Creating Smart Playlists in iTunes

As you’re probably already aware, iTunes allows users to create playlists, which are collections of songs grouped together for a particular purpose.

You could, for instance, create a playlist of songs you listen to when running, and then sync it with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod so you have access to it from anywhere. Just keep in mind that if your iPhone is disabled you won’t be able to do the sync.

If you don’t want to do that manually, there’s always the option of creating them automatically, using a feature called Smart Playlists.

With a Smart Playlist, all you have to do is tell iTunes what types of songs it should put together – and the service does it automatically.

One thing you could do is have iTunes include all your recent songs (for instance, those which were purchased in the previous six months) in a playlist, so you can easily access your most recent favorite tunes.

Here are a few more potential selections you could try: all songs with a five star rating; all songs from a particular genre; all songs which have been played at least ten times; all songs played within the last two weeks.

How to create Smart Playlists


To create a Smart Playlist, open iTunes on your PC and go to File -> New -> Smart Playlist. You will see a dialog box with a row of options near the top – this is where you tell iTunes what to select.

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Say you want to create a Smart Playlist which includes every song you’re purchased within the last six months. Click the first drop-down menu, which will open up a long list of options. From there, select Date Added.

The next drop down will likely be different for every option you’ve select first. In this particular case, all the options you will get will be related to dates – and you will select in the last.

Now it’s time to choose a time span. Since you want to include everything from the last six months, type 6 and then select months from the drop-down menu.

You can always add extra rules for your Smart Playlist to be even more precise with your selection. To do that, click the plus sign (+) on the right side of the dialog box, then use the drop-down menus to create the additional rules. If, for example, you only want the songs purchased in the last six months that are from a specific genre, add that condition to the playlist.

After you click OK, the new Smart Playlist is done. You will probably want to rename it so it will always be clear what it contains.

How to sync Smart Playlists


Another great thing about Smart Playlists is that you can sync them with any iOS device or iPod. There are lots of different options iTunes offers when it comes to syncing music, from syncing your entire library, to just selecting specific artists to sync.

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What’s so useful about this feature is that, since it works automatically, you don’t have to worry about actually moving your music from one device to another, which can get really tedious (especially when we’re talking about entire playlists!).

Also, you can choose only the Smart Playlists you want to sync, so you won’t fill your device’s memory with songs you’re not going to listen to.