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The Best 12" iBook


Well-known member
I've been looking for a 12" iBook G4 on and off over the years as a means to relive my experiences with my first Mac a decade ago. It was a 1.2 GhZ 12", and I took it apart more times than I can count trying to understand its workings and improve its performance. Unfortunately I was young and dumb and damaged the speaker connector on the logic board, and I then sold it off for $40.

It feels like decent iBooks are harder to come by, it was only a few years ago when you could get a snow iBook for $20 shipped. I finally found my white whale (literally white) on the Goodwill auctions for $21, a 1.33 GhZ Mid-2005 iBook G4 12", in good overall shape. It was listed as untested but I had a good feeling so I took a gamble on it.

It showed up and with some initial triaging it seemed to be fully functional, with a lower-cycle count battery too, lol.


Someone clearly cared about this one, it was all the way updated and had an email last used in 2018. I don't snoop too much before I erase and reinstall my Macs but sometimes understanding the stories behind them is fun.


It was then time to strip it down and get an SSD in there. The original 40GB drive was performing well still but I really prefer all my stuff to be solid state so I can just use it without worrying. It interestingly came with 1GB of RAM from the factory, that was an expensive option back then, even for a school, where this one came from.


I loaded Sorbet leopard onto a partition using my bench Mac mini, and it couldn't initially find any bootable partitions. I then used a Tiger installation disc to boot it and afterwards it booted into Sorbet just fine.


My plans for this machine are to get it to be a writing / DV editing station using iMovie and potentially Final Cut, but we'll see. Should be a good traveler for coffee shops and other places :), just like the good old days.


Well-known member
Congrats on getting one in good condition! You're right, good condition iBooks are getting harder to find.

I love all of the 12" white iBooks. Their proportions and overall aesthetic just comes across as friendly and happy devices.

Way back when I unintentionally became an Apple salesperson because many people who saw and tried my 2001 G3 500MHz iBook loved it so much they bought one for themselves. I think that really speaks to how appealing the design was.


Well-known member
It's all back together and polished up! Typing this reply on it. It's definitely much nicer to experience one of these machines with an SSD these days.

I've been running UT2003 on it for fun, my coworkers really seemed to like it. I imaged the disc with toast so I'd have it and could just mount it versus having to insert disc 2 to play the game, does anyone know how to fix / patch this?

Also have noticed the patched version of iTunes for the new internet radio database does not work. It doesn't launch, but regular iTunes is fine.


Well-known member
Nice. I'm hoping to acquire one at some point. I'd like to see your "after" pictures with it all cleaned up.


Well-known member
I noticed the screen looked a little askew - did you fix that yourself?
My Japanese 12" iBook has the same issue - it's a 2005 model as well.


Well-known member

I still have a 12" 1.33GHz as well, bought it new cause I had one of the G3 iBooks that kept having graphics issues and needing to be sent in for repairs (Apple extended the warranty on that model!).

Unlike yours, my G4 is scratched up and dirty and the hard drive's on its last legs. I used that thing for probably 10 hours per day most days for several years, carried it absolutely everywhere. Once, I had it in a messenger bag when I slipped on some stairs and rode on top it down several steps. It didn't care, came right back from sleep afterwards. It's really a fantastic machine. The PC laptops every had at the time were like a joke in comparison.


Well-known member
I love the tales I’m hearing of the other G4 iBooks. These were really what got me into the Mac platform after my ill-fated clamshell died shortly after my dad surprised me with it off eBay (This was in 2010, well after its prime). The G4 was so much better and could actually be used for my school tasks still 10 years on, my first one was a 1.2GHZ and was a dear friend to me during that time.

I really pushed that machine, I used to take it apart for fun at the dinner table to learn how it worked and I was able to get it back together in time to do homework. Good memories, hence why I wanted to show one of them a little respect :).