iPod touch stopped playing the next song in a playlist

December 14, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Posted in iPod | 88 Comments

Today my iPod touch suddenly decided that it would no longer step through a playlist and play each song in order. Instead it would only play the song I selected. This is just crazy as it completely defeats the purpose of a playlist. Not only that it’s quite dangerous having to select each song in turn while you’re driving in traffic.

With a lot of fiddling around, I’ve managed to get it to revert to the correct behaviour and it now once again plays each song in turn. However I’m not sure exactly what I did to fix the problem. My guess is that there is some small bug in the firmware that put it in this state. Perhaps switching it off would have solved the problem but by the time I’d thought of this (I never use the off button, I just let it go into standby) it was behaving itself again.

If you tap the screen while a song is playing you are presented with a set of controls that allow you to set the repeat mode for the album or list, change the shuffle mode and seek forward and back through the current song. Playing around with the repeat mode was what ultimately fixed the problem.

I was curious to see what the iPod touch manualΒ had to say on this, so I finally got around to downloading it. Here is a screenshot direct from the manual.

iPod touch song controls

The Repeat control allows you to ‘repeat songs in the current album or list’, ‘repeat the current song over and over’ or ‘do not repeat songs’.

None of these options describe the behaviour I experienced which makes me believe it was a bug.



  1. Any chance the song you were playing had the “Skip when shuffling” box checked on? This option is found in iTunes by right clicking the song and selecting “Get info” then selecting the “Options” tab. I’ve noticed that Text2Go tracks have this option checked and it makes a playlist of Text2Go tracks behave as you described. I actually prefer this for the Text2Go tracks but it would be a problem for music. I don’t have an iPod touch (just a 5th gen iPod) but it’s an idea at least. I know it really confused me right away when a playlist stopped after one song (note that this only happens when the my iPod’s “Shuffle” options is turned on.

  2. Yes, they do have the ‘Skip when shuffling’ check box on as they were Text2Go tracks. As an aside, Text2Go sets this option when it transfers a track to iTunes to ensure that speech tracks don’t get shuffled in with music tracks.

    I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d inadvertantly selected shuffle on my iPod. On the touch, when you view a playlist, the shuffle option is the first in the list. I could easily have tapped this by mistake rather than the first track.

    In an attempt to retrace my steps, I tried tapping the shuffle option. However this correctly plays each track in the playlist in a random order.

    Thanks for the good suggestion but it’s still a bit of a mystery.

  3. thanks so much
    mine had the same problem and it seemed to fix itself when i fiddled around with the repeat controls

  4. I came across exactly the same problem – I plus several high tech daughters!! two of them Mac dwellers and the other a genius on PCs but could not get the IPod T to play through a playlist.

    I was amazed to see on the helplist an entry which word for word corresponded with own experience. Normally computers are on some alien wavelength even if I understand the individual words. I went through the tap screen routine (how high tech is that) described by your correspondent and touched the repeat marker and now have the lists playing through!! I have no idea how the sequence playing went wrong – and without your correspndent’s story would I ever have been able to sort this out through a manual – even with an IQ of 151!!. The button I would most like to see on any computer is “Just do it” And the question I would most like to see is “I want to know how to……” In this case ‘fix my non repeating play list tunes”
    The last point is addressed to Apple – when you test devices before letting them loose on average human beings do you have a panel of people like me who can reduce computers to quivering incompetence in a few seconds? If you don’t perhaps you should – I am available to serve at reasonably exhorbitant rates. Garth Gunston Hampshire England

  5. Thank you so much. I just experience the same problem and did not know what to do. I almost restore it to the original settings. Luckily, I found your article.

  6. This post completely resolved the problem for me. Thanks very much for the good info! πŸ™‚

  7. Cheers dude – mine had the same problem and this has fixed the problem and soothed my incredible frustration…seems like a glitch to me…or at least an rediculously stupid function!

  8. I own an ipod nano, 3rd generation, and i’m having a similar problem–if i press the ‘next’ button while a song is playing, it wont go to the next song, but rather go back to the menu. This is incredibly fustrating when a song finishes and it doesn’t start playing the song right after it!!
    (It only works when songs are from the same album, but not if i’m trying to go from one artist to the one after, in order)
    After a bit of fiddeling i managed to get it working, but only for a couple of minutes, then it stuffs up again. My ipod is brand new.
    I also do not own itunes (it will not work on my computer) so i use winamp and everything else seems to work just fine. Am i just being silly or is there really something wrong with my ipod?

