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Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ
Jan 10, 2012

Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ, Second Edition

Find answers to all your questions about iTunes 10!

Join iTunes expert Kirk McElhearn as he helps you become an iTunes 10 power user so you can get the most out of your audio, video, and book collections. You’ll also learn the best ways to transfer media to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod.

In this question-and-answer format title, Kirk helps you appreciate and understand the process of bringing media into iTunes, tagging it, adding album artwork, and organizing it into playlists. Once you’ve become an import specialist and tagging genius, you can enjoy your music, movies, audiobooks, and ebooks, and more without hassles when it’s time to find a particular item or when you want to do something special like sync a select subset of music to your iPod, create a party playlist, identify music you haven’t heard in a while, listen to the chapters in an audiobook in the proper order, or get the most out of iTunes in the Cloud features, including iTunes Match.

More Info

Coupons in the back of the book help you save $5 off Equinux’s SongGenie tool for adding missing metadata and $3 off Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil wireless audio streaming software.

Questions answered include:

  • How can I use iTunes Match to share music with my family?
  • How can I create a separate, smaller iTunes library for use with iTunes Match?
  • How can I put an audiobook into my iTunes Match setup?
  • How do I control sound quality when I import (rip) a music CD?
  • What should I consider before I rip an audiobook CD?
  • How do I turn on Genius?
  • Where are good places to shop for digital music besides the iTunes Store?
  • Which tags should I consider adding?
  • How do I add lyrics to my tracks?
  • How can I locate music that I haven’t listened to in a while?
  • What special things can I do with smart playlists?
  • What AppleScripts can I use to extend iTunes?
  • How do I share my iTunes library over a network?
  • What can I print with iTunes?
  • What’s the best way to deal with my huge music library?
What's New

What's New in the Second Edition

Changes between the first and second editions of this ebook are aimed at discussing new features added after iTunes version 10.0.1 through 10.5.2. Altogether, this update includes about 30 pages of new content. Here are the highlights of what’s been updated:

  • A new chapter describes Apple’s new iTunes in the Cloud features, which are part of iCloud. There are three elements: automatic downloads of new purchases; the ability to download previous purchases from the iTunes Store; and iTunes Match, which lets you put your iTunes music library in the cloud. See Cloud.
  • A new tip, Choosing a Sync Method, discusses the Wi-Fi syncing feature that Apple added in iTunes 10.5.
  • In What Interesting Things Can I Do with Smart Playlists? I’ve added a bullet item to the end about conditions for creating smart playlists matching an iTunes Match status or location.
  • The last two bullet items in How Do I Make My iTunes Music Sound Better? offer new tips for using high-end audio to improve sound quality from iTunes.
  • In Where Else Can I Buy Music Online?, I’ve significantly downgraded my recommendation for the eMusic online music-subscription service and added more information about additional online music dealers. 
  • A new topic discusses Where Can I Stream Music From?.
  • What’s the Best Way to Back Up Media Files? is updated to note that Apple removed the backup feature from iTunes with the release of iTunes 10.4.
  • Sprinkled throughout the ebook are additional tips and information that I have gleaned since the first edition was released, in part thanks to questions and feedback from readers like you.
  • Because the Take Control series has begun producing EPUBs in-house, the EPUB version of this edition has an improved layout and looks more like a Take Control ebook.

What Was New in Version 1.1

Changes between the 1.0 and 1.1 versions of this ebook are aimed at making the text accurate for iTunes version 10.0.1, which shipped shortly after version 1.0 of the ebook was published. Here are the highlights of what’s been updated.

  • I deleted “How Do I Find Recommendations in the iTunes Store?” because Apple removed the Genius sidebar, which offered real-time recommendations based on music you were playing or that you had selected in your iTunes library.
  • I updated How Can I Discover New Music That My Friends Like? to describe using Ping in iTunes 10.0.1, and especially the Ping sidebar that replaces the Genius sidebar. The topic also now links to an AppleScript that you can use to hide the new Ping buttons in iTunes 10.0.1.
  • This version of the ebook also includes a link to a TidBITS article about the wide world of iTunes library sharing. See Can You Tell Me More about iTunes Library Sharing?

Does this ebook cover iTunes on the Macintosh? In Windows?

