Smart Playlists (How they update)

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by Mad4WDW, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Mad4WDW macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #1
    Hi,

    I have a question regarding smart playlists and how they update.

    Specifically what I'd like to know if anyone here can help is this.

    I have a couple of smart playlists that i've added to my iphone and keep available offline (I'm using Apple Music and have iCloud Music Library enabled) These playlists are simple in that they, for example, select 4 and 5 star songs, then narrow that selection down to 50 selected by least recently played and not played in the last 2 months.

    So how exactly is a playlist like that ^ kept on my iPhone? When does it auto update over iCloud because I'm checking the next morning when I leave for work and the songs are the same :/ Also if that playlist does eventually get updated what happens to the songs in it. If I made it available offline do the new songs added become available off line automatically? What happens to the songs that are dropped from the playlist? Do they just drop from the playlist and remain on my phone or are they removed?

    Hope that makes sense.
    Anyone with knowledge of how this is working, input appreciated.

    Greg
     
  2. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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  3. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
  4. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #4
    I don't seem to notice the same behaviour mentioned in that ^ thread. From what I'm seeing my play counts and last played info is actually updating just not instantly it's happening later that night or next day.

    I'd like to know what happens to the songs that get removed from my iPhone's playlist when it automatically updates. My smart playlists are made available offline. Does iTunes/iCloud music library when it updates the playlist on my phone remove the songs from the playlist and add new ones in that are automatically offline as well or do I have to click the eclipses and make it available offline again because it's changed the contents?

    Also the songs that where inside that smart playlist that are now automatically removed after getting played do they remain on my phone using space? But they are just outside of the playlist where they originated from? Or are they removed from the playlist and the phone at the same time.
     
  5. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #5
    I too will be testing out how the smart lists work on mobiles with Apple Music and the cloud enabled.. But I'm going to start with a pretty tight set of rules so I don't have a lot of checking to do. That's because there are so many variables in the environment, and I don't want to have those scenarios plus so many rules to consider all at once.

    am i online or offline.

    is my view of music on the device set to "all music" or "only music available offline"

    does playlist being available for offline use mean it forces download of newly included tracks

    are the servers keeping the cloud informed of changes promptly

    how often does a smart list get looked at anyway. some lists would need constant attention (playcount oriented tests, for instance, like in your original post), so do they get it or how does Apple control for demand like that. This could be tricky figuring out, maybe have to ask tech support.

    do i have certain tracks on my device that can meet the rules when i'm offline?

    do i have some cloud tracks that meet the rules if I'm online and viewing "all music"

    what changes to put into the test tracks that should make them fall into or out of the list.


    Right so then what are the rules you want to test.

    I'd suggest a much simpler smart list to start with.

    Make a smart playlist that only has four or five tracks in it, by inserting some tests for something like a couple of specific album titles or song titles, something like that, and having so many number of stars.

    Then you can force a change by changing the rule to leave out one of the album names, or by changing the rating on one of the tracks that made it into your original list. Keep it to stuff that you can force a change in quickly so you don't have to wait for playcounts to bump and so forth, later for that sort of test. And it means probably you won't see server lag. When I make simple smart lists now in my test iTunes library, i see the update pretty fast on the iPod's list. otoh i wasn't checking it again because i wasn't testing last played or playcounts etc.

    Anyway in testing, you will have to focus on what happens (or appears to happen) to each track that "should be" or 'should not be" in the playlist at certain times.... and how many tracks do you want to be chasing? You have to vary your setup to be offline, online, look at all music, only offline music. That's why I said start with a list whose rules only fetch you a handful of tracks.

    That's a lot of testing, especially if it turns out that smart list operations in a cloud environment will actually remove tracks from your device or force downloads of tracks that suddenly meet the rules to be included. I don't know that yet either and would want to test that out big time. I would regard it as unlikely, and as a bug if it happened.

    In our other world, before the cloud, the tracks might fall in or out of a list but they sat there on the device and in the library anyway. only the list changed depending on whether the track continued to meet the rules. I have a feeling only the online and viewing all music environment will act like that now.

    The problematic thing is offline viewing of tracks that newly meet the rules to be included. Right now I don't think there's a way to force making tracks available for offline viewing except manually. UNLESS making the smart playlist availabe for offline viewing says ok now when i include something new, I also download it. We have to test that. To me it seems like a not very good thing to happen, space-wise, bandwidth wise. Removal because a track fell out of the rules set would be a bad idea because the track might be in some other smart list and still meet the rules.
     
  6. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Location:
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    #6
    If played on your iPhone then your Last Played & Play Count dates are not updated (simply check in iTunes and you will see this). This is an original bug that has been in Match (now iCML) since it was introduced in 2011. Only the first track played will get its Last Played & Play Count updated. After that all other tracks will not receive an update to their Last Played & Play Count metadata.
     
