Take Control of iTunes 12: The FAQ

Take Control of iTunes 12: The FAQ


252 Pages


Take your iTunes know-how past 11 to 12!

Updated August 7, 2016

Befuddled by Apple Music? Want to find the best view for listening to your albums? Hoping to make playlists to transfer to your iPhone? Wish you could organize your podcasts? Wondering what the difference is between loves and stars? In this FAQ-style ebook, Kirk McElhearn (author of "The iTunes Guy" column at Macworld) explains not only how the iTunes features work, but how normal people can make iTunes do what they want.

Relying on an easily browsed question-and-answer approach, Kirk shares his love of music and helps you understand the process of bringing media into iTunes, tagging it, adding album artwork, organizing it into playlists, and transferring it to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod.

Coupons in the back of the ebook help you save $5 off Equinux's SongGenie for adding metadata and $7 off Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil wireless audio streaming software.

Find answers to questions about how to:

Play: Learn the basics of playing audio and video, and start making quick playlists with Genius and Up Next.

Rip: Add content to iTunes with detailed steps for "ripping" music CDs and audiobooks. (If you want to rip audiobooks so they play nicely from iTunes, don't miss this chapter!) Also, find general advice for ripping video DVDs and learn which file formats work in iTunes.

Buy: Find tips on shopping in the iTunes Store, and get advice on sharing your purchases with family members and among your various Apple devices.

Tag: Kirk describes himself as "tag obsessed." If that description fits you, or if you just want to take control of your tags, this chapter is for you. Tags are descriptive bits of information -- known to geeks as "metadata" -- that describe your media. You can sort and filter based on tags, giving you myriad ways to manipulate your media. Learn which tags to bother changing, how to work with the Love tag, how to add lyrics and album art, and more.

View: iTunes has more views than flavors of ice cream at the corner grocery. Get the scoop on how to switch between views, where your album art is (or is not), and so forth.

Organize: Make a simple playlist of romantic songs, workout songs, Apple Watch songs, or whatever theme you like. Also, create smart playlists that, for example, comprise only your 5-star faves (or Loves!) or tunes you haven't heard recently. You'll also find help with operational issues like dealing with a huge library, multiple libraries, and where iTunes puts your media files.

Search: Find media in iTunes, plus learn tricks for narrowing a search and for locating duplicates.

Sync: You've put all your media in iTunes... now, how do you transfer it to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? This chapter considers many different user scenarios and has help for people who have too much music. It also notes options for playing media through a second-, third-, or fourth-generation Apple TV.

Cloud: What exactly comprises an iCloud Music Library? How do Apple Music and iTunes Match figure out whether your music matches tracks in the Apple Music Library? What is Beats 1? Kirk answers these questions and more.

Share: Find answers to questions about sharing iTunes library media with others, primarily through Home Sharing on a local network.

Burn and Print: Learn how to copy music from iTunes to a CD. Also, get directions for printing a song list, for example, to include in the jewel case of said CD.

Back Up: This short chapter has tips and inspiration for backing up your (potentially irreplaceable) iTunes media.

Extend with AppleScript: Mac users can make iTunes do more with AppleScript. Learn about key AppleScripts that you can download to make iTunes jump through even more hoops.



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Published 07 August 2016
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EAN13 9781457195693
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Downloads, Updates, Feedback
iTUNES 12:
APPLE MUSIC!Table of Contents
Read Me First .................................................................3

Introduction ..................................................................9

iTunes Quick Start ........................................................12

Play ............................................................................16

Rip .............................................................................52

Buy 72

Tag 88

View .........................................................................106

Organize ....................................................................127

Search ......................................................................165

Sync 170

Cloud ........................................................................189

Share 229

Burn .........................................................................235

Print 237

Back Up .....................................................................239

Bonus: Extend iT unes with AppleScripts .........................241

Learn More ................................................................245

About This Book .........................................................246

Copyright and Fine Print ..............................................250

Equinux Coupon 251

Rogue Amoeba Coupon ................................................252

Read Me First
Welcome to Take Control of iTunes 12: The FAQ, version 1. 1, pub -
lished in November 2015 by TidBITS Publishing Inc. This ebook was
written by Kirk McElhearn, and edited by Tonya Engst with help from
Kelly Turner and L auri Reinhardt.
This ebook shows you how to manage your audio and video libraries
using iTunes, and how to sync content to your iOS devices. If you want
to become an iTunes power user, this ebook is for you.
If you want to share this ebook with a friend, we ask that you do so
as you would with a physical book: “lend” it for a quick look, but ask
your friend to buy a copy for careful reading or reference. Discounted
classroom and Mac user group copies are available.
Copyright © 2015, Eyes of the World L imited. All rights reserved.
Updates and Mo re

