Have you ever wanted to listen to a few songs in iTunes as you’re going to sleep? You could create a new playlist with the appropriate number of tracks and just let it play out, but doing that on a regular basis would be a hassle. And what if you want to shut down your Mac or put it to sleep afterwards? You could co-ordinate your playlist with OS X’s Energy Saver preference pane, but that would be even more work.
We’ve recently come across GuguSoft’s iTunesShut 4.4.2, which offers a simple but effective solution: enter the number of songs you want to play, choose an action to occur after those tracks finish (Shut Down, Restart, Sleep, Pause iTunes, or Quit iTunes), and then click on the Start button. After the designated number of tracks finishes playing, iTunesShut performs the chosen action. iTunesShut also updates its Songs Left box during playback and displays the time remaining, to let you know how many tracks and how much time remain before the action occurs. If you prefer to finish the current playlist instead of choosing a number of songs, the Or Wait For The Playlist To Finish option will do just that. Or you can choose to have iTunes play for a set amount of time – say, 30 minutes – before iTunesShut performs the desired action.
iTunesShut doesn’t affect iTunes’ playback settings; whatever playback mode you’ve chosen in iTunes still applies. So, for example, if you want to play the same track ten times and then pause iTunes, just set iTunes to Repeat One and set iTunesShut to 10 songs and Pause iTunes. You can also have iTunesShut gradually reduce iTunes’ playback volume – a unique but welcome feature in a sleep timer – using the Final Volume slider; just select the per cent of maximum volume (from 0 to 100) you want iTunes to end up at, and iTunesShut will calculate how much it should lower iTunes’ volume after each track. There are other utilities similar to iTunesShut, but it’s our current favourite.