Apple Wiki
Apple Wiki

The iPod shuffle is a digital audio player designed and marketed by Apple Computer (later Apple Inc.). It is the smallest model in Apple's iPod product line, and was the first to use flash memory. The first model was announced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 11, 2005.[1] The fourth and final generation model was introduced on September 1, 2010.[2] Unlike other iPod models, the iPod shuffles did not have a screen nor visual user interface. Uploaded songs are played at random (hence, the name "shuffle").[3] With the growing transition towards iOS devices, the iPod shuffle and nano were quietly discontinued on July 27, 2017.[4] This left the iOS-based iPod touch as the last remaining iPod model until it too, was discontinued on May 10, 2022.[5]


1st generation[]

Main article: iPod shuffle (1st generation)
Picture Capacity Battery life Colors Release date
IPod Shuffle 512 MB
1 GB
Audio: 12 hours White Jan. 11, 2005

Released on January 11, 2005, the 1st-generation iPod shuffle weighed 0.78 ounces (22 g) and was designed to be easily loaded with a selection of songs and to play them in random order. According to Apple,[citation needed] owners of existing iPods had often left the music selection to "shuffle", and the new iPod shuffle was a way of implementing that in a much more cost-effective fashion. It relies on the use of an "autofill" feature in iTunes, which can select songs at random from a user's music library (or from a specific playlist) and copy as many as will fit into the iPod shuffle's memory. The shuffle can hold up to 240 songs (1-GB model, based on Apple's estimate, of four minutes per song and 128 kbit/s AAC encoding). It used the SigmaTel STMP35xx system on a chip (SOC) and its software development kit (SDK) v2.6, a flash memory IC, and USB rechargeable lithium cell. The STMP35xx SOC and its software was the most fully integrated portable MP3 playback system at release time and SigmaTel was Austin's largest IPO (2003) capturing over 60% of flash based MP3 player world market share in 2004. In 2005, peak iPod first-generation shuffle production occurred at a hundred thousand units per day, at the Asus factory.

The simplified design lacks a display and the trademark scroll wheel, playlist management features, and is missing the games, address book, calendar, alarm, and notes capability of larger iPods; it cannot be used with iSync. Due to the codec not being ported, it is incapable of playing Apple Lossless and AIFF audio files. Using improved audio technology in the SigmaTel STMP35xx SOC and SDK, the iPod shuffle has a better bass response than a 4th generation iPod, according to a review published days after its release. iPod shuffle comes with a second cap on a lanyard, which a user can wear around his or her neck.

iTunes offers some new features for iPod shuffle. One is the ability to reduce the bit rate of songs to 128 kbit/s AAC. The conversion is done automatically, with the original file left untouched on the computer and the smaller (lower bit rate) file sent to the iPod shuffle. Older versions of iTunes allowed an iPod shuffle playlist to be viewed and changed while the unit is not connected; the next time the unit is connected, it can then be updated with the changed playlist. This functionality is no longer a part of iTunes as of iTunes 7.

The front of the iPod shuffle has buttons for Play/Pause, Next Song/Fast Forward, Previous Song/Fast Reverse, and up and down volume adjustment. On the reverse, it has a battery level indicator light (activated by a button) and a three-position switch to turn the unit off or set it to play music in order or shuffled. It plugs directly into a computer's USB port (either 1.1 or 2.0), through which it also recharges its battery, which has an expected life of around 12 hours between charges. The USB plug is hidden beneath a cap. The unit also comes with a lanyard that attaches to the iPod shuffle via an attached cap and this allows the user to wear the iPod shuffle around his or her neck.

The iPod shuffle can also be used as a USB flash drive. iTunes allows a user to set how much of the drive will be allowed for storing files, and how much will be used for storing.

