All too often, when I’m on long road trips, I hit the shuffle button on my iPod touch and let it surprise me with smooth tunes for my driving experience. It’s quite relaxing… until my iPod switches to a song I’d rather not hear or one that’s been played a thousand times before. In such circumstances, I have to get out of my driving daze and scramble to hit my iPod’s fast-forward button.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to exclude songs from your shuffle list? Or at least only let some songs play after 90 or so other songs have played first? That’s the idea behind Intelli Shuffle, a $1 app from developer David Spicket that aims to beef up the shuffle feature on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
Instead of using the iPod application on your iOS device, you run Intelli Shuffle. When Intelli Shuffle launches, you see a mostly blank blue screen. At the bottom of the screen, a task bar offers four buttons—Options, iTunes, Play, and Skip Track. Tapping the iTunes button lets you pick a song from your music library to begin your shuffle. The song’s album cover appears, as does the song’s playtime. Press play, and the music begins, with Intelli Shuffle continuously shuffling from one song to the next.
But what if you suddenly hear a song in the shuffle you don’t like? Tap the Skip button. Intelli Shuffle will ask you why you’re jumping over the song, laying out a list of possible reasons. Did you skip because you don’t like the artist? Don’t like the album? Don’t like the title? Don’t like the genre? Or did you ignore the song for no reason? If you skip because you don’t like the artist, the next time you use Intelli Shuffle, the app will prevent any song from that artist from playing. Of course, if you answer that you don’t like a song for any other reason, the app will skip any song related to that reason the next time you use it.
The Options button gives you a full list of all the music you’ve banished from shuffling. If you tap on a song, album, genre or artist from the list, you can choose how long that piece of music should be banned. For instance: you can choose to have a song play in a shuffle only after 99 other songs have played first.
Besides the $1 version, there’s also a free edition of Intelli Shuffle in the App Store. Not surprisingly, Intelli Shuffle (free) doesn’t provide as many options as the $1 app. It won’t let you set a limit on the amount of times you want a song to be skipped in a shuffle. The free version also won’t let you run shuffles while your iOS device is locked. The free version might be a good way to give Intelli Shuffle a test drive, but you’ll find the $1 version a more capable app.
From my testing, Intelli Shuffle generally works as promised. Occasionally, the app would start playing songs I had banned, only to remember that they were verboten and skip over them. On these occasions, I would hear a second or two of the banned songs.
Intelli Shuffle also froze a little more during my testing than I would have liked. That said, the app worked seamlessly more often than not. All in all, if you’re looking to bring a little more management to your shuffle feature, Intelli Shuffle is a fine choice.
[Sam Felsing is an editorial intern at Macworld.]