There are loads of different ways to listen to your favorite music on your iPhone. From using subscription-based services (i.e., Spotify/Apple Music) to listening to your own music library. However, there are features built into iTunes, which can help you create things called ‘Smart Playlists.’
These are personalized playlists that you create yourself and are based on your music library. This means you won’t be able to simply use the vast library of Apple Music. However, if you have a boatload of music on your computer, then you can have some fun creating the perfect playlist.
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What are ‘Smart Playlists’?
Smart Playlists have been around in iTunes for quite a long time. These essentially are fine-tuned playlists which require you to input different variables. After the variables have been added, iTunes will do all of the heavy lifting and create playlists based on those criteria.
How to create Smart Playlists
Creating Smart Playlists is relatively simple, and requires the use of iTunes on your computer. To get started, you’ll want to follow these steps:
- In the menu-bar, select ‘File’ > ‘New’
- Select ‘Smart Playlist’
Once this has been completed, you’ll be given a new pop-up window within iTunes. This may be a bit daunting at first, but here’s a graphic showing what everything means.
Your criteria can range from a specific artist, all the way to the BPM of the song and more. Then, you will want to either add or remove rules.
So say you wanted to create a sweet R&B playlist. You would create a rule for ‘Genre’ which contains ‘R&B/Soul.’ Then you can create more rules such as your album ratings, or maybe you want to include the most recent songs added to your library.
Once the criteria have been set, you will want to decide whether you want this Smart Playlist always to be updated. Meaning that if you have a knack of adding new music to your library, do you want all songs added with the correct criteria to be included.
After the Smart Playlist rules have been created, you’ll want to select ‘Ok”. Then a Smart Playlist will automatically be generated based on your criteria.
The beautiful thing here is that you can edit the rules after the fact. So say you don’t want a playlist with more than 30 songs. You can select “Edit Rules” under the playlist and switch things up.
Can you do this on your iPhone?
So the above question is an obvious one. More and more folks are moving away from having computers at home and using things like iPads.
The unfortunate answer is – no. Apple does not make it possible for you to create Smart Playlists from your iPhone. Instead, you’ll likely need to just create playlists for yourself from the library on your device.
How to sync Smart Playlists with your iPhone
For those of us with a computer, iPhone, and vast music library, syncing Smart Playlists is relatively simple. After you have followed the above steps to create an acceptable playlist, there are some more steps to follow.
These steps will not only get your iPhone synced with iTunes for a backup. But you will also be able to sync the music and playlists you want, with ease.
- Open iTunes
- Use your Lightning cable and connect your iPhone to your computer
- Wait for iTunes to recognize your iPhone
- Navigate to ‘Summary’
From here, there’s a lot of different information being shown on the screen. You’ll want to make sure that you’re under the ‘Sync Music’ screen before proceeding.
- Toggle ‘Sync Music’
- Select ‘Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres.’
- Under ‘Playlists’ select your Smart Playlist
- Tap ‘Done’
If this is the first time that you’ve synced your iPhone with iTunes, the initial process may take a bit. Just be patient as iTunes, and your iPhone need to ensure they are on the same page.
Once your Smart Playlists have been synced, you can head over to your iPhone. Open the Music app, and navigate to ‘Playlists’ under ‘Library.’ Your new Smart Playlist will appear on the list, and then you can get the party started.
Some folks like to fine-tune playlists on their devices alone. However, if you have a huge music library, this can be a daunting task.
Smart Playlists makes life a bit easier. This is especially true with all of the different criteria that can be added.
Let us know some of your presets for Smart Playlists, and whether you prefer to use these, or create your own.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.
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