You can access extras related to this ebook on the Web (use the link in
Ebook Extras, near the end; it’s available only to purchasers). On the
ebook’s Take Control Extras page, you can:
• Download any available new version of the ebook for free, or buy
any subsequent edition at a discount.
• Download various formats, including PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket.
(Learn about reading on mobile devices on our Device Advice page.)
• Read the ebook’s blog. You may find new tips or information, as
well as a link to an author interview.
If you bought this ebook from the Take Control Web site, it has been
added to your account, where you can download it in other formats
and access any future updates. However, if you bought this ebook
elsewhere, you can add it to your account manually; see Ebook Extras.

iTunes 12 has introduced a new way of navigating among the various
media libraries and view options. In addition, Apple hasn’t provided
official names for some iTunes interface elements. So I want to give
you an overview of the interface and the terms that I use (Figure 1 ).
Figure 1: Take control of the iTunes interface by matching the numbers
above with the descriptions below.
Playback controls: Found at the left of the toolbar, this is where you
see the Play button, which becomes a Pause button when you
play music, as well as the Next and Previous buttons.
iTunes L CD: L ook here, in the center of the toolbar, for information
about the music you play, as well as messages about the progress of
sync sessions with iOS devices.
iTunes Store: This portion of the toolbar displays the Account
button and your name if you are signed in to the store; if not, it dis -
plays the button followed by Sign In. Click here to access some parts
of the iTunes Store, such as your purchased list, and account info.
Search box: Nestled at the right on the toolbar, this box is where
you search for any type of content in your iTunes library or the iTunes
Store. Apple Music subscribers can also search the Apple Music
Library. (See How Do I Search in My L ibrary?.)
Media library: Click an icon at the left of the navigation bar to
access a media library, such as Music or Movies. Click the More
icon to access more libraries. Or, click the Home Sharing icon to
choose a shared library, if any are available. An attached iOS device
or mounted disc will appear at the right of this group of icons. (See
How Can I V iew My Files in iTunes? .)
Sub-library: With a media library selected at the left of the naviga-
tion bar, focus iTunes by selecting an option at the center. For
example, with the Music icon selected at the left, click Playlists to
access your playlists or click iTunes Store to browse music there. (See
What Are Those Buttons in the Middle of the Navigation Bar? .)
View Options: At the right of the navigation bar, this popover
controls how iTunes displays the content you’ve specified at the left
and center of the navigation bar. For example, with the Music icon and
My Music selected, you can choose Albums, to show music grouped by
album, or Artists, to have music organized by artist. (If you can’t see
the popover, you’ve chosen a combination of items in the navigation
bar that doesn’t have view options, such as the iTunes Store. )
Sidebar: The sidebar displays only for some types of content. For
example, it appears if you select the Music icon (at left) and then
Playlists (center) in the navigation bar.
Status bar: L ook here for information about the main section of
the iTunes window: how many items are in the view (or selected in the
view); the playing time of this content (or the selected content), and
the size of this content (or the selected content). The Status bar is not
visible by default; to display it, choose View > Show Status Bar.
Note: To review additional background information that might help
you understand this book better, such as finding System Preferences
and working with files in the Finder, read Tonya Engst’s free ebook
Read Me First: A Take Control Crash Course, available for free on the
Web or as a standalone ebook.

All blue text in this book is hot, meaning you can click (or tap) it, just
like a link on the Web. Some links take you to a Web page. Others go to
a different part of the book.
If you click a link that takes you to a different part of the book, you can
return quickly to the previous spot if your ebook reader offers a “back”
feature. For example, in iBooks, click the “Back to” link at the lower
left. Or, in Preview on the Mac, choose Go > Back or press Command-[.
What’s New in Versio n 1.1

