Play audiobooks and podcasts on iPod shuffle

iPod shuffle can play audiobooks and podcasts. Review this article to learn more about navigating and listening to these types of content.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

For more information about content playback controls on iPod shuffle (3rd generation) click here.

Adding audiobooks and podcasts to iPod shuffle

The Autofill feature of iTunes will not add audiobooks and podcasts to any iPod model. They can be manually added by dragging them to the iPod shuffle in iTunes.

For iPod shuffle (3rd generation), you must enable Manually manage music in the Summary tab to drag songs to iPod shuffle. Additionally, you can automatically sync audiobooks using the Music tab and sync podcasts using the Podcasts tab in iTunes.

iPod shuffle (3rd generation)

Playing audiobooks and podcasts on iPod shuffle

When using iPod shuffle (1st and 2nd generation), if iPod shuffle is set to shuffle songs  it will play all the audio files on iPod shuffle except audiobooks and podcasts*. To play an audiobook or podcast, set the switch on iPod shuffle to play in order .

When using iPod shuffle (3rd generation), podcasts and audiobooks will not be played when content is played from All Songs. If content is played from a playlist synced from iTunes, audiobooks and podcasts will only be played if the iPod's switch is set to play in order . In addition to playlists synced from iTunes, iPod shuffle (3rd generation) will create a special playlist for each audiobook synced and one for podcasts. When accessing these special playlists, audiobook and podcast content will play whether the iPod is set to play in order  or shuffle songs . Podcast are sorted by alphabetical order and then by episode date.


iPod shuffle allows you to bookmark audiobooks purchased from (files with a .aa extension) and the iTunes Store (files with a .M4B extension). If you stop or pause one of these spoken word files, iPod shuffle will automatically bookmark that spot. The next time you play that file, it will start playing from the bookmarked spot.

Bookmarks sync to and from iTunes, meaning you can listen to an audiobook on iPod shuffle or in iTunes from where you last stopped listening. The bookmarked spot that is further along, whether in iPod shuffle or iTunes, becomes the effective bookmark.

To force iTunes to set the bookmark, play an audiobook in iTunes, play another song in iTunes, and then update iPod shuffle.

Bookmarks are not available for audiobooks or spoken word files in any other file format (such as MP3) than the two formats mentioned.

Chapter marks

Some audiobooks feature chapter marks that allow you to navigate through chapters while listening in iTunes. iPod shuffle (3rd generation) allows you to navigate through an audiobook using these chapter marks.  Simply select the playlist that iPod shuffle creates for the specific audiobook you'd like to listen to and while listening, double-click the Center button to go to the next chapter or triple-click the Center button (within 6 seconds of the start of the chapter) to go to the previous chapter. See HT3458 for additional controls using the remote. iPod shuffle (1st and 2nd generation) does not support chapter marks.

Note: Chapter marks will be ignored if the audiobook playing is in a mixed playlist that you created (such as one that contains other songs or podcasts).

Rewinding and fast forwarding

When rewinding or fast forwarding an audiobook, you will hear a brief audio snippet that lets you know where you are in the book. Some audiobooks that are longer than an hour and a half may have a shorter than expected snippet. If you're not sure where you are in your audiobook while fast forwarding or rewinding, let the audiobook play for a few seconds before continuing.



*Podcasts that are .mp3 or .wav may play while in shuffle mode on iPod shuffle (1st and 2nd generation).

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