Today’s hint is two iTunes Store hints for the price of one—the first is a solution to a download issue, and the second is a different method of tracking desired Store purchases.
Historically, when I’ve browsed the iTunes Store and seen something I might want to buy, I’ve saved that item in my cart. (You can enable the cart in iTunes’ Preferences, on the Store tab. Click the Buy Using a Shopping Cart radio button.) This method has worked well for me, until last week. I added a couple new things to my cart, and then went to purchase those items. When I tried, however, I got a message telling me that iTunes was unable to download my selections due to “error 1011.” If I clicked the View button, I got a message telling me that the item wasn’t available in the U.S. store. Clearly, however, it was, as that’s the only store I’ve ever used, and that’s where the items had been added from in the first place. When I tried to delete the item, I also received an error message. So I was good and stuck.
I tried a few tricks to get around this problem, including downloading on another Mac, all to no avail. Finally, I used the Email Support form to contact the iTunes Store about my issue. (You can find the form hiding at the bottom of the Download FAQ page.) I received an e-mail back a few hours later telling me that the only way to clear the problem was to clear my cart contents, and asking if that was OK to do. Once I responded and they cleared my cart, I was able to add and purchase the two items without any issues at all.
But what about my lost cart? Today’s second hint, which might be well-known to many of you already, is to not use the cart as a wish list storage location. When the Store told me that they’d have to clear my cart’s contents, I recalled that there was another wish list solution: use a local playlist. This is documented by Apple in this support article, but I just hadn’t ever bothered to use this method, as the cart was working well for me.
To summarize the simple process, you can make your own wish list in iTunes by first creating a new ‘wish list’ playlist (name it whatever you like, of course). From then on, when you see something you might want to buy, just drag that item from the Store onto that playlist. You’ll then have a playlist consisting of everything you want to buy. When it’s time to purchase, you can do so directly from the playlist (and you can listen to the 30-second previews, too, without opening the store.)
Before I gave the OK to clear my cart, I dragged everything except the two troublesome items from my iTunes cart to my newly-created iTunes Wish List playlist. Given the issues I had with stuff stuck in my cart, I’ve decided to use the playlist method to manage my wish list items going forward.