How to Skip Songs When Shuffling in iTunes

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Introduction to Skipping Songs When Shuffling

Up Next in Action
Up Next in Action.

The Up Next feature of iTunes is great-–it randomly moves through your iTunes library to play songs in orders you'd never considered or remind you of gems you haven't heard in a while. Because it's random, though, it also sometimes plays songs you don't want to hear.

You can control this a bit by rating songs and telling iTunes to play higher-rated songs more often. But songs you don't like can still get played. What if you want to skip them entirely?

This comes up for me a lot. 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.

If you're in the same boat as me, iTunes has a feature that can help. It's called Skip When Shuffling. Here's how to use it.

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Skipping a Single Song

Skip when Shuffling, single song
The Edit Song Info Window for Skipping Songs in iTunes.

If there's an individual song you don't want to be included in your iTunes shuffle or Up Next options, you just need to check a single box in that song's information. To do that, you need to open the Get Info window for the song. To do this, find that song in your iTunes library. Single click on it. To open the Get Info window, you can:

  • Right-click on it and select Get Info from the pop-up menu
  • Press Control + I on Windows
  • Press Command + I on Mac
  • Click on the File menu and then click on Get Info.

Whichever option you choose, next a window pops up with information about the track. Choose the Options tab at the top of the window.

On the Option page, the second-to-last checkbox reads Skip when shuffling. Check that box and then click OK. Now, that song will no longer be able to appear in your shuffled music. If you'd like to add it back, just uncheck that box and click OK again.

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Skipping Multiple Songs

Skip when Shuffling, multiple songs
The Edit Multiple Song Info Window for Skipping Songs in iTunes.

If you prefer to exclude a group of tracks from shuffling, the process is similar but slightly different. Again, single click all the tracks you want to exclude and open the Get Info window by:

  • Right clicking on it and select Get Info from the pop-up menu
  • Clicking on the File menu and then click on Get Info.
  • Pressing Command + I on Mac
  • Pressing Control + I on Windows

A window will pop up with all kinds of options. Click on the Option tab at the top of the window.

In the bottom row of checkboxes and menus is one called Skip when shuffling. Click the checkbox and make sure the pull-down menu next to it is set to Yes.

When this is done, click OK and all the items you selected will be skipped during shuffles in the future. If you want to allow the songs to be shuffled again, simply follow these steps and uncheck that box. You can select all of the songs at once or one at a time.