iWant: Default Settings for New Playlists in iTunes

ITunes iconIf you create playlists in iTunes, you may find it annoying that every playlist you create starts with the same display settings. Unless you’re satisfied with those settings, you need to spend time, for each playlist, changing the settings to the way you want to see your content.

One thing I’d like to see in iTunes is default settings for new playlists. There are two types of settings that would be useful.

The first would let you select which columns display. By default, new playlists show columns, and use the ones that you have displayed in your Music library (with the exception of album artwork). This is partially good, but you may not always want all those columns displayed for playlists, or you may want them displayed in a different order in playlists.

The second would allow you to choose which view is used. By default, new playlists show a list of tracks. This makes sense, because many people will add music to a playlist, then change the track order, so the playlist needs to be in this view to be able to re-order songs. But not everyone uses playlists like that. It would be great if there were a setting that allowed you to choose from the many views: Song List, Albums, Artists, etc.

There’s a related problem with iTunes Match. If you’ve changed a playlist one one computer, when it syncs to another computer, the playlist reverts to Song List mode, rather than staying as you had set it up. iTunes needs a way to store these playlist settings, and not change them just because a computer has synced songs to the cloud.

Playlists are one of the ways many people organize their music. iTunes needs to improve the way they display to make it easier, and more efficient, to use them.

14 thoughts on “iWant: Default Settings for New Playlists in iTunes

  1. “By default, new playlists show columns, and use the ones that you have displayed in your Music library.”

    But new playlists do not use the album art settings selected in my Music Library. I have “Show Artwork” “Always Show” and the largest size setting selected in my Music Library, but I have to reset these in every new playlist that I make. Drives me crazy. I’d be thrilled if someone knows how to get new playlists to automatically show artwork.

    And can someone explain the difference between “Show Artwork” and “Always Show”?

    • Sorry, you’re right about that. I’ll amend my article.

      The difference is this: if an album has fewer than a certain number of songs – equal to the height of the artwork – then the artwork doesn’t display if you don’t check Always Show. Try it in a new playlist; drag a few songs from one album, a half-dozen from another, and toggle the setting to see what happens.

  2. “By default, new playlists show columns, and use the ones that you have displayed in your Music library.”

    But new playlists do not use the album art settings selected in my Music Library. I have “Show Artwork” “Always Show” and the largest size setting selected in my Music Library, but I have to reset these in every new playlist that I make. Drives me crazy. I’d be thrilled if someone knows how to get new playlists to automatically show artwork.

    And can someone explain the difference between “Show Artwork” and “Always Show”?

    • Sorry, you’re right about that. I’ll amend my article.

      The difference is this: if an album has fewer than a certain number of songs – equal to the height of the artwork – then the artwork doesn’t display if you don’t check Always Show. Try it in a new playlist; drag a few songs from one album, a half-dozen from another, and toggle the setting to see what happens.

  3. For a decade, I have wished that Playlists had the status of almost every other object in iTunes and in the OS. Apple has made them third-class citizens. Most often, I want to select several at a time, and move them, which isn’t possible. Other needs come up now and then, where it would be easy to handle playlists, if they could be manipulated like files or folders or documents or songs, but many useful operations that can be performed on other objects, are off-limits to Playlists.

    • This could be said about iOS also.

      How easy and naturally would it be, to make homescreen shortcuts of Albums, Artists and Playlists that, once tapped on, start the Music app playing them in shuffle mode.

      That’s something I was wondering since iOS 3 and I still wonder why Apple hasn’t thought about it yet.

      • Yes, I’ve thought about that for OS X. I’m going to write a blog post about it, in fact. As for iOS, Apple would probably say that you can launch those items with Siri, but I agree that it would be nice to have a folder of “aliases” for your favorite stuff.

  4. For a decade, I have wished that Playlists had the status of almost every other object in iTunes and in the OS. Apple has made them third-class citizens. Most often, I want to select several at a time, and move them, which isn’t possible. Other needs come up now and then, where it would be easy to handle playlists, if they could be manipulated like files or folders or documents or songs, but many useful operations that can be performed on other objects, are off-limits to Playlists.

    • This could be said about iOS also.

      How easy and naturally would it be, to make homescreen shortcuts of Albums, Artists and Playlists that, once tapped on, start the Music app playing them in shuffle mode.

      That’s something I was wondering since iOS 3 and I still wonder why Apple hasn’t thought about it yet.

      • Yes, I’ve thought about that for OS X. I’m going to write a blog post about it, in fact. As for iOS, Apple would probably say that you can launch those items with Siri, but I agree that it would be nice to have a folder of “aliases” for your favorite stuff.

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