Ask the iTunes Guy: Bookmarking audiobooks, hard drive problems, and more

The summer is here, and lots of people want to relax and enjoy the weather. But there are still problems with iTunes that keep them from listening to their music and books in peace. In this week’s column, I look at a question about bookmarking audiobook files, help solve a problem with iTunes media on an external hard drive and an issue with app updates in iTunes, and then discuss Apple’s cloud offerings for music.

Don’t forget

Q: Is there any way to set the Remember Playback Position option so it is on by default for all new tracks? I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I have to manually set that option each time I add new books to my iTunes library. If iTunes could do that automatically for all new loaded files, it would make life easier.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Shuffle secrets, iTunes’ color schemes, and more

When is shuffle not shuffle? When it shuffles things you don’t want shuffled. iTunes’ shuffle feature is great, but not when you want to listen to audiobooks. I explain how to use shuffle and how to keep books in order. I also mention the secret command to turn off iTunes’ hideous algorithm-generated color scheme, and give a bit more detail about how Apple Lossless files can be smaller than the original music on CD.

Shuffle or not

Q: I have a mix of songs, albums and audiobooks, all in playlists in my iTunes library. I would like to have the playlists that contain music shuffle all their songs, and the audiobooks play in chapter order. However, when I switch shuffle on it affects all playlists, which obviously plays audiobooks out of order. It there anyway to set up iTunes so shuffle is on for some playlists and off for others?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Changes in iTunes 12.4

“iTunes keeps changing things...” I hear this a lot from readers who write in with questions about why a specific feature is missing, or why suddenly much of their iTunes library looks different. I discuss three such questions in this week’s column. One about finding the iTunes Store Wish List in iTunes 12.4, another about a change in the way you rate albums, and the third about the way playlists display. I also suggest a way to shuffle music on iOS by artist or genre.

Make a wish

Q: With iTunes making changes in how things are viewed, is there a faster way to view my Wish List, or is going to the iTunes Store front page the only way to do it now?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Why does iTunes say some of my music is 'No Longer Available'?

What do Apple Music, network attached storage devices, and the iPod nano have in common? Well, they’re all topics of questions I examine in this week’s column. Why is some music in an iTunes library “No Longer Available?” I offer a fix for this issue. How can you ensure that iTunes works correctly with a NAS? Check out my advice. Does Apple Music work with the iPod nano? And how do you quickly get all of an artist’s music to a playlist?

Unavailable music

Q: I have about 100 songs in my iTunes library that show an iCloud status of “No longer available.” However, these are not songs I added from Apple Music; they are all either ripped from CDs or purchased from iTunes, and I have all the non-DRM files on my Mac. I am guessing that when I first signed up for Apple Music, these were “matched” by Apple Music, and were available for streaming on my other devices. Now, since these have been pulled from the Apple Music catalog, I can no longer play them on secondary devices. Is there a way to force Apple Music to upload these tracks, as it is supposed to do for tracks it cannot match in its catalog?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Changes in iTunes 12.4

iTunes 12.4 is out, and there are lots of questions about the major and minor changes to this version of the app. In this week’s column, I discuss one question about a podcast view that has been removed from iTunes. I also look at a question about backups, and explain how I got my iPad Pro to load my iCloud Music Library library.

Where are my recent podcasts?

Q: There used to be a Recent Updates section for podcasts in iTunes. I could browse it and see which podcast episodes had been updated recently. Is this gone in the latest version of iTunes?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Issues with managing iTunes files

I’ve gotten lots of interesting questions lately, many of which go deep into how iTunes manages files. The first one I look at asks about double entries for songs in iTunes. I also look at a possible way that Apple could add new, interesting smart playlist conditions, and I discuss holiday music, which you really don’t want to hear all year round.

Doubles

Q: I moved some of my music files from the iTunes Media folder to an external hard drive. The tracks remained visible in iTunes, but unplayable (clicking on them prompted a dialog box asking to locate the tracks). I re-added the music files to my iTunes library, but now every track is listed twice. If I delete one of the listed tracks, the associated file gets deleted. How can I get rid of these double entries?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Missing apps, accessing your Wish List, and duplicate playlists

iTunes evolves over time, and sometimes there are good reasons why features don't seem to work as they should. In this week's column, I discuss why apps don't transfer from iOS devices, and how to get them back. Yet some changes are inexplicable, such as one affecting an iTunes Store menu; I explain a workaround for this change. Finally, I look at a problem with duplicating playlists, and offer a possible fix.

Missing apps

Q: All my apps have disappeared from my iTunes library. iTunes also refuses to let me transfer the apps from my iPhone or iPad. The Transfer Purchases menu command is visible when I right-click on my iPhone, but nothing really happens. How can I get them back?

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