iPod shuffle random explained
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I’m a 5th grader doing a science fair project: Is the iPod’s shuffle mode truly random? Can you tell me if the iPod’s shuffle feature uses random or pseudo-random number selection? Do you believe your iPod gets to “know” what people like or dislike?
A: The iPod’s shuffle mode works as follows: when you start playing music in this mode, the iPod shuffles all your tracks (much like a deck of cards) and creates an internal list for your library (or for a selected playlist, genre, artist, etc.). It then plays the songs in this order until it reaches the end of the list.
The next time you turn on shuffle mode, the iPod does the same thing. If you listen to 20 songs one day, then listen to another 20 songs the next day, it is possible that one or more of the first 20 songs will come up in the second set of 20. Random playback means that each time you start playing the iPod in shuffle mode the songs are mixed up; therefore, each song has an equal probability of coming first in the list, second, third, and so on.
There is a difference between this shuffle mode and true random playback, however. The shuffle mode creates a list of songs and plays them in that order; random playback would give each song an equal probability of coming up next, which would lead to some songs coming up several times in continuous play.
As long as you keep your iPod playing in shuffle mode (without syncing it, playing other albums or playlists, or doing something that stops the shuffle play), you’ll hear every song on your iPod once, and only once, until it gets to the end of the list.
And, no, your iPod probably doesn’t get to know what you like, unless you use the rating feature or an iTunes Smart Playlist based on your most frequently played songs.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple to sell limited-edition Olympic Apple Watch bands exclusively in Brazil
- Report: iPhone 7 will include Lightning adapter instead of Lightning EarPods
- Edward Snowden designing device to prevent iPhone wiretapping
- Report: Apple Car team running into challenges, launch may slip to 2021
- Corning announces Gorilla Glass 5
- Apple under fire for providing refurbished replacements under AppleCare+
- Report: Apple acquires cloud music provider Omnifone? [Update: No]
- Apple releases second iOS 10 public beta
- India clears the way for Apple to open retail stores
- Apple Pay launches in Hong Kong
- Netatmo Tags for Welcome Smart Home Camera
- iDevices Socket HomeKit-enabled Light Adapter
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartPlug for Apple HomeKit
- Marbotic Smart Letters for iPad
- Ecoxgear Sol Jam Bluetooth Speaker
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case + Hand Strap for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Braven BRV-1M Bluetooth Speaker
- Braven BRV-Blade Bluetooth Speaker
- Invoxia Voice Bridge
- Incase Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app