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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > WTF OMG BBQ!?! (Live Updating on iPhone)

WTF OMG BBQ!?! (Live Updating on iPhone)
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ort888
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Jun 24, 2009, 12:30 AM
 
The playlists on the iPhone don't support live updated? Are you kidding me? Seriously? Like for real?

Really?

REALLY?

REALLY????

I have a rather complicated system set up to cycle through all of my music. It involves multiple playlists, that feed into a master playlist that USED TO update itself on the fly so that I always had a controlled variety of music and never heard the same song twice in a certain amount of time.

Well all of that is right in the crapper now because apparently the iPhone, the flagship of Apple's iPod lineup, doesn't support something my 5 year old iPod does.

Playlists used to update on the fly. If I heard a song on Tuesday, I would not hear it on Wednesday. My playlist would start at about 500 songs and slowly wind down to nothing by the end of the week as played songs were removed. Well, all of that is over now. Songs only remove themselves when I sync with iTunes. My 500 song playlist is 500 songs long on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... it never shrinks. If I stop using the phone as an iPod and go back to it 30 minutes later, I can hear all of the songs I heard an hour ago.

This is freaking ridiculous. I live on these playlists. I listen to my iPod for about 8 hours a day, every day. If I had known this was the case I might have had to reconsider buying an iPhone.

I find this to be highly irritating and am shocked that a bigger stink has not been made of this.

Anyone have any workarounds? Sympathy? Answers? Anything?

This sucks.

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Big Mac
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Jun 24, 2009, 12:36 AM
 
Wait, wait. Huh?

You thought that your playlists would automatically delete songs after playing them? I've never heard of that feature in my life, and I've owned iPods since the 2G.

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ort888  (op)
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Jun 24, 2009, 12:59 AM
 
Not delete them them, but rather remove them from my playlist.

Let's say the playlist is...

RATING = 5 STARS
LAST PLAYED = NOT IN THE LAST 10 DAYS

And it's limited to 100 songs.

On any old iPod, if I sync this and play 10 songs on it on Tuesday... when I play the playlist again on Wednesday, it will only have 90 songs on it... because the 10 I listened to the day before no longer meet the criteria for the playlist (since they have been played in the last 10 days).

This method will ensure you don't listen to the same songs over and over again and I've used it on 4 different iPods in the last 5 years.

However, on the iPhone, it doesn't rebuild the playlist until I sync with iTunes. My 100 song playlist never goes down in size, and played songs are never removed.

It's really annoying.
( Last edited by ort888; Jun 24, 2009 at 01:08 AM. )

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Big Mac
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Jun 24, 2009, 01:19 AM
 
Oh. That makes more sense. It's not a feature I've used, but I understand what you're referring to now.

Apple - iPhone - Feedback

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turtle777
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Jun 24, 2009, 01:50 AM
 
I would recommend suicide.

Clearly, there is no way anyone should ever have to live with that limitation.

For the rest of us: WTF OMG BBQ!?! Are you for real ? Is this such a big freggin deal ?

-t
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 24, 2009, 02:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
On any old iPod, if I sync this and play 10 songs on it on Tuesday... when I play the playlist again on Wednesday, it will only have 90 songs on it...
iPods will live-update smart playlists? I've never seen this. Starting with which iPod generation?

All iPods will remember what has been played, but I always thought the playlists aren't updated until you sync with iTunes.
     
Dakar V
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Jun 24, 2009, 09:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
iPods will live-update smart playlists? I've never seen this. Starting with which iPod generation?

All iPods will remember what has been played, but I always thought the playlists aren't updated until you sync with iTunes.
Seconded. My recently played playlist doesn't update until the next sync.
     
ibook_steve
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Jun 24, 2009, 11:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I would recommend suicide.

Clearly, there is no way anyone should ever have to live with that limitation.

For the rest of us: WTF OMG BBQ!?! Are you for real ? Is this such a big freggin deal ?

-t
Seconded.

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ort888  (op)
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Jun 24, 2009, 11:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I would recommend suicide.

Clearly, there is no way anyone should ever have to live with that limitation.

