Sorting in iTunes 7.3

Q: I’ve noticed that all of my albums and songs that start with a number, comma, or any type of symbol other than a letter are now listed at the bottom of the list in my iPod. Previously, all non-letter songs and albums were at the beginning now they’ve moved to the bottom. I haven’t installed an iPod update in a while, but I think the problem lies with the newest version of iTunes that I am currently running. Any suggestions? Thanks.

– Robert

A: You are basically correct that this is a change that was introduced with iTunes 7.3. Unfortunately, sorting of tracks on the iPod itself is actually not in any way handled by the iPod, but is determined by iTunes when it synchronizes those tracks to the iPod. Therefore, a change in the way that iTunes sorts tracks will also be reflected on the iPod.

This change appears to have been intentional on Apple’s part, likely to ensure that tracks that begin with punctuation symbols such as quotation marks are sorted alphabetically regardless of these symbols (for instance, artists such as “Weird Al” Yankovic should be sorted with the rest of the artists whose names start with W).

Although today’s iTunes 7.3.1 update does not change this default behavior, it does address another bug that was introduced with iTunes 7.3 that prevented you from overriding the sort order using the “Sorting” tab on a track’s properties. With iTunes 7.3.1, you can override this new default sort behavior simply by selecting one of the tracks from the artist or album that you would like to re-sort, selecting File, Get Info and choosing the “Sorting” tab:

Sorting in iTunes 7.3

Simply re-enter the album or artist name with an “A” prefix in the appropriate field, as shown above, and then click OK. That particular track will be resorted to the top of the artist or album list. You can then right-click on the track in question, and simply choose Apply Sort Field and then All Matching Fields.


Sorting in iTunes 7.3

This will apply the new sorting fields to all tracks with primary tags that match the selected track.

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