Sync Random Albums to Your iPod, Not Just Random Tracks

Zack Stern's picture

Sync Random Albums to Your iPod, Not Just Random Tracks

I've been an iPod fan since the original, but it's taken me until the iPod video - and hacking my car to add an iPod interface - to try to fix a feature that's been missing since day one. Why can't I create a sync-able playlist full of random albums, not just a bunch of random tracks? Through a little-documented feature, I can, without trying to find a custom AppleScript.


First, since my iPods have always had less capacity than my full music library needs, I set up elaborate rules to get the best music onto the latest 'Pod. One of my smart playlists for syncing is full of recently added music:


> Select Choose File > New Smart Playlist. Uncheck the first box to match no rule, then limit to 10GB selected by most recently added.


Another Smart Playlist gives tracks I haven't heard recently:


> Create a new Smart Playlist without an initial rule, and limit it to 10GB selected by least recently played.


A third Smart Playlist includes current, infectious songs I can't get out of my head and wouldn't want to:


> Create a Smart Playlist with the rule "Last Played is in the last 2 weeks," and limit it to 25 items by most often played. The two-week rule makes sure to include only songs you've been picking recently versus all-time favorites.)


All these rules are great, but an Ars Technica forum visitor named Myra uncovered an undocumented way to create my elusive playlist of random albums for iPod transfer. The trick is to go to iTunes > Preferences > Playback, and shuffle by Albums. Then create a smart playlist without an initial rule, and limit it to 10GB selected by random.


Unfortunately, this turns regular iTunes shuffle-by-song playback into shuffle-by-album - but I'll put up with that to get complete, random albums on my iPod. This way, if I hear a single track I like, chances are, I have the full album, as well.


You can dial Smart Shuffle's smartness - don't you wish you could do the same to your boss?





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In somewhat the same vein, and if you're not too against custom script, I wrote a script that will sync playlists to the ipod when music is set to be manually managed (which I much prefer):


Doug Adams malformed. The URL is


Roberto Baldwin

Thanks for the heads up about the link. It has been fixed.




even after your article i get some question about synchronizing the free ipod music downloads that i made from a site. These are having videos in it.So how to sync them.

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