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?
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.
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.
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.
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.