For the rest of us: WTF OMG BBQ!?! Are you for real ? Is this such a big freggin deal ?

-t
Well, all I can say is that I understand that while this doesn't matter one bit to 99.9% of iPhone users... it really matters a whole lot to me.

It basically breaks the method I've been using to manage my music for about 5 years now.

My greatest annoyance is that I had not heard of this glitch before. I like to consider myself a very educated consumer and I did tons of research before investing money in this iPhone. I thought I knew exactly what I was getting. Learning that playlists don't live update was a rather unpleasant surprise. I feel like my coworker who got all mad because her iPhone wouldn't work with Windows 2000. Except that the difference between her and I is that I have done hours and hours of research on this... and I had never even heard it brought up.

So is it a big deal? Yes and no. But for me, right here, right now, on an iPhone message board, yes, it's a big deal. The iPhone doesn't do something that my 4 year old Nano can do, and no one has ever mentioned it before. It's annoying.

I'm not going to call my mom and cry about it. I won't even mention it to my wife, because she won't care... but you guys, the iPod and iPhone nerds of the world... you get to hear me bitch about it... because that's what this place is for.

So yes... OMG WTF BBQ... This blows. For me, this blows.

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ort888  (op)
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Jun 24, 2009, 11:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
iPods will live-update smart playlists? I've never seen this. Starting with which iPod generation?

All iPods will remember what has been played, but I always thought the playlists aren't updated until you sync with iTunes.
The most certainly do. I'm not 100% sure my old 3rd gen iPod did... but my original iPod Nano definitely did. I would sync it once a week, and my master playlist would start out at around 500 songs... and by Sunday it would be down to about 50 or so. You have to start playing another playlist and then go back to the original one for it to update the song count, but it most certainly did.

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Dakar V
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Jun 24, 2009, 11:49 AM
 
I just listened to a podcast. I checked the playlist "Recently Played" and its not there. What am I doing wrong?

Edit: I'm using the iPod Classic, which I believe you claim it works on.
( Last edited by Dakar V; Jun 24, 2009 at 12:11 PM. )
     
kman42
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Jun 24, 2009, 12:00 PM
 
I read somewhere that 3.0 added on-device smart playlist updating. I just tried it with a smart playlist titled "Not recent", which plays songs I haven't heard in more than 30 days. I played a song and when it moved to the next song, I went back to the playlist and the first song was gone.

So, iPhone 3.0 updates smart playlists live.

(I tested this on a 3GS)
     
ort888  (op)
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Jun 24, 2009, 12:20 PM
 
I think the glitch is that if your smart playlist references another playlist in it's criteria it breaks the live updating.

As for he podcasts, DAKAR, they play by slightly different rules. I don't think the iPod considers podcasts songs. Try it with songs.

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Dakar V
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Jun 24, 2009, 12:23 PM
 
Alright, doing some tracks now, will update later.
     
Dakar V
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Jun 24, 2009, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
As for he podcasts, DAKAR, they play by slightly different rules. I don't think the iPod considers podcasts songs. Try it with songs.
Alright. For the purposes of the "recently played" playlist, podcasts do count as it just lists whatever as been recently played; Song, Movie, Show, whatever.

I listened to a podcast – Didn't update.
Some songs from a playlist – Didn't update.
Another podcast – Didn't update.
One random song from the artists menu – Didn't update.
The playlist remains unchanged since it synced with my iMac his morning.

What should I try differently?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 24, 2009, 05:18 PM
 
Slight difference: what ort888 describes is the REMOVAL of songs from a smart playlist (such as "Genre contains Rock" and "Last played not within the past six months").
     
Dakar V
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Jun 24, 2009, 05:21 PM
 
Its a valid thought. I'll create a small playlist test that thought with tonight.
     
kman42
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Jun 24, 2009, 06:25 PM
 
I can also get it to remove a song from an "Unrated" playlist once I rate it.
     
labrador90
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Jun 24, 2009, 10:10 PM
 
I've got the same problem ort888. Well almost the same problem. I've got the 3G iPhone (not the new 3Gs). I've only had it for about 3 months. I'm trying to get all my 20,000 songs rated. When I first started researching on live updating I read somewhere that I actually needed to have two playlists to make this happen.