2nd generation[]

Main article: iPod shuffle (2nd generation)
Picture Capacity Battery life Colors Release date
IPod Shuffle 2 1 GB
2 GB
Audio: 12 hours Silver, Orange, Green, Blue, Pink, Purple, (PRODUCT)RED Sep. 12, 2006

On September 12, 2006, Apple announced the release of the 2nd-generation iPod shuffle, calling it "the most wearable iPod ever".[4] First shipments of the unit were slated for an October 2006 arrival, but actually started shipping on Friday, November 3, 2006.[5] The second generation initially featured a lone 1 GB model in a silver brushed aluminum case similar to the second generation iPod Nano and the older iPod Mini. The new model is less than half the size of the first generation model at 41.2 x 27.3 x 10.5 mm (1.62 x 1.07 x 0.41 in), and is the size of the iPod Radio Remote available for iPod Nanos and 5th generation iPods. Apple claimed it was the "world's smallest MP3 player". This size includes the new built-in belt clip; the actual unit itself is thinner, with the entire device weighing only 15.5 g (0.55 ounces). The power/shuffle/no shuffle switch from the first generation version was separated into two controls to avoid an accidentally selected mode of operation. The formatting of the iPod itself is new to Apple, as the 2G (second generation) shuffle will only format itself to FAT32. iTunes issues a warning that the iPod is incorrectly formatted if brought to the Macintosh format HFS+. All previous iPod models have allowed the usage of either the Mac format or the Windows format.[6] On the second generation iPod shuffle, USB connectivity is provided via an included piece of hardware which acts as a docking station for the transfer of data and the recharging of the iPod's internal battery through its headphone jack. The second generation iPod shuffle is also able to act as a flash drive, just like the first generation iPod shuffle. However, unlike the first generation iPod shuffle, the second generation does not have a built-in USB connector. This means that the docking station is required for connection to a computer on the second generation model.

The 2nd-generation shuffle can play MP3, MP3 VBR, AAC, Protected AAC, Audible (formats 2, 3 and 4), WAV and AIFF. Due to its low processing power the only iTunes-supported file format that the iPod does not support is Apple Lossless.[citation needed] Using large file sizes inherent of WAV or AIFF files will very quickly fill the device's low 1 GB capacity. iPod shuffle cannot play music from music video files.

On January 30, 2007, Apple announced the addition of four new colors to the iPod shuffle line. Pink, orange, green, and blue choices have been made available via retailers and the Apple Store (online) in addition to the original silver color. The colors blue, green, and pink are essentially the same hues as the second generation iPod Nano and iPod Mini. The new orange color is a first for the iPod franchise. They also now come with the new redesigned headphones that were not included with the original silver model. The box was also changed to have gray text instead of the lime-green text; lime-green text indicating that the original headphones are included, gray text indicating that the new headphones are included On September 5, 2007, Apple refreshed the line with four new colors including a (PRODUCT)RED version. The new colors are turquoise, lavender, mint green, and (PRODUCT)RED, with the previous colors orange, blue, green, and pink being discontinued.

On February 19, 2008, Apple introduced a 2 GB version of the iPod shuffle, retailing for US$69 and available in all the same colours as the 1 GB model. On the same day, the price of the 1 GB model was lowered from US$79 to US$49. At the Apple Let's Rock Event on September 9, 2008, Apple released four new colors for the iPod shuffle: blue, green, pink, and red, replacing the colors that were released in September 2007. The blue, green and pink variants of the iPod shuffle during this period reverted to shades that were similar to the colors that were released in January 2007, while the red variant was now a brighter shade. In June 2009, Avon offered a gold iPod shuffle (second generation) for $29 when purchased in conjunction with selected fragrances.[citation needed]

The 2nd-generation 2 GB iPod shuffle was discontinued on March 11, 2009 and the 1 GB version was discontinued on September 9, 2009.

3rd generation[]

Main article: iPod shuffle (3rd generation)
Picture Capacity Battery life Colors Release date
IPod Shuffle 3 2 GB
4 GB
Audio: 10 hours Silver, Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Stainless steel (Apple Store exclusive) Mar. 11, 2009 (silver & black only)
Sep. 09, 2009 (new colors)

The 3rd-generation iPod shuffle was released on March 11, 2009. It was described by Apple to be "jaw-droppingly small" and "The first music player that talks to you" as well as the first waterproof iPod.[8] with dimensions of 45.2×17.5×7.8 mm (1.78×0.69×0.31 in). It was available with a silver or black brushed aluminum case similar to the second generation iPod shuffle. This made it the first iPod shuffle that was available in black. It featured VoiceOver technology that allowed song names, artist names, album names and playlist contents and names to be spoken in 20 different languages[9] using the Text-to-Speech incorporated in iTunes 8 and 9. It also gained support for multiple playlists, in contrast to previous versions of the iPod shuffle, which allowed only a single playlist.

