Reader James H. contacted me today, asking, “Now perhaps you can you tell me how to make the Genius work the way it used to? I don’t even know how to make a new Genius playlist build now.”
As you may have noticed, iTunes 11 has switched a few things around. One of them is how the Genius playlists work. Previously, once you started a Genius playlist, you could save it as a stand-alone playlist, or you could replace it with the next Genius list you created. That’s a bit different now in iTunes 11.
First of all, you’ll need to turn Genius on. In iTunes 11, the easiest way is to head up to the Store menu, and choose Turn Genius On with a click. Then enter your iTunes account information, agree to the terms and conditions, and iTunes 11 will send your song info to Apple to allow it to give you Genius suggestions.
Wait for iTunes to send the info to Apple, and receive data back from the mothership. You’ll then be ready to roll.
Now, right click (Control-click) a song in your iTunes library, and you’ll see you have a couple of choices. The first, “Start Genius,” creates a playlist of songs based on your seed song and places them into your Up Next playlist. The second option, Create Genius Playlist, will be more familiar to readers like James H., above, as it works similar to the older versions of iTunes.
When you choose Create Genius Playlist, your seed song will make a Genius list and place it in the Genius Playlists section of the Sidebar. You’ll either need to show the Sidebar with Option-Command-S and click on Genius there in the Sidebar, or you’ll need to click on the Music from the Library pop-up menu, then click the Playlist tab at the top, between Genres and Radio.
Bonus tip, when viewing a Genius playlist, you’ll see a gray arrow to the right of the name of the playlist, itself based on the title of the seed song. If you Command-click that gray arrow, you’ll add the entire Genius playlist to the Up Next playlist, which essentially does the same thing as “Start Genius” option does, above. This way, you can have your cake and eat it, too..