Apple Iphone Shuffle not random

by on Jul.20, 2009, under Uncategorized

As the topic says it all… the shuffle or random mode in the iphone (or maybe even the ipods in general) are not random! You’ve noticed the same songs play in the same “random” order.. annoying I know.

I remember creating a random number generator back in school (in the C programming language), but to my surprise the rand function wasn’t actually random! Maybe the first time around it seemed random… but it was the same random every time you ran the program. You had to custom code the random to be truly random.

So I’m guessing there are just some lazy programmers working at apple that can’t write a proper shuffle program.

Though recently I’ve heard people say that it shuffles the entire play list when you start up (power on) or whatever… which may be the case… but that is also a very poor way to do it!

No one turns their phone off very often or at all if its not necessary. I leave my phone on until it starts to bug out and lock up.

I want my shuffle to be random for each song! wow that would be great! A shuffle program the way it’s expected to be? Whaatt? no way!

Most of my older mp3 players (and hell, even my portable CD player and car) have this button called “random”. When I press it, a random song plays. When I click “previous”, a random song plays, when i click “next” a totally new random song plays! It’s a surprise every time! I love it!

But unfortunately with the apple iphone I press back and it plays what I just listened to (ok not horrible)… but when i press next, i feel like i know what song is going to play next… and I do… and its sad.

I only have a modest library of around 1,000 songs on my iphone. But unfortunately every day I listen to the same hundred or so damn songs over and over and over. It’s annoying that I can’t get any variety in my ipod!

I’ve resorted to closing my eyes and picking songs from the song list with a few flicks up or down beforehand. It’s a better random than the iphone provides that’s for sure.

Update – Nexus One:

I’ve recently switched to Googles Nexus One phone and found the shuffle on this device works absolutely fantastic! I have the same songs, yet the listening experience is easily 2-3 times as good!

When listening to music, you can easily turn shuffle on or off from the currently playing song. (No need to go back a menu or two in, scroll up to the top of the list and select “shuffle”). Nexus One’s shuffle is right on the screen that’s displaying the current song; along with the option to repeat current song, or continuously loop your playlist.

Pressing the back button on the track, brings you to the last listened track (and pressing it again brings you to the track you listened before that one). Now at anytime you press “next”, even if you pressed the back button, it provides you with a RANDOM song! Imagine that! The people at google sure got this right.

It’s funny, while I have the same few hundred songs, I’m listening to ones I haven’t heard once on my iphone… wow :)

The nexus one media player also has the ability to drag a slider back and forth and skip to whichever section of the songĀ  you wish! Very cool. The only thing it doesn’t do out of the box is display the currently playing song on the lock screen. (Not a huge deal, and I’m sure there’s a widget for that).

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3 comments for this entry:
  1. K

    First off… powering off your device and restarting it is VERY helpful in the long run. It should be done every few days and definitely EVERY time you download a new app (before you launch the app). It goes a long way in keeping the device in line. Sorry… but stating that it isn’t necessary is bad advice.

    And as far as the shuffle thing?! WTH!?!?!? I have NO idea why they can’t make a shuffle that works. I am right there with you 100% on it. Yours is the best explanation of the problem I have found yet there is no solution out there. I fail to see how this isn’t a bigger concern for Apple.

    Anyway… thanks for posting your note. It definitely is a problem.

  2. Erich

    I wrote True Shuffle to help out with the problem of iPods/iPhones playing the same songs over and over… True Shuffle lets you listen to every song you own, without any repeats, until you’ve heard them all! And you can ban any songs you don’t like.

  3. aframe

    I have the same complaint, it’s so irritating to have a thousand songs on my phone but same damn songs play over and over in the 10-20 minutes I play music on it while driving somewhere. I don’t see how it should be so hard to make a good shuffle.

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