How to create smart playlists in Apple Music on iOS (finally)

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Cassette tapes
Let's do this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It’s impossible to create smart Apple Music playlists directly on the iPhone. Or rather, it was impossible. Previously, you had to fire up iTunes on your Mac or PC, create a smart playlist there, and then let it sync to your iPhone over iCloud.

Even in iOS 13, this is still the case. But now there’s another way. A new iOS app called Miximum can create smart playlists, and even sync them to the regular Apple Music app. It is, as they say, a game-changer.

Miximum

Miximum comes from developer Mike Clay, who also makes the minimal Cs Music Player (an app with a really excellent name). Miximum builds smart playlists, and lets you save them and play them. It’s actually a pretty good music player in itself, but if you prefer, you can export these playlists to the Apple Music app, and play them from there.

If you go this route, be aware that once a playlist has been saved to the Music app, it is not longer smart. It won’t auto update like a smart playlist that you create in iTunes and sync across. However, if you use Miximum to play your songs, then you can enjoy live updating.

What are smart playlists?

A smart playlist is one that updates itself based on certain criteria. A simple example is a Loved playlist, which would contain all the songs you have loved in Apple Music. If you love a new song, it will automatically appear in the Loved playlist.

Miximum's smart playlists are as powerful as those in iTunes.
Miximum’s smart playlists are as powerful as those in iTunes.
Photo: Cult of Mac

But things can get a lot more complex if you want them to. Smart playlists allow you to add various criteria to filter your library. You could, for instance, show only songs that have never been played (new music), or songs that have been played over 50 times, but not listened to in the past two years (songs you used to really be into, but haven’t heard for a while).

You can filter on genre, date, composer, song duration, BPM (good for workout mixes), last-skipped date and a ton more. Miximum has all of these criteria, and you can combine them with some clever logic. For instance, you could make a list with songs that are over 140 BPM, and under 160 BPM.

Or you could make a playlist of all songs not by Insane Clown Posse (side note — why the hell do you have Insane Clown Posse songs in your library anyway?).

How to create a smart playlist in Miximum

Name your playlist, and give it a nice picture.
Name your playlist, and give it a nice picture.
Photo: Cult of Mac

To be honest, you don’t really need a how to for this. Just launch the app, tap the + New Mix… button, and follow along. The first page lets you give the playlist a name, set a picture, and choose the scope of the playlist by checking either All Songs, or by checking one or more existing playlists.

Add your criteria in Miximum.
Add your criteria in Miximum.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The second panel is where you build your playlists, by adding and configuring criteria. This is all done with drop-down menus, and in some sections (like BPM), you can type in extra info.

Once you’re done, save the playlist. You can then play it, sync it (pro users only), or edit it.

Get smart

I really like Miximum. It’s easy to use, looks great, is powerful and integrates perfectly with Apple Music. There are some oddities, though. One is that, when you tap the button to play music, the button doesn’t turn into a stop/pause button. There’s no immediate way to stop playback. You must use the native Control Center widget, or long-press the Now Playing banner to reveal a stop button.

You can really fine-tune your filters in Miximum.
You can really fine-tune your filters.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Also odd is that the smart playlists don’t sync to Mike Clay’s other app, Cs Music. This is a real shame, as in the short time I’ve been using Cs Music, I have come to love its simplicity. Putting the Miximum playlists in there would make it almost perfect.

You should definitely check out Miximum, and if you like it, go and buy Cs Music.

Miximum

Price: Free with in-app purchase

Download: Miximum from the App Store (iOS)

Cs Music Player

Price: $2.99

Download: Cs Music Player from the App Store (iOS)