I set one called "Rate iPhone Songs" and another called "Quick Pick". "Quick Pick" was just your regular playlist. I'd manually pull a bunch of unrated songs into this list. "Rate iPhone Songs" was a smart playlist that said playlist = "Quick Pick", Rating = blank and Play count = 0, Live updating was checked and limit set to 5 gig. I synced the "Rate iPhone Songs" to my iPhone. I'd play these and rate them. I had the same problem where the number of songs in this playlist never dropped. After doing some research I read that if I also synced the "Quick Pick" playlist it would solve the problem.

IT DID!! Every time I rated one song and skipped to the next I could see the total number of songs drop. That was until I did the 3.0 software upgrade. Now it no longer works. The count remains the same.

I've also got another 5th gen iPod Classic that I do the same thing on (I call this playlist "Rate iPod"). I checked how the smart playlist was setup for that one. Rating = blank and Play count = 0, Live updating was checked. Limit set to 25 gig. I noticed that I didn't have the playlist = "Quick Pick" in there. Having not used the iPod in a while I tried it again to see if it was doing what I wanted it to do. Yes, it was. This tells me that for the iPod the second playlist does not have to be in the smart playlist (it was not synced to the iPod either). I went back and changed the "Rate iPhone Songs" to get rid of this second playlist to see if that made a difference but it didn't.

IMHO, there is a problem with 3.0 version software that doesn't allow this live updating anymore.

Any thoughts?
( Last edited by labrador90; Jun 24, 2009 at 10:12 PM. Reason: rookie mistake)
     
ort888  (op)
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Jun 25, 2009, 11:47 AM
 
I have fashioned a workaround that seems to be working. It might take a few weeks to see if there are any bugs or issues I didn't account for. Here's what I did.

In the past I had it set up like this...

5 LEAST PLAYED Songs rated 5 stars, limited to 500MB and sorted by Least Often Played
5 LEAST RECENT Songs rated 5 stars, limited to 500MB and sorted by Least Recently Played
4 LEAST PLAYED Songs rated 4 stars, limited to 500MB and sorted by Least Often Played
4 LEAST RECENT Songs rated 4 stars, limited to 500MB and sorted by Least Recently Played
3 LEAST PLAYED Songs rated 3 stars, limited to 250MB and sorted by Least Often Played
3 LEAST RECENT Songs rated 3 stars, limited to 250MB and sorted by Least Recently Played
NOT RATED Songs with no rating, limited to 500MB and sorted by Random

(There are a few more slightly more complicated ones, but I'll skip them because that gets the basic idea across)

Then I had a master playlist that's only rule was to include all of the previous playlists. This is needed because it has to have an Any of the following applied to it. This is called MASTER

Then I had another playlist (MAIN), that had an all of the following applied to it, and the rules were...

Playlist is MASTER, Last played is not in the last 10 days, Last skipped is not in the last 2 days.


That was the old way I would do it. On my Nano it would update on the fly and keep me with a mix of songs that were both newer and had not been played in a long while. It would also give me more of the songs I really like in the mix, while also mixing in a variety of lower rated songs. It's worked great for me for years.

***
Anyway, the new workaround is this. Rather then create the last two playlists, the MASTER and the MAIN... I just made a new one with these rules:

3 stars or better, not played in the last 10 days and limited to 100 items and sorted by Random

That is it. Then I sync all of the above playlists to the iPhone. Now when I play this new dumbed down playlist, when it plays a song on my iPhone, it does Live Update... but the only pool it has available to it to choose from are all of the songs on the phone which are on there because they are contained in my detailed playlists. And since it's not referencing another list, it seems to be live updating just fine.

Of course, the annoying thing about this is that I can't have anything on there that I don't want in my master playlist. In the past I would have many different sub playlists with this that or whatever and I can't do that anymore.

Even so, as long as this works out, I think I'll be more or less okay with it. I would like the ability to really make some crazy smart playlists again, but I can live with this.

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kman42
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Jun 25, 2009, 01:16 PM
 
I wonder why you can't reference another playlist. Is it a bug or some efficiency?
     
