iTunes Smart Playlists


Luci & Jacquelyn or "1 Bottle of Wine, 2 Blonds, 3 Monitors"
(photo by Scott)

Last night my friend Jac asked if I knew how she could get her "Recently Added" Playlist back, which seemed to have disappeared from the left column in her iTunes.

The "Recently Added" Playlist is one of the playlists that are automatically included in iTunes and that automatically pull music from your library based on some variable (e.g., songs added recently to your library).

Regular playlists you can easily create yourself:
  • Click on File -> New Playlist. 
  • A new playlist pops up in the left column.
  • Type a new name over the highlighted words "untitled playlist".
  • Drag songs into the playlist from your music folder. 
  • Hit play.

Well, I didn't know the answer to her question but came up with a smug response almost instantly: Teach a woman how to set up her iTunes and she’ll be listening to music. Teach a woman how to use google search and she’ll be a computer expert for life.

But seriously, it actually wasn't all that easy to find simple and clear instructions on how to re-create the "Recently Added" (or similar automated lists). So here is the run-down in case you deleted a  playlist.

(Re) Creating "Recently Added" Playlist and other Smart Playlists in iTunes: 
  • Go to: File -> New Smart Playlist.
  • A window will pop-up like the one pictured below.
  • Select items from the various drop-down menus according to the picture: "date added", "is in the last", "weeks" and type in "2" (or whatever timeframe you'd like).
  • Make sure “live updating” is selected (check the box).
  • Click “OK”.
  • A new playlist will show up in the left column – name it “Recently Added. 
  • Watch it change whenever you add new music to your library.


For other smart playlists, just select other variables in the drop-down menu (e.g., certain artists, genres, years, last time played, recently purchased - or select: NOT certain artists or NOT played in the last month). The main difference between a regular and a smart playlist of course is that it will automatically update as you get new music, add new information or based on what you've been listening to.

(Btw, it did occur to me that maybe all that information could easily be found in the iTunes help directory. But does software still provide help directories? Does anyone still read those? Doesn't everyone google for advice & instructions?)