May 26, 2012, 7:23 AM — [Ask the iTunes Guy is a regular column in which we answer your questions on everything iTunes related. If there's something you'd like to know, send an email to the iTunes Guy for consideration.]
There's a joke making the rounds and it goes like this: I named my iPod "Titanic" so when I sync it, iTunes tells me "The Titanic is syncing." While it actually says "Syncing 'Titanic'," this joke hints at the fact that syncing your library to an iOS device isn't always simple (even if it doesn't rise to the level of disastrous). In today's column, I look at some common questions about syncing all or part of an iTunes library to iOS devices.
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Q: I don't like having to micro-manage the storage on my iPad and iPhone to ensure that they are not filled up with music so I have enough room for apps and their storage. Is there some way to designate an amount of storage that is used for music?
There's no specific setting for this, but there is one way you can accomplish it. You can create a smart playlist that contains a specific amount of music. You could include any number of conditions--choosing from specific genres, artists or even other playlists--but below the conditions, choose to limit its size to a certain number.
In this example, I've chosen to sync music from one playlist, limit it to 10GB, and have the music selected by album, so entire albums are included. You can create a number of such playlists, making sure that their total is the amount of space you want to use for music.
Q: We have one large iTunes library for my family. We all have our own iOS devices, and have been creating playlists for each family member. For instance, my iPhone only syncs the "Joe" playlist. Now our individual playlists are getting quite large. Is there a way to create a playlist within a playlist? In other words, within the "Joe" playlist, have other playlists, so I can more easily manage this large amount of music?
Yes, but the way to do so is not with a playlist, but with a playlist folder. In iTunes choose File -> New Playlist Folder, then give it a name (such as "Joe"). Next, drag your original playlist into that folder. You can then create new playlists and put them in that folder.