This new version, revised for iTunes 12. 3 as well as iOS 9 and 10. 11 El
Capitan, covers a handful of minor changes:
• Changes to menus: iTunes 12. 3 changed the items available in
some of the popovers that display when you click the More icon.
I’ve updated screenshots throughout the book to reflect this.
• iOS 9 and WatchOS 2: I replaced several screenshots to reflect
minor changes to iOS 9 and WatchOS 2.
• Purchased content i n your i Tunes li brary: Apple has made
some slight changes to the way purchased content displays in your
iTunes library. I cover this in Where Are My iTunes Store Purchases?
• iOS 9 no longer syncs apps: A new sidebar called Turn On
Automatic Downloads for Apps explains why iTunes no longer copies
apps from iOS 9 devices during a sync. The sidebar recommends that
you turn on automatic downloads for apps so that you keep a local set.
• New Apple TV: Apple released the fourth-generation Apple TV in
late October. This new Apple TV supports Apple Music; at the time
of this writing, Apple has not updated the software for the second-
or third-generation Apple TV with support for Apple Music.
• Telling Apple Musi c what you don’t li ke: When iTunes 12. 2
was released, there was no way to tell Apple Music’s For You that
you didn’t like a recommended playlist or album; Apple has correct -
ed this omission, as I describe in How Do I Tell Apple Music That I
Don’t L ike Something?.
What Was New in Versio n 1.0

