Ask the iTunes Guy: Artist artwork, song scrubbing, and re-ripping CDs

One common complaint about iTunes is that it does things that you don’t want it to do. For example, when you view music by artist, iTunes applies album artwork to the Artists list, but you don’t get to choose which album gets picked. I discuss how to resolve this. I also look at how you can fast-forward and rewind a track in iTunes, and I examine a question about re-ripping music from CDs that were ripped a long time ago.

Changing Artist Images

artist list

iTunes chooses an album to illustrate artists when you view your music by Artist.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: iTunes Match metadata, playlist graphics, iTunes losing its place

It's been almost exactly 4 years since iTunes Match was introduced, and the service still has issues syncing metadata. I discuss this problem in this week's column, and I also explain how to customize the graphics that display in iTunes' Playlist view. And I present The Essential iTunes Keyboard Shortcut™, which every iTunes user should know.

iTunes Match not updating

Q: I’ve subscribed to iTunes Match for the last few years and I’ve been impressed with the service. However, there are problems with play counts updating (or not). Sometimes I’ll listen to a bunch of music on one device and play counts will sync instantly. Other times I can listen for hours and only the first song's play count will sync, and it can take several days before the rest are updated. This means that many smart playlists I have, which are based on play counts and last played dates, are different across my devices.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Rebuilding an iTunes library, dealing with duplicate playlists

One reason I enjoy writing this column is because I get to hear from iTunes users around the world, understand how they use iTunes, and help them enjoy their music more efficiently. But recently, I’ve been getting more and more emails about things that are just broken. This week, I answer two questions related to changes wrought by iTunes 12: the first about a missing XML file, and the second about libraries getting mangled by iCloud Music Library.

Where’s the XML file?

Q: I had a problem with my iTunes library, and wanted to rebuild it. All the instructions I’ve seen tell me to use the iTunes Library.xml file to do this, but I don’t have this file. How can I rebuild my library?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Genius playlists, iTunes Match and CDs, identifying purchased content

Managing your music is supposed to be easier in iTunes, but readers have lots of questions about this. In this installment of Ask the iTunes Guy, I help a reader create a Genius playlist based on a song in iTunes 12.3. I also take a look at how Apple uses Various Artists for artists in a compilation. And then I take a look at two questions relating to ripping (or not ripping) CDs.

That’s genius

Q: In iTunes 12.1 and 12.2, you could create a Genius playlist by selecting a seed song, then clicking the three-dot icon next to the song name. There was an option in the resulting popup menu to create a Genius Playlist. That is now gone. Is it still possible to create a Genius Playlist based on a song, and if so, how?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: iOS 9 issues, song ratings, syncing videos

New in iOS 9 is a feature that saves space on your devices, but also prevents apps you’ve purchased or updated from syncing to iTunes. I discuss that in this week’s column. I also explain how to rate songs in the iOS Music app, and offer a workaround for the clunky Movie syncing interface in iTunes.

My apps aren’t syncing back to iTunes

auto downloads

You can tell iTunes to automatically download apps you buy from the App Store.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Managing iTunes libraries, and the case of the haywire music volume

You'll probably have updated your iPhone or iPad to iOS 9 by now, and I expect to have a flurry of questions about using iTunes and the iOS Music app with the new operating system. In the meantime, I explore three questions related to managing iTunes libraries and content in this week's column. And I end the column with an intriguing question about unexpected volume changes on an iPhone, whose resolution was surprising.

Playlist view


Click the popover at the top right of the iTunes window to choose how your playlist displays.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Will Apple Music disappear, audiobook dates, spending limits, and more

In this week’s column, I look at a grab bag of questions. Readers have asked how to check or uncheck all the songs in their iTunes library. Will Apple Music music ever disappear? Why can’t they enter a year for their audiobooks in iTunes? And how can they keep their daughter from spending too much money on the iTunes Store?

Check, uncheck

Q: I check and uncheck tracks in iTunes to sync them to my iPhone. Is there an easy way I can uncheck all the songs in my iTunes library, so I can start with a fresh selection of music?

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