Shuffling Music on the iPhone

If you're not sure exactly what song or album you're in the mood for, consider using the Shuffle feature in the iPhone's built-in Music app.

Shuffle randomly selects songs in your music library to play in no particular order and allows you to skip or replay songs. It's a great way to be surprised by your own music. 

With the release of iOS 8.4 the Music app not only was transformed by the addition of Apple Music, but its interface was redesigned, too.

Read on to learn what can and can't be shuffled in iOS 8.4 and up, and where to find the Shuffle feature.

Shuffle All Songs

To shuffle all the songs in your Music app library, which will give you the greatest variety and a roughly random order of songs, follow these easy steps:

  1. Open the Music app
  2. Tap My Music
  3. Make sure the menu just below Apple Music is set to Songs
  4. Find a song you'd like to listen to and tap it to begin it playing
  5. Tap the playback bar just above the buttons at the bottom of the screen to reveal the album art and full set of Music app controls
  6. At the bottom of the screen, tap the Shuffle button, which is two arrows crossing over each other. You'll know it's enabled when it's highlighted.

With that completed, your next song will be randomly chosen and you're off on a shuffling adventure. Use the forward arrow to skip to the next song or the back arrow to return to the last one.

To turn off shuffle, just tap the two-arrow icon again so it is no longer highlighted.

Shuffle Within an Album

Want to shake up a familiar album? You can shuffle within a single album, rather than your entire music library. If you want to do that, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the album view of the album you want to shuffle. There are a number of ways to get to the album view, depending on where you are in the Music app. One simple way is to go to the main screen of the My Music tab and select Albums from the drop down. Then tap on the album you want to shuffle
  1. Once you're on the album screen, tap the Shuffle button just below the album art and above the track list.

Shuffle in a Playlist

Even though the point of creating a playlist is to put songs in a certain order, that doesn't mean you won't want to mix up that order sometimes. If you do, shuffling a playlist is almost identical to shuffling an album:

  1. Tap the My Music button in the bottom navigation
  2. Tap the Playlist toggle at the top of the screen
  3. Find the playlist you want to shuffle and tap it
  4. Tap the Shuffle button just below the playlist art and above the track list.

Shuffle All Albums by One Artist

You may also want to shuffle all songs by a particular artist, rather than just one of their albums. While that might seem impossible in iOS 8.4, it actually can be done. It's just very, very well hidden (thanks to reader Gerard O'Sullivan for the tip). To shuffle all songs by a single artist:

  1. Tap the My Music button
  2. In the drop down just below Recently Added, select Artists
  3. Find the artist whose songs you want to shuffle and tap their album art (not their name, but the image of the album art to the left of the screen). This starts songs by them playing
  4. Tap the mini-music controls above the navigation buttons to reveal the full music playback screen
  1. Tap the shuffle icon. Skip to the next song and you should see it skip to a new album by the same artist.

Shuffle Within Genres

With all of this shuffling, it may have occurred to you to shuffle within a genre. Alas, that's another thing you can't do in iOS 8.4. On the upside, the updated iTunes Radio lets you do something very similar—listen to playlists/stations sorted by genre and curated by experts.

To access Apple Music's Radio features, tap the Radio button in the bottom navigation and then select a genre.

Shake to Shuffle

Shuffling your music doesn't always require touching the screen. On some devices like the iPod nano, if you have the right setting turned on, you can just shake them to start the shuffling.

 Learn more about Shake to Shuffle here.

While it used to be part of the iPhone Music app, Shake to Shuffle was removed in iOS 8.4.