The previous version of this ebook was a major overhaul of Take
Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ. Besides a general overhaul to add new
screenshots and modernize the text, important changes were:
• The new navi gation b ar: iTunes has a new navigation bar that
lets you select which type of media you view and which media “sub -
library” or other option. See How Can I V iew My Files in iTunes? .
• Apple Music: Apple Music includes on-demand music streaming,
recommendations, Apple Music Radio and the Beats 1 station, and
Connect. I explain how all these services work throughout the Cloud
• iCloud Musi c L ibrary: The optional iCloud Music L ibrary com -
bines all your iTunes music in the cloud, making it accessible from
any device that’s signed in to your iTunes Store account. I discuss
this feature in the Cloud chapter, but if you are considering turning
it on, or if you’ve not yet upgraded to iTunes 12 and are using
iTunes Match, read Be Careful with iCloud Music L ibrary first.
• Loves: iTunes now has “L oves,” ratings that you apply by clicking
a Love button. Unlike star ratings, which offer five values, L oves
are binary: you either love something or you don’t. See How Do I
Rate Songs?.
• Finding your way around i Tunes: In iTunes 12, Apple changed
some basic navigation techniques and the way you access the iTunes
Store. I look at the former throughout the book, notably in How Can
I V iew My Files in iTunes? , and I talk about the iTunes Store in Buy.
• Notification Center: iTunes 12 added a Notification Center
widget that you can use with OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later. I explain
how to set it up in Can My Mac Tell Me What I’m Hearing? .
• Shuffling music: Both the way you initiate shuffle and the way
iTunes displays songs has changed in iTunes 12. I look at this in
How Can I Shuffle My Music? .
• The Info dialog: iTunes 12 has changed the Info dialog, where you
adjust tags (Command-I). Read How Do I Add or Change Tags?.
• Apple Watch: You can use the Apple Watch to control iTunes
playback with the Remote app, and you can sync music to your wrist
computer. See How Do I Control iTunes Remotely? and How Do I
Put Music on an Apple Watch?.
• Viewing music videos: Apple has changed some aspects of
Viewing Music V ideos in iTunes 12.
• Books vs. audiobooks: If you’ve not yet upgraded to 10.9
Mavericks or you’re running iTunes for Windows, iTunes has a Books
library that can contain ebooks and audiobooks, whereas in Maver -
icks and later, the Books library is called Audiobooks and contains
only audiobooks. I discuss both cases throughout the book.
• Multi-Item Edit AppleScri pt applet: In What Can I Do with
AppleScripts?, I discuss ten essential AppleScripts that help you
work with iTunes. I’ve added one called Multi-Item Edit, which lets
you edit tags for multiple items in an interface that is similar to the
tag editing interface in iTunes 11 and earlier.
In January 2001, Apple introduced iTunes, which the company then
described as, “the world’s best and easiest to use ‘jukebox’ software
that lets users create and manage their own music library on their
Mac.” This first version of iTunes offered limited features: it could
play CDs; it could rip CDs in MP3 format only; it allowed users to
“organize” and browse their music collections; it could burn CDs; and
it could sync music files to MP3 players from Rio and Creative Labs.
This first version of iTunes was available only for Mac OS 9, but later
that year, when Apple released the first iPod, a Mac OS X version was
released. It wasn’t until October 2003 that Apple let loose a Windows
version of the program, ensuring that non-Mac users could buy iPods
and purchase music from the iTunes Store, opened earlier that year.
iTunes has come a long way. From being a limited MP3 ripping and
organizing program, iTunes has become a media center that organizes
music files (in several formats), videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and,
with the advent of the iPhone and iPad, apps, ringtones, and alert
tones. Over time, iTunes added playlists, the Genius feature, enhanced
organizational tools, and more. The iTunes Store became a vast digital
marketplace selling music, movies, and TV shows, offering video
rentals and podcast subscriptions, housing the hugely successful App
Store, and, with the arrival of the iPad in 2010, selling ebooks as well.
And in June 2015, Apple launched its streaming music service, Apple
Music. With more than 30 million tracks from the iTunes Store, tight
integration with your existing iTunes library, and an Android app,
Apple Music has a good chance of becoming the biggest streaming
music service in the world.
Over the years, iTunes has become complex and daunting to many
users. While some basic functions, such as ripping CDs and creating
playlists, are simple, the finer points of these features—such as which
format and bit rate to use when ripping CDs, and how to create useful
smart playlists—are arcane. iTunes has hundreds of discrete features,
and understanding the subtleties of this program can be difficult.
I’ve long been a serious music fan, and over the years I’ve amassed
a music collection that currently contains more than 100, 000 tracks.
I’m a big listener of classical music (more than half of my library),
and one of my special loves is German art songs, or lieder (currently
around 10, 000 tracks), but I’m also a Deadhead (a fan of the Grateful
Dead) and have hundreds of recordings of their live concerts. I like
jazz, progressive rock, ambient music, vintage punk rock, and much
more. I also regularly listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and I enjoy
listening to audio recordings of Shakespeare’s plays.
I currently own two Macs, an iPhone, several iPods, two iPads (maxi
and mini), and an Apple TV. Over time, I have confronted the many
hurdles that iTunes presents to using digital content on these devices.
In addition, as a Senior Contributor to Macworld, I’ve written over
one hundred articles about using iTunes and iOS devices, notably for
Macworld’s “Ask the iTunes Guy” column. (I ’ve included links to some
of my articles to provide more information than will fit in this book. )
In this book, I present much of what I’ve learned about iTunes. The
wide range of music that I listen to, and the variety of content in my
iTunes library, has challenged me to discover the most practical and
efficient solutions to the problems of ripping, tagging, organizing,
managing, and playing a large library of music. I’ve written this book
in a question-answer format, because a program like iTunes, which is
used in a non-linear manner, lends itself to this type of approach.
There are several aspects of iTunes that I don’t deal with here. I don’t
cover buying, organizing, or syncing iOS apps. I also don’t talk about
the Music app or other apps used to listen to music on iOS devices.
I do discuss syncing, but only to show you how to put media—audio,
video, and ebooks—on Apple’s iOS devices; I don’t cover syncing other
types of data, such as contacts, calendars, notes, and photos.
If you’ve ever been frustrated while trying to wrangle your music,
videos, podcasts, and audiobooks in iTunes, or if you’ve wondered
how to get the most out of the program’s features, read on.
Compatibility: This ebook focuses on using iTunes 12 with OS X
10.11 El Capitan. If your Mac is running 10.7 Lion (at least 10.7.5
is required for iTunes 12), 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks, or
10.10 Yosemite, you’ll find that most of this book is in line with these
