9 Replies Latest reply: Jul 22, 2010 10:27 AM by rockmyplimsoul
sallenmd Level 1 (20 points)
I'm seeing a strange bug with my Smart Playlists on my 64GB 3rd Gen iPod Touch since upgrading to iOS 4. I use dozens of Smart Playlists, so I was very excited that they will finally appear in the folders I use to organize them in iTunes. For example, I have a folder of artist favorite lists.

The lists have criteria like this: Artist is Aerosmith + My Rating is greater than 2. With Live Update enabled, the playlists are empty or only have a few of the songs in them. With Live Update disabled, all of the songs appear in the lists. When I look at the lists on the iPod from iTunes, the songs are all in the lists. The songs are all on the iPod and can be seen in and played from the Songs, Artists and Albums tabs. They only do not appear in the Smart Playlists.

I've tested this by creating two Smart Playlists with the only difference between them being Live Update enabled versus not enabled. Viewed on the iPod the one with Live Update enabled contains no songs, but the other has all ten songs that meet the criteria. Viewed from within iTunes while docked, all ten songs appear in both playlists. Weird!

Anyone else seen this? Any ideas?

Built it Myself, Windows 7
  • Voyager-89 Level 1 (0 points)
    YES. This bug appeared the day I upgraded to iOS 4, and needless to say I was not happy about it. I assumed that restoring the iPod would probably fix it, so I finally did that this morning (without backup... a full erase and rebuilding). It did not work. So, I went Googling and found your post at the top of results.

    Since the restore didn't work, I decided to try some other stuff. Like you, I use playlists named after my favorite artists inside a "best of" folder to keep some of their highlights on my iPod at all times. For example, I had a "Massive Attack" playlist inside the "Best of Artists" folder with these criteria:

    Artist is Massive Attack
    Rating is greater than 4
    Comments does not contain "duplicate"

    Now, I have pretty much the entire Massive Attack discography, but only three seemingly randomly selected songs were making it into the playlist on the iPod (in iTunes, it was correct... lots of material from all of their albums).

    I add that "comments" criterion to my smart playlists just to avoid having duplicate songs from compilation albums and such taking up space on my iPod: I just write "duplicate" in the comments for any version I don't want, and that takes care of that.

    This is the problem. Apparently, iOS 4 introduced a bug whereby any smart playlist criterion involving the "Comments" field wreaks major havoc. I took that out of all my artists and composers smartlists, and voila... they were ALL populated correctly. (There were many playlists with this problem, and not only artists... classical composers too.)

    Just to see if the problem persisted generally with any "Comments" rule, I created a new playlist with this criteria:

    Artist is Massive Attack
    Rating is greater than 4
    Comments does not contain "blablablablabla"

    Of course, as I have nothing with that comment in my library, it obviously should make no difference, and in iTunes it did not. But — like clockwork — the playlist was no longer populated correctly on the iPod. BIG bug, Apple.

    I don't know if that helps you, but I thought I'd mention it. It's a very annoying bug, but at least I found a workaround. I just use "match only checked items" now, and uncheck the duplicates.

    (It appears you're using Windows. I'm using Snow Leopard with iTunes 9.2, btw.)
  • Voyager-89 Level 1 (0 points)
    Also, I tried your method (unchecking "Live Updating"), and that ALSO fixed the problem, even with my "blablablablabla" Comment criterion still there. So, multiple ways of fixing it apparently, but I would rather sacrifice the smooth duplicate-avoiding method than Live Updating.
  • sallenmd Level 1 (20 points)
    Thank you so much. I might never have figured that out. I use the word duplicate in the comment field for the very same reason as you. I might have an artist's greatest hits album plus a couple of complete regular albums that I really like. I think I'll go with your solution because I don't like giving up live updating either. Since Windows has no AppleScripts equivalent, there is no way to batch change settings or batch update playlists that don't use live updating.

    I hope apple fixes this bug.
  • Voyager-89 Level 1 (0 points)
    Glad I could help!

    Also, I don't know if you saw "rockmyplimsoul"s post on iLounge's forum, but he/she mentioned that adding a {"Playlist" is "Music"} criterion to these smart playlists (even without removing the "duplicate" thing) also fixes the problem. It took several minutes to update all my playlists, but that's the solution I ended up going with.

  • Reflective Turtle Level 1 (25 points)
    HI. This bug pre-dates iOS4 by at least 9 months. It is known and has been documented by Apple. See


    Which also means it's been around for at least three releases of iTunes without being fixed.

    Like you guys, it's really frustrating to go to the time and trouble of documenting a bug, trying a fix or two only to find it's been known for a good long time.
  • sallenmd Level 1 (20 points)
    "he/she mentioned that adding a {"Playlist" is "Music"} criterion"

    That's the solution I went with. Works fine. Thanks.
  • GeekBoy.from.Illinois Level 4 (2,805 points)
    I'm not sure if my "Smart Playlist Bug" is related to yours or not.

    My playlists are fairly simple, something like:
    Plays is 0
    + Kind does not contain video
    + Kind does not contain document
    + Any of the following:
    Title contains "zzz"
    or Title contains "yyy"
    Live Updating is enabled

    This worked "perfectly" on my iPod Touch 64GB (3rd Generation) running OS v3.1.3. After the upgrade to iOS 4, this no longer removes entries from the playlist once it has been played.

    After hearing your description, I have to wonder if it is related to the "does not contain" clauses in my criteria. Those are there because it I don't include them, and a video podcast makes its way into the playlist, it will cause the iPod interface in my Honda Element to fail to work with iOS4.
  • rockmyplimsoul Level 5 (6,550 points)
    The "Playlist is Music" criteria will disable Live Updating on the iPod, just like unchecking the option. The advantage of this method though is that you don't have to re-check the Live Updating box in the playlist definition to get the playlist to update each time you re-sync to iTunes. For whatever reason, breaking Live Updating is letting your playlist populate correctly.

    Note that Live Updating on the iPod is STILL broken with iOS4 when a smart playlist depends on the contents of another playlist (i.e. Playlist Is/Is Not criteria). Incredibly frustrating that Apple refuses to fix this bug that's been around since 3.0 was released.

    I reverted back to 2.2.1 on my 2G Touch to get Live Updating back (and 2.2.1 works with my car stereo). Oddly enough, Live Updating with 2.2.1 is also broken on the iPod! The exact same playlists that used to update just fine on my Touch will not update until I re-sync. The only difference now is that I'm using iTunes 9.2, so I think somehow iTunes plays a role in this bug, but on my 160GB CLassic Live Updating works just fine even with iTunes 9.2. Very strange ... and frustrating!

    (ps I'm a 'he' )
  • rockmyplimsoul Level 5 (6,550 points)
    Sadly, Live Updating +on the iPod+ remains broken with iOS 4. There might be certain criteria that break it (like the Playlist Is/ Is Not criteria) but your playlist should update on the iPod. You might try "Media Kind Is Music" rather than "Kind Does Not Contain ..." and see if that helps.