  7. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #7

    Hi Julien,

    My play counts are updating in iTunes and the last played metadata is also changing. I used my iPhone to play music in my car Friday. All of the songs I played are showing the correct play count and the correct metadata for last played time and date. I'm going to check now what happened to the songs I played regarding their inclusion on my iPhone.
     
  8. hojx macrumors 6502

    hojx

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    Singapore
    #8
    When I'm out, I tend to only listen to one playlist which I update whenever I get into contact with new songs I like, and this is what I have observed:

    If you make a playlist available offline, all songs in the playlist are downloaded.
    As you add new songs / remove songs from the playlist, songs from the playlist are downloaded / deleted accordingly.

    When you make a particular song available offline, it will have priority and will be downloaded whether it is in the playlist or later removed from the playlist.
     
  9. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #9

    Thanks for the info, thats what I was hoping would be happening.
     
  10. Julien, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015

    Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
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    #10
    I would love to know your 'secret'. This has been a problem since Match in was released in 2011 and no one to my knowledge (in including Seed and developer testers) have been able to get the Last Played & Play Counts updated from an iDevice beyond the first track played.

    • What iOS, OS and iTunes version are you using?

    Also could you do the following experiment and post results:

    • Make a new Playlist in iTunes (standard named Test) and copy 5 tracks to it
    • Switch the Playlist view to Songs w/Last Played & Play Count fields visible and take a screen shoot
    • Play this Playlist on your iPhone (mute if your want)
    • Take a new screen shot of the iTunes Playlist the fields updated
    Please describe any unique, unusual or different steps you add or do.

    Thx
     
  11. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    I am using iTunes 12.2.16 OSX 10.10.4 and iPhone 6 running iOS 8.4 , iOS had an update after the initial release that included Apple Music I'm using that updated version on 8.4

    I don't need to make another playlist to test. I can see the songs I played in my car on Friday are updated in my iTunes library. Heres a screen grab. You can see the songs I played all with correct playcounts and Fridays date, you can see the songs following on from each other by looking at the time. And I can assure you I was in my car at that time playing these songs on my iPhone, they were most definitely not played on iTunes. Like I said in an earlier post the play counts and time the songs played aren't updating instantly they are updating later that day at some point. Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 09.36.17.png
     
  12. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Location:
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    #12
    Not doubting you at all, I'm just trying to understand how. For instance you say "played in my car". Is this by BT, USB, analog line out or CarPlay? Are you streaming over cell or WiFi or was the Playlist downloaded (Make Available Offline)? Does your car create a WiFi access point from cell data that your iPhone is connected to? Have you tried and had the same results playing with headphones?

    This is why I was asking for a specific way to eliminate all the unknowns.

    I'm just looking for that 'one magic' thing you have done or are doing that is the difference. It is probably not obvious, but there must be something.

    Thx
     
  13. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #13
    All the music I played on my iPhone in the car was made available offline. My iPhone is playing the music through a phono lead that connects from the headphone socket on my phone to the aux in of my car. Nothing is streamed over cellular in my car. I sometimes stream stuff over wifi at home. I haven't tried playing with headphones but to all intents and purposes the way I play music in my car is the same as playing into headphones.
     
  14. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    #14
    Line out is the same as using headphone. I thought if it was CarPlay that would be a strong indicator. Just one more question (hopefully). Do you have Match and if so when did you first buy?
     
  15. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #15
    Nope I've never had iTunes Match. I've noticed today that if I'm playing a smart playlist in my car like how I've explained that the smart playlists are updating themselves almost instantly on my iPhone. The playlists are made available offline. I'm at no point connected to wifi at all. I'm not using cellular data for streaming but I do have a cellular data connection.

    A song will play, it finishes and starts playing the next song, after a few seconds the last song played drops out of the playlist and is replaced by a new song but because I'm not letting the music app use cellular data to download the song so it's added in but is greyed out.

    I noticed as soon as I pulled on the driveway at home my iPhone connected to the wifi and all the greyed out songs added into that playlist started downloading. This is pretty good I think.

    The only spanner in the works for me is when I then start work on my computer and play some music using iTunes. Nothing has updated in iTunes so if I play the same playlist I get some replays of songs that shouldn't be there. These play counts and the last played meta data are however updated later that night or next morning.

    At least I have a better understanding of how this is working now lol
     
  16. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #16
    I wonder if this may be the root of the problem. Now I have to find a way to get some other without Match to see if it is just a legacy problem. Just finding anyone who cares abut when the last time they listened to a track is a challenge. Now I need to word a new post asking for non Match users to test.

    I'm starting to feel like the problem is in sight.

    thx

    Glad you have it working the way you want.

    This is a little perplexing though. You should see the update sooner. If you change info in metadata or add/remove a track does it also take that long to happen? Any changes should populate within a moment.
     
  17. Mad4WDW thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 5, 2010
    #17
    Just to be clear, songs played on iPhone earlier get play counts updated in iTunes later that day. Songs played in iTunes update in iTunes straight away. Smart playlists are updating themselves on iPhone but the playlists don't match between phone and computer until hours later.
     

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