older versions of Mac OS X—perhaps with minor modifications.
Note fo r Windo ws Users
The screenshots in this book are from a Mac; however, iTunes for
Windows is almost exactly the same as the Mac version of the
program. With the exception of a handful of very small points, and the
“bonus” chapter at the end, everything I discuss applies to both the
Mac and Windows versions of iTunes.
A notable difference is the keyboard shortcuts. When I talk about
pressing the Command key on the Mac, together with another key,
to carry out an operation, Windows users should press the Control
key. When I say to press the Option key, Windows users should use
the Shift key. Check the iTunes help for a full list of shortcuts.
Another important difference is opening the iTunes preferences. In
Windows, you choose Edit > Preferences.
iTunes Quick Start
This Quick Start describes what you can learn in each chapter. You
can go to the beginning of any chapter to view a list of that chapter’s
specific topics. Click (or tap!) any chapter title to jump to the content.
Optional warm-up reading
Flip back to Basics to review basic navigation in the iTunes interface,
plus find out where the sidebar went in iTunes 12.
Play music, video s, audio books, and mo re
Beyond finding the answer to How Do I Start Playing Music? , read Play
to discover Shuffle and Genius, features that help you enjoy music in
different ways, and to learn about using Up Next to queue music for a
listening session. The chapter also helps you play videos and audio-
books and explains how to play media through other devices, and even
control iTunes with Apple’s Remote iOS app.
Rip CDs and add media files to your iTunes library
When you rip, or import, a music CD, you add its music to your iTunes
library. You can then listen to it on your computer or sync it to an iOS
device. But you can rip more than music: you can rip audiobooks from
CDs or add videos from DV Ds that you own. Read Rip.
Buy music, audio books, mo vies, and TV shows
Ripping CDs is, for some people, so 20th century, though I still buy
CDs, because they are often cheaper than digital releases. It’s easy to
buy music online from a variety of vendors, but since the iTunes Store
is an integral part of iTunes, in this book I look at using the iTunes
Store to add music, videos, and more to your iTunes library. I also
explain how to move digital content into iTunes. Read Buy.
Work with po dcasts
Podcasts can provide a nearly endless source of free information,
entertainment, and companionship. Read Where Can I Find Podcasts?
to get started, and follow links at the end of that topic to find more
podcast tips.
Tag media so you can o rganize and find it later
Tagging media files is the most important thing you can do to control
of your iTunes library. You could just add all your music to your iTunes
library and play it at random, but without correct tags, you’d never
find what you want, and you wouldn’t be able to make unique smart
playlists. I’ll show you which tags you can change, how to change them
for single and multiple items, and how to streamline tagging so you can
easily organize your library. Read Tag.
View yo ur media library in iTunes
You’ve ripped and bought music and videos, and you’ve tagged your
files. And, you’ve subscribed to a growing collection of podcasts. Now
you need to choose the right way to view your ever-growing media
library so you can find what you want to listen to easily. Read View.
Get organized with playlists and advanced file
Playlists let you organize your music so you can do more than play
songs by album, or at random. You can even set up listening sessions
with smart playlists, which use tags to find what you want to hear
automatically. Get started in the Organize chapter with A Word of
Wisdom… and keep going from there.
The Organize chapter also explains how iTunes stores your files so you
can find them on your computer if you ever need to.
Find co ntent in yo ur iTunes library
The larger your library, the harder it is to find what you’re looking for.
There are ways to view content by Artist, Genre, or other criteria, but
sometimes you want to find a specific song, album, or movie quickly.
I’ll also explain how to tidy your library by finding duplicates. Read
Choose what to sync to your iOS device, and find
the best way to sync fo r yo ur situatio n
If you have an iOS device, iTunes is the tool you’ll use to put your
media files on it, along with apps and other information. The way you
set up your media library in iTunes reflects how these files become
accessible on your portable device. I’ll show you how to sync your
favorite media files to your iOS device exactly the way you want to.
Read Sync.
Work with iClo ud Music Library
In addition to accessing the iTunes Store to re-download purchases,
you can use Apple’s cloud-based services in several ways. With iCloud
Music L ibrary, you can put your entire music library in the cloud, using
Apple Music or iTunes Match (or both), so you can access it on other
computers and devices. Read Cloud.
Stream music
Apple Music is Apple’s new streaming music service. It includes on-
demand streaming, music discovery, curated playlists, and recommen -
dations, plus a live radio station, Beats 1. Read What Is Apple Music?.
Share yo ur iTunes library o n a ho me netwo rk
iTunes is not only designed to be used on its own, but also to be part
of a broader media network in a home or office. The Home Sharing
feature allows you to share your iTunes library on a local network,
and other users can load your library over the network and play your
music, watch your videos, and listen to your podcasts. With Home
Sharing, iTunes also offers an easy way to transfer media files from one
computer to another at home. If you buy new music, or rip a new CD,
others in your family can copy it to their libraries easily. Read Share.
Burn music and MP3 CDs
CDs are slowly going the way of the floppy disk, and fewer people use
them for music these days. You may still want to burn CDs, however,
to use in a car that doesn’t have a way for you to connect an iOS device.
Read Burn.
Print CD inserts and so ng listings
Printing from iTunes is probably not the first thing you’d want to do
with the program. But this feature can be useful: if you burn CDs, you
can use iTunes to print inserts with album covers and song lists. You
can also print lists of music in your iTunes library to take a hard-copy
with you when you go CD hunting. Read Print.
Back up yo ur media files
No matter how you add content to your iTunes library—whether you
rip your own CDs and DV Ds or buy media online—this content is as
ephemeral as all digital files. If you don’t back it up regularly, there’s
a chance that you’ll lose it. Read Back Up.
Extend iTunes with AppleScripts
iTunes does a lot; some people may say it does too much. But you may
want to go even further. If you use a Mac, you can take advantage of
AppleScripts to extend iTunes. This chapter gives you a taste of what
these scripts can do, and it tells you about some of my favorite
AppleScripts. Read Bonus: Extend iTunes with AppleScripts .
Music is made for listening, and iTunes handles this task well.
Whether you want to play CDs or listen to music you’ve bought or
ripped, iTunes gives you several ways of playing music. Shuffle and
Genius help you enjoy music in different ways, and with Up Next you
can queue your music for a listening session.
You can also play your media through other devices, and even control
iTunes with Apple’s Remote app on an iOS device or Apple watch.
The last two topics in this chapter look playing audiobooks and videos.
Play To pics