  9. Hello SunniStar,

    There’s a good chance that there is a hardware fault with your iPod. Perhaps the Next and Menu buttons are shorted together.

    If I was you I’d return it immediately to the place of purchase and get a replacement.

  10. thanks! my ipod was having the same problems, i was getting so aggrivated that the songs wouldnt play in order, but your advice fixed it and it is now behaving like it should!

    thank you!

  11. I have an iPod Nano 3G, like SunniStar, and experience this exact same problem. I doubt it’s a button short, since it does exactly as he describes but also when a song ends, it goes to the menu instead of the next item in the play list.

    I tried mucking with the repeat/shuffle options and that seemed to fix it for now. Video play lists are a bit frustrating since there are no repeat/shuffle options and the same bug was happening with them. I went to an audio playlist, messed with the repeat/shuffle, then went back to the video playlist and it seems to be working properly for the time being.

    Thanks for the tip!

  12. thanks so much.
    this solved my problem, too.

  13. OMG I had the same problem!!!! I feel like a complete idiot lol
    Thanks So Much!!!!!


  15. I read the manual numerous times and could not figure out why the first song repeated all the time and I could not get the playlist to play.

    Your screenshot made it very clear what I should do and now the problem is solved.

    Thank you very much for taking the trouble to post this solution and for including the screenshot.


  16. Thanks for publishing this–completely fixed my problem tonight. I’d used the control bar in a podcast and it carried over to the playlists–totally unexpected. I deleted the podcast, reset the Ipod, synched it a few times after twiddling with it…and then decided to google the problem….et voila the answer was there!

  17. Thanks alot. I have also been doing my nut over this ‘problem’. And your screen shot saved my reserves of patience trying to understand a text description.

  18. Man I had that problem to, lol it was pretty simmple makes me feel dumb lol.

  19. thank you, it was driving me crazy!

  20. We were having this exact same problem and were not able to figure it out until I read your post. Thanks!

  21. Thanks, It was helpful because I was thinking, I would meet with an accident trying to change songs.

  22. Yeah, you solved it for me, too. It was driving me insane. So thanks.

  23. OMG thankyou so much. I would have felt a complete idiot standing in the apple shop on bluewater saying this and the guy pressing the repeat button once and handing the thing back o me with his smug face -.- I think I’ll use this site more often. excuse any spelling mistakes, these touch buttons are quiet fiddely. X

  24. WOW – It sis. Awesome thanks to you. Save me the hour wait for teh 5 second solution and stupid look! THANKS! πŸ™‚

  25. Thanks, too!

    i am a technical engineer and it-expert. however, i could not find the repeat-option without your article!


  26. Thanks so much. This has been driving me crazy and it is a brand new ipod. Your article took care of the problem totally.
    Much appreciated,

  27. This was doing my head in!!! My sons ipod Touch is brand new and I thought something was wrong with it as it would never play the next song ….. just repeat the same one over and over.

    LOL … last night my little lad had me running up and down the stairs asking me to change the song while he was in the bath …I’m laughing now but let me tell you I wasn’t amused at the time!

    Thank you soooo much for the article.

  28. wooo hooo thank u! i was getting pissed! i mut of touched the repeat without knowing!

  29. This was making me crazy. I tried resetting the ipod multiple times without success. I had no idea the repeat function was even there! Thanks so much for your article!

  30. last night i tried to play the playlist i had compiled to help me sleep… i was kept awake all night trying to stop the same song playing over and over! Pleased to see it isn’t just me πŸ™‚

  31. all you have to do is while playing the song, tap the screen so the command list comes down. there should be a picture of two crossed arrows. if you tap that picture, it should turn blue. then test your ipod cause it worked for me but i don’t know if it is everyone’s problem

  32. if you tap the screen while sog is playig a command list will come down. if you click the last picture on that list, which should be of two intertwined arrows, your ipod should work

  33. Thanks, this helped a lot. It turns out that I had pressed the repeat button on accident. It also applies to 1g, that’s what I have. Thanks!

  34. I seem to have a more serious problem – can anyone help?

    As with your problem, only one song will play at a time. When it gets to the end of the current song, it plays about half a second of the next, and then quits to the main menu.

    It also quits to the main menu if I press the “next track” button.

    Any suggestions?

