Q: I like to listen to my iPod using its “Shuffle Songs” feature, shuffling through the entire song list on my iPod. If I get a fraction of the way through the list and then turn the iPod off, I can turn it back on the next day and the shuffled play queue is in exactly the same spot. However, after I plug the iPod into the computer, when I unplug it, the shuffle position is lost. Is there any way to maintain the shuffle position after connecting to the PC?
A: Perhaps not how you’d expect, but we have an idea that may help. What we do to maintain a continually-rolling list of randomly-ordered songs we haven’t heard in awhile (which sounds very similar to what you want to achieve) is to create a Smart Playlist which collects the songs we haven’t played terribly recently, and orders them at random. The advantage here is that each time you listen to a song, it drops out of the playlist entirely; thus, to restart “where you left off” after connecting to your PC, you simply activate the playlist at its first song.
To create this playlist, go to iTunes’ “File” menu and select “New Smart Playlist… .” Then, give the smart playlist the following criteria:
- Click “Match the Following Rule”
- “Last Played” “is not in the last” 3 “weeks” (for example)
- “Limit to” 100 “songs” “selected by” random
- Check “Live Updating”
As you play songs, they’ll drop off the list until their time is due. Now you have a random shuffling playlist that’s easy to pick up and return to where you left off, that doesn’t repeat songs when you don’t want it to.
This method also allows you several nifty capabilities, should you choose to implement them. For example, try limiting its selection to a specific genre by adding a new rule. Also, this “intelligent shuffle” also respects when you have played songs in iTunes as well as on the iPod itself.