How D o I Start Playing Music?

How D o I Play CDs? | Do I Have to Play a CD in Order?

How Can I See Just Playback Controls?
I Shuffle My Music? | Can I Shuffle Albums?

Can My Mac Tell Me What I’m Hearing?

What Is Genius? | How D o I Turn On Genius? | How D o I Create a

Genius Playlist? | o I Play Genius Mixes? | What Is Genius


How Do I Replay a Recent Song?

How D o I Use Up Next?

How D o I Make My Music Sound Better?

Can I Play Media over a Network?

How D o I Control iTunes Remotely?

How D o I Display Eye Candy While Listening to Music?

Is There Anything Special to Know about Listening to Audiobooks?

How D o I Watch Videos in iTunes?

How Do I Start Playing Music?

Playing media in iTunes is a lot like using a CD player (remember
those?). Select the album, playlist, disc, or track that you want to hear
and then click the Play button near the left of the toolbar (or any
handy Play button; you may see more than one). The Play button in the
toolbar becomes a Pause button that you can click to stop playing.
Note: I talk about the different views that you can see in the My

Music or Playlists pane in View, and I discuss the Column Browser in

that chapter; see Search to learn how to find media directly, without


To skip ahead one track, click the Next button; to skip back, click
the Previous button. To scrub (skip) ahead or back, press and hold
one of these buttons or drag the playhead in the iTunes L CD, the status
display at the top-center of the iTunes window, in the toolbar. And to
change the volume, just drag the volume slider in the toolbar.
Your playlists may contain a combination of songs stored locally and
in the cloud. And, if you have iTunes set up to show all your music—
locally stored music and music in the cloud—when iTunes reaches
a song in the cloud, it will stream the song; depending on your band -
width, there may be a lag as iTunes starts pulling down the song.
Beaming to the Currently Playing Track
No matter what is playing in iTunes, and no matter where you are—

whether you’re looking at a different playlist, or a different part of

your library, or even the iTunes Store—you can always beam to the

track that’s currently being played, in the location where you chose

it (a playlist, your library, a CD, etc.), by pressing Command-L.

However, if you’re listening to something in your Up Next queue,

iTunes will take you to that track in your Music library, even if you

added it to Up Next from a playlist.

Keyboard Co ntrol
If iTunes is the frontmost window, you can press the Space bar to
play and pause music. You can also raise the volume by pressing
Command-Up arrow, and lower it by pressing Command-Down arrow.
(Windows users, read Note for Windows Users.)
You can also control iTunes with the media keys on Apple keyboards
and on some third-party keyboards. These are:
✦ F8: Play/Pause
✦ F7: Previous
✦ F9: Next
✦ F10: Mute volume
✦ F11: Decrease volume
✦ F12: Increase
If the keys listed above aren’t working, try also pressing the fn key.
Or uncheck “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys” in
System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard.
Another tool that can control iTunes from the keyboard is Objective
Development’s LaunchBar. (Disclosure: I’m the author of Take
Control of LaunchBar.) LaunchB ar requires more keystrokes than
some other tools to perform basic operations—play/pause, change
tracks—but it lets you search your iTunes library, and start playing
songs, albums, and playlists from the keyboard without switching
to iTunes.
Several other third-party tools can help you control media playback,
and I wrote about some of them in a Macworld article, Four Ways to
Control iTunes .
How Do I Play CDs?

