No news is good news, or why I like my iPod shuffle


No news is good news, or why I like my iPod shuffle
Mac Tip #523, 15 February 2012

A few months ago, on whim, I bought an iPod shuffle. They’re really easy to use, and cost so little that even people carefully watching their budget can probably fit one in. Here’s what I’ve found with mine.

iPod shuffle.

iPod shuffle.

Quick Start

  1. Choose to shuffle or play in order.
  2. Press the VoiceOver button to hear current track and artist, or press longer to hear playlist.
  3. Press the VoiceOver button twice to hear battery status.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Casual listening

Times have changed — these days I seldom listen to music or the radio. I really only listen in the car or when I’m brushing my teeth or showering.

I despise commercial radio and really only listen to Radio New Zealand National. It’s a talk programme with no commercials. Generally that works well and sometimes I hear interesting snippets that lead me to later download a whole interview.

Too much blather: give me music

Sometimes though I tire of all the talk, the news, the politics, the verbal sparring. And that’s where the iPod shuffle comes in. I have it attached to the bathroom radio, so it’s easy to choose talk or music.

Random or selected tracks?

I started off by not selecting any particular music to load onto the iPod, and letting iTunes fill the space with random tracks. That meant a nice surprise any time I turned it on.

After a while though I realised I was hearing the same tracks repeatedly, so lately I’ve chosen a few artists or playlists and then had the rest fill randomly.

With only 2GB of space on the iPod and a 9GB iTunes Library that allows for plenty of variety.

2 buttons and a headphone jack on the top of the iPod shuffle.

2 buttons and a headphone jack on the top of the iPod shuffle.

Choose to shuffle or play in order

The iPod shuffle is so simple that once you’ve selected which music to add you really have only one other choice: shuffle or play in order.

On the top of the device are a headphone jack, a VoiceOver button and a Shuffle Switch which is a sliding button.

The Shuffle Switch turns the iPod off when it’s slid furthest away from the headphone jack. The middle position plays tracks in order. The position closest to the headphone jack shuffles tracks.

Volume and play controls

On the front of the iPod shuffle are the normal controls for play and pause, next and previous tracks, and increase and decrease volume.

VoiceOver is enable for this iPod shuffle.

VoiceOver is enable for this iPod shuffle.

The VoiceOver button announces items of interest

Here’s where things get a bit interesting: the VoiceOver button. It’s the middle button on the top of the iPod. Make sure the volume of the speakers is turned up and VoiceOver is enabled in iTunes while the iPod’s connected. Then, while the iPod is playing a track press the VoiceOver button:

  • once briefly to hear the names of the current track and artist.
  • once longer to hear the name of the playlist.
  • twice to hear the battery status.

If the battery status is low the iPod also announces it over the track from time to time independent of you pressing the button.

No news is good news.

No news is good news.

No news is good news

It was election time, the end of a long year and I was sick of the News. It was all death, destruction and doom. I had my iPod shuffle engraved: No news is good news.

It was an impulse purchase, but it’s one I’ve enjoyed. It’s been good to ditch the News and instead relax with the music I enjoy, even if it is only while brushing my teeth or washing my hands.

Do you have an iPod shuffle? What do you like most about it? Tell us in the Comments online how this Tip helped you.

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One Comment;

  1. Tom [last name] said:

    I have a ipod shuffle 2nd gen and I actually find myself using it more than my 4th gen iPod touch! It holds enough music for me to listen to, it’s small, and best of all, it’s much more lightweight and easy to carry around than the touch. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes music.

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