Ask the iTunes Guy: Cha-cha-cha-changes in iTunes 12.2

Apple Music brought many changes to iTunes, and that means you have lots of questions.

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The big iTunes news this week is the introduction of Apple Music, and the many changes it brings to iTunes. In this week’s column, I answer a number of questions related to Apple Music, and to other changes in iTunes 12.2.

Where’s my match?

Q: Where did iTunes Match go?

This is the question I’ve received the most in the past week. iTunes Match users are surprised to find that there’s no mention of that service in the latest version of iTunes. You may see that files are marked as Matched or Uploaded, if you examine your library in Songs view and have the iCloud Status column enabled, but there are no options to update or deactivate iTunes Match, as there were in the past.

icloud status

The iCloud Status column is the only indication that you have an active iTunes Match subscription.

I explained how iTunes Match and Apple Music work together in a recent article, so that should help you grasp the complementarity of the two. But once you turn on iTunes Match, you won’t know that it’s there. It’s part of the iCloud Music Library now, and, aside, from those Matched and Uploaded tags, nothing in iTunes tells you that iTunes Match is even running.

Can I have the check please?

Q: With iTunes 12.2, all of my songs are highlighted, both checked and unchecked. I can’t tell by looking at them what is checked or unchecked. How can I know which tracks are checked?

Checking and unchecking tracks in iTunes is useful for several reasons. iTunes uses checkboxes to do the following:

  • When you rip CDs, iTunes only imports checked tracks.
  • When you play tracks from a CD, playlist, or from your library, iTunes only plays checked tracks.
  • You can use an option in smart playlists to only include checked tracks.
  • And you can choose to only sync checked tracks to iOS devices and iPods.

Prior to iTunes 12.2, unchecked tracks were dimmed in the app’s interface.

unchecked tracks

Unchecked tracks are dimmed in iTunes 12.1. Tracks 2, 3, 10, and 12 are unchecked in this screenshot.

In iTunes 12.2, there is no longer such a distinction. You can still see checkboxes in list views—such as Songs view, for music—but not in other views.

No soap, radio

Q: I deleted some of my iTunes Weekly Top 50 stations and now I don’t know how to get them back in My Stations. Is there an easy solution to this?

Q: I had a bunch of “Composer Essentials” iTunes Radio stations, and I can’t find them any more. Where have they gone?

These are two of the many questions I’ve received about missing iTunes Radio stations. First, the name has been changed: it is now Apple Music Radio. And the marquee station is Beats 1 Radio, which is a pop station; aside from Beats 1 Radio, there aren’t that many stations. (Though you can still create a “station” from a song or artist...)

Apple Music Radio has eliminated much of what made iTunes Radio interesting. The composer-specific stations in the Classical genre contained well-selected music focused on individual composers. Many of the Top 50 stations also had good selections. And I used to listen to several of the jazz stations. You could fine-tune radio stations, adding and excluding certain songs or artists, and even share your stations.

All that is gone. Apple assumes that you don’t want that type of listening, but would rather listen to “curated” playlists of music. That’s fine if you want to listen to an hour’s worth of music (see the next question below), but if you used to use iTunes Radio as your daily music source, you’ll need to change your ways.

For me

Q: I like Apple Music’s For You recommendations, but I’d like them even more if there were some way I could click the Play button and listen to them all. As it is, I have to play each playlist or album on its own. Is there any way to just listen to the whole list? And, bonus points if there’s a way to play this music in shuffle mode.

Yes, you’ve found one of the lacunae of Apple Music. While you can “discover” lots of music, it may not be presented in the way you want to play it. As you say, you have to start playing each playlist or album that Apple Music recommends.

There’s a workaround, but it’s not really much better. Start by creating a playlist; call it whatever you want, perhaps something like For Me.

Click each playlist or album in the For You section. Click the “...” button to the right of the playlist or album name; click Add To; and then choose your playlist.

for me

You can add each playlist or album from the For You section to a playlist.

This will take some time, but when you’re done, you can go to that playlist in iTunes and play it either in order or in shuffle mode.

This also has the advantage of collecting all your recommendations in one place. You may want to add certain songs or albums to you music library, or you may want to rate some of them. You’ll be able to come back to them later, after they’ve been superseded by newer recommendations in For You.

Note that you’ll need to turn on the iCloud Music Library to be able to add tracks from Apple Music to your library, or to a playlist. However, you might not want to do this, because iCloud Music Library can wreak havoc on your music library.

Have questions of your own for the iTunes Guy? Send them along for his consideration.

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