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iPhone’s dumb Smart Playlists

by justin on February 28, 2008 · 0 comments

If you want to manage your iPhone music with a large iTunes library,
don't try doing it with Smart Playlists yet.

Well, to be fair, SOME smart playlists work. When I specify an artist
or an album to fill a smart playlist, it shows it in iTunes, copies it
to the iPhone and shows it to me the same way there. Great.

But, when I create a "Smart" playlist for my top played songs
(everyone has this playlist in fact. It's called "Top 25 Most Played")
it does not one, but TWO things heinously wrong.

#1 – The iPhone somehow flips the command and gives me the LEAST often
played. huh?

#2 – The iPhone doesn't pull the most often (or even the least often)
played tracks from the iTunes library. No, it pulls that list LIVE
from the list of songs on the iPhone already (at least that's what I
think it is…. though the more I find out the less sense it makes)

So instead of the most played tracks from my entire library, I get the
least often played tracks that HAPPEN to be on my iPhone already.

Other weird things:
The syncing process does actually put the correct songs on the
iPhone… the ones that are in the correct smart playlist… but
doesn't include those songs in the smart playlist on the phone….

Another playlist does almost exactly the same thing as the Top 40
except instead of EXcluding a specific "Grouping", it INcludes that
grouping. (my way of having top 40 lists for two people with very
different taste). THIS other list seems to work almost perfectly
EXCEPT that the first song (the most often played one) is missing (on
the iPhone, just not in this playlist) and another song fills that
spot at the bottom. What the heck is going on?

I did a workaround by which I create another smart playlist that is
created based on the first smart playlist. It must have two criteria:
1) that it includes the songs from the real (correct) smart playlist
and 2) that it reverses the order because the order was reversed in
the first place. This took a bunch of trial and error and probably
would change depending on your original criteria.

Is anyone else having this problem too? Am I just using Smart
Playlists more than everyone else? I found a bit of chatter about this
in discussion rooms, but not much really considering how glaringly
obvious this problem has become for me…


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