    • Hello, I am REALLY hoping someone can solve my problem. I am having the same trouble as many of you: my ipod touch (3rd Gen.) plays one song and will not go to the next. I tried hitting repeat. No luck. I cant restore because i dont have internet..Thanks!

  35. Hi Tim,
    Does the problem occur with just one particular track or every time you go to play the next track?

    If it only occurs with one particular track I suspect it’s the track itself that’s corrupted.

    • Mine does the same, it plays one song all the way through and then when it hits the next song, or if I hit go to next song, it simply stops & goes to main menu. IT does this with EVERYTHING in my playlist. If I go play the song it stopped on it will play the song all the way through, but then it stops on the next one. I just got my touch yesterday and this is really pissing me off… I had one that got stolen last week (had it since they came out) that did not do this.

      • oh and I want to add that I’ve reset the controles, messed with the shuffle and repeat buttons and deleted all of my apps. I just can’t figure it out.

  36. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. πŸ™‚ Cheers! Sandra. R.

  37. Thanks for your advice! Saved me a restore (which I was dreading) and at least I can listen to more than one track at a time!

  38. Thanks for this – like your other commenters, I was losing my mind trying to figure this out.

  39. Hi thanks for this, it was so annoying, its the second time its happened to me, the first time i “fixed” it myself not knowing how and this time i just clicked the repeat option. so thank you for a very helpful post πŸ™‚

  40. my ipod touch goes back to home screen after each song, no matter what song I play. Just started doing it. Will not play album, playlist, all songs, etc. No luck fixing via touch bar as described above. Reset all settings to default also to no avail. Is 4months old and always worked prior. Anyone have ideas?

  41. I also having the same problem as rick.. just tried re-syncing and now I am having ITUNES sync my music instead of manual manage. wtf is wrong with this?? Any song I play when the song finishes the next song starts to play for about 1 second and then quits to home screen .. I also noticed that the next songs track name (title, album, ID3 tag info) does not change when the next song tries to play… ?? ANY HELP PLEASE>>>

  42. THANK YOU! I was about to chuck my damn ipod out the window because of this. Didn’t even know that little toolbar was on there. Ridiculous, but thanks to blogs like this it was an easy fix instead of me flipping out. Thanks again!

  43. No joy. I’ve tried all three “repeat” modes (repeat, no repeat, and repeat only 1 song) and it still kicks out of Music mode and goes to the last displayed menu page. However, when I can advance to the next song using the ( >>I ) advance button, I am unable to play the song, it repeatedly returns to pause. Help!

  44. Thank you so much!

  45. I had the prob memtioned on january 3rd above. The POS would only play one song and returned to homescreen after 1 second of the next song. Ended up restoring all to factory settings, which worked but was a pain as I had synched to my brothers library and no loonger have that accesss. Fun

  46. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I was going crazy with my touch playing the same song over and over and over on my way to class, on my way home, on my way to the gym. Good grief! I was really confused for a few days and thought I somehow managed to break my ipod…But this blog saved my ipod’s life and my ears! Thanks!

  47. Having the same problem. Plays one second of next song then goes to menu. Please help.

  48. I have the same exact problem with my itouch! After a song is over, it starts the next one and then it goes to the main menu. It drives me nuts! I hate it. The iPod touch is not a great iPod to buy! I want to get rid of mine. Apple should recall the iPod touch! The whole point is to listen to music but you can’t enjoy it on the itouch! Do not buy this iPod.

  49. pretty funny… i read this and decided just to click repeat and shuffle on and off about 5 times each… and it definately worked. good high tech solution haha I bet apple would have recommended you restore your whole ipod!

  50. Hey all iPod touch users!

    I have read all reviews above and nothing has worked I have tapped the repeat button and everything else I’ve checked settings nothing just got my 3gen iPod touch in April for my birthday but Am really worried I would appriciate a Answer thanks πŸ™‚

  51. I would play a song and my ipod would exit to the main screen after every single song, and it was really annoying and i tried what you said but it didnt work, so i was going to reset my ipod but then i decided to sync my ipod one last time so i could make transfer all my purchased songs on my ipod to my computer. well i synced it and what do you know! my ipod started playing the songs again and didnt quit out anymore! so if your haveing problems you could try that also.


  53. Had the same problem while riding my bike along the lakeshore trails this morning. Lucky I didn’t end up in the lake hahaha. Anyhow the little blurb from the manual solved my problem. Thanks.

