Since the departure of iTunes with macOS Catalina, Mac users can now enjoy new apps for Music and TV. And with each of these apps, you can create playlists so that your favorite songs and shows are always close at hand.
But another great feature of the Music and TV apps is the Smart Playlist option. If you used it with iTunes on iOS or Mac, it works the same way with the new apps. However, if you’ve never the Smart Playlist feature it before or just need a refresher, this tutorial is for you.
Here’s how to create Smart Playlists in the Music and TV apps on Mac.
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What is a Smart Playlist?
In the simplest of terms, a Smart Playlist is a playlist that is created automatically based on rules that you specify. This lets you keep your playlist up to date with the music, movies, or TV shows you add to your library without lifting a finger.
The Smart Playlist feature works the same in the both the Music and TV apps on Mac. The only difference is criteria you pick from.
For instance, in the Music app you can select an artist, album, or compilation while in the TV app you can pick a director, season, or show.
With Smart Playlists, you have a good amount of flexibility for setting up multiple rules. For an example using the Music app, you can set up a Smart Playlist to contain songs by a specific artist that were added in a certain date range.
So if you’re ready to create your first Smart Playlist on Mac, let’s go!
Creating a basic Smart Playlist
With either the Music or TV app open, click File > New > Smart Playlist from the menu bar. A window will pop open ready for you to add the rules for your playlist.
Let’s start with a simple Smart Playlist that contains just one rule so that you can see how it works.
- At the top, make sure that the box for Match is checked and then choose the type of media in the drop-down box. For instance, music, movies, or TV shows.
- Next, set up your first rule by selecting criteria in the first drop-down box. What you choose in this box will determine the boxes to the right.
- Complete those subsequent boxes to the right. In some cases, you will need to enter text in the far-right box. For example, if you choose Artist and Is in the Music app, you’ll enter the artist’s name. (See screenshot below.)
- Optionally you can mark the boxes to Limit the number of items, size, or time and if you want Live updating. (Live updating will update the playlist as you add, remove, or change items in your library.)
- Click OK when you finish.
And that’s all there is to creating a Smart Playlist!
Adding more rules
Now that you know how to set up a basic Smart Playlist, you can easily add more rules to get more specific with it.
Using our Smart Playlist above that contains songs by a certain artist, let’s add more to it. Click the plus sign button to the right of the first rule to add another.
When you do this, you’ll see the top section next to Match change. You now have another criterion drop-down box for Any or All. If you choose Any, that means that if any of the rules can apply whereas if you choose All, that means that all rules must apply.
We’re going to add a rule for Date Added because we only want songs in the playlist by our artist if they were added to our library after a certain date.
- Select All in the Match section.
- Select Date Added.
- Select Is after.
- Select the date.
- Click OK.
Now you can add yet another rule if you want to narrow down what pops into the playlist even further.
Not only do we want our playlist to include all songs by a certain artist and only if they’re added to our library after a certain date, but we also only want songs that we marked as Love.
Add another rule by clicking the plus sign button to the right of your other rule, select Love in the first drop-down followed by Is and Loved in the subsequent boxes.
Editing your Smart Playlist
Once you create a Smart Playlist, it will appear in your library under Playlists in the sidebar. If you would like to edit the rules you set up, you can access that pop-up window a couple of different ways.
- Right-click or hold Control and click the Smart Playlist in the sidebar and pick Edit Rules.
- Select the playlist to open it and click Edit Rules near the top.
You can then make the changes you want and click OK when you finish.
Deleting your Smart Playlist
If you want to remove a Smart Playlist in either the Music or TV app, this is also easy. Right-click or hold Control and click the Smart Playlist in the sidebar and pick Delete from Library. You can also select the playlist in the sidebar and hit your Delete key.
You’ll receive a pop-up message asking you to confirm the removal of the playlist. Click Delete if you’re sure.
Saving your faves the “smart” way
The Smart Playlist feature on Mac is certainly a handy one for automatically gathering songs, movies, or shows. You could create playlists of movies for family night, songs for date night, TV shows for binge watching, and music for your workout.
There are so many options within the criteria for both the Music and TV apps, that the possibilities are almost endless.
What do you think of the Smart Playlist feature? Are you going to create your own now? If so, let us know if it’s for music, movies, TV shows, or all three!
Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a project manager, department manager, and PMO Lead. She then decided to follow her dream and now writes about technology full-time. Sandy holds a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.
She loves technology– specifically – terrific games and apps for iOS, software that makes your life easier, and productivity tools that you can use every day, in both work and home environments.
Her articles have regularly been featured at MakeUseOf, iDownloadBlog and many other leading tech publications.