Ask the iTunes Guy: Chronological podcasts, redownloading media, and surround sound

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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One of the best things about iTunes is the ability to make smart playlists to group content according to simple conditions. In this week’s column, I look at two questions about smart playlists: one about listening to different podcasts in chronological order, and another about the Category condition. I also look at how to redownload previous purchases, and how to fix in issue where the Apple TV won’t play surround sound from ripped DVDs.

Playing podcasts in chronological order

Q: I subscribe to multiple podcasts and can’t figure out a way to play them all in chronological order on my iPod classic. I can play each podcast in order, but not all of the podcasts in total in order. Say I subscribe to three podcasts, A, B & C, and I sync my iPod once a week, is there a way to play them in the following order?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Obtaining old apps, excluding comedy, and making more navigable playlists

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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In this week’s column, I look at some interesting questions about getting apps for iOS devices that aren’t using iOS 7, about viewing album art in playlists on iTunes, and about keeping certain tracks from rearing their heads when you’re listening in shuffle mode. I also explain how to set up smart playlists to sort your music by the first letter of artists’ names.

Obtaining older versions of apps

Q: I have an iPad 2 that I don't want to upgrade to iOS 7 because it would be too slow. My wife has an iPhone 4 that she is keeping on iOS 6 for the same reason. When we go to iTunes, it shows us apps that are incompatible with these devices. Is there any way I can get the older versions of apps if I need them?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Cleaning LPs and album artwork wanted (and not so)

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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I’ve received several questions about cleaning noise on files ripped from LPs, so I discuss that in this week’s column. I also look at two issues with album art on iOS devices: one where it goes missing, and one where it goes sideways.

Cure for grungy albums

Q: I’ve digitized a number of old LPs, and, as to be expected, there is a fair amount of noise on some of them. Is there are software that will let me remove the clicks and pops in these files?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Of track lengths, genre sorting, and remote storage

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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In this week’s column, I look at four interesting questions. One about setting the start and end time for tracks in the cloud, another about shunting some or all iTunes media files to another location, and two about smart playlists.

Q: I bought an iPad Air, and I don’t plan on syncing it with my desktop computer because I download all of my iTunes music from the cloud. But there were a number of songs that I have edited to be shortened. Some of them have a minute of banter at the beginning or end from the musician at a live show that I don’t want to hear every time (and a couple with “colorful” language banter I don’t want my kids to hear when the song comes up on random play). As far as I can tell, I can’t edit the track length on the iPad. Where is this simple feature?

What you’re talking about is a useful feature that lets you tell iTunes to either start or end any track at a specific time. It’s accessible when you select a track, press Command-I, then click the Options tab. As you can see below, you then set a Start Time and/or an End Time, then click OK.

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Move podcasts and playlists from one Mac to another

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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In this week’s column, I examine two related questions about moving podcasts and music from one Mac to another while retaining metadata. I also look at a question about smart playlists built around specific words, and explain an easy way to create a text file with a list of all your playlists.

Q: Can you tell me how to move podcasts from an old Mac to a new Mac without losing all of the important metadata: played status, time remaining, and so on?

While I have an answer to this question, I’ll couch it in multiple caveats. iTunes’ podcast management is close to being disastrous since iTunes 11. It is hard to understand—even for the iTunes Guy—and it’s unreliable. Some users find it works just as they want; others want to pull their hair out and switch to other apps to manage podcasts.

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Print an app list and control iTunes from the menu bar

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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In this first column of 2014, I address how to get a list of apps on an iOS device, show some tagging tricks for multidisc sets, and offer suggestions for iTunes controllers.

Q: Like many of us, I expect, I have a lot of apps in my iTunes library that I no longer need. I’d like to clean them out so I don’t waste time, disk space, and bandwidth updating them, and cut down on clutter and confusion. I have two iOS devices, and would like to know of a method to get a list of the apps on each, combine the lists, and toss out anything not on them. Do you have any suggestions for an easy way to do this?

You can see all the apps installed on a given iOS device in Settings > General > Usage, but I don’t think that’s what you want. I can think of two ways to get a list to determine which apps you can delete. The first is to back up your iOS devices; if you have them set to back up to iCloud, you need to do a backup to your Mac. Next choose Go > Go to Folder in the Finder and enter ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup. In that folder you’ll see other folders with long alphanumeric names; there should be one for each of your iOS devices. Look for an info.plist file inside one of these folders.

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Find missing ringtones, understand the mysterious 'Other' on iOS devices, and print album lists

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ.
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It’s the holiday season, and many of you may have new Macs, new iOS devices, or new content to add to your iTunes library. This week, I look at questions about poster art for movies, printing a list of albums, and the infamous “Other” content on iOS devices.

Q: I buy movies and download the digital copies into iTunes and normally it runs smoothly. However, I have a couple of movies that don’t show the poster in iTunes. I tried right-clicking and downloading artwork but that didn’t work. Any ideas on how to fix it?

As far as I know, the Get Album Artwork menu item you’re talking about only works with music. For movies, you need to find your own cover art.

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