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Apple Mac OS X hints and tips

Use advanced sort options in iTunes

Have you noticed that iTunes and the iPhone/iPod doesn't sort your music the way you might expect. For example, suppose you have an album called "The Best Hits of the 90s." If you list all the albums in your music collection alphabetically you would expect that album to appear near the end with all the other albums beginning with T. It doesn't and it appears near the start among the albums beginning with B. It's obviously dropped "The" and is sorting on "Best Hits of the 90s."

iTunes skips words like "The" and similar words that it considers unimportant in album titles, band names, composers, artists and so on. Is this a good idea or not? Where would you expect to find the album, among the Ts or the Bs? Take a look through your music collection and see if there are other anomolies. Sort by artist, track, and album and check that everything is where you would expect it to be.

Can we get our album "The Best Hits of the 90s" to appear with the Ts instead of the Bs, where you might expect it to be? Yes. In fact, you can make it appear anywhere you like! Hold down Ctrl and click a track in your music collection and select Get Info from the menu that is displayed. Select the Sorting tab and you will see two columns of information. On the left is the real name, artist, album and so on, and on the right is the text that iTunes sorts on. Use Get Info on a track or album that starts with "The" and you'll see that the sort text is minus the "The" at the start. Just type it in to the sort box and the item will be sorted on the text you entered.

After making changes you might need to sort by another attribute then return to the current view to refresh it.

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