Is this a 3rd or 4th gen iPod? This document shows the four types
On the recent shuffles, in order to play songs in a particular order, you need to put them on a playlist. If you put them on the shuffle with no playlist, when you put the power switch in the play-in-order (middle) position, the songs play in alphabetical order.
First, I would confirm that the songs you think are on the shuffle are actually on the shuffle. If the iTunes sidebar (along left side of window) is not visible, from the menu bar, under View, select Show Sidebar.
In the sidebar, find the shuffle under DEVICES, and click on it to select it. Click on the small triangle to the left of the shuffle, to drop down its content list (indented under the shuffle). Click on Music there. The list of songs on the shuffle is shown to the right. Are those "fourteen or so tracks" shown there?
Are these "tracks" all songs, and not other media types, such as podcasts or audiobooks? I ask because only songs play from the default All Songs list. So, if you only have three songs on the iPod, and the rest are podcasts or audiobooks, that would explain why only those three songs play from the All Songs list (other types of media are ignored when using the All Songs list). Then, it sounds like you used VoiceOver to select the podcasts or audiobooks for playback.
This document explains how to set up and use VoiceOver on the shuffle.
Please post back with more details on what you want to do. I don't think there is anything wrong with the shuffle.
Many thanks, Kenichi:
This has clarified some points. I have a 4th Generation iPod. I only sych podcasts onto my iPod, and all do appear, as I went through them - manually, using the Voiceover button - previously. So they do seem to be synching without difficulty. (Apologies for not making this clear before. I rarely put music on my iPod.)
I remain puzzled about the need - if there is one - to transfer all these podcasts to a playlist first, for example - to make them play sequentially with the button in the central position, rather than simply repeating, and requiring me to manually move through them - something I never had to do on my 1st generation iPod (which has worked perfectly for five years; hence my surprise at this anomaly now.)
The link you included was useful up to a point, but it only speaks directly about 3rd Generation iPods, when it comes to the detail.
I should also add that the fast-forward/skip to next track button only fast forwards, and does not skip to the next track, although I've tried this many times, double-clicking it and so on. It strikes me that either I need a lot more in the way of instructions to come with my iPod (the functions of which must have changed dramatically from my earlier iPod), or that - I'm still suspicious this is the case - my iPod is defective.
It's important to note that the 1st and 2nd gen shuffle is a very simple device. It acts like a single playlist and you load it manually using iTunes. Then you play that one and only playlist in random order or playlist order.
The 3rd and 4th gen shuffle is designed to be more like the "big" iPods. You can set it up for automatic syncing and it can have multiple playlists on it. Because it does not have a screen, you use VoiceOver to "navigate" and select the playlist you want to use. The default playlist is the All Songs list.
It's important to distinguish the terms "podcast" from "episode." The individual items on the shuffle are podcast episodes. Each podcast (all episodes on the shuffle from the same podcast) acts as a separate playlist, with the episodes of the podcast on the list. When you use VoiceOver, those podcasts are on VoiceOver playlist menu. So, you do not need to create a playlist with podcast episodes. NOTE: When you select a podcast using VoiceOver, it does not matter if the power switch is set to shuffle or play-in-order.
HOWEVER, if you want to replicate how the old shuffle works, you can create a playlist on the shuffle, and call it "iPod Podcasts" (or whatever you want). That one playlist is equal to your old shuffle. If you are loading the shuffle manually (by dragging items to the shuffle), you need to create the playlist in iTunes ON THE SHUFFLE, so that it appears on the shuffle's content list (indented below the shuffle in the sidebar). When you manually load the podcasts to the shuffle, instead of dragging the episodes to the overall shuffle, drag them to that playlist. You can then select the playlist (on the shuffle's content list) and adjust the playlist order as desired. So, it is like loading your old shuffle, except you are acting on a single playlist on the shuffle instead of the overall shuffle.
When using the shuffle, use VoiceOver to select that "iPod Podcasts" playlist. Now, just like the old shuffle, to play podcasts, the power switch needs to be in the play-in-order position. So, when you are in that playlist, it works like your old shuffle.
The benefit of the new shuffle is that you can create multiple playlists. So, if you want a few songs on the shuffle, create a playlist called "iPod Songs" and put your favorites songs on it. They are kept separate from the podcasts, and you can switch back and forth between the two playlists using VoiceOver.
Your knowledge solved my problem. It seems that my generation is used to having more detailed instructions enclosed with purchases, and that the modern way is just to dive into the machine and sorting out how it works. A world for youngsters, perhaps.
This forum, at least, has made up for the lack of a leaflet explaining the general concept of the iPod in the box.
Many thanks to you.
Well, the ongoing trend is actually to make the documentation available online, and not include a bulky and wasteful paper version in the package. For example, the 4th gen iPod shuffle manual is available here as a PDF
(Including that as a printed manual would have made the shuffle's package about 20x bigger.)
And Apple has a special web page to support iPod shuffle users, with links to relevant info
Plus Apple operates and moderates this forum, where Apple users can help each other by sharing information.
Thanks for reporting back with the outcome.
I see what the idea is, but the world's a big place still, and there are those of us who wouldn't see a paper version of the instructions "wasteful" (I also continue to write and publish on paper; it may or may not be an age that's passing.
The forum pages are of course an excellent resource, depending - as all things electronic do - on the hard-and software and the infrastructure supporting it being available at all times, and working!
All good wishes.
The answer for the original poster was aimed at making a newer shuffle (3rd or 4th gen) "work" like an older shuffle (1st and 2nd gen). The way the 4th (and 3rd) gen shuffle was designed is to use automatic syncing (which is not possible on older shuffles). Automatic syncing for podcasts allows you to set it up automatically add new (unplayed) podcast episodes (of all or selected podcasts), and automatically removed podcast episodes that have been played.
To do so, select the iPod in iTunes, so that you see its Summary settings screen. In iTunes 12, in the iPod screen sidebar, under Settings, select Podcasts. To the right, the iPod's Podcasts settings screen is shown, where you tell iTunes how to sync podcasts to the iPod.
To use automatic syncing for podcasts, check the box for Sync Podcasts. Then, set up the screen as desired and click Apply. For example, if you want iTunes to sync new (unplayed) episodes of selected podcasts, and remove episodes (from the iPod) that have been played, check the box for the setting so that it says Automatically include all unplayed episodes of selected podcasts. Then, select (checkmark) the podcasts on the lists below. Click Apply.
iTunes will load the shuffle with episodes from the select podcasts that have playcount of zero. On the subsequent sync, any podcast episode on the iPod that now has a playcount that is NOT zero is removed, while new episodes are added.