Make Smart Playlists in iTunes That Automatically Update

Tired of manually updating iTunes playlists?

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

Normal vs Smart Playlists

While normal playlists remain static and, can only be manually updated, iTunes also gives you the option to create Smart Playlists that 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.

If you haven't updated to Apple Music, then smart playlists are ideal if you regularly sync your iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and want to keep their songs up-to-date.

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 configuration options for customizing 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.
  3. 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 checkbox next to the Limit To option and select criteria using the next drop-down box. For example "MB" (megabits) if you want to limit the size based on the capacity of your iPod/iPhone, etc.
  4. When you're 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. You have the option to create a name for your playlist, or just keep the default name.
  1. 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.