Refreshing random Smart Playlists


Q: How do you randomize a random playlist? I used to limit my jogging playlist selected by ‘least recently played.’ Every week when I synchronized my iPod I would have different songs. Now I select by ‘random’ and I get a random selection but it never changes. I need to select by something else, click OK and then reselect by ‘random’ in order to get a fresh set of songs. Is there a simpler way?

– Jeff

A: The problem here is that “Random” in a Smart Playlist selection simply means to choose an initial selection of random tracks, but without any other dynamically changing criteria, the Smart Playlist will not otherwise be updated, as you’ve observed.

One workaround for this is to choose some criteria in the playlist that will cause it to be dynamically refreshed. Including track selection criteria such as last played date, play count, or rating can all be particularly useful for triggering updates of a Smart Playlist—as this information changes for tracks in the playlist, the playlist gets refreshed with new tracks. Note, however, that this will generally only result in those tracks that fail to meet the criteria being dropped from the playlist (a recently-played track, for instance), and individually replaced with new random tracks; it will generally not re-randomize the entire playlist.

If you want to shuffle up a completely random playlist each time, you will have to do this manually. However, there is a relatively simple way to accomplish this: Go to your Smart Playlist that you want to refresh, select all of the tracks in that playlist, and hit the “Delete” key. These tracks will be removed from the playlist (not your iTunes library), and replaced with a new random selection. In fact, you can only remove tracks in this manner from a Smart Playlist that is set to random selection; other limits on playlists are based on fixed rules, so for instance there would be no point in deleting the content from a Smart Playlist based on “least recently played” as the same content would just come back again.


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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.