Apple Music playlists with limited shuffle via Sonos app

  • 30 November 2020
  • 6 replies


Hello. I’ve seen this mentioned a bunch but unsure if there is a fix. I have several large (2k songs) playlists and when using shuffle via Sonos, only a few songs get played. Super frustrating, as I don’t have the experience playing direct via Apple Music. It has nothing to do with play count, as I don’t think Sonos even counts songs in that manner, yet it does seem to favor the same songs over & over again. Why is Sonos selecting only a limited number of tracks from these expansive playlists?  

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6 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +16

Hello @dinky_doo, Thank you for reaching out and welcome to the community. Sorry to hear about this issue with your playlists on Sonos. I’ll ask some questions to further check on this issue. 

  • When did it start happening that only limited or selected songs are being played on your playlist?
  • Are there any changes made to the settings of Apple Music or the Sonos App?
  • Are these songs stored or downloaded on your iPhone or directly being streamed from Apple Music to Sonos?
  • Have you tried it on another device controller where you have the Sonos App if it will work?

Answers to these questions will help us investigate what could be causing the issue. 

Keep us posted on how it goes and we're here to answer any further questions you have.


Hi Simon - 


Thanks for the reply. I’ll do my best to answer these questions.

  • I feel like it’s been an ongoing problem since I created the playlist. I’ve actually reached out about this several times and been told that the “Sonos engineers are working on it”.  My understanding from many on the Sonos team has been that it’s a known issue that Sonos can’t handle playlists larger than 500 songs. It’s just super frustrating that in a playlist with 3,000 songs, the same songs get selected no matter how often you clear the queue or start over. 
  • No changes made to the settings of Apple Music or the Sonos app. If there’s something I should be aware of or looking for, I’d certainly like to know. 
  • When I look at the playlist on my phone, it says “This playlist has been downloaded to this iPhone”. If I should be changing something, please let me know.
  • I’ve only tried playing this via the Sonos app on my phone and via the desktop app. 

Ultimately, it’s just sad that I want to build large playlists in Apple Music and then shuffle them via Sonos in our home. It’s no longer fun or exciting, as the same songs get played consistently and a huge portion of the playlist is ignored. Frustrating to take the time to create such a deep, robust playlist and only hear 1/10th of the thing, at best. There’s no longer a surprise song that pops up. It’s like a groundhog’s day experience. 

It’s equally frustrating to see via the forum that this issue is not exclusive to us. Over the last three years, each time I speak with a Sonos rep, I’m reminded that it’s an issue that Sonos are aware of, and that years later, Sonos engineers are still “working on it”. 

I’m not the most technically savvy person, but what I do know is we don’t EVER have this problem playing the playlist directly in Apple Music. 


Bummed to still not be able to utilize the Sonos system in the way we had envisioned. 


Thanks again!



Userlevel 6
Badge +16

Hello there @dinky_doo, thanks for the update and the information that you provided. In this case, for further assistance, I'll ask you to kindly contact our phone support team for further assistance and more in-depth troubleshooting steps. They may request for remote access or screen share from your device controller to check what could be causing this issue and so that they can check about the functions on your Sonos App and your playlists. 

Keep us posted on how it goes and we're here to answer any further questions you have.


Hi Simon - 


Finally had the chance to follow up with someone over the phone. Seeing as you asked to keep you posted, here it is. Thought I’d let you know the issue so you can save folks like me some time in the future.


It’s pretty much what I expected. For whatever ****, lame-ass reason, Sonos simply can’t play large playlists.


That’s it!  The issue isn’t related to just me or any of the myriad questions I’m asked every time I bring this up, Sonos is just ***** - that’s all.  It’s a shame you aren’t willing to admit it either in these forums or directly when I’m on the phone.  If it’s a known issue  - which it is - your reps on the phone shouldn’t have to dance around it, knowing full well that it’s a known problem and that Sonos isn’t willing to fix the problem to help the customer in the first place.  


So there ya go.  


*Moderator Note: Modified in accordance with the Community Code of Conduct.*


I very recently found that I could no longer shuffle my Apple Music playlists within Sonos.  I went into the settings and found nothing obvious that I thought would fix this problem, so I decided to reauthorize my Apple Music account within Sonos and I can happily report that this fixed the problem.  My playlists are likely no where as large as yours, but give this a try

Good luck! 


Userlevel 7
Badge +23

The technical details of this Shuffle mode an be found at

Relevant extract: “In containers with many playable items (500+) this can cause a delay while the Sonos player processes the request. Sonos may even time out and give the listener an error. We recommend limiting the number of playable items in these types of containers as a palliative measure.”

Instead of doing this “direct” shuffle, can you not load the playlist into the queue then do a Shuffle? That may well avoid the timeout that a direct shuffle can cause.

On the Apple side it sounds as if Sonos’ recommendation would be to disable the “Play All” and “Shuffle All” features for playlists > 500 items, which would reduce user frustration.