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:
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.