steal what they want. Our job is to raise honest children by showing them by our example, rewarding them when they are honest and punishing them when they falter.

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