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How to Make Playlists for Your iPhone or iPad

  • Playlists on iTunes

    We’ll first try it in iTunes, so the playlists are available on your computer and can then be synced with your iOS device. Fire up iTunes and make sure you’re in album view. Notice on the left pane that iTunes has already created some playlists for you from music you’ve purchased, songs with certain elements in common, and music you’ve frequently played. Click on one of these playlists to check out the songs.

  • Edit Playlist

    iTunes manages and continually updates these automatic playlists as you listen to and add more music, but you can change the rules for how they are modified. Click on the link for Edit Rules at the top of one of these playlists.

  • Change Playlist Rules

    You can now change some of the criteria for the playlist, such as the duration, type of media, and number of items. Click OK when done for your changes to take effect.

  • Create New Playlist

    You can create your own playlists a couple of ways. Click on the File menu > New > Playlist.

  • Name Your Playlist

    A new playlist entry appears along with the other playlists. Type the name you want to give to your new playlist, such as the name of an artist or genre.

  • Create New Playlist

    Here’s another way you can create a playlist. Return to your list of songs and select the songs you want to add to a new playlist. Right-click on any of the selected songs. Hover over the entry to “Add to Playlist” and select the option for “New Playlist.”

  • Name New Playlist

    The songs in your new playlist appear. Type a name for your playlist.

  • Add Songs to Playlist

    Now click on the entry for Songs to see your library by individual songs. Sort the list by artist or genre, depending on what songs you want to see. Scroll down to the artist or genre to see the items you might want to add to the playlist. Drag and drop each individual song to the playlist to add them. You can also select multiple songs (using Shift+Click or Ctrl+Click) to add several in one shot. Another way to add a song is to right-click on the song, hover over the entry to “Add to Playlist,” and select the playlist.

  • Remove Songs From Playlist

    When you’re done, click on the new playlist to see the songs you added. To remove a song, right-click on it and select “Remove from Playlist” from the pop-up menu.

  • Rearrange Songs in Playlist

    You can also rearrange the order of the songs. Select and drag a song up or down in the list. Release your mouse when the song is nestled in its new spot.

  • Add Description and Burn to Disc

    Right-click on the album art for the playlist. Click on “Add Description” to write a brief description of the playlist. Click on the “Burn Playlist to Disc” option to burn the songs in the playlist to a CD.

  • Create Smart Playlist

    You can also create a smart playlist that automatically updates as you add more music to your library. Click on the File menu > New > Smart Playlist.

  • Edit Smart Playlist Rules

    At the Smart Playlist window, select the rules for your playlist. Keep the content selection as Music. Click on the first drop-down menu. You can select from a wide range of choices, including Artist, Album, Composer, Genre, and Year.

  • Advanced Playlist Rules

    At the second drop-down menu, you can choose different criteria, such as “contains” or “does not contain.”

  • Specific Playlist Rules

    At the third drop-down menu, start typing the name of an artist, album, genre, or other item based on what you chose in the first menu. iTunes automatically tries to predict the name you want. Select the correct name.

  • Add Additional Playlist Rules

    You can add multiple rules to refine your smart playlist. To add a second rule, click on the + sign. Select a type such as Artist, Album, Composer, Genre, or Year. Pick the criteria and then type or choose a name or other entry to complete the rule.

    When you’re done, make sure the option for “Live updating” is checked and then click OK. Assuming you didn’t specify a limit for the number or length of items in the list, your playlist automatically grows as you add new music that matches your rules.

  • Delete Playlist

    Want to get rid of a playlist? Right-click on it and select “Delete from Library” from the menu, or just select it and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

  • Create Playlists for Movie, TV, Podcasts

    You can also create playlists for TV shows, movies, podcasts, and audiobooks. Just select the library you want to see in iTunes, such as TV Shows or Podcasts. Then follow same steps described for creating music playlists.

  • Sync Playlists

    Now, maybe you want to sync your playlists with your iPhone or iPad so you can listen to them on the go. Connect your iOS device to your computer and then click on the icon for your device. Select the library that contains the playlist you want to sync, such as Music or TV Shows. In the “Sync Music” window, check the playlist or playlists that you want to sync. Click the Apply or Sync button to sync your selected content, including the playlists you checked.

  • View Playlists

    After the iTunes sync is finished, segue to your iOS device. Open the Music app or whichever app holds the playlists you synced. Tap on the entry for Playlists, and you should see the synced items.

  • Create New Playlist From Device

    Finally, you can bypass iTunes and create playlists directly on your iPhone or iPad. At the Playlists screen on your iOS device, tap on the link for New or the button for New Playlist. Type a name and description for your playlist and then tap on the link to Add Music.

  • Search for Songs

    At the Library window, select Songs, Albums, or another category that you want to view to grab the items for your playlist.

  • Add Songs

    Drill down to view the items you want to add. Tap on the Plus circle next to a song or other item you want to include in your playlist.

  • Finalize Playlist

    When you’re finished adding your items, tap on Done in the upper-right corner of the current window.

  • View New Playlist

    The items you selected appear in your new playlist. You can add more items, remove existing items, and change the order of your current items.

  • Listen to Playlist

    When you’re finished, tap on Done. Tap on your new playlist and enjoy the tunes.

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