This week, I take an in-depth look at just one question. I get a lot of emails about syncing music to an iOS device, and many people find it difficult to sync when their music library is larger than the space available on their iOS device. So here’s a question about checked tracks, playing albums, and syncing.
Q: I have a lot of music and an iPod. I can’t fit all the music onto the iPod, so I uncheck the tracks I don’t want to sync. This works fine, except when I want to listen to an album in iTunes on my Mac.
I might have the three best songs checked so they get synced to my iPod, and when I go to play the full album in iTunes, it will only play those three songs, unless I check the others. If I do that, however, the next time I sync the iPod, those other tracks will get copied. Even if I create a playlist, it will skip the unchecked songs, so the only way to listen to music that I don’t want on my iPod is to check the boxes and hope to remember to uncheck them again.
Creating playlists in iTunes can be as simple as dragging a few songs, or as complex as creating smart playlists that refer to other playlists and use nested conditions to pick songs that meet specific criteria. In this week’s column, I answer three questions to show just how complex smart playlists can be. While perhaps not the same as the smart playlists you want to make, they are good examples of the complexity that is available with smart playlists in iTunes.
Q: I have a collection of jazz music that is bigger than a single 160GB iPod classic can hold. In total, I have over 6800 albums on four iPods, so I will soon face this problem for other genres too. How can I easily set up two 160GB iPods to hold only jazz music, such as having artists with names from A to L on one and M to Z on another?
The easiest way to do this is set up each iPod to sync a single playlist, and to create two standard (not smart) playlists by dragging all the music from the first group of artists to one playlist, and all the music of the second group to the other.
In this week’s installment, the iTunes Guy looks at renaming files, syncing iOS devices wirelessly, matching music ripped from vinyl, and a couple of questions about tags and file names.
Q: I’ve set up iTunes to sync my iPhone and iPad wirelessly. I find that if I open iTunes with my iPhone or iPad already on, it does not appear in iTunes. I then have to reboot the iPhone or iPad for it to appear. Is there a simpler solution?
Sometimes the iTunes Guy gets questions where the only answer is, “sorry, you can’t”. This week’s column covers a couple of questions with no solutions, along with some that do have answers. Learn about finding missing podcast playlists, replacing converted songs in their playlists, and more.
Q: I have a lot of songs in MP3 format, and have started converting them to AAC format to save space on my computer. When doing so, iTunes creates a duplicate version of the song in AAC format, leaving behind the MP3 file. When I delete the MP3 from within iTunes, it removes the songs from all my playlists. I would like to simply convert the song to AAC format, replacing the old MP3 format so that the playlists now reference the AAC version of the song and not the MP3. Is this possible?
Putting aside the fact that I don’t usually suggest converting from one lossy audio file type to another, no, iTunes considers each file to be unique. When you convert a file, you then have two files, and it wouldn’t make sense to add the new files to a playlist, in case you wanted to keep them both. (Because you most likely wouldn’t want two copies of the songs in the playlists.)
This week I answer a couple of questions about the iTunes Store, explain how to add comments to multiple tracks at once, and discuss the useful Skip when Shuffling tag. I also reveal a way to have iTunes announce what track is about to be played.
Q: Is there any way that iTunes can speak the name of a track and its artist before the song starts playing?