iOS 7: Playing tracks by Genre

iOS 7: Playing tracks by Genre 1

Q: I would like to know how to play a music genre in the new iOS 7. I used to be able to shuffle or play a genre in the old operating system. Do you think that this setting has been left out to push us over to iRadio?

– Brian

A: This is likely simply a consequence of the general redesign of the Music app in iOS 7 designed to make it easier for users to browse by genre. The good news, however, is that there is a workaround.

iOS 7: Playing tracks by Genre 2

By default, when you select a genre from the Genres from the More button in the iOS Music app, you will see a list of artists from that particular genre and can drill down further from there to see tracks by a specific artist. While this is convenient for browsing by genre, it doesn’t really help if all you want to do is play a selection of tracks.


iOS 7: Playing tracks by Genre 3

The trick is to search by genre instead. Simply swipe down slightly from any screen to access the search field, and begin typing a genre name. You’ll likely find song title, album, and artist results that match as well, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the results list, the genre you typed in should appear there as well. In some cases, the genres will appear briefly at the top before the search completes, so if you’re fast enough, you can tap on the genre name right away without having to scroll down.

Selecting a genre in this manner will display all of the tracks in that particular genre. They still seem to be grouped by album, but oddly all of the albums will show “Unknown Album” as the title, but this appears to be nothing more than cosmetic bug. Selecting any individual track from this sreen will begin playback of everything in that genre, and you can simply toggle the Shuffle option on the Now Playing screen to choose between sequential or shuffled playback.


iOS 7: Playing tracks by Genre 4

If anything, however, Apple’s alternative to shuffling directly by genre would be the Genius Mixes that were introduced back in iTunes 9. You will need to enable the Genius feature in iTunes for these to be created, but unless you have an extremely well-organized iTunes library, these mixes will usually provide a much better listening experience.


  1. The best way I have figured out to be able to go straight in and just shuffle all the songs I have in a particular genre (my main mode of listening) is to create a smart playlist in iTunes that “contains” each genre that I have that I would be interested in doing this for. I know sounds a bit long, but if you create it with live updating you don’t have to touch it again until you need to add a list for a new genre. I have iTunes match so that helps that all my songs are always available and these smart playlists automatically appear on my phone, but it is a super simple way for us iTunes Match customers to get to the “play all in a genre” endpoint!

  2. You can also edit what categories appear at the bottom of the Music app window, too. If you select more and then edit on the top right of the second page, you can then drag icons to the bottom. I did this because I don’t plan to use iRadio as much as other options.

  3. Unfortunately the workaround does not work. I tried it and I typed Gospel. It did bring up 9 albums and 10 songs, but it only selected them because Gospel was some where in the title. It left out the other 150+ songs I have in this category. Frustratingly enough, I’ve resorted to the playlist and will look into iTunes Match

  4. The solution worked perfectly for me, thank you! @MsDeonap, give it another try and make sure you scroll down further on your screen. Songs and albums come up first and then Genres bearing the search term show up on the bottom. Once you click on the Genre, swipe down so that the very top of the screen expands and you will see the shuffle icon to shuffle all songs in the Genre.

  5. What if you don’t want to shuffle? I want to use the genre to look at a list of all the songs I have in that genre, and then select the specific song/songs I want to listen to.I don’t want to have to shuffle through until I find a song in that genre I want to listen to. They screwed this up big time in this update.

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