Syncing ratings from iPod back to iTunes

It doesn’t do this, by default, unless you’re syncing your whole music collection automatically. Which is a bit rubbish if, like me, you have an 8Gb iPod Touch and a 60Gb music library.

See, what I tend to do, to make sure I actually rotate my music and listen to more than one album (:-)) is have a smart playlist which contains 25 unrated songs selected randomly. But what I want to do is rate them on the ipod as they play and have their rating in iTunes updated on my next sync. Well, I’ve worked out it CAN be done, albeit in a slightly roundabout way.

  1. Create your smart playlist: Mine matches the rule Rating is: (no stars), limit to 25 items, match only checked items, live updating.
  2. I have another smart playlist which is my highest rated songs (this is one of the defaults you get) and another that I just drop random stuff I want to listen to in.
  3. Connect your iPod. In the summary screen, make sure “Sync only checked songs and videos” is checked. In the Music tab you want to check “Sync Music” and “Selected playlists”.
  4. Now select your playlists – I have me “Random Stuff” playlist, my “Top Rated” one and, of course, my “Unrated Songs” one.
  5. Sync your ipod. Listen to songs. Rate them. Sync it again and POOF! iTunes updates!

This all sounds horribly obvious, you cry – why bother writing about it? It’s the “Summary” tab that’s the stumbling point. By default, you wouldn’t check “Sync on checked…” because that would be silly. But if you don’t, it doesn’t sync back. Go figure.


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