How to fix a Spotify playlist’s original order after sorting by category

It’s as simple as one, two. Or sometimes, just one.

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Spotify has a handsome macOS app for accessing and making playlists, searching its library of music and other audio, and playing it back. But there’s a mystery in its lists: If you click a column heading for a playlist, album, or other view to sort by ascending or descending order, how do you restore the original sequence?

This is particularly critical with albums, because those of us who remember albums—or are listening to multi-track audiobooks—would like to hear them in the order in which they were produced or intended. Because it’s a kind of semi-app, like Slack and many others for macOS, Spotify presents few options in its menus to help figure out app behavior.

The answer is crystal unclear: Column headings, when clicked, cycled through ascending order, descending order, and original order. Yes, that’s right. To get back to where you are, you click again.

mac911 spotify sort screen zoom IDG

Spotify signals it’s using a non-play-order sort with a green arrow in a category heading.

For instance, let’s say you sorted the Harry Potter soundtracks playlist by album, figuring this would arrange it both by album and the tracks within the album. You would be incorrect. It’s unclear what the Sorting Hat did, but it’s not that.

Now you want to get back to the original album and tracks-within-album order.

  • If you see an upward-pointing green arrow to the right of the Album (or any) field, click it twice, and the arrow disappears.

  • If it’s instead a down-pointing green arrow, click once.

In both cases, all green arrows will disappear from the column heads and the original run of songs will be restored.

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