Synching feeling

I know I’ve gone on a bit about Apple Music/iTunes recently, but when something frustrates you on a daily basis, it grates.

In all of the coverage, across all the sites, on all the support pages, I have almost never seen mention of the particular problems we’ve been having. Both daughters have had issues – especially with the business of Music on the phone deciding to download enormous numbers of tracks for no discernible reason. One of my daughters has also had a problem I frequently have, which is the difficulty in persuading the phone to sync the music you want from your main iTunes library.

I do not use iCloud Music Library, and I have switched off Apple Music but I still can’t get my phone to simply contain the music I specify. When you have spent (literally) hours setting up playlists, this can cause the red mist to descend. My current problem is one I’ve had before: I have a number of painstakingly created playlists, but the iPhone and iTunes between them decide I also want to have a list of manually added songs and an additional single random track from my library.

How fucked up is this? Take a look at the graphics below. The first one shows the size of the Music library on the phone and the amount of free space remaining with the Alison Krauss track ‘Forget About It’ checked. Note that I didn’t do the checking. iTunes does this on its own.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 07.58.38

You’ll note that with this one track selected, my iPhone shows 29.52GB free space. Now, look what happens when the only change I make is to deselect that single (7.9MB) song from the library:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 07.58.53

Yes, miraculously, deselecting this 7.9MB file frees up over 4GB of space on my iPhone. Except it doesn’t because when I click Apply, the phone syncs and then the Alison Krauss track has checked itself again and the list of ‘Manually Added’ songs repopulates itself.

So what you have to do is delete all the music from your phone, plug the phone into a Mac, uncheck ‘Sync Music’ and then sync the iPhone with no music on it at all. Then you can recheck ‘Sync Music’ and try again.

My argument here is quite simply that these are the kind of problems that an awful lot of people have: daily frustrations that drive you crazy, and yet get ignored by the tech press in their rush to provide a ‘hot take’ or an instant review of Apple’s New Music service. These glitches and bugs may eventually get squashed, but not before millions of people have wasted millions of hours dealing with them. The headlines have all been about the iCloud Music service, the use of DRM, the mis-matches with iTunes Match, the curated playlists, the Beats radio. Everybody knows that iTunes is a shitty piece of software, but not many people take the time to spell out the quotidian details.

When it comes to solutions, the scorched earth approach I just took (delete everything, sync with no music, then resync everything from scratch) really puts people off, makes them groan with frustration. And it takes time, and it helps to have a Mac. Maybe my problems are because I do have a Mac, I don’t know, but I can’t imagine dealing with this shit without a central iTunes library with all my music in it. Dealing with this over the Cloud? Jesus…

One response to “Synching feeling”

  1. Hi RFM, Yes it is frustrating to fight with such bugs. But why are you writing that it helps to have a Mac? And them in next sentence to mention that Mac is creating such issues. I guess that you see such issues with iTunes for Windows as well. Before iPhone I have used JRiver to sync, but sync is not working for iOS devices.
    Currently I am using iTunes Match and play or download on the iPhone/iPad. If you just play then you have a kind of streaming, if you hit the download, then you have it on your device.
    I am not using Apple Music, because I have Spotify via German Telekom with all Spotify Streaming free of charge.
    Have you seen the new Music Player on iOS9 ? I am using it, but have not tested it systematically.
    Do you know the trick to exclude some playlists from showing up on iPhone via iCloud. Oh, I remember that you are not using iCloud at all.
    If you need help with your sync issue, then I could try to replicate it on my iPhone.
    The positive side of these bugs is the fact that you have a lot to write in your blog.
    Take care


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