Make Smart Playlists in iTunes That Automatically Update

Tired of manually updating iTunes playlists?

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Are Smart Playlists Really Intelligent?

If you update your iTunes song library fairly regularly and like to keep playlists updated too, then creating Smart Playlists is worth considering.

The problem with creating normal playlists is that the songs in them remain static. And, the only way to change their contents is to manually edit them. However, iTunes also gives you the option to create Smart Playlists which automatically update themselves.

These are special playlists that follow criteria that you define. If you want to create a playlist that contains a particular artist or genre for example, then you can define rules to keep these custom playlists up-to-date.

Smart playlists are ideal too if you regularly sync your iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and want to keep the songs on them up-to-date. It certainly saves a lot of time doing it this way.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Setup time 5 minutes maximum per Smart Playlist.

What You Need:

  • iTunes 8.x software or higher.
  • Songs in your iTunes library.

Creating Your First Smart Playlist

  1. Click the File menu tab on the iTunes main screen and select the New Smart Playlist menu option.

  2. On the pop-up screen you will see a series of configuration options that you can use to customize how your Smart Playlist will filter the contents of your music library. If for example you want to create a Smart Playlist that contains a particular genre, then click on the first drop-down menu and select Genre from the list. Next, leave the following box as Contains, and then type in your chosen genre in the provided text box -- the word Pop for example. If you want to add more filter fields to fine-tune your Smart Playlist, then click on the + sign.

  1. If you want to set a limit on the size of your Smart Playlist in terms of storage requirements, play time, or number of tracks for example, then click on the check box next to the Limit To option and select a criteria using the the next drop-down box along - i.e. - MB if you want to limit the size based on the capacity of your iPod/iPhone, etc.

  1. When happy with your Smart Playlist, click the OK button. You'll now see under the Playlists section in the left pane of iTunes that your new playlist has now been created; optionally you can type in a name for it or just keep with the default name.

  2. Finally, to check that your new playlist has been populated with the music that you expect, click on it and look at the list of tracks. If you need to edit your playlist further then right-click the playlist and choose Edit Smart Playlist from the context menu.