Maintaining Playback Position on iPod

Q: How long can I safely leave my iPod on “Pause”? I like to play songs randomly, but when I turn the iPod off, the random list expires and a new one is created the next time I turn it on, often resulting in playing of music I heard the last time I played the iPod. I am hoping that pause is a way to turn it off but have it keep the same random list and remember what has been played.

– Bay

A: With the traditional iPod models there really is not any difference between “pause’ mode and “off” mode, since you can’t actually power the device off manually—you can only put it to sleep. The iPod touch and iPhone are a little bit different in this regard, as there is a full power-off mode on these two devices, but typical users should seldom need to power the device right off versus putting it into sleep mode.

When pausing a track on the iPod, the content of the “Now Playing” queue is maintained, and you should normally be able to return to the last playing track just by hitting the “Play/Pause” button, or returning to the “Now Playing” menu item, which will be shown at the bottom of the main menu on the traditional iPods, or as a small “Now Playing” icon in the top-right corner in the “iPod” application on the iPod touch and iPhone.

This “Now Playing” queue is normally retained until you connect your iPod to a computer or the iPod goes into a hibernate or “Deep Sleep” mode, depending on the model of iPod. Older iPod models prior to the fifth-generation would go into “Deep Sleep” mode after 36 hours of inactivity. This was effectively a “power-off” mode to conserve battery life, and would result in the “Now Playing” queue being cleared. Effectively, “Deep Sleep” involved powering down the iPod, requiring it to be restarted in the same way that manually rebooting the iPod would.

As of the fifth-generation iPod, this has now been replaced with a “Hibernate” mode, which still puts the iPod into a power-conservation mode, after 14 hours in this case, but returns to the point where you left off, including not only the content of the “Now Playing” queue, but your actual position that you left off in whichever track you were currently playing.

Another option for avoiding listening to the same tracks repeatedly, even across computer syncs (where the “Now Playing” queue gets cleared) would be to use a Smart Playlist with a criteria that would filter out any tracks you had recently listened to. You could create this Smart Playlist based on tags and/or ratings within your music, or you could even base it on whatever current playlist(s) you’re already using. For example, if you had a standard playlist called “My Favourite Music” a Smart Playlist such as the following would provide a selection from that playlist of music that you had not recently listened to:

Maintaining Playback Position on iPod

You could then play your music by using that Smart Playlist instead of the normal “My Favourite Music” playlist in order to avoid hearing the same tracks repeatedly.


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