Q: I have an iPod video and would like to know how I can play only one song at a time from a playlist? I do not want it to play the next song.

– Chuck

A: Although this cannot be done directly when starting playback from a normal playlist, there are two ways in which this can be accomplished indirectly.

The first method is through the use of the On-The-Go Playlist. If you go to the Music, Playlists menu on the iPod and scroll down to the bottom, you will see the special playlist named “On-The-Go.”  You can add tracks to this playlist as you are browsing through your library on the iPod simply by holding down the centre SELECT button on a highlighted track until the highlight bar flashes. This can be used to set up a dynamic playlist for use while you’re on the go (hence the name), and when selecting it for playback it will function like any other playlist.

So, if you want to play only a single track, simply add it to the On-The-Go playlist as the only entry, and then start playing the On-The-Go playlist. The iPod will play the one track that is listed, and then stop. Note that you can also add additional tracks to the On-The-Go playlist while you are listening to it, and those tracks will be played after the current track finishes, thus acting like somewhat of a “play queue” feature.

Note that if you are using automatic synchronization with your iTunes library, the On-The-Go playlist will be transferred back to your computer the next time you sync. Each sync will produce a new version of the On-The-Go playlist, and these can accumulate after a while.  If you don’t want to maintain these playlists you can either delete them from iTunes manually after syncing, or you can ensure that the On-The-Go playlist is cleared prior to connecting your iPod to iTunes by using the “Clear Playlist” option that can be found at the bottom of the On-The-Go playlist on the iPod.

If you have an enhanced “5.5G” iPod, you can also play an individual track by using the “Search” function. If you search for an individual track by name and select it for playback through the Search menu, the iPod will play that one track and then stop.



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.