Kirk created this ebook using a Macintosh, but with Mac and Windows users in mind. With the exception of a handful of small points and the “bonus” chapter at the end about AppleScript, everything in the ebook applies to both the Mac and Windows versions of iTunes. Windows users who like to use keyboard shortcuts will want to keep in mind that some keys will be different in Windows. A sidebar in the “Read Me First” chapter points out the specific differences—Command on the Mac maps to Control in Windows, and Option (in iTunes) maps to Shift.

I know this ebook is about iTunes 10. Even so, what are the hardware and software minimums for running iTunes 11?

According to Apple, here’s what you need:

  • Macintosh: To run iTunes 11 on a Mac, you need to have 10.6.8 Snow Leopard installed, or be running a newer version of Mac OS X, such as 10.7 Lion or 10.8 Mountain Lion. (If you are still running 10.5 Leopard, you can’t run iTunes 11, but you can run iTunes 10.)

  • Windows: To use iTunes 11 in Windows, your computer should have at least a 1GHz Intel or AMD processor and 512 MB of RAM. Your operating system can be Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.

To learn more about the version history of iTunes, including which versions of iTunes are required to sync different older Apple mobile devices, consult Wikipedia’s iTunes version history article.

Update Plans

January 23, 2013 – We don’t plan to update this ebook again. A new edition, Take Control of iTunes 11: The FAQ, is available.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Helpful Links for iTunes 11

    Kirk is busily working on a revision to his iTunes FAQ book to take into account the myriad changes that have come with iTunes 11, which Apple released at the end of November 2012. In the meantime, you can get familiar with many of the changes by perusing some online articles.

    A good place to start is Kirk’s own Macworld review of iTunes 11, iTunes 11 adds cool features, but can be jarring to longtime users (5 December 2012)

    Kirk has also posted several times on his blog, Kirkville, about iTunes 11:

    Several TidBITS articles also provide insight into iTunes 11:

    With these articles under your belt, you should be ready to approach Apple’s latest version of its venerable jukebox software until Kirk’s revised FAQ is ready.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

  2. iTunes 10.6 Offers New On-The-Fly Conversion Options

    Apple recently released iTunes 10.6. The new version adds compatibility with the soon-to-be-shipping new iPad, as well as the new Apple TV. In addition to these compatibility changes, one new feature will interest some iTunes users.

    As you may know, when you sync to an iOS device, you can have iTunes automatically convert your music files to a lower bit rate, so you can save space on the portable device. Previously, the only choice you had was 128 kbps. But iTunes 10.6 offers three choices: 128, 192, and 256 kbps (as shown in the screenshot below). You can access this option on the Summary pane after you select your iPod in the iTunes source list.

    This change will certainly please those who have iTunes libraries with music in lossless format, but who don’t want to downsample their music to 128 kbps. The three options available are sufficient for all users; if you want more than 256 kbps, then you’ll just sync lossless files.

    Note that this conversion can take a long time, so the first sync may take hours–especially if your iOS device has a lot of storage–but subsequent syncs, if you’ve updated only a small amount of your library, will be much quicker.

    Posted by Kirk McElhearn (Permalink)

  3. How to Consolidate iTunes Libraries

    Reader Mike M. wrote in to ask,

    Over the years, I have four or five iTunes libraries running around on various drives. Is there a way to consolidate all of them to ONE library, wherein I have all my tunes, but no dupes? I’m guessing there may be a way I can spend two weeks doing it by hand, but…well, you know….thanks in advance!

    Kirk wrote back to say:

    You’ve got a confusing situation. I’d recommend looking at Dupin: It’s an app designed to weed out duplicates. If you were simply to add all the music from each library to one main library, then use Dupin, you should be able to clean things out. Dupin will certainly save you a lot of time. Now, if you also want to bring in playlists from each library, have a look at this Macworld article, which shows how to export and import playlists: This will be a fastidious task, but if you simply want the music, use Dupin and it should be relatively painless.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Kirk McElhearn is a freelance writer specializing in Macs, iPods, iTunes, digital music, and more. In addition to having written or co-written a dozen books, he is a Senior Contributor to Macworld magazine and he contributes to several other publications. He reviews classical CDs for MusicWeb and audiobooks for Audiofile, and he is a translator from French to English.