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How to find the Repeat function in iTunes 12

When I play music in iTunes I generally choose an artist or playlist and set it to shuffle and repeat. After I installed iTunes 12, though, I could select shuffle but the familiar repeat icon—the double arrows in a loop—was nowhere to be found. I did a little digging and found out how to find the repeat function in iTunes 12.

Apple didn’t get rid of the repeat feature. It’s just buried. I’m still not clear on whether this is a bug or an intentional change to the user interface by Apple. I can’t fathom what the motive would be for Apple to intentionally hide or remove the repeat capability, so I’m assuming it’s a glitch of some sort. If you like to have your songs repeat like I do, here is how you get the repeat icon back where it belongs.

1. Right-click the Shuffle icon

iTunes displays information about the currently playing song at the top of the window. In the top middle next to the album artwork thumbnail you should see the shuffle icon (the two crossed arrows). It will be gray if shuffle is disabled and blue if the feature is enabled. Right-click on the shuffle icon.

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2. Enable Repeat

A contextual menu will appear with options to enable or disable the shuffle and repeat functions. Repeat is disabled by default so you should see that “Off” is the current selection. Select “One” if you just want a single song to play over and over (and over and over), or select “All” if you want to shuffle all of the songs from the given artist, album, or playlist.

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3. Voila! Repeat icon is back

Once you have enabled the repeat function you will find that the repeat icon is back where it belongs—at the top of iTunes next to the shuffle icon. Like the shuffle icon it will be gray when disabled and blue when enabled.

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Note: if you turn off repeat the icon will disappear again. You can follow these steps again to enable repeat and bring the icon back. I don’t know what Apple was thinking, but I hope it gets fixed soon.

This is just one of the myriad issues, though. It’s always an exciting adventure with iTunes. The duplicate and triplicate (or more) entries of albums and songs is always fun, or having explicit songs converted to censored versions by iTunes Match, or mis-identifying albums, and all of the missing album artwork thumbnails.

I had an interesting new escapade with iTunes 12 today while working on this post. I was using iTunes all morning and left my desk to take care of some other things. When I came back my PC had rebooted—I assume that is related to the Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates from yesterday. When I restarted iTunes, though, it asked me to confirm the terms of use agreement again and acted like a completely new installation. I had to log back into my iTunes account and allow iTunes to re-scan all of my music and all of my playlists are gone.

Of course, all of the work I had done to correct Apple’s errors and properly categorize and organize the music was somehow lost and everything is a mess again. Apple has been doing iTunes for a while now, and it doubled-down on music with the acquisition of Beats and the launch of Apple Music. You’d think Apple—especially with its insane attention to detail—would be able to get the simple stuff right.

I guess I’ll save that story for another post.

10 thoughts on “How to find the Repeat function in iTunes 12”

  1. why did they do this ? and why did they totally obscure the other essential N things that used to be readily available ? it’s getting to where I don’t want to upgrade anymore because of the next thing that will be ‘improved/broken’ when it was just fine in all previous versions…

  2. What about finding repeat on the iphone music? I don’t have a right click on the phone (at least not that I know of) and so can’t figure out how to do what you are mentioning above. thank you!

  3. I must have spent an hour with my iPad trying to find the repeat button. I never did. But thanks to this post, I now have repeat enabled on my laptop. Please, help with iPad and iPhone situation.

    1. Make sure you have everything up to date in your operating system/iTunes. Then when viewing the song that is playing swipe up from the bottom to reveal the repeat button option on the lower right. I hope this helps!

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