How to make Smart Playlists in iTunes or Apple Music (Plus Ideas for Using Them)

Configurare noua (How To)


Use File > New > Smart Playlist to reveal controls for fine-tuning your smart playlist, then hit “OK” to create it and give it a name. You can edit the playlist using the “Edit Rules” button to further tweak the selection of music within.

In addition to standard playlists you build from scratch, Music for Mac and iTunes for Windows can create smart playlists. This allows you to make playlists from your library in almost no time.


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Smart playlists are a feature of Music for Mac and iTunes for Windows that allow you to create playlists based on specific criteria. You don’t need to manually add music to smart playlists manually—the lists populate themselves based on the rules you outline. Pretty great, right? Configure your smart playlist once, and enjoy automagically curated music going forward.

These playlists will be created from the music that makes up your Apple Music (iCloud) Library, or any offline libraries you have in Music or iTunes.

Head to File > New > Smart Playlist in Music or iTunes to reveal the smart playlist creation interface. Smart playlists work a lot like macOS smart folders. Use the drop-down menus to select your criteria, then fill in the blanks to create your smart playlist rules.

Create a smart playlist with Music on a Mac

You can add further criteria using the “+” icon that appears at the end of each line. As you add more criteria, the number of tracks within your smart playlist will shrink. You can’t see how many tracks will be included until you hit “OK” and create your playlist.

Add multiple rules to your Music playlists

You can further curate your playlists by limiting them to a set number of tracks using the “Limit” checkbox, with your choice of how these songs are chosen (for example, by random, or by least amount of plays, and so on). If you enable “Live updating, ” your playlist will change over time as you add or remove music from your library.

Less than 5 plays playlist in Music for Mac

Hit “OK” to generate your playlist, and give it a name, a description, and a cover image if you want. You can hit “Edit Rules” at any time to change the criteria.

In so far, we’ve only discussed working with smart playlists on your computer. That’s because smart playlists are limited to the desktop versions of the Music app for Mac and iTunes for Windows. Even if you create a smart playlist on your Mac and then access the same library on your iPhone, your smart playlists will not be transferred.

Struggling to come up with some good smart playlist ideas? Here are some ideas you might want to try out. Just use the formula outlined in the bolded text below to create some fast playlists to get you started in the world of smart playlists.

  • Find songs you’ve barely listened to: Plays / is less than / 3
  • Find songs you’ve never listened to: Plays / is less than / 1
  • Songs that defined a year: Year / is / <Year> / Limit selected by most often played
  • Songs you never skip: Skips is / 0 + Plays / is greater than / 1
  • “Loved” songs: Love / is Loved
  • Music you haven’t listened to in a year: Last Played / not in the last / 365 days
  • Favorite songs by an artist: Artist / is / <artist> / Limit selected by most often played
  • Music you actually bought: Purchased is true

These are a few ideas that most people will be able to take advantage of. If you’re into applying ratings or groupings to your library, there’s a lot more you can do.

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