Big Mac
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Jun 25, 2009, 01:34 PM
 
ort is going to more trouble with playlists than I've ever thought of doing myself.

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Dakar V
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Jun 25, 2009, 01:37 PM
 
I have a feeling that even if I get this to work, its not going to work in a situation I'd actually find useful.
     
ort888  (op)
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Jun 25, 2009, 02:20 PM
 
My "solution" is being problematic. I purposefully let my iPhone's battery run out, just to see what happens and to give it a full 0 to 100 charge, and it seems to have reset my base playlist to all of the songs I heard on it this morning. Annoying. I don't know if it's because of the restart or if it's some sort of problem. We'll have to see.

It also doesn't seem to be refreshing it in a very random fashion. I'm getting the same artists over and over again, even though I have hundreds of artists on here. It can't be a coincidence.

I'm going to try this for a few days, but it might not be looking good.

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bokehphotographer
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Jun 27, 2009, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
iPods will live-update smart playlists? I've never seen this. Starting with which iPod generation?

All iPods will remember what has been played, but I always thought the playlists aren't updated until you sync with iTunes.
I actually used this quite a bit for rating my songs. I would have a playlist of songs w/out ratings and as I rated the song it would drop off the playlist automatically. I mainly did this with a nano.

I, too, would find this frustrating. Since I haven't used this type of funtionality in a while though, it isn't as bad. Though it is a good feature to have. Especially when you have a mini-computer in your hand... how can a nano live update, but not the iPhone. I'll be testing this out more later...
     
ort888  (op)
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Jun 30, 2009, 05:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
My "solution" is being problematic. I purposefully let my iPhone's battery run out, just to see what happens and to give it a full 0 to 100 charge, and it seems to have reset my base playlist to all of the songs I heard on it this morning. Annoying. I don't know if it's because of the restart or if it's some sort of problem. We'll have to see.

It also doesn't seem to be refreshing it in a very random fashion. I'm getting the same artists over and over again, even though I have hundreds of artists on here. It can't be a coincidence.

I'm going to try this for a few days, but it might not be looking good.
Solution not working at all. Repeat songs are showing back up in the playlist all the time. And it really doesn't appear to be random at all. I have about 2,000 songs and hundreds of artists on my phone and it's playing me the same artist over and over again. If my playlist is set to 100 random songs, I should not get the same artist 3 times in 10 songs. It happens a lot too... something is wrong.

When my playlist is done it should be refilled with songs I have not heard, but it's just not working anymore. The rules for the playlist are not being obeyed. The iPhone is a **** iPod. That's really all there is to it.

Amazing device, broken iPod. For me anyway.

This sucks.

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kmkkid
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Jun 30, 2009, 07:35 PM
 
I could never find a good algorithm for smart playlists that limited the size to my 16 Gb iPhone.

So, I actually took the time to rate EVERY song I have and limit the playlist to 4+ stars. God forbid my iTunes DB ever gets corrupted.

Oh well, as long as it makes sense for some, it'll always be a good feature to have
     
SunSeeker
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Jul 1, 2009, 08:17 AM
 
I do the following and live updating seems to work

Create These Smart Playlists

•Unrated
•3 Star
•3 Star and Greater
•4 Star
•4 Star and Greater
•5 Star

Select ALL of the above for syncing to the iPhone

Create these Smart Playlists
•One Star (Stinkers)
•Two Star (Sleepers)

Never Sync 'One Star (Stinkers)' OR 'Two Star (Sleepers)' to the phone (they exist purely to help me manage tracks when I change my mind about the status of any Stinker or Sleeper)

Once Only. Go through iTunes and find all songs and albums which I do not want to sync and rate them as two stars

Sync

On the iPhone I might hear a track I no longer wish to have synced
I can put it in my stinkers or sleepers by rating it as one or two stars while listening on the iPhone
The result of this is that, while it disappears from the smart playlists, it remains on the phone until next time I sync when it will automatically disappear.

