How to Create an iTunes Smart Playlist on Your MacBook - dummies

How to Create an iTunes Smart Playlist on Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

You can create a smart playlist several ways on your MacBook: In iTunes, Choose File→New Smart Playlist, or click the Add button (a plus sign) at the bottom of the Source list and select New Smart Playlist.

The contents of a Smart Playlist are automatically created from a specific condition or set of conditions that you set via the Smart Playlist dialog. You can limit the track selection by mundane things such as album, genre, or artist. Or you can get funky and specify songs that were played last, or the date you added tracks, or even the song’s sampling rate or total length.

For example, iTunes can create a playlist packed with songs that are shorter than three minutes, so you can fill your iPod Shuffle with more stuff! But you’re not limited to a single criterion. If you want to add another criterion, click the plus sign at the right side of the dialog, and you get another condition field to refine your selection even further.

You can choose the maximum number of songs to add to the Smart Playlist, or limit the playlist’s size by the minutes or hours of play or the number of megabytes or gigabytes the playlist will occupy. (Again, this is great for automatically gathering as much from your KISS collection as will fit into a specific amount of space on a CD or your iPod.)

Select the Live Updating check box for the ultimate in convenience. iTunes automatically maintains the contents of the Smart Playlist to keep it current with your conditions at all times in the future. (If you remove tracks manually from a Smart Playlist, iTunes adds other tracks that match your conditions.)

Now think about what all these settings mean when combined — whoa. Here’s an example: Say, you created a Smart Playlist that selects only songs in the Rock genre. It’s limited to 25 songs, selected by least-often played, and live updating is turned on.

The playlist is named Tracks I’ve Gotta Hear because it finds the 25 rock songs that you’ve heard the least often. After you listen to a song from this smart playlist, iTunes automatically “freshens” it with another song, allowing you to catch up on the tracks you’ve been ignoring. Completely, unbelievably sweet — and another reason why iTunes is the best music player on Earth!