The iTunes Match Service and Your iPad - dummies

The iTunes Match Service and Your iPad

If you own more music than your iPad can hold or if you’d prefer to devote your gigabytes to something other than music — such as photos or videos — you’ll like the Apple iTunes Match service.

For a mere $24.99 a year, Apple stores your music library (up to 25,000 songs) in the cloud and lets you stream or download any of them any time you like on up to ten devices (which must have a decent Internet connection).

It all happens in iTunes, and it works beautifully. When you enable iTunes Match, the first thing it does is compare your iTunes Library with the 20 million tracks sold in the iTunes Store. If it finds a match, the song is already available from iCloud, and you can listen to it or download it to your device at any time (as long as you have an Internet connection, of course).

After it matches all the songs it can, iTunes uploads all songs it couldn’t match (up to a maximum of 25,000). In a few hours (or days), those songs are available from iCloud on all your devices on demand as well.

Four more cool things you should know about iTunes Match:

  • Songs purchased from the iTunes Store don’t count against your total of 25,000 songs.

  • Your iTunes Match content doesn’t count against your free 5GB of iCloud storage.

  • All the songs iTunes matches (with its 20 million tracks) are 256Kbps AAC DRM-free files, even if your original was of lower quality. That means the songs you stream or download from iCloud are likely to sound better than the originals in your iTunes Library.

  • iTunes Radio will play commercial-free.

For just $25 a year, you can ignore the whole syncing thing between your Mac or PC and your iPad, at least for music. As long as Internet access is available, your entire music library is available on your iPad (and up to nine other devices), and you’ll be able to listen to radio stations without commercials.