Sorting tracks properly within albums
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I’ve been finding that iTunes alphabetizes some of my albums so that the tracks are listed in alphabetical order. This is highly irritating with albums that are mixed to run straight through in an order. How can I stop it from doing this?
A: By default, iTunes and the iPod normally sort tracks with each album based on the track number. If the track number is not available, however, it will revert to sorting alphabetically. It is therefore important to ensure that all albums have the proper track numbers filled in within the file information.
You can enter the track information by selecting a track in the iTunes library and choosing File, Get Info. This will bring up the file information dialog box. On the “Info” tab, there is a field to specify the track number.
The first number is the primary requirement for sorting tracks properly with an album, whereas the “Of” number is for reference only and is not used by iTunes other than for display purposes.
Note as well that you can use the “Next” and “Previous” buttons to quickly navigate from track to track in the file info dialog box.
The track number column can also be displayed in list view by choosing View, View Options and checking the box for “Track Number.”
Note also from the diagram above that you can specify the sort order in iTunes for the list view, which will apply to all albums when playing them in iTunes directly from the library. Sorting by a common field such as Album or Artist will still default to a track number sort, however sorting by any other field that is not in common between all tracks, such as track name, will cause the tracks to be sorted within each album alphabetically instead.
Note that these sort orders selected in iTunes for the library do not transfer to the iPod itself. If you find that the iPod is still sorting tracks alphabetically, even after inserting track numbers, you may want to try removing these tracks from the iPod and re-adding them, particularly if you’re managing your iPod content manually. If you’re managing your content automatically, the easiest way to remove and re-add the tracks to the iPod is to set your iPod to “Sync checked items only” (in the iPod settings in iTunes), and then simply UNcheck the tracks in question, sync your iPod to remove them, and then RE-check the tracks and sync the iPod again, which will add them back.
One final option to keep in mind is that the sort order for playlists will transfer to the iPod, so if you have specific albums that you want to override the sort order for, you can always create a playlist for that specific album, set the order in iTunes to how you want it (even a manual sort order if you like), and then sync those playlists to the iPod.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Report: Some third-party repairs ‘bricking’ iPhones with iOS 9
- Report: Apple to bid on NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights
- Apple to begin taking broken iPhones for trade-in, offer in-store screen protector installation
- Apple ordered to pay $625M to VirnetX in patent case
- Apple Pay reaches 2 million retail locations
- Apple acquires security company LegbaCore
- Zagg to acquire Mophie for $100 million
- Report: iPhone 7 to include flush camera lens, drop rear antenna bands
- Report: iPhone 5se, iPad Air 3 set for March 15 unveil
- Alleged iPad Air 3 drawing shows Smart Connector, four speakers, camera flash
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- Urban Armor Gear Trooper for iPhone 6/6s
- NEBO CaseBrite for iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!