Make iTunes your own

Add music from CDs and other down­load stores, plus al­bum art­work and other me­dia – in­clud­ing in­ter­net radio streams

Mac|Life - - FEATURE -

Once you’ve re­dis­cov­ered old iTunes Store pur­chases, you may want to start adding more con­tent to your li­brary. Al­though you can sign up for Ap­ple Music to ac­cess mil­lions of tracks, you might add music from CDs, or tracks you’ve pur­chased else­where on­line.

While rip­ping music from CDs is less com­mon th­ese days, you may well have other me­dia you’ve pur­chased on­line from Ama­zon or maybe even artists’ own web­sites, or down­loaded for free from sites like Sound­cloud ( sound­cloud.com). One lit­tle known fea­ture of iTunes is that adding this con­tent to your li­brary is as sim­ple as us­ing the copy and

paste com­mands in Fin­der. Say you have a folder of MP3 files pro­vided as a bonus for buy­ing a vinyl al­bum from an artist’s on­line store, which is a fairly com­mon thing th­ese days; sim­ply copy or move that folder to the one named “Au­to­mat­i­cally Add to iTunes.” You’ll find the lat­ter folder lo­cated in /Users/<your user­name>/Music/iTunes/iTunes Me­dia by de­fault. If you fol­lowed the steps to trans­fer your iTunes Me­dia folder to an ex­ter­nal drive, as de­tailed in the pre­vi­ous sec­tion, nav­i­gate to the folder there in­stead.

In this lo­ca­tion, place your music and/or video files in the “Au­to­mat­i­cally Add to iTunes” folder and they’ll be added to your li­brary when iTunes is open. Note that this only works for files that are in a for­mat iTunes can un­der­stand, such as MP4 video files and MP3 and AAC au­dio files. Man­age your meta­data When you im­port an au­dio CD to iTunes, the app con­nects to the on­line Gra­cenote data­base to look up info about the disc’s artist, tracks, and art­work.

If the al­bum isn’t in the data­base, you’ll see a list of numbered track ti­tles and no al­bum cover, and the ti­tle may also be in­cor­rect. Fol­low the steps in “Cus­tomize your al­bums” to fix this.

Af­ter you up­date a disc’s de­tails and im­port its con­tents, you may find no im­age of its artist is shown in iTunes’ Artists view of your music. If you have an Ap­ple Music (or iTunes Match) sub, you can fix this in iTunes > Pref­er­ences > Gen­eral by turn­ing on iCloud Music Li­brary. If the artist has ma­te­rial in Ap­ple Music’s cat­a­log, their pic­ture will be shown in the Artists view af­ter the app next auto-up­dates your on­line li­brary, or af­ter forc­ing a man­ual up­date us­ing File > Li­brary > Up­date iCloud Music Li­brary.

En­abling iCloud Music Li­brary makes music in iTunes on your Mac avail­able on­line. It can take a while to up­load the tracks, de­pend­ing on the size of your li­brary, how many tracks can be matched against Ap­ple Music’s cat­a­log, and the speed of your in­ter­net con­nec­tion. If con­tent from your li­brary isn’t in Ap­ple Music’s cat­a­log, iTunes au­to­mat­i­cally up­loads it (with some ex­cep­tions – see “Check iCloud Music Li­brary up­loads”).

Us­ing iCloud Music Li­brary on your Mac en­ables music you add to iTunes to be played on other de­vices you also con­nect to it – on other Macs and PCs, iPhone, iPad, and Ap­ple TV. Mini treats While our guide mainly fo­cuses on music and video, iTunes can play many kinds of con­tent that aren’t listed by de­fault. To dis­cover them, click the pop-up menu near the top left of iTunes and choose Edit Menu. Put a check mark next to me­dia types you want to or­ga­nize and play in iTunes. Click Done, and you’ll be able to choose those kinds of me­dia from the pop-up from now on.

The ad­di­tional me­dia you can play in iTunes in­cludes in­ter­net radio sta­tions. See “Radio Gaga” on the pre­vi­ous page to learn how to set this up. You can lis­ten to Beats 1 with­out an Ap­ple Music sub, though other fea­tures un­der Radio re­quire one.

If you want to keep an eye on what’s play­ing, con­sider us­ing iTunes’ MiniPlayer in­stead of switch­ing be­tween iTunes and other apps. This is a smaller win­dow that shows the cur­rently play­ing track. You can ex­tend its height to re­veal the Up Next queue, and search your li­brary or Ap­ple Music’s to line up things to play. To switch to it, choose iTunes > Win­dow > MiniPlayer.

While the MiniPlayer is con­ve­nient, it’s also easy to lose track of it among other win­dows. In iTunes > Pref­er­ences > Ad­vanced, put a check mark next to “Keep MiniPlayer on top of all other win­dows” to avoid this. You can drag the MiniPlayer to a new po­si­tion on the desk­top. How­ever, note that it won’t be shown when you’re us­ing an app in full-screen mode.

Hope­fully our guide will have con­vinced you that iTunes is a pow­er­ful me­dia man­ager with hid­den depths that make it worth en­gag­ing with. If there are fea­tures you’d like to see added or im­proved, you can share your thoughts with Ap­ple at ap­ple.com/feed­back/itune­sapp.html.

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