Discover your own iTunes Library

iTunes Genius menuIf you’re like me, you have a huge iTunes library and often forget what’s in there. iTunes Genius is a great feature that helps you rediscover your own music. It’s kind of like your own radio station. Just choose a song you’d like to listen to, right-click on the song, and choose “Create Genius Playlist”. iTunes will generate a playlist of songs in the same genre as your chosen song. The default length is 25 songs, but you can tell it to choose as many as 100 songs using the drop-down menu under the playlist title.

Prevent iTunes from auto-playing videos on shuffle

Do you ever listen to your iTunes library on shuffle only to have a music video pop-up instead of a song? Here is a simple hack to allow a seamless music listening experience.

  1. Go to File > New > Smart Playlist
  2. Change “Artist” to “Media Kind”. Then it should read “is Music”
  3. Click OK

You’ll see a new Smart Playlist in the left column. You can rename it if you like. Since it’s a “Smart” Playlist, it will automatically add new audio files anytime you add new songs to your library. Next time you want to listen to your library on shuffle, just play this playlist instead and you will avoid obnoxious video pop-ups!

Listening to podcasts

A podcast is an episodic series of video or audio files that are downloaded or streamed online. Think of it as a radio show that you can listen to/watch on your computer at any time. You can either listen directly on a website or subscribe to the Podcast through a Podcast client.

The easiest way to find and consume Podcasts is through iTunes. Go to the iTunes Store and click on the Podcasts category. Find a Podcast and either download episodes you want to listen to or subscribe to the whole show. When you subscribe, all new episodes will automatically be downloaded to your computer when they are released.

If you don’t have iTunes there are plenty of other podcast clients available.

My favorite podcasts are This American Life (NPR) and WTF with Marc Maron.

iTunes Radio

Bored of the same old music? Did you know you can listen to the radio for free in iTunes? Go to Preferences > General and make sure the Radio checkbox is selected. Click on the Radio icon under your library, browse through the different genres of music and click on the Radio station you want to try. If you find something you really like, you can drag it over to a playlist to find it more easily later.

Return to your track in iTunes

While listening to music in iTunes, you may decide to look through your library or browse the iTunes Store. To get back to your song/playlist quickly, just hit CMD-L (Mac) or CTRL-L (PC) and it will take you back to where you started.

Quickly access iTunes

Did you know you don’t have to navigate to the iTunes window in order to play, pause or advance a track? Just right-click on the iTunes icon in your dock and you’ll see several options to control playback.

Authorizing iTunes accounts

When you buy music or other media through iTunes, only devices authorized by your iTunes account can use them. You can authorize up to five computers to use the files you purchase. This is useful when you want to share your media with other computers in your home or with your friends.

You can only authorize or deauthorize a particular computer directly through the computer in question. This means it is important to deauthorize any computer you plan to sell, give away, or reformat.

If you need to deauthorize a computer and don’t have access to it anymore, the only option is to deauthorize ALL computers associated with your iTunes account on your computer. This can be done only once per year, and—for some reason—only when your account has five computers authorized.

Read more on Apple’s website

Syncing Mac and Mobile

If you don’t have an iPhone but you’d like to synchronize your Mac’s files and settings (i.e. contacts, calendars, photos) with your phone, SyncMate might be able to help.

SyncMate is an application that will sync your Mac with Windows Mobile, Android, Nokia phones, additional Mac or Windows computers, Google and Dropbox accounts, online storage, USB drives and Sony PSP. You can sync a multitude of applications and files such as your Address book, Calendar, bookmarks, iTunes files and iPhoto albums.

Try it out »

Using your Spacebar

Did you know that your spacebar has many different uses? One of my favorite shortcuts is using it to pause movies and music. This works in many audio/visual programs and websites such as iTunes, Quicktime, Netflix and YouTube. Try it out next time!