Movie and TV Show Playlists in iTunes 11

Q: I store a lot of movies and other videos in my iTunes library, and I’ve been doing so for years. I finally decided to take the plunge and upgrade to iTunes 11, but it seems that the option to use playlists for videos has been removed in this version. Music has a “Playlists” section, but I’m not seeing that anywhere else. I know most people only use playlists for music, but they’re really handy for grouping TV shows and home videos too, and it seems stupid that Apple took this feature out. Is there something I need to do to turn this on, or should I just figure out how to go back to iTunes 10? How do I do that, anyway?

– Bruce

A: iTunes 11 actually hasn’t taken away the ability to store videos in playlists, but Apple has confused things a bit by only making playlists accessible in the new user interface via the Music section, which of course is not where you’d expect to access the playlists for your Movies or TV Shows. If you look there, you should still see ALL of your playlists combined into one location.

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When viewing a playlist, the “Add To” button in the top right corner will default to adding content from the Music section, but you can browse over to Movies or TV Shows using the normal drop-down menu in the top left corner and the playlist will continue stay open in the panel on the right to allow you to add new items. You can also create Smart Playlists from here in the same way as before—all of the same criteria are available for TV Shows, even though you’re not specifically in that section of iTunes.

Further, even though you cannot see a playlist view from the Movies and TV Shows sections, you can still add to playlists directly from there via the same right-click menu that was available in previous versions of iTunes. You can also still use drag-and-drop to add to a playlist in iTunes 11—simply start dragging one or more items and a panel will slide in on the right with all of your devices and playlists displayed.

 

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Lastly, if you’re having trouble getting accustomed to the new iTunes 11 user interface, you can also bring back the left-hand iTunes sidebar. Simply go to the View menu and choose Show Sidebar.

 

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This won’t bring back the old iTunes 10 interface entirely—it’s more of a hybrid view—but should still be more familiar and comfortable for previous iTunes users. Most importantly, it brings back the entire set of playlists on the left side, easily visible and accessible from any section.