The 3rd-generation iPod shuffle features a polished steel attachment clip, adopting for the first time the polished steel finishing previously found only on the larger iPods, rather than the brushed aluminum used in the second-generation iPod shuffle. It also no longer had volume or track controls on the device itself. Instead, the packaged iPod earbuds included a three-button device on the right earbud cord. This adds the functions of changing between playlists, hearing the song title and artist of the track playing, as well as play/pause, track changes and volume control. It is not possible to change songs or volume with most third-party headphones, since they lack these controls. However, since the iPod shuffle begins playing music automatically when it is turned on, third-party headphones may still be used in "autoplay" mode (with no volume or playback controls). Some third-party headphones and headphone adapters include full support for the third generation iPod shuffle. The official headphones contain a chip designed by Apple to control the device. DRM is not however present in the chip as there is no encryption used.

On September 9, 2009, Apple introduced three new colors for the iPod shuffle: pink, blue, and green. The Apple Store also exclusively offered a 4 GB model made of polished stainless steel.

4th generation[]

Main article: iPod shuffle (4th generation)
Picture Capacity Battery life Colors Release date
IPod Shuffle 4 2 GB Audio: 15 hours Silver, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, (PRODUCT)RED Sep. 01, 2010
Sep. 12, 2012 (new colors)

The 4th-generation iPod shuffle featured the return of clickable track and volume controls from the first two generations. The control pad is 18% larger than the second generation of iPod shuffle. The dimensions of the device are 29×31.6×8.7 mm (1.1×1.24×0.34 in) and it weighs 12.5 g (0.4 oz). The player also features a new voice-over button. The model also features VoiceOver from the third generation, now with a devoted physical button, in twenty-nine languages (Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (Australia, UK, U.S.), Finnish, French (Canada, France), German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Mexico, Spain), Swedish, Thai and Turkish). It also features Genius and handles multiple playlists. Like the previous generation it supports MP3, VBR, AAC, Protected AAC, Audible (formats 2, 3 and 4), WAV, AIFF and Apple Lossless, and the battery lasts for 15 hours of music.


A pink iPod Shuffle

It was originally sold in five colors (silver with a black control pad, green, blue, orange and pink with a white control pad), but on September 12, 2012, Apple held an event to formally introduce the iPhone 5, as well as a new iPod lineup. The iPod shuffle remained unchanged except for the exterior colors now being offered in 7 new colors (silver or black with a black control pad or green, blue, pink, yellow, and purple with a white control pad) as well as a (PRODUCT)RED edition model with a white control pad. Unlike the second Generation, the iPod does not come with a dock, but like the third generation, comes with a 45 mm USB Cable. A longer cable was also available for US$19. The included in-box headphones do not feature the remote control, but the device supported them. It was last sold in 2 GB models with U.S. pricing for the device set at US$49; in Europe it cost €49, in the UK the price was £40, in New Zealand the price was $69, and in Australia the price was A$55.


  1. Live from Macworld 2005: Steve Jobs keynote by Peter Rojas, Engadget. 2005-01-11.
  2. Apple Unveils New iPod shuffle, Apple Inc. 2010-09-01.
  3. Apple Introduces iPod shuffle, Apple Computer. 2005-01-11.
  4. Apple confirms iPod nano and iPod shuffle have been discontinued by Chris Welch, The Verge. 2017-07-27.
  5. Apple Kills the iPod by Phillip Tracy, Gizmodo. 2022-05-10.

External links[]

IPod family   iPod (models)
iPod (classic) : 1st gen | 2nd | 3rd | 4th · photo · U2 · Harry Potter | 5th · U2 | 6th / classic
iPod mini : 1st gen | 2nd
iPod nano : 1st gen | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | 7th
iPod shuffle : 1st gen | 2nd | 3rd | 4th
iPod touch : 1st gen | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | 7th
Other hardware : Camera Connector | Hi-Fi | iPod+HP | Nike + iPod | Radio Remote | Universal Dock
Software : iPod (app) | iPod Games | iPod Software · Diagnostics mode · Disk mode · Disk Scan