Tag Archives: iTunes

Random order and custom order of an iTunes music playlist

I listen to music almost nightly on my iPod Nano Touch. I’ve been doing that for a while now and one thing bugs me. Not from the songs, but from the sorting options and the shuffle on the iPod. The former has resulted too often in repeat order and the latter is never random enough. In fact, despite shaking options to randomize the shuffle, too often the same songs end up in the first-plays of a shuffle, just with a few different ones around them, and in a different order than the last play. Talk about annoying.

I wanted to jumble a playlist order by a static means – do it before I start using the iPod. Call it a static shuffle that randomly arranged things. The results I kept finding on Google search results were pointing to Apple forums with people asking the same question and the answer being a proverbial shrug with directions simply to employ shuffle to do the job. That’s frustrating.

Last night, though, I did something random on iTunes, just a shot in the dark attempt. Maybe I already have crossed this option in the past and done the deed and I had just forgotten. Maybe it’s already widely known as well as posted online on another instruction-attempt article/blog post (or several dozens of them), but there is indeed a means to randomize a playlist (with the program doing the first bit of work and you gaining the liberty to do the rest).

Note: This was done with iTunes version 12.7.14. If it works with later versions, grand. I’m certain it works with earlier versions of the software too.

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Select a playlist that you want to jumble/randomly arrange.
  3. Look at the list sorting options at the top of the list (things like name, play count, last played – they are fields that you have had the ability to randomly set).
  4. On the far left side, there will be no option above the numeric ordering column. Click on that sort area.

What should happen is there will be a re-sort – call it a jumble – of the playlist order. The most important thing is here that you now have the ability to randomly sort the song list order; highlight a song on the list and drag it up or down to the position you want it in the order.

You won’t get a jumble-sort again by clicking the number-sort field over and over again. It’d be a plus if users did get that. There’s no guarantee a static, visible playlist order shuffle is going to be truly random (just as I complained the Nano shuffle was not random enough), but having the manual ordering ability is a plus that will likely be more beneficial to short playlists than the long ones. The latter would take a lot more time to get just right, with no guarantee you ever make it through the entire list.

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Filed under Electronics & Software, Music / Lyrics

When you're better at Tech Support than Apple is

Talk about a tech FAIL on Apple’s part:

I bought an iPod Non 7th generation in April of this year. In some ways I’ve still been adjusting to it and some features I really liked but hadn’t tried out yet. I’ve mostly been using it around the house; I’ve found my other iPod (Nano, 3rd gen) is more effective on workouts than going to the touch-based Nano.

I upgraded the important desktop software tied to iPods and what not, iTunes, on Wednesday afternoon to version 12.4; I’d put off upgrading for a while because of no clear need… But prompts to upgrade came up so routinely that I decided there was no clear reason to not upgrade either.

It would seem the upgrade itself helped give me a reason not to have done so.

The 7th generation Nano doesn’t sync anymore with iTunes saying it can’t identify the device. There’s been no action undertaken on the Nano to cause change/issue, only with iTunes backend. I uninstalled iTunes and found I can’t install older versions any more. I have to use 12.4…and the software won’t/can’t identify the Nano.

This is where tech support jumps in and saves the fray, right? Involvement and instruction to get matters resolved… Yeah, about that…. iTunes/Apple support was a joke. I didn’t contact them having not tried tech support methods that “More Info” on iTunes had prompted, and yet it was that stuff that was fed to me directly all over again. When I told them I’d already tried that stuff, I got instructed to do a … reinstall? Despite the fact it’s prompted by iTunes itself, which I already attempted, which already failed in clearing up the issue. Multiple times at that.

In the end they wanted to send someone (a tech support person) as aid? Or have myself venture to the Apple Store to have one of their people look at the problem in person? It’s not like a device like this can’t be remedied by a user, but the options for doing so themselves were few.

Oh, the 7th Gen Nano still works on its own… I just can’t sync. And my older iPod Nano (3rd Generation) works just fine with syncing. What does that tell you about Apple’s own failure?

As a last, last attempt on fixing things (and I felt bad for doing it because I thought I’d put my music library at risk), I used an elaboration uninstall remedy that CNET had pitched years ago. I didn’t want to reset play-counts or do a media rebuild… I just wanted a clean installation of an (old) iTunes version. The article elaborates on having to uninstall more than just iTunes as part of the process to restarting. Trying to install an older version of iTunes failed, miserably, as the iTunes library database files had to be deleted too. I wasn’t about to restart my audio library…  I gave up on this idea. I uninstalled that older version and re-installed iTunes 12.4. For shame, I’d have to lose this new(ish) Nano.

Yeah, well, I plugged it in for a last sync attempt and everything worked just as fine as it should for how well the device worked on its own.

Some type of software compromise had happened in the Apple core – not just in iTunes but interacting programs.  Getting rid of everything resolved this. Repairing the issue, however, wasn’t what tech support thought. Not in elaboration, at least.

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