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iPod: The Missing Manual, 7th Edition by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Smart Playlists: Another Way for iTunes to Assemble Your Playlists

As cool as the Genius is, sometimes you want a little more manual control over what goes into your automatically generated music mixes. This is where Smart Playlists rise to the occasion.

Once you give it some guidelines, a Smart Playlist can go sniffing through your music library and come up with its own mix. A Smart Playlist even keeps tabs on the music that comes and goes from your library and adjusts itself on the fly.

You might tell one Smart Playlist to assemble 45 minutes worth of songs that you've rated higher than four stars but rarely listen to, and another to play your most-often-played songs from the 1980s. The Smart Playlists you create are limited only by your imagination.

To start a Smart Playlist, press Ctrl+Alt+N (Option-⌘-N) or choose File→New Smart Playlist. A Smart Playlist box opens: It sports a purple gear-shaped icon next to its name in the Source list (a regular playlist has a blue icon with a music note icon in it).

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Give iTunes detailed instructions about what you want to hear. You can select a few artists you like and have iTunes leave off the ones you're not in the mood for, pluck songs that only fall within a certain genre or year, and so on. To add multiple criteria click the plus (+) button.

Turn on the "Live updating" checkbox. This tells iTunes to keep this playlist updated as your ...

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