Introduction: Buffing Your IPod

About: In college!! Addicted to food. I run on sugar and caffeine and adrenaline. I'm nineteen years old. I'm 5 foot 3 inches short. I like red and black and white. I like pvc and rainbows and platform boots and lips…
We all know and love the sleek, iconic look of Apple iPods. The design of their latest generations of products are gorgeously minimalist, futuristic, and let's face it, cool-looking--that's why (almost) everyone buys an iPod instead of the hundreds of other mp3 and mp4 players available on the market.

Unfortunately, the shiny chrome backside of the iPod Classic and iPod Touch scratch with even the tiniest bump against a hard surface, and while lots of less aesthetic-minded people will tell you to just "suck it up, it's not a big deal", the rest of us know that the wound to our little electronic friend cuts us deep to our very core )= A simple Google will show that you are not alone--thousands of people are constantly searching for a way to repair the cosmetic damage to the backs of their iPods.

Some people will feel the need to snarkily comment "just put a case on it!" I have--and plan on--putting my newly buffed iPod in a case, but there are a variety of reasons you may have gotten a scratched iPod, from buying a secondhand player to an improperly fitting case, as was the situation with mine. Or perhaps you just like the naked look better.

Through a lot of trawling through the internet, I've found a lot of supposed solutions, ranging from polishes (popular ones are Brasso, Applesauce, and Ice Cream) to more hacker-y ones like the "banana method" or toothpaste. Whether or not these work, I can't say--I haven't tried any of them.

This method is more about smoothing out and camouflaging scratches than about filling them in, as most of the above alternatives are for. Because let's face it--scratches on the backs of iPods are just one of those things in life, like papercuts and celebrities doing panty shots while getting out of the limo. And no matter how many times you apply polish to the back of your iPod, the scratches will always come back.

The best thing about this method, in my opinion, is that it doesn't require any fancy equipment or expensive supplies. I see a lot of beautiful and amazing projects on this site and click on them eagerly, only to see that they require a laser cutter or flame thrower or something to execute. I'm an art student, not a trust fund baby. I can't afford your fancy equipment! So while I completely appreciate the sharing of such amazing projects, they really do nothing but give me frowny faces.

This Instructable has the same basic concept as the Brushed Steel iPod Back Instructable, but with a key difference--you'll be able to keep the Apple logo and serial numbers on the back, as well as any laser etching you may have gotten on it, and you'll still be able to use your iPod as some kind of weird, distorting funhouse mirror. This method also has less risk of damaging your iPod, as it uses a milder abrasive than the Scotch Brite pad/sanding block combo.

Please note that this is not a technique for the original mirror-smooth finish--It gives a softer, shinier "brushed" finish for those who can't stand those appearance-marring scratches but don't want to change the look of their iPod completely.

Step 1: What You'll Need


a nail buffing block
a soft cloth
and of course, an iPod to buff

As far as I've seen, no one's thought to use a nail buffer on their iPod back before, maybe because it's an especially female-centric thing and not even very well known for its intended purpose (by no fault of its own, honestly it works fantastically). I got the idea to use a nail buffer to smooth out electronics after using it to repair a boo-boo on my cell phone.

The ladies may know what I'm talking about with the nail buffer; basically, it is like extremely fine-grit sandpaper and polisher for your fingernails. Nail buffers come in different shapes, the most common being a rectangular block or a flat rounded stick that looks kind of like a nail file. For our purposes, the block is more convenient. Get the kind with 4 sides of varying abrasiveness/smoothing purposes. You should be able to find one for under $5 at any drugstore in the nail care section. If you can't find it, guys, just put on your best lisp and ask the shop assistant. Don't be embarrassed. Remember, it's for the sake of your iPod.

Step 2: Even Out

Find the side of the buffing block labeled "1". This is the roughest side of the buffing block, and will smooth out the deeper scratches and make them less obvious. Apply the "1"side of the block to the back of the iPod and start buffing in a back and forth motion. Sand in the same direction for the best results; I did mine vertically, but feel free to try whichever direction that floats your boat.

Be careful not to come down too hard on the Apple logo and serial numbers. Keep in mind that the buffing block is an abrasive, even if it's a weak one. You will generate some grey-coloured metal dust on the buffing block and your fingers during this process as you buff your iPod smooth, but as the abrasive is very mild it would be extremely difficult to do any actual damage to your iPod unless you get completely carried away, and even then you'll probably wear down your buffing block before you manage to hurt your iPod.

Step 3: Smooth

Find the "2" side of the block and do the same. This side is a finer abrasive than the step "1" side, and smooths out the scratches further, giving you a softer and more uniform look.

This is a good place to point out that you can stop buffing after any of the steps, depending on which look you prefer.

Step 4: Polishing

Using the step "3" side, start to polish the back of the iPod. You can put a little more elbow grease into this step, as this side (and the "4" side, also) aren't abrasive enough to take off the logo and etching.

Step 5: More Polishing!

With the final "4" side, give your iPod one more polish.

Step 6: Done!

Some metal dust probably got all over the back of your iPod and the Apple logo, but this is easily fixed by a quick wipe with a soft damp cloth.

And you're done! Admire your nice smoothly buffed iPod!