Syncing playlists to iPod

Q: I just purchased the newest generation iPod which has less storage than my iTunes library. After I manually choose which artists, albums, etc to sync with the smaller iPod, can I then sync all of the playlists in my iTunes and still have them work even if many of the tracks on the various playlists were not transferred to the iPod? If not, do I have to go to the trouble of making all new playlists from those songs I choose to sync?

– Josh

A: Your iPod will only display playlists that you have specifically chosen to put on your iPod either via automatic synchronization or by manually copying them when using your iPod in manual mode. However, when synchronizing or copying a playlist to your iPod, iTunes will also transfer all of the tracks that are contained in that playlist.

Although iTunes 9 allows you to select tracks to sync to your iPod by Artist or Genre, playlists that contain these tracks are not transferred as part of this process. Likewise, transferring tracks to a manually-managed iPod via drag-and-drop does not transfer the playlists containing those tracks.

Basically, if you want to include a subset of an existing playlist on your iPod, you will need to create a separate playlist for synchronization purposes. Although you can simply create a standard playlist for this purpose, another idea would be to use a Smart Playlist to automatically select a sub-set of your existing playlists, limited to an appropriate size for your iPod’s capacity. In the simplest form, a Smart Playlist that chooses content that is in another playlist and limits by size would work, although you can get more sophisticated by choosing additional criteria such as rating, play counts, and last played times.

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