How to Skip Songs When Shuffling in iTunes and iPhone

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 a random order. Because it's random (or is it?), it also sometimes plays songs you don't want to hear.

For example, I'm a big fan of old-time radio shows like The Shadow and Arch Oboler's Lights Out. However, I don't want these 30-minute dramas included with a music mix that comes on when I'm trying to focus on work. 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 shuffling.

Skipping Songs in iTunes

skip when shuffling itunes

Skipping a single song when shuffling in iTunes is really simple. There's just a single box you need to check. Follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Find the song you want to set to always be skipped when shuffling.
  3. Single click on the song.
  4. Open the Get Info window for the song by doing one of the following:
    1. Right-click on it and select Get Info from the pop-up menu
    2. Click the ... icon to the right of the song 
    3. Press Control + I on Windows
    4. Press Command + I on Mac
    5. Click on the File menu and then click on Get Info.
  5. Whichever option you choose, a window pops up with information about the song. Click the Options tab at the top of the window.
  6. On the Options page, click the Skip when shuffling box.
  7. Click OK.

Now, that song will no longer appear in your shuffled music. If you'd like to add it back, just uncheck that box and click OK again.

Skipping a group of songs, or an entire album, works almost exactly the same way. You just need to select all the songs, or the album, in steps 2 and 3 above. With that done, follow all the other steps and those selections will be skipped, too.

Skipping Songs When Shuffling on iPhone

stop iphone auto sync in itunes
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As we've seen, skipping songs when shuffling in iTunes is fairly simple. On the iPhone, though, the Music app doesn't seem to offer any similar options. There's nothing in Settings, no button that can be tapped for an individual song or album.

But that doesn't mean that you can't skip songs on the iPhone. It just means that you have to control those settings somewhere else. In this case, that somewhere else is actually iTunes. The steps you follow from the last section also apply to the iPhone.

Once you've changed the settings in iTunes, you then need to transfer those settings to the iPhone. There are two basic ways to do this:

Each option works about equally well, so use whichever you prefer.

Some past updates to the iOS, the operating system that runs on the iPhone, have broken the skip when shuffling feature on the iPhone. Apple has always fixed that issue in the past, but be aware that unless there's a specific skip when shuffling feature added to the iPhone itself, similar issues could arise in the future.