New iPod nano: Double-Speed Playback Isn’t 2x

I was walking today, and I wanted to listen to a podcast. So I touched my iPod nano screen a bit, and started listening to one. The voices sounded a bit fast, and I looked and saw that I had accidentally touched the playback speed button; it’s visible on the second screen when you’re listening to podcasts or audiobooks, at the right-center of the screen:


The thing is, touching this button is supposed to toggle among three settings: normal, 1/2x and 2x. Those last two are supposed to be half- and double-speed. But what happened on my nano was different: the speed (I timed it) was actually just an increase of 25%. Interestingly, this is exactly the increase that I have long wanted on an iPod: previous models used a 50% increase for the faster speed.

But this is the incorrect speed. The 2x icon shows what the correct speed should be, and the user’s manual for the nano confirms this. So there’s a bug on the iPod nano, causing the speed to be less than it should, but ending up with what Apple should have used. Because it’s nearly impossible to listen to anything at double speed. I’ve tried, out of curiosity, but I can’t keep up. I did used to listen to some audiobooks, that were read very slowly, at the increased speed of 50% faster than normal. (I checked on my new iPod touch; the 2x button does indeed play at double speed.)

So, for now, I’ll enjoy listening at this slightly-increased speed which is ideal. Until the next iPod nano software update…

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7 replies
  1. Aaron Meurer says:

    Apple should just include a drag bar of some sort where you can range the speed from 1/2x to 2x (or some other range).

    • Aaron Meurer says:

      Hmm. I was under the impression that it varied the speed in real time. Do you think that it just syncs a separate track for each speed? That would be space consuming if it did, and would require some trickery for changing in the middle of a track. On the other hand, I don’t think it requires that much computational power to vary the speed of an audio track in real time (but I could be wrong).

  2. kirk says:

    No, it’s the iPod itself that does it; it’s not iTunes that converts it. I don’t know how much power it takes to do that – perhaps not much.

  3. gene says:

    Yeah, I just raced my nano 5th generation and my Touch 4th gen.
    In 100 seconds, the nano played 125 seconds of podcast, the Touch played 150 seconds. Therefore, the nano uses a 25% boost in speed and the Touch uses a 50% boost. The Touch should say 1.5x instead of 2x. My 5th generation nano just calls the speeded up version “Faster” but it could say 1.25x.

    I usually listen to podcasts with the nano’s “faster” setting, and like you, I find it to be a pleasant speed. I used my Touch today because the nano’s battery was dead, and the Touch’s speed was pretty fast. It made my brain work a little harder to follow along. I could probably get used to it, but I think I enjoy the nano’s speed more.

  4. Victoria says:

    The Touch’s 1.5x playback speed is ideal for me. I’m so glad it has that option. It would be interesting to have even faster playback speeds.

  5. Marlan Winter says:

    Even in late 2012 – playback stuck at 1.2x approx even though the button says 2x.

    I’d like to have 2x so I can get through all the stuff I want to listen to!


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