Excluding selected playlists from sync

Q: I have a 160GB iPod classic as well as an iPhone and an iPod nano all using the same iTunes library. The iPod classic is set to sync the entire library, the others to sync with certain playlists. Is there any way I can create playlists specific to my iPhone or iPod nano in iTunes and NOT have them sync to my iPod classic?

– Philip

A: If you’re choosing to sync your entire music library to the iPod classic, then this will by default include all playlists, and there’s no way to exclude certain playlists from consideration. There are a couple of possible workaround that may be worth considering, however.

One option is to switch your iPod classic to sync only selected playlists, similar to how your iPhone and iPod nano are currently set up. In this scenario, you could create a Smart Playlist that includes all of your music and choose that as one of the playlists. This would ensure that you still have your entire music library on your iPod classic, but you would have more direct control over which other playlists appear there. Some users even go so far as to organize their playlists into separate playlist folders in iTunes for each different iPod to make it easier to choose which playlists get synced to which device.

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Another option is to simply use playlist folders to keep the iPhone and iPod nano playlists out of the way. Since the playlist folder structure from iTunes actually syncs with the iPod classic, you could put your playlists for other devices into sub-folders to keep them out of the way when viewing playlists on your iPod classic. The playlists would still actually sync with the iPod but would be shown in a sub-folder on the iPod classic playlists menu, rather than on the main playlist screen.