  54. wow, this has been bugging me for days, and i just found your article. so easy. i also was wondering why i couldnt move to other positions of a song (only skip to the next one). thanks!!

  55. OMG thank u so much dude (or dudette?) u rule! :]

  56. It only happens on a very few songs & only from songs downloaded from cds. I was downloading using RealPlayer, removed songs from pc library, downloaded using Yahoo Music Jukebox, problem solved.

  57. Thanks for this information, a simple fix for something that was totally frustrating.

  58. Thank you! My iPod had been stuck on repeat and I couldn’t figure out how to sort it πŸ™‚

  59. um hey i have the same problem with my ipod only when i tries your advise it didn’t help at all. do you have any other suggestions?

  60. thanks so much! i had the same issue, now its sorted! only just got an itrip and was getting peeved about not being able to play my playlists in the car, so thanks! πŸ˜€

  61. Great! I had the same issue, went to settings, repeat songs, turned off, and toggled shuffle back to off. Problem solved.

    The internet is a great thing.

  62. Omg!! You’re my angel!!! LOVE YOU

  63. Thanks, i was getting ready to see how far i could throw it. should learn to tinker more

  64. thanks what you said worked. I appreciate it.

  65. You helped an over 30 –not very techy woman solve the repeat problem. Thank you..Thank you….Thank you

  66. Thanks so much for your article as my friend was having the same problem and she was really worried about her iPod and when I give her information through your article it really helps her. And after her ipod’s fine she was so happy. Thanks a lot.

  67. Thank you!!!! Couldn’t figure this out to save my soul!

  68. Thanks so much for posting this!! I have been pulling my hair out trying to figure out what button I had hit on my ipod to make it do this..

  69. Thank you so so much! Mine had the same problem and I couldn’t get the controls (repeat and shuffle) options to show up. I kept tapping the screen on my Iphone and got it to appear. Thank you again!

  70. I did a nondestructive reset where only settings get reset and that fixed mine.

  71. Here it is, 4 years after the original post and I am also experiencing the same problem–What’s up with that, Apple?? Had an Ipod touch that died and Apple replaced with a reconditioned like model. The replacement’s ability to hold a charge seems random–might hold a couple of days or might be less than 12 hours (nope, wireless isn’t on). When I “wake” it up, it will randomly open an app (that was closed when it went to sleep). Then a few days ago, it started repeating the same song. I shut it off, and it worked for two songs. I resorted to a restore, that didn’t help, before I found this post. Still don’t know what’s up with my other issues, but at least one problem is fixed. Thanks!

  72. OMG.

    My ipod touch has just come out of warranty and this happened to me – thinking I should have paid for an extended warranty.
    After leaving it at home i found this post and “HEY PRESTO” job sorted the daily commute will be more bearable.

  73. Thanks so much this actually helped alot. Good job!

  74. Appreciate your post. Thanks.

  75. i can’t accept the quality or engineering of my nano. this problem, plus the inability to handle audiobook, plus the inability to play movies. i could never figure out how to take a picture with it. i took a video with it and sync with my pc, but after itunes -> devices -> ipod -> restore, it solved the problem of not going to the next track, but i lost my video recording. when it sync, it should have downloaded also. duh. anyone over there in apple got any common sense ? what does ‘sync’ mean to you ? i would have a cowon player, but got this thing as a gift, and didn’t have the option.

  76. THANK YOU!!!!! It was driving me crazy to have it only play one song. I finally found the status bar where I can set it on shuffle etc so I didn’t have to forward it manually after one song played. whew!

  77. fantastic handy solution..so many have already thanked for this article..i am just adding one more to the list….many thanks once again

  78. Thanks so much. I needed the songs to go in order in my playlist and couldnt figure out why it drove me nuts. Then i realized the shuffle button was on. Duh!

  79. thank you this helped me so much!!!

  80. The intersecting arrows by the scrubber bar allows you to fix this

  81. Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this web site, and piece of writing is actually fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these types of articles.

  82. Great answer to a problem that started today on my ipod touch. The internet is a wonderful thing when you can find help like this

  83. My iPod won’t change the screen . I pressed next song it would play but still have the last song title on it. If u can help plz tell me

  84. i have a 5th gen ipod and i use it for audiobooks. it would not play the next chapter or track and i would need to set it up manually. i went into the main menu on my ipod to settings and selected “reset settings”. i did this and now my ipod plays the playlists properly, which is to say continuously and in order.

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