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?
Looking for the way to join tracks when you rip CDs with iTunes 11? Need to know how to get tracks into playlists quickly? What about iTunes Store device limits and gifting apps? All this and more in this week’s column.
Q: I am unable to join CD tracks as I did in previous versions of iTunes. The menu command to join tracks is no longer in the Advanced menu. How can I do it?
The command has been moved from the Advanced menu to the Options button, near the top-right of the iTunes window, which you see when you insert and click on a CD. If you click the Options button, you’ll see the Join CD Tracks command.
Disoriented by iTunes 11’s new way of syncing iOS devices? Confused by the different lengths of audiobooks with the same titles? Curious about how to make a list of the books in your iTunes library? Interested in listening to your audio in mono, instead of stereo? I have the answers to all these questions in this week’s column.
Q: I have updated to iTunes 11 and it is so different I can’t find my way around it. Where is the button that gives the information about my device? I am unable to find it, or to sync my photos to my computer to my iPhone. Where did the photos sync option go?
The thing that seems to have thrown iTunes users the most with the latest update is the way you access an iPhone or other iOS device to change its sync settings. In iTunes 10 and earlier, iOS devices would show up in a sidebar at the left of the iTunes window. iTunes 11 removes this sidebar by default; however, you can bring it back by choosing View > Show Sidebar, or by pressing Command-Option-S.