AAPL Stock: 118.03 ( -0.85 )

Printed from

Third-gen iPod shuffle experiencing control issues

updated 04:05 pm EDT, Thu April 2, 2009

iPod shuffle 3G problems

Despite the player only being a few weeks old, problems are already being reported with the third-generation iPod shuffle, specifically in relation to contact with moisture. According to support discussions, play and volume controls may malfunction when used during activities associated with sweat, such as a run or a workout. Volume may suddenly ramp up to the loudest setting, or down to the quietest; play controls can become unusable, and some iPods may shut off completely.

In some cases users have stated that after leaving a Shuffle alone for an extended period of time, controls return; the next time the device is taken out for exercise however, glitches may resume. The problem is further believed to be persistent across Shuffles, as even replacement units have broken down. A temporary fix is suggested in the form of using other headphones with volume controls, and preventing cords from coming in contact with skin.

At present, no information has been released by Apple in regards to the cause of the malfunctions, or any plans for recalls or refunds.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lysolman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yep, saw this coming.

    This is what happens when the entire control of a device is dependent on its weakest link.

    Those stupid Apple remote headphones break down, like it's hot.

    If they even work the first time, they will then break in a month, requiring you to go to the store to either wait for your Genius Bar appointment, or shell out $30 for a new pair.

    Comment buried. Show

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yep, saw this coming.

    You. lysolman, are brilliant.
    Apple couldn't figure this out. EVER!
    congratulations. ;) You win!

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I said it before

    ...and I will say it again. Putting the controls on the headphone cables was a terrible idea. Apple should have put rocker controls on both sides of the nano (like the volume control on the iPod Touch).

    The cables are just too flimsy (not just Apple's, but any thin cable like that); of course they are going to break. BAD BAD DESIGN. I would have liked the player's design if the aforementioned controls had been added to the body of the player.

    FWIW, I took mine back after three days.

  1. chirpy22

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I was actually waiting for the 3rd gen to come out before I got a Shuffle. When I saw what Apple did to the design I drove over to Best Buy and bought a 2nd gen. I couldn't be happier with it and wish I would have bought one a long time ago.
    Too bad Apple is putting form before function with these new things.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One other nasty surprise

    One other nasty surprise with this model is that it is incompatible with the 2nd gen shuffle's charger. Makes sense considering the dock won't allow it to dock, right?

    It wouldn't matter anyway, because they literally are incompatible. If you try to charge the 2nd gen shuffle with the new charging cable (nice cable) that comes with the 3rd won't work.

    That is why I took mine back as my wife and I hoped to retire her charging stand and use the cable that came with the new shuffle. Nope. I guess I will keep using my 1st gen shuffle til the thing dies and then buy a 2nd gen model.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I shouldn't be feeling schadenfreude over this, but damn that was an obvious one. I used the cable remote controls on the iPod mini and even they were too finicky... and they were far simpler than these ones.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not apple's fault

    Just like with scratches on ipods, this isn't Apple's fault. If you spend that kind of money on a music player, you need to treat it with care. They are delicate devices.

    As you were told when you complained about scratches, you spent good money on the device, you should treat it with care. Just don't put it in your pocket.

    The Shuffle is the same thing. What are you thinking of, using it while sweating. That is just so gross. You're lucky the water sensors don't flip on the thing. The shuffle should never be placed in any environment in where it is too dark, too sunny, too moist, or too dry. Never ever touch the thing. You should stay immobile when it is playing. The headphones and wires should all be covered with protective film to keep any unwanted materials away. Never insert anything metallic into the headphone jack. And whatever you do, never connect it to any cables or devices that carry any type of electrical charge, for fear of shorting it out.

    Follow these simple rules and your iPod shuffle should last a lifetime.

  1. babbey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it's not you Apple, it's me

    I bought my first 4gb Shuffle in January for the specific purpose of jogging. After two strenuous runs, I began noticing the volume changing randomly and I had no means to alter it with the controls. I thought the headphones might be faulty but somewhere in the back of my mind I was already entertaining the idea that I sweat too much. I am like Kevin Smith without the fat but more sweat. It's not you Apple, it's me.

    Out of a willingness to give Apple another chance, or my own inertia - it's hard to discern my grace from my laziness, I continued to work out with the Shuffle, accepting its eccentricities of randomly changing the volume and not allowing me to change tracks. I even went so far as to start eliminating the lesser desirable tracks from my iPod since I would have no means of skipping a song during a run.

    I finally broke down this week and returned to the Best Buy where I had originally purchased the iPod. Thank goodness I had also purchased the 2-year protection. (kids, always use protection) I exchanged the player, once again giving Apple the benefit of the doubt that it is merely a faulty set of headphones.

    Yesterday was my first run with the new iPod. For the first six miles it worked fine but right after six, with gallons of sweat pouring down my body and my occasional awkward jerk of the headphones to disperse the sweat, it would no longer allow me to change tracks. Worse yet some evil person had put a Peter Cetera song in my play list and I was forced to listen. Damn you Apple!!

    One run - 7.2 miles and it is done.

    The clerk at Best Buy said I could return this one as well and let me know that people are returning them all the time. She also said that I could ask to speak to management next time and they would cut me a deal on an adapter since there are so many replacements coming in. This of course entails me buying an additional sweat-proof pair of headphones as well as getting a deal on the adapter (I think it's called the Madoff package) but my only other foreseeable option is to cover my body in antiperspirant and jog in a speedo, which might work for me but prove disastrous for the other joggers.

    Note to potential buyers: If you are looking at the Shuffle to play music while you work out, please don't work out strenuously. Try something a bit tamer - like a real slow the snow.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented