iTunes 12: Shuffle All Your Music

While it’s easy to shuffle an album, a playlist, or all the music by a given artist in iTunes 12, shuffling your entire music library isn’t available from the usual controls. But there are two ways you can do this.

The first method involves using iTunes’ menu controls to turn on shuffle: choose Controls > Shuffle > On. Then display your music in any view, making sure to not select anything; click the Play button at the top-left of the iTunes window, and iTunes will start shuffling all your music. If you have selected something, such as an album or artist, iTunes will only play the selected item in shuffle mode.

The second method is accessible from the Playlists sidebar; to display this, go to your Music library, then click Playlists in the navigation bar. Right-click on Music in the sidebar, then choose Shuffle. If you click on a playlist in the sidebar, only that playlist will be shuffled.

Shuffle all

Note that if you start playing your music in shuffle mode when your are in, say, a specific genre, you’ll see in the Up Next menu (the three-line icon in the iTunes LCD) the upcoming songs from that genre. Select a different genre, and don’t change anything else, and check the Up Next menu again: the upcoming songs will be from the genre you have just selected. This has repercussions if you are starting shuffle play while viewing music one way, but want to browse your library; the shuffled tracks won’t be the same as what you may have expected. I’m seeing this when in Songs view, selecting a genre using the Column Browser; if I’m in Genres or Artists view, this change doesn’t occur. (So I assume it’s a bug.)

Personally, I usually only shuffle playlists, or, sometimes, artists. But if you want to shuffle your entire library, you can use one of these two methods.

32 thoughts on “iTunes 12: Shuffle All Your Music

    • You can also use an app like Altunenator (Mac App Store – Altunenator) to shuffle smartly based on last played date. Works great for me!

    • You can also use an app like Altunenator (Mac App Store – Altunenator) to shuffle smartly based on last played date. Works great for me!

  1. This is obnoxious. I created another playlist called “Apple SUCKS now.” and imported my whole library and then clicked play (on shuffle of course.). Turns out, without the young creative Steve Jobs, Apple (and therefore the world) is lost.

  2. This is obnoxious. I created another playlist called “Apple SUCKS now.” and imported my whole library and then clicked play (on shuffle of course.). Turns out, without the young creative Steve Jobs, Apple (and therefore the world) is lost.

  3. Worst update ever! I liked the old playlist where I could skip any song at anytime. This crap takes entirely too long. I liked being able to plug in my headphones and just let it okay randomly without having to skip from one artist to another. Change it back!

  4. Worst update ever! I liked the old playlist where I could skip any song at anytime. This crap takes entirely too long. I liked being able to plug in my headphones and just let it okay randomly without having to skip from one artist to another. Change it back!

  5. Ruined July 4th weekend with this update. Could not just have my music shuffle along at the beach. Hate this upgrade. Poorly done apple.

  6. Ruined July 4th weekend with this update. Could not just have my music shuffle along at the beach. Hate this upgrade. Poorly done apple.

  7. I agree with many of you . One of my primary reason for having chosen iTunes, was for the it’s ease of use to categorize my music into Genres and being able to play them within those categories. Now that the Shufffle feature is gone for playing my music in that category. I only have two options: 1. re-categorize my tunes into individual Playlists (A laborious job). 2. Switch to another & more stable Player. I’m leaning towards option 2. Even to the point in switching my iPhone for an Android.

  8. I agree with many of you . One of my primary reason for having chosen iTunes, was for the it’s ease of use to categorize my music into Genres and being able to play them within those categories. Now that the Shufffle feature is gone for playing my music in that category. I only have two options: 1. re-categorize my tunes into individual Playlists (A laborious job). 2. Switch to another & more stable Player. I’m leaning towards option 2. Even to the point in switching my iPhone for an Android.

  9. This solution isn’t working for me. I want to shuffle a specific playlist, but not my entire library. When I choose to shuffle that playlist, the entire library also goes into shuffle. Switch Shuffle off in the library, and it’s off in the playlist.

  10. This solution isn’t working for me. I want to shuffle a specific playlist, but not my entire library. When I choose to shuffle that playlist, the entire library also goes into shuffle. Switch Shuffle off in the library, and it’s off in the playlist.

  11. The new iTunes iteration is not good. Oh how to screw something up so Apple can squeeze every last dollar out of you.

  12. The new iTunes iteration is not good. Oh how to screw something up so Apple can squeeze every last dollar out of you.

  13. This article needs to be updated.

    The first method described (using iTunes menu controls) is not reliable. The behaviour actually depends on what song was last playing in iTunes, and where that song was selected from. If it was selected under a specific Artist or Playlist, then only songs from that artist or playlist will be shuffled. It doesn’t make a difference whether you enable Shuffle using iTunes menu controls or by clicking on the blue icon. The method only works if you first quit iTunes and re-open it to erase iTunes’ memory of the “last song” played.

    The second method described (using the Playlists sidebar) works.

    There is also a third method, which is convenient if you’re in the Artists view – that is to select “All Artists”, start playing a song under “All Artists”, and then enable Shuffle.

  14. This article needs to be updated.

    The first method described (using iTunes menu controls) is not reliable. The behaviour actually depends on what song was last playing in iTunes, and where that song was selected from. If it was selected under a specific Artist or Playlist, then only songs from that artist or playlist will be shuffled. It doesn’t make a difference whether you enable Shuffle using iTunes menu controls or by clicking on the blue icon. The method only works if you first quit iTunes and re-open it to erase iTunes’ memory of the “last song” played.

    The second method described (using the Playlists sidebar) works.

    There is also a third method, which is convenient if you’re in the Artists view – that is to select “All Artists”, start playing a song under “All Artists”, and then enable Shuffle.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.