How to get an iPod to work in my life
May 10, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I change playlists for an iPod Touch a lot, as I update them often. What is the best way to put new playlists on an iPod Touch? I must be doing it wrong because it is a pain.

To change my (updated) playlists, I go to the iPod Touch (3rd generation) in iTunes. I select "music", select all the music, hit delete, hit the confirmation, then delete it all. Why? Because if you don't do it that way, the mp3s remain on the iPod Touch, taking up space.

Then I quickly delete the (empty) playlist names. Then I drag the (updated) playlists from iTunes to the iPod touch. I am usually fiddling with a playlist where I have deleted 7 or 8 songs and added 10 new ones. Is there a better way to do this?

I would like to just drag the playlist to the iPod Touch and have it delete the songs that aren't on the playlist off the device, but no, it only removes them from the playlist.

I must be missing a setting or doing something wrong. What is it?
posted by cashman to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: An easier way to do that is to set up your playlists in iTunes, and then set your iPod touch to only sync those playlists.

So, you'd build your, I don't know, fast songs playlist and your slow songs playlist in iTunes and sync them to your iPod touch. Now your iPod touch only contains the songs that are on those two playlists. After adjusting the playlists in iTunes, the next time you plug in your iPod touch, it will replace the versions of the playlists it contains with the versions in iTunes.
posted by emelenjr at 10:30 AM on May 10, 2012

Best answer: Select all the music, hit delete, hit the confirmation, then delete it all. Why?

I guess my question here is, are you running into a space problem? I understand if you like to do this in the name of tidying up because you are tidy like that, but this isn't a necessary part of moving music around unless you either want it to be or are concerned about not having enough space. Otherwise I'd do what emelenjr suggests. Have playlists, and only playlists, that are synced on the iPod touch and then you only need to drag news ones over when you make a whole new one, not when you are fiddling with the old ones.
posted by jessamyn at 10:36 AM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: I'd like to do it manually though. I'm not sure what you're saying will work either, because I also add new playlists. But let me try it - how do I set it to only sync a few playlists?
posted by cashman at 10:37 AM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: Nevermind - I figured that part out. Lets see if this works.
posted by cashman at 10:39 AM on May 10, 2012

Best answer: In iTunes when your device is plugged in, you can go to the Music section and instead of having the checkbox clicked that says "Sync music" there should be an option below it to just sync selected playlists and then you can put checkboxes next to them. These will stay synced and next time you add a playlist you just need to add a checkbox to the playlist you want added to your iPod. If you can see this image it shows the panel I am referring to.
posted by jessamyn at 10:39 AM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you! Ah, fool no more.
posted by cashman at 10:43 AM on May 10, 2012

Here's another technique you might want to adapt to make managing the playlists a little simpler. I have, in iTunes, a "MASTER: General" playlist, and then another Smart Playlist "General: which is made up of songs from the "MASTER: General" playlist that are rated greater than 1. That latter playlist is the one which is actually synced to the phone.

[I actually have about a dozen playlists on my iPhone, but they are all "mirrored" like this]

Now, on the iPhone itself, if I decide I don't want a particular song on my iPhone anymore, I rate it one star. The next time I sync, it gets removed from the phone without my having to remember to do anything. From time to time, I go to that master playlist and clear out the 1-rated songs.

Of course, this does mean that ratings are [at least] overloaded with this meaning. I use the ratings purely for this purpose, however:
  • 5 stars: Keep this on my iphone
  • 4 stars: the lyrics need fixing
  • 3 stars: glitchy; needs to be reripped
  • 2 stars: Needs to be rated [these are songs that have just arrived on my phone; maybe a new album or something]
  • 1 star: Get rid of this on next sync.

posted by chazlarson at 5:19 PM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: Also, does anyone know how to be able to (from your main music section in Itunes or a different playlist) drag and drop a song onto the name of a different playlist and have it appear at the beginning of the playlist rather than tacked on to the end?
posted by cashman at 7:06 PM on May 10, 2012

I think this is actually impossible. You can have a smart playlist that sorts by "most recently added" or you can have a "dumb" playlist where you can adjust the ordering manually (but yeah you'll have to do this each time) but I don't think you can make a song automatically go to the top of a playlist when you add it. I would love to be proven wrong because this is a feature I would like but I think it's impossible.
posted by jessamyn at 7:19 PM on May 10, 2012

You could use the mirror playlist technique to do this, as well. Make your standard playlist, then make a smart playlist that sorts the songs from the other one by "most recently added". Sync the latter to the device. You can drag songs onto the first one and when you sync the phone the new ones will be on the top of the list.
posted by chazlarson at 12:36 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmm. Set it up but it still seems to add it to the end. I'll play around with it, thanks!
posted by cashman at 1:41 PM on May 24, 2012

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