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I've been an iTunes fan even before it was bought by Apple and turned into iTunes. I actually remember the foundation being SoundJam by Casady and Greene. Putting the history lesson aside, let's take a look at 10 of my favorite iTunes tips.


1. Rate your songs


I've been rating my songs pretty much since day one. Although you can do 1-5 stars, I typically do the good, better, best method (3, 4 or 5 stars) to denote my favorite songs. Once rated you can easily sort the rated column to play songs by order of your favorites or add them to smart playlists based on your tastes. 


2. Add your own Comments 


It's great that you can use smart playlists to create playlist based on things like genre and artist. However, what if you wanted to create a smart playlist that eliminated songs containing "explicit lyrics" or you wanted a playlist of YOUR favorite "slow dance" tunes? If you select a song and hit command-I, you can switch to the Info tab and type in whatever you want in the comments. You can words in like "party" or "dance". Once you've described specifics about the song, you can click OK. See tip 3 on how to use this custom info.


3. Create Smart Playlists


Now that you've seen tips 1 & 2, it's time to put them to use in your Smart Playlists. I LOVE SMART PLAYLISTS! If you hold down the Option key and click the little gear/wheel at the bottom left of your left sidebar you can click it to create a Smart Playlist. Now you can create various Smart Playlists based on your favorite songs (using ratings) or on your custom comments. For example, let's say I want to create a Best of the Best playlist that's "clean". Here's what it would look like.


4. Eliminate Duplicates


If you're bringing in songs (ripping) from your CDs chances are you're going to end up with duplicates. Same song by the same artist that happened to be on two CDs. iTunes can help you find your duplicates so that you can then decide what to do with them. Go to your main Library music view and choose Show Duplicates from the File menu. iTunes will show you all of the duplicates that it found and you can then choose to delete the extras or not. Choose Show All from the File menu when you're done.


5. Add your own home movies/DVDs


While it's great that you can buy/rent movies from the iTunes store, it's even better when you can bring in the movies you already have and watch them on your mobile devices or Apple TV. You already import QuickTime movies directly into iTunes and convert them into the proper format using the Advanced menu. However, I've outlined what you'll need to bring in your Movie DVDs here.


6. Add to the Wish List


There are times when I'm thinking about buying a song or movie, etc. from the iTunes but maybe I'm not ready to buy it right then and there or maybe I'm not on the Mac that I want it downloaded to. So I'll add it to the Wish List and then I can go to My Wish List from the iTunes Store home page and see all the items I've added and buy them when I'm ready. This saves me from having to remember what they were or look them up again.


7. Show more columns


iTunes has lots of information that can be displayed about the items in your library. However, most of these columns are off by default. You can show your View Options from the View menu and turn on or off the columns you want/don't want to see. This is great for me when I'm trying to see things like the date something was added to my library, the format it's in and the size of it.


8. Get missing Album Art


If you imported (ripped) songs from your CDs, iTunes may or may not have the artwork for them and if you did it a while ago, that feature wasn't even there. So first off choose a song that is missing album artwork and choose Get Album Artwork from the Advanced menu. If the artwork exists on the iTunes Store, iTunes will add it. However, if it doesn't find it hit command-I on the song and go to the Artwork tab. Now find the album on and drag the Album art directly from your browser into this window to add it. Yes, you can do all the songs of a particular album at once by selecting them all first. There are also several widgets and utilities out there that will automate this process.


9. Switch to Mini Player


The iTunes window displays a lot of information which is great when you need it. However, once you've started your playlist playing you can switch to the "mini" player by clicking the Green dot in the upper left corner of the iTunes window. This will make the iTunes window as small as possible and still give you controls. You can also enable the preference in the Advanced Preferences for iTunes to always keep the mini player on top of other applications so that it's always there when you're working on something else.


10. Rearrange your iPhone/iPod touch Apps right in iTunes


Now you can rearrange your iPhone apps and even the entire app page directly in iTunes. Just plug in your iPhone or iPod touch and select it in the Source window. Now click on the Applications tab and drag your Apps around in the order you want. You can also rearrange the pages of apps themselves by dragging them in the right side bar.


Bonus Tip – Use iTunes to Create your own iPhone ringtones for FREE!

I wrote about this on and felt it was even better to walk you through the process with this video:



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3 Responses to 10 iTunes Tips

  1. Christopher Prost says:

    Speaking of smart playlists. If you are like me, you have lots of music you like and don’t want to listen to the same song multiple times in a single day. Unfortunately the shuffle feature in iTunes is not the greatest . . . so here is my smart playlist

    “Last Played” is not in the last 7 days
    “Last Skipped” is not in the last 7 days
    “Rating” is between 3 stars and 5 stars

  2. Rick Minto says:

    I bought Dupin ( as I needed some automation to save me time with eliminating hundreds of dupes. If Terry’s Tip #4 isn’t sufficient, it’s worth a look. (You can download a trial to see if you like it.)

  3. Rick Minto says:

    Among the utilities alluded to in Tip #8, I like Fetch Art 2.5.4 ( It works on Leopard/Snow Leopard and is FREE! It seems to be able to retrieve album art that iTunes itself sometimes misses.