If you still listen to CDs, you can use iTunes to play them through your
computer, which may be connected to speakers or even a full stereo.
Launch iTunes, and then slide a CD into your computer—if it has an
optical drive; if not, you’ll need an external CD/DV D drive. After a
few seconds, iTunes displays the contents of the CD. (If not, click the
CD icon in the navigation bar. ) Click the Play button, either in the
iTunes toolbar or in the header above the CD’s content ( Figure 2 ), to
start playing the disc.
Figure 2: iTunes displays the CD’s tracks in a list, with the Play
button in the toolbar and in the CD’s header bar. The iTunes LCD
is in the center of the toolbar, here with an Apple logo in it, because
no music is playing.
To specify what iTunes does when you insert a CD in your drive,
choose iTunes > Preferences > General.
Near the bottom of the General pane, the When a CD Is Inserted pop -
up menu has five options:
• Show CD: The CD appears in the iTunes window with its track
names, if possible (Figure 2 , above). The track names appear if
the “Automatically retrieve CD track names from Internet” box just
below this pop-up menu is selected, and if the CD can be identified
and is in the Gracenote CDDB database. (Naturally, this requires
that you have an active Internet connection. )
• Play CD: This does what you’d expect.
• Ask to Import CD: A dialog asks if you want to Rip the CD.
• Import CD: iTunes starts ripping right away.
• Import CD and Eject: If you plan to rip a lot of CDs, this option
makes it easier to rip them sequentially with little intervention.
Do I Have to Play a CD in Order?

Of course not. Just like a CD player, you have several options. You can
shuffle (play in a random order), repeat (loop and continue playing
until you tire of it), or even choose which tracks you want to play:
• Shuffle a CD: When a song is playing or paused, a Shuffle
button appears at the left of the progress bar in the iTunes L CD in
the toolbar. To shuffle tracks (play them in a random order), just
click the Shuffle button; the arrows become blue to show that
shuffle mode is activated. The track order of your CD won’t change,
but if you click the Next button, iTunes jumps to a different
track at random. To turn off Shuffle, click the Shuffle button
• Repeat CDs or tracks: Choose Controls > Repeat > All to repeat
the entire CD until your battery runs out or you stop playback.
Choose One from the Repeat submenu to play the current song over
and over, until you simply have to turn it off.
Tip: You can also turn on and adjust shuffle and repeat from the

Controls menu.

• Play only selected tracks: If there are certain tracks that you
don’t want to listen to, click the checkboxes next to them to uncheck
them. iTunes plays only checked tracks.
• Program your CD: With a CD player, you can “program” tracks,
choosing the order to play them. To do this in iTunes, drag a track
to the position you want. (The CD must be sorted by track order;
if it is, the leftmost column header above the track numbers, which
contains no text, will contain a caret (^) pointing up. If you don’t
see this, click the header, and click again if the caret points down. )
How Can I See Just Playback Co ntrols?
To focus on listening, you can view the MiniPlayer, which provides
playback controls, album art, and little else (Figure 3 ).
Figure 3: Top, the MiniPlayer shows artwork, a song name (London
Calling), an artist (The Clash), and an album (London Calling).
Below, more controls display when you hover over the MiniPlayer.
To open the MiniPlayer:
• With audio playing, click the album artwork in the iTunes L CD,
at the top of the window (if the audio you’re playing doesn’t have
album artwork, you’ll see just a square with two musical notes).
• Choose Window > Switch to MiniPlayer. This closes the main
iTunes window.
• Choose Window > MiniPlayer. This lets you also keep the iTunes
window open when you open the MiniPlayer.
To see the basic playback controls in the MiniPlayer, hover your cursor
over it.
Other MiniPlayer options are these:
• Volume: Click the Speaker button and make your adjustment.
• Search: Click the Search button to display a search field, and
then search for any music in your iTunes library by song name,
album name, artist, or playlist. You can then start playing music by
double-clicking an item in the list, or you can add music to Up Next
from the list.
• Up Next: Click the Up Next button to view or change what’s in
your play queue (see How Do I Use Up Next? ).
• Time info: At the bottom of the MiniPlayer is a progress bar. A
time display at its right shows the elapsed time of the current track.
If you click the time display, you can cycle through the track’s
elapsed time, remaining time, and total time.
• Change the window size: Drag either vertical edge.
• Switch to the iTunes window: Click the Close button.
• Switch to/from the larger Artwork Mi niPlayer: Click the
expand button or the artwork. The width of this window matches
the width of the MiniPlayer, to a maximum of 400 pixels on a
standard display and 800 pixels on a Retina display. You can resize
this window by dragging from any edge, so you can make it tiny, but
if you make it too narrow, the album art will disappear.
When you hover over the Artwork MiniPlayer, you reveal, as in
Figure 4 , playback and window controls.
Figure 4: To display the controls in the Artwork MiniPlayer,
hover over it.
Tip: By default, the MiniPlayer acts like a normal window, but you
can have it float over other windows so it’s always handy. To do this,
go to the iTunes Advanced preferences and select “Keep MiniPlayer
on top of all other windows.”
How Can I Shuffle My Music?

