Ask the iTunes Guy: Locating unique playlist tracks and the perils of the 25K track limit

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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iTunes is, in part, a database, and its smart playlists are just like database queries. In this week’s column, I look at an interesting question, which can be resolved with multiple smart playlists. I also discuss what happens when you break through iTunes Match’s 25,000 track limit, and answer a question about gifting content to people in other countries.

Smart playlists find unique tracks in two different playlists

Q: I have two very long playlists, and I want to find out which tracks are unique in each of them. In other words, I know that a number of songs are in both playlists, but I want to find the songs that are only in one playlist, without having to check each track individually. Is there an easier way to do this?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Glitchy tracks, numbers game, and too-large libraries

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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You know the one where you get a track from iTunes Match and it’s not perfect? How about the one where you’ve just got too much stuff in your iTunes library and it slows iTunes down to a crawl? Or that thing where there are numbers at the beginnings of track names and you’d really like to get rid of them? Well, read on to find out how to fix these problems.

Glitched tracks from iTunes Match

Q: I’ve found that some old purchased iTunes songs are glitching when played directly from iTunes Match. Have you come across this? How can I fix it?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Organizing media files, mixed genre smart playlists, and too-long syncs

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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You can do a lot with smart playlists in iTunes, and sometimes the questions I get from readers make me discover ideas that I had never thought of. In this week's column, I show you how to create a smart playlist with a certain percentage of songs from different genres. I also talk about organizing iTunes media files, slow syncing of iOS devices, and how to find a lost password for an Apple ID.

Keeping media files organized

Q: I just recently converted to the Mac world by buying a brand new Macbook Pro. So far, I absolutely love the machine, but one thing I liked about Windows and music management was Media Monkey. When I edited a song’s title, artist, genre, and so on it would automatically edit the actual files on my computer accordingly. So, for instance, if I deleted those songs from iTunes and reloaded them, they would be completely organized the way I intended for them to be. It gave me an easy way to edit multiple music files at once. How can I do this with iTunes?

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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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