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IPod Shuffle 4g Script

Python script for building the Track and Playlist database for the newer gen IPod Shuffle. Forked from the shuffle-db-ng project and improved my nims11 and NicoHood.

Just put your audio files into the mass storage of your IPod and will do the rest.

$ ./ --help
usage: [-h] [-t] [-p] [-u] [-g TRACK_GAIN]
                          [-d [AUTO_DIR_PLAYLISTS]] [-i [ID3_TEMPLATE]] [-v]

Python script for building the Track and Playlist database for the newer gen
IPod Shuffle. Version 1.5

positional arguments:
  path                  Path to the IPod's root directory

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -t, --track-voiceover
                        Enable track voiceover feature
  -p, --playlist-voiceover
                        Enable playlist voiceover feature
  -u, --rename-unicode  Rename files causing unicode errors, will do minimal
                        required renaming
  -g TRACK_GAIN, --track-gain TRACK_GAIN
                        Specify volume gain (0-99) for all tracks; 0 (default)
                        means no gain and is usually fine; e.g. 60 is very
                        loud even on minimal player volume
  -d [AUTO_DIR_PLAYLISTS], --auto-dir-playlists [AUTO_DIR_PLAYLISTS]
                        Generate automatic playlists for each folder
                        recursively inside "IPod_Control/Music/". You can
                        optionally limit the depth: 0=root, 1=artist, 2=album,
                        n=subfoldername, default=-1 (No Limit).
  -i [ID3_TEMPLATE], --auto-id3-playlists [ID3_TEMPLATE]
                        Generate automatic playlists based on the id3 tags of
                        any music added to the iPod. You can optionally
                        specify a template string based on which id3 tags are
                        used to generate playlists. For eg. '{artist} -
                        {album}' will use the pair of artist and album to
                        group tracks under one playlist. Similarly '{genre}'
                        will group tracks based on their genre tag. Default
                        template used is '{artist}'
  -v, --verbose         Show verbose output of database generation.


This script requires:

Optional album/artist and auto-id3-playlists support:

Optional Voiceover support


apt-get install python3 python-mutagen libttspico*

Arch Linux

From the Extra repository: pacman -S python and optional pacman -S python-mutagen espeak or from the AUR: svox-pico-bin (link)

You can also install the script from AUR.

Gentoo Linux
PYTHON_TARGETS="python3" emerge -av media-libs/mutagen
layman --add=ikelos
layman --overlays="" --fetch --add=ahippo-rhvoice-overlay
ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~amd64" emerge -av app-accessibility/svox app-accessibility/rhvoice

References to the overlays above: ikelos, ahippo-rhvoice-overlay

Tips and Tricks

Disable trash for IPod

To avoid that linux moves deleted files into trash you can create an empty file .Trash-1000. This forces linux to delete the files permanently instead of moving them to the trash. Of course you can also use shift + delete to permanently delete files without this trick. The file can be found in the extras folder.

Compress/Convert your music files

(#11) Shuffle is short on storage, and you might want to squeeze in more of your collection by sacrificing some bitrate off your files. In rarer cases, you might also possess music in formats not supported by your ipod. Although ffmpeg can handle almost all your needs, if you are looking for a friendly alternative, try Soundconverter.

Use Rhythmbox to manage your music and playlists

As described in the blog post you can use Rythmbox to sync your personal music library to your IPod but still make use of the additional features this script provides (such as voiceover).

Simply place a file called .is_audio_player into the root directory of your IPod and add the following content:

name="Name's IPOD"

The file can be found in the extras folder.

Now disable the IPod plugin of Rhythmbox and enable the MTP plugin instead. You can use Rythmbox now to generate playlists and sync them to your IPod. The script will recognize the .pls playlists and generate a proper iTunesSD file.

Known Rhythmbox syncing issues
  • Creating playlists with names like K.I.Z. will fail, because the FAT Filesystem does not support a dot . at the end of a directory/file.
  • Sometimes bad ID3 tags can also cause corrupted playlists.

In all cases you can try to update Rythmbox to the latest version, sync again or fix the wrong filenames yourself.

Carry the script with your IPod

If you want to use this script on different computers it makes sense to simply copy the script into the IPod's root directory.

Format/Restore/Recover IPod

(#41) If you formatted your IPod wrong and lost all data you can still recover it. It is important to not use MBR/GPT. You need to directly create a Fat16 Filesystem:

sudo mkfs.vfat -I -F 16 -n IPOD /dev/sdX

Run this script to generate the new database. All missing sound files should be regenrated by the IPod on next use. Your IPod should work and play music again now.


  • Scrobbler
  • Qt frontend


The original shuffle3db website went offline. This repository contains a copy of the information inside the docs folder. Original data can be found via wayback machine.

Version History

1.5 Release (09.06.2020)
* Port Script to Python3
* Mutagen support is now optional

1.4 Release (27.08.2016)
* Catch "no space left" error #30
* Renamed --voiceover to --track-voiceover
* Added optional --verbose output
* Renamed script from to
* Added files to `extras` folder
* Ignore hidden filenames
* Do not force playlist voiceover with auto playlists
* Added shortcut parameters (-p, -t, -d, etc.)
* Fix UnicodeEncodeError for non-ascii playlist names (#35)

1.3 Release (08.06.2016)
* Directory based auto playlist building (--auto-dir-playlists) (#13)
* ID3 tags based auto playlist building (--auto-id3-playlists)
* Added short program description
* Fix hyphen in filename #4
* Fixed mutagen bug #5
* Voiceover disabled by default #26 (Playlist voiceover enabled with auto playlist generation)
* Differentiate track and playlist voiceover #26

1.2 Release (04.02.2016)
* Additional fixes from NicoHood
* Fixed "All Songs" and "Playlist N" sounds when voiceover is disabled #17
* Better handle broken playlist paths #16
* Skip existing voiceover files with the same name (e.g. "Track 1.mp3")
* Only use voiceover if dependencies are installed
* Added Path help entry
* Made help message lower case
* Improved Readme
* Improved docs
* Added MIT License
* Added this changelog

1.1 Release (11.10.2013 - 23.01.2016)
* Fixes from nims11 fork
* Option to disable voiceover
* Initialize the IPod Directory tree
* Using the --rename-unicode flag
  filenames with strange characters and different language are renamed
  which avoids the script to crash with a Unicode Error
* Other small fixes

1.0 Release (15.08.2012 - 17.10.2012)
* Original release by ikelos
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