Sometimes, you want to listen to music, but you don’t know what you
want to hear. It’s good to be able to play music at random, either just
enjoying the serendipity of shuffle mode, or waiting to find a song that
grabs you, then playing its album. You can play the entire collection of
songs in your iTunes library in random order, letting iTunes help you
when you don’t know what you want to listen to; or you can limit the
shuffle to just an album or playlist.
To shuffle your entire music library, click from left to right in the
navigation bar to select Music, My Music, and Songs. Start playing
any song and then click the Shuffle button in the iTunes L CD, at
the top of the window.
To mix up the songs in a playlist, album, artist, or genre , click the
Shuffle button in the header for that list, album, or other group
and then click the adjacent Play button.
When you play music in shuffle mode, iTunes jumps around in the list
of songs to be played, but leaves the songs displayed in their original
order. You can see the shuffled order in the Up Next list, which I
describe in How Do I Use Up Next? .
To turn off Shuffle while the music is playing, click the now-blue
Shuffle button in the iTunes L CD. Playback continues from its
current position in the order you see in iTunes.
Tip: To have iTunes pick a subset of your songs that go together, and
shuffle that list, turn on Genius Shuffle, described in What Is Genius
Shuffle?, later in this chapter.
Shuffling All Your Songs in iOS 9
To run your music through the mixer in Apple’s iOS Music app, from
the My Music screen, just swipe down to reveal the Shuffle All bar
near the top of the screen and tap it. Tap it again to reshuffle. To
switch Shuffle off, work in the Now Playing screen (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Left: Tap the name of the current song near the bottom
of the screen, “Tombstone Blues,” in this case, to open the Now
Playing screen. Right: The Shuffle button at the bottom of Now has a dark background, indicating that Shuffle is on. Tap it
to turn off Shuffle.
Once you’ve turned on Shuffle, it stays on. So if you start playing
a song later, the Music app will still be in Shuffle mode.
If you choose an album—such as in the Recently Added section at
the top of the My Music screen—tapping the Shuffle button will only
shuffle the songs of that album, as it should.
There’s another way to do this: if your device supports Siri, hold
the Home button and say, “Shuffle music.”
Can I Shuffle Albums?

Wouldn’t it be great to tell iTunes to play a random album? iTunes can
do this, but not very well. To shuffle by album, choose Controls >
Shuffle, then choose Albums in the bottom section of the submenu. In
the top section of that submenu, make sure to choose On, or click the
Shuffle button in the iTunes L CD (if there’s already music playing;
if not, that button won’t be visible).
Next, click the Play button to start playing music. When iTunes gets
to the end of the album, it plays another, randomly-selected album. If
you don’t like the album it’s selected, though, you’ll have to skip
through all the tracks to start another one.
There are some AppleScripts that do this better, allowing you to easily
choose a different album if the one iTunes proposes doesn’t match
your mood. (I discuss AppleScript at the end of this book, in Bonus:
Extend iTunes with AppleScripts .) Doug Adams, who creates and
curates a collection of AppleScripts for iTunes, has two scripts de -
signed to play random albums:
• Play Random Album picks an album from your Music library, adds
it to a Some Random Album playlist, and starts playing it. You can
listen to this album, or run the script again to choose another one.
• Random Full Albums to Pla ylist takes a number as input (such as 5)
and then randomly picks that number of albums to add to a Some
Random Albums playlist. You can play them all, delete some and
play the rest, or run the script again to get another aleatory selec -
Can My Mac Tell Me What I’m Hearing?
iTunes 12 for Mac hooks into Notification Center in 10. 8 Mountain
Lion and later, so when a new song begins playing, iTunes can send
a notification in the form of a banner or an alert ( Figure 6 ). Also,
instead of receiving a banner or alert (or in addition to receiving one),
you can collect these notifications in Notification Center.