iWant: Global Sync Filters for iTunes

Some people just sync their entire music library to their iOS device. I’m not one of them. My main library has about 70,000 tracks, and I have a second library, with mostly classical music, with another 40,000 or so. Choosing what to put on my iPhone isn’t easy. I’ve got 1,120 Bob Dylan tracks; 515 Durutti Column songs; and 4,001 by the Grateful Dead.

Of course, most of those numbers are lower than the classical music in my iTunes library. 2,472 tracks by Ludwig van Beethoven; 5,400 by Franz Schubert; and 7,614 by Johann Sebastian Bach. (I got these numbers using Doug Adams’ $5 mySpins app.)

So I use a number of playlists to control what gets synced to each of my iOS devices. Some playlists contain my favorite Bob Dylan songs; others specific sets of live Grateful Dead music; and others are playlists I’ve thrown together manually, adding songs and albums I like.

But iTunes could make cramming the best music onto my iPhone a bit easier. I would like to see global sync filters in iTunes. These would be similar to smart playlist conditions, and would affect all music (and other content) that syncs to iTunes. This could display in the Options screen, which you view when you’re syncing an iOS device. It might look something like this:

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For example, I like almost all of Bob Dylan’s music, but there are some songs, which he recorded in his born-again phase, that I don’t care to listen to. I rate them accordingly. I have a playlist of all of Bob Dylan’s albums that I sync to my iPhone, but if I want to make sure the songs I don’t like don’t sync to my iPhone, I need to create a new playlist; one that contains all of his albums, but where I’ve removed the ones I don’t want to sync.

Most of my music listening on the iPhone is on the go, so I don’t really care to listen to very long tracks, so I’d want to not sync ones longer than a specific length. As for classical music, I only sync some, but I can understand that some people may want to not sync that genre, or other genres. The only way to exclude one genre from syncing currently is to check every other genre in the Music tab of iTunes for the device you’re syncing.

A Do Not Sync filter, which works like smart playlists, would be easy to implement and easy to understand, and would make syncing music to an iOS device a lot easier. A combination of playlists, artists, genres and albums on the one hand, and sync filters on the other, would allow you to better sync the music you want to your iOS device.

8 thoughts on “iWant: Global Sync Filters for iTunes

  1. What I would like is a smart playlist that would give me complete albums chosen at random. There is no way to do this easily. I can get something close buy I then have to go through the playlist to make sure the complete album is there and not just several track of an album. There used to be an app called nano fibre that tdid this nicely but it quite working several version of iTunes ago. I would like this because I listen to music by random complete album. I wish Apple would help me out.

  2. What I would like is a smart playlist that would give me complete albums chosen at random. There is no way to do this easily. I can get something close buy I then have to go through the playlist to make sure the complete album is there and not just several track of an album. There used to be an app called nano fibre that tdid this nicely but it quite working several version of iTunes ago. I would like this because I listen to music by random complete album. I wish Apple would help me out.

  3. That’s a really cool idea, but I doubt that any of it will happen anytime soon.

    Apple basically quit adding features to iTunes completely (at least from my point of view).

    I don’t want to start another iTunes 11 rant all over again, but honestly, all the new “features” and “updates” were cosmetically. under the hood iTunes 11 has the _exact_ same bugs and errors as it’s predecessor.
    I’m waiting for the day, that iTunes will get real improvements and return to the quality level it had a few versions back.

    I’m getting emotionally here…. maybe it’s the fact, that I have to completely revamp my whole library in the coming days and start from scratch (which means losing play statistics from ten years), because I cannot even properly sync my iPod touch anymore. And iTunes match made iTunes tagging it even worse. Old album art keeps coming back randomly, when I change it locally. it’s driving me crazy…

  4. That’s a really cool idea, but I doubt that any of it will happen anytime soon.

    Apple basically quit adding features to iTunes completely (at least from my point of view).

    I don’t want to start another iTunes 11 rant all over again, but honestly, all the new “features” and “updates” were cosmetically. under the hood iTunes 11 has the _exact_ same bugs and errors as it’s predecessor.
    I’m waiting for the day, that iTunes will get real improvements and return to the quality level it had a few versions back.

    I’m getting emotionally here…. maybe it’s the fact, that I have to completely revamp my whole library in the coming days and start from scratch (which means losing play statistics from ten years), because I cannot even properly sync my iPod touch anymore. And iTunes match made iTunes tagging it even worse. Old album art keeps coming back randomly, when I change it locally. it’s driving me crazy…

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