Q: I was retagging movies to TV shows and accidentally tagged one as iTunes U. Now, it has disappeared in iTunes. I can’t find it anywhere. Not in Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts or iTunes U. However, it does show up on my Apple TV in iTunes U. How do I correct this?

Finding Lost and Miscategorized Items in iTunes

– Anonymous

A: The main Podcasts and iTunes U sections in iTunes work a little bit differently in terms of how content is displayed, since they organize content by subscriptions rather than simply as a flat list. Specifically, the “Album” tag is used for the name of the Podcast or iTunes U subscription, and content that does not include anything in the “Album” field ends up actually being hidden from view. Most items in the “Movies” category—even those purchased from the iTunes Store—are not part of any kind of “Album” and therefore this field is usually blank in this case.

The good news is that it’s not that hard to ferret out hidden tracks such as these. The key is that a Smart Playlist in iTunes will search the entire library for any content that meets its criteria and display it in a standard listing. You can get a view of everything in your library that has been categories as “iTunes U” with a Smart Playlist such as the following:

The same trick can be used to find stray or mis-categorized Podcasts, and you could even create a single Smart Playlist that shows all of the content from both categories. This can be useful for checking these categories to make sure there’s nothing else that’s been hidden away in there accidentally. It’s also not uncommon to find a few stray podcast episodes wandering around from subscriptions that you had otherwise thought long gone.


Finding Lost and Miscategorized Items in iTunes

If you’re only dealing with a single video file and you remember what you had called it, you can also simply create a more basic Smart Playlist that looks for that particular item by name, or some other known field, without specifying a Media Kind at al. Since Smart Playlists will search your entire library, it will return a list of any item that matches your criteria, regardless of the particular kind of item.


Finding Lost and Miscategorized Items in iTunes

Also keep in mind that both the Search field and the iTunes Column Browser work within Smart Playlists. You can bring up the Column Browser by pressing CMD+B (Mac) or CTRL+B (Windows) or by choosing Column Browser, Show Column Browser from the iTunes View menu.


Finding Lost and Miscategorized Items in iTunes

These options can help narrow down your search if you’re dealing with a large list, but note that the Column Browser only displays entries for tags that have actually been filled in, so it may be less helpful if you have items that do not have all of the necessary tags.



Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.