Manually syncing small iPods with playcounts and ratings

Q: I just bought a 4GB iPod nano. I like having the flexiblity to manually manage my own playlists and songs, since I have a very large library on my computer. I am noticing, however, that my playcounts and ratings that were set on the nano are not transferring to the library on the computer. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a way to preserve this functionality yet keep the management manual? Thanks!

– Craig

A: Yes, and in fact, it’s how we’ve been using our smaller iPods for a long time. The solution is to use iTunes’ “semi-automatic” syncing mode, if you will. Rather than choosing “Automatic” or “Manual” mode, select “Automatically Synchronize Selected Playlists.”

Then, instead of manually managing your iPod directly, you’re free to manually manage the playlists which are automatically synchronized to the iPod. It’s a work-around, but it works quite well.

What happens in this mode of operation if you want to simply load the iPod with music that’s not in any specific playlist? You can’t – but it’s certainly reasonable to make one more playlist for such tunes. We have two such playlists for songs without normal playlists: one for short term iPod tracks, and one for tracks we’d like to keep on the iPod for a long time.

Want to keep these nano-specific playlists organized together? Put them into a playlist folder (File → New Folder):


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