How to Skip Songs When Shuffling in iTunes and iPhone

Keep moving through your music library

shuffle music on iphone

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The Up Next feature of iTunes is great. It keeps your music fresh and surprising by shuffling your iTunes music library to play songs in random order. Because it's random (or is it?), it also sometimes plays songs you don't want to hear.

For example, if your library includes old-time radio shows like The Shadow and Arch Oboler's Lights Out, you may not want these 30-minute dramas included with a music mix. In these cases, setting a song (or radio show) to always be skipped during random playback in iTunes or on the iPhone solves the problem.

There's an option built into iTunes that can help called Skip When Shuffling. Here's how to use it in iTunes and on the iPhone to improve your music experience.

These instructions apply to iTunes 11 and later.

How to Remove Songs from Shuffle in iTunes

Removing a single song from shuffling in iTunes requires you to check a single box. Follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. Click the song you want to skip when shuffling.

  3. Open the Get Info window for the song by doing one of the following:

    • Right-click on it and select Song Info from the pop-up menu
    • Click the "..." icon to the right of the song 
    • Press Control/Command + I (depending on whether you're on a Windows machine or a Mac)
    • Click on the Edit menu and then click Song Info
    iTunes on a Mac with the Song Info option under the Edit menu highlighted
  4. A window pops up with information about the song. Click the Options tab at the top of the window.

    Song Info window in iTunes with the Options tab highlighted
  5. On the Options page, click the Skip when shuffling box.

    Options tab in the Song Info menu in iTunes with the
  6. Click OK.

    Options tab of the Song Info menu in iTunes with the OK button highlighted
  7. Now, that song will no longer appear in your shuffled music. If you'd like to add it back, uncheck that box and click OK again.

How to Remove Multiple Songs from Shuffle in iTunes

Use a similar process to remove several songs or entire albums from the shuffle at once. Here's how.

  1. In iTunes, select all of the songs you want to remove.

    To select a range of consecutive tracks, click the first one on the list, hold Shift, and then click the last one you want to highlight. Pick songs that aren't right next to each other by holding down Command/Ctrl while you click them.

  2. Open the Song Info menu with one of the following commands:

    • Right-click on one of the songs and select Get Info from the pop-up menu
    • Click the "..." icon to the right of a selected track 
    • Press Control/Command + I (depending on whether you're on a Windows machine or a Mac)
    • Click on the Edit menu and then choose Get Info
    iTunes on a Mac with the Get Info option under the Edit menu highlighted
  3. A window will appear asking if you want to edit information for multiple items. Click Edit Items to continue.

    Click the box next to "Do not ask me again" to skip this dialogue box in the future.

    A dialogue box in iTunes with the Edit Items button highlighted
  4. The Info menu will open, showing the number of songs and artists you've selected. Click the Options tab.

    Options tab in iTunes' Get Info menu
  5. Click the box next to Skip when shuffling.

    Get Info window in iTunes with the
  6. Click OK to save your changes.

    Options tab in iTunes' Get info box with the OK button highlighted
  7. Use this method to skip entire artists or albums during the shuffle.

Skipping Songs When Shuffling on iPhone

On the iPhone, the Music app doesn't seem to offer any similar options, but you can still transfer the shuffle settings from somewhere else. In this case, that somewhere else is iTunes.

Once you've changed the settings in iTunes, you need to transfer those preferences to the iPhone by syncing your Music app with your iTunes library. You can do this in a couple of ways: