Keep iTunes metadata when you re-rip, and deauthorize missing Macs

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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In a grab-bag installment of The iTunes Guy, I look at how to ensure that tags and metadata get retained when you re-rip CDs, how to deauthorize computers for iTunes Store accounts, and how to change the name of your iTunes library for Home Sharing.

Q: I have a standard-quality MP3 album on my Mac that I’ve listened to for several years, added lyrics to, and so on. Now, because I discovered the Apple Lossless format and still have a CD of that album in my house, I would like to rip the CD again in higher quality. However, I don’t want to lose any of the metadata, because I have smart playlists that rely on the songs’ play count. Is it possible to do this without too much hassle?

It is. There is an easy (mostly reliable) way and a slightly more complicated (but better) way.

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Dealing with iTunes font sizes, file types, and missing files

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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It’s time for another grab bag, selected from the many questions I get from readers. In this week’s column, I look at some questions about font size in iTunes (spoiler: your options are limited), identifying music file types in iTunes, finding which tracks iTunes has lost track of (spoiler: there’s an easy way), and moving podcasts to another Mac.

Q: I’m having trouble seeing the type in iTunes. Is there a way to change the font and/or size in its display?

I’ve long lamented the limited font and size options in Apple’s OS X and various applications as I, too, have vision that is far from 20/20.

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Answers to your questions about iTunes and videos

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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Many of the iTunes Guy columns focus on music, since the majority of the questions I receive are about that kind of media. But I get a fair number of questions about videos, and in this week’s column, I cover four questions dealing with videos: their formats and tags, and how to make smart playlists to group movies by title.

Q: I have several TV shows that I ripped from DVDs and put in iTunes. There are several episodes per season; what I want to do is have them all under the main title of the show, but by season. For example, Season 1, Episodes 1-8, and so on. I can’t figure out how to get this to work.

iTunes lets you set a tag for this, and this is a good time to remind people about the tags that are specific to videos. If you select one or more videos in iTunes, then press Command-I, you’ll see a Video tab in the Info window. Click this to see the tags that apply only to videos. If you’ve set the Media Kind (in the Options tab) to TV Show, you’ll see fields as in the screenshot below. If you’ve set the Media Kind to Movie or Home Video, the fields will be slightly different.

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What to do when you have more content than room on your iOS device

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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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.

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Creating complex smart playlists in iTunes

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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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.

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Renaming files, wireless syncing, and matching music ripped from vinyl

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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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?

Tap Sync Now to launch a Wi-Fi sync with iTunes.
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Find missing podcast playlists, replace converted songs in playlists, and more

Kirk McElhearn Senior Contributor, Macworld

Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) writes The iTunes Guy column and about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. He's also the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.
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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.)

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