Mossberg’s Mailbox

Using an Old iPhone as an iPod Touch

Published on January 7, 2010
by Walt Mossberg

I still have an old iPhone that I replaced as my phone with the newer model. Can I use the old one as an iPod Touch? Will I be able to download apps for it and access iTunes for music and movies?

A: Yes. Old iPhones that are no longer activated as phones can still be used like the iPod Touch. Their Wi-Fi capability still works, as do their apps, email and the Web browser, the app store, the iTunes store and the built-in iPod for playing music and videos. Of course, any function that involves connecting to the Internet will require you to have Wi-Fi coverage, since the device can no longer connect over the cellphone network. But you will even be able to make phone calls over the Internet using a voice-over-IP app like Skype.

There’s lots of advice on how to switch to a Mac from a PC. But what’s the simplest way to move my stuff in the other direction, from a Mac to a PC?

A: To my mind, the simplest thing to do would be to hook up an external drive to your Mac (either a flash drive or a larger USB drive, depending on how much data you have) and copy all your personal files to it. Then, plug the drive into your PC, and copy the files to the appropriate folders there. Some data, like saved email, may require conversion, or may not be readable at all. And there’s no point in trying to move your Mac programs, since they won’t run on the PC. You’ll have to obtain new PC programs, or download the PC versions of programs you liked using on your Mac, such as iTunes, Safari, Microsoft Office or Firefox.

How do I get Windows 7? Windows Vista has been nothing but a headache for me.

A: You get Windows 7 by either buying a boxed copy online or in a store, or by downloading it from a Microsoft Web site, Just be sure, for the simplest and most direct upgrade from Vista, that you buy either the comparable edition of Windows 7 as the edition of Vista you have–say, Home Premium to Home Premium–or upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate.

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