Why ismy iPhone giving me a headache?
January 13, 2013 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I am on my 3rd iPhone in 3 months, which is annoying. What is more annoying is that when I added my songs to this third one, some of them don't show up when I select the artist, but they're there when I select all songs.


This is the only helpful advice I found, although it wasn't really helpful because it didn't work, and I don't understand why that would be the case anyway, because they're exactly the same files I put on my first two iPhones, and I didn't have this problem. I want to be able to select the artist and have all the albums displayed, the way an iPhone is supposed to work. Please help, because it is driving me nutsssssssssssssssssssssssssss!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
First, I would go into the iPhone's Settings > Music and turn off "Group by Album Artist," in case you have some messy tags that are making the albums show up in a place you're not expecting.

Then I would check ALL the tags in iTunes (with the phone connected), with special attention to errant "Composer," "Album Artist," "Grouping," and "Part of a compilation" tags under Info, as well as all the "Sort..." tags under Sorting. If you are not a super-anal tagger (or someone with lots of classical music), chances are you will want all of those fields to be blank.

Finally, I would sync everything as usual, and then reboot the phone to make sure it fully reloads the metadata.
posted by bcwinters at 12:55 PM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've turned off Group Album by Artist, which created a giant mess of artists that wasn't there before, but I only have one John Legend album showing up under John Legend, for example. There is nothing under composer, album artist, grouping, or part of a compilation tags under info, and nothing under sorting either. What else can I do? What ID3 tag version should I be on?
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:13 PM on January 13, 2013

iOS 6 and iTunes 11 seems much less forgiving of small glitches in music metadata. I have been gradually going through and tweaking things so I don't end up with tracks "missing" from the main album or artist grouping.

Among the things that cause this: tracks with a guest artist.
posted by Good Brain at 1:23 PM on January 13, 2013

I would start with one track by John Legend that is on the album that doesn't show up on your phone, and one track by John Legend that is on an album that does show up on your phone.

Check each tag one by one and make sure there are no differences (with the sole exception of the ones that really should be different--the Name, the Album Name, the Track Number).

Maybe also check the Options tab to make sure the Media Kind is Music, "Part of a gapless album" is off?

I have tracks that have ID3 version 2.2, some that are 2.3. The only issue I had with my iPhone was with "Group by Album Artist" upon upgrading to iOS 6; like Good Brain mentioned, I found that upgrade to be super-sensitive and it would freak out if any tracks had Album Artist tags while others didn't. So I just cleaned them all out entirely.

The weirdest thing was that if, say, an Artist whose name started with "F" had tag weirdness, there would be issues with artists with names from G-Z but NOT those from A-E. As if there was some kind of alphabetical mismatch going on.
posted by bcwinters at 1:54 PM on January 13, 2013

The only difference between the cooperating John Legend album and the not-cooperating one is that the cooperating one is encoded with LAME3.97. (I have no idea what that means.) Is that something? Media kind is music, and I don't see "part of a gapless album" under options?

Am I just going to have to suck it up? It really is driving me insane, I'm always extremely anal about how songs are organized on my iTunes.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:54 PM on January 13, 2013

They took "part of a gapless album" out in iTunes 11, I forgot. So don't worry about that.

LAME is an encoding app (codec, really...but whatever) used by people who are into converting albums into MP3s using carefully calibrated settings. Labels use it, too—like you'll see albums purchased from Amazon's MP3 store that were made using LAME. It shouldn't have anything to do with this, it just means that you got one album from one store and the other from a different place.

Sorry, I don't have any other ideas, other than to reiterate that the one time I had a problem on my phone, it was a track *before* the messed up tracks alphabetically that caused the Music app to freak out, which seemed completely counterintuitive and was a pain to dig through to diagnose.
posted by bcwinters at 3:35 PM on January 13, 2013

Load up all of the songs you want grouped together into an ID3 tag editor such as Mp3tag. Then, highlight all of the songs and change the Artist and Album Artist fields to the same thing. This will clear up 99% of weird grouping issues.

I keep all of my music meticulously tagged and organized into folders, but that's above and beyond what most people need to do.
posted by dobi at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2013

Well, it's suddenly decided to group them correctly for some reason. I guess it's resolved! (Although I don't understand why!)
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2013

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