The beauty of this system is that when I buy a new album I just do the following
•Insert CD
•Wait for CD to Import and Eject
•Remove CD
•Connect iPhone
•Sync

Or, after buying music on iTunes
•Connect iPhone
•Sync

It should be easy to add other smart playlists. As far as I am aware they can/should be independent of each other relying only on the relevant songs being on the iPhone while also relying on creating playlists that honour the system.
For example a smart playlist that seeks unplayed songs more than 6 months old would act as a back door for unwanted tracks UNLESS we made it seek out only unplayed/not one star/not two star tracks

It is probably wise to also be careful if creating smart playlists that reference other playlists
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 1, 2009, 08:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
If my playlist is set to 100 random songs, I should not get the same artist 3 times in 10 songs. It happens a lot too... something is wrong.
I'm not saying that nothing is wrong, but that is NOT the way random probability works.
     
nilppu
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Jul 1, 2009, 08:36 AM
 
damn, i'm still working on getting my cassettes onto CD....
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Jul 1, 2009, 10:46 AM
 
Live updating works for me on my Touch. I've got a playlist for all of my unrated tracks. Once a track has been rated, it's removed from that playlist by the Touch. But, I need to exit that folder and then re-enter it before the change takes affect.
     
ort888  (op)
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Jul 2, 2009, 08:03 PM
 
Simple smart playlists work. I think the problem is when's smart playlist references another playlist. That's when the updating breaks.

I just got off the phone with apple tech support and they were no help. It took me awhile to just make my problem known. She didn't seem to get it... And when she did there was no soultion or reference to the issue in her computer. Very frustrating.

I wonder if they will ever fix this. Im also surprised that this hasn't been an issue for them. I would have thought that more iPod nerds would have been effected by this. I guess not.

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labrador90
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Jul 3, 2009, 07:05 PM
 
Hey guys - I don't know what's going on with any more. I haven't changed anything from what I described earlier and now for some reason, live updating is now working. The only thing I've been doing is syncing about every other day. I thought Microsoft was confusing.... Good luck.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jul 10, 2009, 06:34 AM
 
     
ort888  (op)
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Jul 10, 2009, 01:27 PM
 
Well, the 3.0 software didn't fix it, because it's the first version of the iPhone OS I've ever used and it's broken as hell.

I can't even figure out what it's doing. There seem to be no logic behind what does and does not work. It's hard to use logic to troubleshoot or develop workarounds when half of the features of smart playlists don't even work right. When the problem is a glitch, and when the glitches don't have any sort of consistency... well, ugh. It's just broken.

I've given up and just sync it every night. But even that is really a half-assed solution to a problem that shouldn't even exist.

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tooki
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Jul 10, 2009, 04:31 PM
 
iPods have supported live updating playlists for as long as iTunes has had Smart Playlists.

That said, there's one known way to force a Smart Playlist to not update on an iPod: have it reference a playlist that's not on the iPod. (I've done that deliberately, though I no longer remember why I had to do it.)

Could that somehow be playing in?
     
Dakar V
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Jul 10, 2009, 04:51 PM
 
I can say with certainty my iPod does not live update my main smart playlist.
     
ort888  (op)
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
iPods have supported live updating playlists for as long as iTunes has had Smart Playlists.

That said, there's one known way to force a Smart Playlist to not update on an iPod: have it reference a playlist that's not on the iPod. (I've done that deliberately, though I no longer remember why I had to do it.)

Could that somehow be playing in?
No. This is a known bug. The "smart" playlists and live updating are just completely borked up on iPhones.

What makes it really annoying is that I have 1,200 f***ing songs on here, and yet after listening to a podcast and coming back to my main playlist, I keep getting songs I've already heard today. As in, I listened to 50 songs in the morning... then a podcast, and now 50 more songs... and in the last 50 songs I've heard about 6 or 7 repeats from this morning. I also heard a song I heard yesterday before I re-synced so I have no idea why that is even on there. I really just give up.

I'm throwing in the towel. This crap ain't random at all.

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vmarks
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Jul 13, 2009, 07:19 AM
 
find a developer who will file a bug outlining the problem, steps to repeat, what happens, and why it breaks your expectations. Doing it in that way will help express why it's a bug clearly.

