How to Create a Playlist in iTunes

Make a custom mix for yourself or a special occasion

Woman Stretching Listening to Music

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

In the digital age, mixtapes and mixed CDs are the equivalents of a playlist, a custom-created and custom-ordered group of songs. Along with creating custom mixes, you can use iTunes playlists for many things, including burning CDs, syncing multiple iPods to the same computer, playing music on your iPhone, and much more.

Instructions in this article apply to iTunes 12 and higher.

How to Create an iTunes Playlist

To create a playlist in iTunes:

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. Go to the File menu, select New, and choose Playlist.

    Or, press Command+N on a Mac or Ctrl+N on a Windows computer.

    New Playlist option in iTunes 12
  3. The new playlist appears in the Music Playlists section and the default name of Playlist is highlighted. Enter a descriptive name for the playlist and press Enter.

    Renaming a playlist in iTunes
  4. In the Library section, select a topic to return to the music library.

    Library subheadings in iTunes
  5. To add a song to the new playlist, drag it from the library to the playlist you just created. Repeat this process to add more songs to your playlist.

    To add a group of songs, click the first song in the group, hold Shift (Mac and PC) and select the last song in the range. To add individual tracks, hold Command (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) and select each song you want to add.

    Moving a song to a playlist in iTunes
  6. When the songs are added, select the playlist to see all the tracks. The top of the screen shows how many songs are in the playlist and the length.

    Playlist length in iTunes

    You can also add TV shows and podcasts to playlists.

  7. To reorder songs, drag the songs to a different location in the list.

    Dragging to reorder songs in a playlist in iTunes
  8. To listen to the playlist, double-click the first song, or select a song and click the Play button. To shuffle songs in a playlist, click ​the Shuffle button.

    Shuffle All button in iTunes

If you want to take the playlist with you, you have a couple of options. To take it with you on your phone, sync the device with iTunes. You can also burn a CD if you want a physical copy.

How to Delete an iTunes Playlist

If you want to delete songs or an entire playlist in iTunes, have two options:

  • Select the playlist to highlight it, then press the Delete key.
  • Right-click the playlist and choose Delete from Library.
Deleting an iTunes playlist

Next, you'll confirm that you want to delete the playlist. Click the Delete button in the pop-up window and the playlist is removed.

The songs that were part of the playlist are still in your iTunes library. Only the playlist is deleted, not the songs.

Considerations for iTunes Playlists

Because of the DRM used in some iTunes Store music, you can only burn seven copies of a single playlist with iTunes Store music in it to a CD. After you burn the seventh CD of that iTunes playlist, an error message appears with a notification that you reached the limit and can’t make more copies.

The limit doesn't apply to playlists composed entirely of music that originated from outside the iTunes Store.

To get around the limits on burning, add or remove songs. A change as small as one song resets the burn limit to zero, but you can't use the same playlist, even if the songs are in a different order or if you deleted the original and re-created it from scratch.