How to create notes on the iPod



The iPod notes format is a lot more powerful than most people think. It’s possible to create a link that when selected plays a particular song/album/artist right from your notes file!

As far as I know, this information is undocumented and I had to experiment a bit to figure out how to create links in there etc.

What you will need.
An iPod a text editor (Notepad etc. (or Mac alternative)) and a basic understanding of HTML will help, but it’s not neccessary.

The iPod note reader procceses basic ASCII text files. The files can have any physical extension, this has no bearing on it. ‘notes’, ‘notes.txt’, ‘notes.ipod’ etc will all work fine. Just remember that any file you create for the iPod must be saved as ASCII/Plain Text.


Let’s start with an example. Say you wanted an ordered list on your iPod named ‘My Top Albums’, that contains artist information and album name. With this list, you want to be able to click an album name and have iPod automatically start playing that particular album. Here’s how it’s done…

First, using Notepad, create the list of albums you want to include in the list.

Here’s mine:

    My Top Albums
    1. The Pixies – Doolittle
    2. The Beatles – Revolver
    3. Jeff Buckley – Grace
    4. Oasis – Definitely Maybe

Now we can create the code around the list, that the iPod can understand. The iPod uses basic HTML Hyperlink/Anchor tags to navigate to music. So, to create a link from ‘Doolittle’ in my Note to the actual music on my iPod, I’d surround the word ‘Doolittle’ with an tag and edit the line to this…

1. The Pixies - Doolittle

Now, when I view the Note on the iPod, the word Doolittle will now be underlined, when I select this link with the scrollwheel and hit the SELECT button, iPod will play Doolittle in track order!.
Now, we can apply tags to the rest of the albums…

My Top Albums
1. The Pixies - Doolittle
2. The Beatles - Revolver
3. Jeff Buckley - Grace
4. Oasis - Definitely Maybe

Remember, the name of the album you use in the tag must match the name of the album on the iPod, or it won’t work. the tag is not case sensitive however, so ‘Doolittle’ is the same as ‘dOOliTTle’.
Now, save the file you have created to your ipod as MYTOPALBUMS, under the Notes folder (e.g. I:Notes), unmount iPod and have a look.

Notice that your file is displayed as the FILENAME you saved it as. (e.g. MYTOPALBUMS) However, we can change this title to whatever we like, without changing the filename.

In the notes file, we need an HTML

tag at the top. So create a an extra line that reads…<p></p><title>My Top Albums

Using the

tag we can make iPod display the name of the file any way we want, this<title> tag willnot display in the actual note.<p> <b>More Options</b></p><p> Now we have a full funtioning ‘Top Albums’ list that links to the music, but we could go further…<br> The <a> tags also work with “genre” and “artist”, so we could also have a link that would play all the songs on the iPod by “The Pixies” by changing your line to this… </a></p><p> 1. <a href="" pixies="" data-wpel-link="internal">The Pixies</a> – <a href="" data-wpel-link="internal">Doolittle</a></p><p> By changing “music?album” to “music?artist” we are able to play music by different factors. “music?genre” is also available to us. e.g.</p><p> Oasis – <a href="" maybe="" data-wpel-link="internal">Definitely Maybe</a> Genre:<a href="" data-wpel-link="internal">Britpop</a></p><p> This creates a link that plays all your music defined as ‘Britpop’.</p><p> With the new options availble the finished file will look like this…</p><p></p><title>My Top Albums
My Top Albums
1. The PixiesDoolittle
2. The Beatles – Revolver
3. Jeff Buckley – Grace
4. Oasis – Definitely Maybe Genre:Britpop

No doubt there are many more options available, but I have yet to test them. Unfortunately, the iPod will not recognise any formatting tags such as or etc. But there must be more ID3 tags it will recognise.

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Dennis Lloyd

I'm a passionate, long-time lover of Apple products, and was a civil draftsman and graphic designer before creating the iLounge web site. My prior projects include work for The Los Angeles Times', and the company Creative Domain, where I developed websites for clients including Columbia Pictures, Disney, Fox Studios, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers. As the Publisher of iLounge, I direct the site's community forums, photo galleries, iPod User Group, and general business affairs, which have grown under my watch to over sixteen million page views every month. I'm happily married with one daughter, one dog (Rocket the Wonderdog), one cat (Ferris), many iPods, iPhones, iPads, and two turntables.