Ask the iTunes Guy: The last one

This column has been running bi-monthly for more than five years, but this week’s installment is the last one. I’ve answered hundreds of iTunes questions and have never run out of topics. iTunes is a complex app; it does many things, and, as such, can be hard to understand. Some of the questions I’ve covered have been relatively simple to explain, but many of them have had me scratch my head to find answers.

In this final column, I want to address a few high-level questions about iTunes; these are questions I get very often, but generally don’t cover in the column.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions by email over the years, and to all those who have read Ask the iTunes Guy regularly.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Consolidating iTunes libraries, deleting songs, correcting an email address for an iTunes account

iTunes is great at storing all your music and other media, but only if you let it. If, like one correspondent, you have a number of hard drives with old iTunes Media folders, you need to do some work to consolidate them. In other news, iTunes has changed the way you delete files from your library, but not from the cloud. And if iTunes displays a “session expired” dialog, here’s how to fix it.

Combining old music folders in one iTunes library

Q: I have multiple iTunes Music folders from different old hard drives that were dying, and they all now reside on an external HD. One of them is in my iTunes Media folder, others are named Music 2, 3, etc. I am struggling to find an efficient way to consolidate all the music into the iTunes Media folder. Currently I have to open two Finder windows highlighting two different Music folders to manually compare contents, select the correct content and then drag it into the correct folder; then delete the artist and album from Music 2, and then repeat this dozens of times. Is there a better way?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Movie metadata, authentication requests, and more

Sometimes you have to scratch your head at the way things work on a computer, and even more so with iTunes. It’s frustrating to have such quirky problems when all you want to do is listen to your music or watch your movies. This week, I address questions about movie metadata, repeated authentication requests, excess data usage, and I discuss vanishing disk space that can be caused by Apple Music.

The wrong genre

Q: I have all of my movies organized by Genre in my iTunes library. I changed all the movies’ genres to make them more appropriate; for example, for superhero movies, I changed the genre to Superhero, and for animated movies, I changed it to Animated. It’s awesome; exactly how I like it. But when I look at my movies on the Apple TV, these genres don’t display. What am I doing wrong?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Video imports, prevent accidental deletions, Home Video library issues, and more

In this week’s grab-bag column, I look at why you can’t import some videos into iTunes, how to protect yourself from accidentally deleting files from your library, a Home Videos library view glitch, and finally offer a way to view the iTunes Store and your music library in two separate windows.

Importing movies

Q: I have over a hundred movies stored on an external hard drive and have been unable to import any of them into my iTunes library. How do I do this?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Managing and displaying playlists

Viewing the right information in playlists in iTunes can be complicated, in part because iTunes defaults to a specific display when you create new playlists. In this week’s column, I answer a single question about choosing which columns of metadata display in Music playlists. And I also discuss some other nuances about playlist views, and present a few tricks to make changing what information playlists display easier and more efficient.

Playlist columns

Q: When I create a new playlist, it displays with a default set of columns, such as iCloud Download, Rating, and Genre. I would prefer that different columns display in my playlists, and I have to do this manually. Is there any way of changing the default columns that display in new playlists?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Managing your iTunes library

The bigger your iTunes library, the harder it is to keep it coherent. In this week’s column, I answer two questions about managing a library. The first asks how to sort artists by their last name instead of their first name, so it’s easier to find music in a large library, and the second discusses how to rip CDs when your main computer is a laptop without an optical drive.

Sorting artist names

Q: I would like to sort the artists and composers in my iTunes library by last name so they’re easier to find in lists. I know I can do this by entering the name in the Sort Artist tag, but this will take a long time. Is there any quick way to do this?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: iPhone auto-plays music in cars, varying volume levels, and audiobook sorting

Do you find it annoying that when you get in your car, start it up, and music starts playing from your iPhone? It’s not the iPhone’s fault. Some songs in your iTunes library are louder than others. It’s not iTunes’ fault. And if you download public domain audiobooks and want to move them to iTunes’ Audiobooks library, well that’s easily done.

Auto-play in cars

Q: As soon as I start my car, the first song on my iPhone starts playing. I know a lot of people have this problem; how can I fix this?

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