Also send that to [email protected] on the basis that the phone is supposed to be the best iPod ever, and your 1st gen Nano functioned better.
     
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Jul 13, 2009, 11:42 PM
 
I also use same type of smart playlists and they all seem to work as designed on my iPhone. But none of mine ref any other playlist either. Don't really see what point of that is.

My main smart list is called DejaVu and its only criteria are...
Last played is not in last 30 days
Limited to 25 items selected by least often played.
     
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Jul 14, 2009, 10:46 AM
 
Your playlist wouldn't work for me because I rate my songs and want to hear the "better" songs more frequently.

Creating a smart playlist for each rating and then lumping them into a master list helps me keep my mix of songs right where I want it. The mix is typically about 3 Five Star Songs, 3 Four Star Songs, and 2 Three Star songs. If I just let the iPhone pick randomly I would get about 5 Three Star to every Four or Five star, since I have way more 3 star songs in my collection.

I typically will only hear a three star song once a year using my system. Whereas I hear a 5 star about once a month and a 4 star about once every three months. I have way more 4 stars then 5 stars and way way more 3 stars then anything else. Most of my library is three star songs. Decent songs I want to keep in the mix, but nothing I need to hear all the time.

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Dakar V
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Jul 14, 2009, 10:48 AM
 
It seems I was incorrect about the "recently played" playlist not updating. It does appear to add songs as I play them on my ipod, but it throws them to the bottom of the list, and in what appears to be a random order.

(I realize this has nothing to do with you Ort)
     
ort888  (op)
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Jul 14, 2009, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
I could never find a good algorithm for smart playlists that limited the size to my 16 Gb iPhone.

So, I actually took the time to rate EVERY song I have and limit the playlist to 4+ stars. God forbid my iTunes DB ever gets corrupted.

Oh well, as long as it makes sense for some, it'll always be a good feature to have
You can back up your whole library and DB. Grab a stack of DVDs and choose FILE-LIBRARY-BACKUP TO DISC

I do this about every 6 months and keep the discs at my parents house. (I also use Time Machine) I've put a lot of work into my iTunes library and I need to keep it safe.

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- - e r i k - -
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Jul 15, 2009, 07:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
God forbid my iTunes DB ever gets corrupted.
…because you don't do backups?

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Spheric Harlot
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Jul 16, 2009, 02:03 AM
 
In God we trust.

On backups we rely until He gets back to us.
     
ort888  (op)
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Sep 10, 2009, 12:22 AM
 
Bull**** problem still exists in 3.1.1.

Okay Apple, how about making your existing features actually work before adding new ones?

This is so frustrating.

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ort888  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 11:00 AM
 
Bull**** problem still exists in iOS4.

Okay Apple, how about making your existing features actually work before adding new ones?

This is so frustrating.

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turtle777
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Jun 22, 2010, 11:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Bull**** problem still exists in iOS4.

Okay Apple, how about making your existing features actually work before adding new ones?
It's not an existing feature, since it didn't exist in OS 3.1

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ort888  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 12:50 PM
 
Have iTunes create a playlist for you based on your desired criteria — like all the rock songs you’ve added to your library in the past month or songs you’ve listened to more than 10 times. You can create many rules for a single Smart Playlist, based on media type, genre, and more. iTunes finds the songs, podcasts, movies, or TV shows that match your rules and creates a playlist that updates itself automatically.
Apple - iTunes - Learn about the features of iTunes 9.

Supposed existing feature. Has worked perfectly with all 4 different iPods I've owned. Exact same set of playlists does not work on iPhone.

It's an existing feature that's broken on the iPhone because of some sort of glitch.

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ort888  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 02:13 PM
 
The way I've been working around this problem is by simply syncing my iPhone every night. I generate a playlist of about 150 songs and listen to it at work every day. It's a stupid workaround, but it works as long as I never load up another playlist or video during the day... because if I do when I come back to the list, it plays repeats from earlier in the day.

Well, that's how it used to work anyway.

I am now up to song 72 in my playlist of 147, and for some reason, it is now playing song after song after song of music I have already heard this morning. It's a complete shuffle failure.

What the hell is going on? Has it taken a step backwards or what?

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