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Sort order in iTunes is playlist order on iOS device Apps
Two of my favorite smart playlists are titled 'Last 50 Added' and 'Rated 5 Stars.' Which, as they sound, are smart playlists of the most recent tracks I've added to iTunes and my top rated music, respectively. The 'Rated 5 Stars' playlist is handy to see what recently added music warranted another listen.

I've been using them for a few years without problem, then with the release of iTunes 9 (if I recall correctly) they appeared to stop working. The smart playlists and songs were syncing to my iPhone just fine, but not the most recent 50, nor the most recent rated 5 stars. It appeared to be a random selection and I could not figure out what was going on!

Lo and behold, it wasn't anything to do with the new release of iTunes. What had happened is that while viewing my smart playlists in iTunes I had changed the sort order from 'Date Added' to a different column!

When syncing playlists to your iOS device (whether they are 'smart' or not), the order in which you have the playlist sorted by in iTunes will determine how they are displayed on the iOS device. So if you set up a playlist and have it sorted by a column such as 'Plays', 'Tracks', etc that is how they will appear on the iOS device. It can be quite confusing especially when using smart playlists to determine the criteria for the sort order.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. Although I tend to manage my media manually rather than auto-syncing.]
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Sort order in iTunes is playlist order on iOS device
Authored by: hypert on Apr 14, '11 09:21:52AM

Sort order in iTunes is definitely the sort order on an iDevice. But, your point about all the songs not being in those smart playlists doesn't correlate with sort order. It sounds like they SHOULD be in there, just maybe not in the order you were expected?

I have seen a different issue with syncing smart playlists. The "smart" part works fine in iTunes, but the same "smarts" (the playlist rules) seem to be applied dynamically on the iDevice. So, if your playlists says "all 5-star songs", iTunes will show ALL 5-star songs in iTunes, but on the iDevice it will only show the 5-star songs that are actually sync'ed to your iDevice.

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Authored by: lullabud on Apr 14, '11 11:02:26AM

This was one of my big complaints of the classic iPods. I loved how the iOS devices would keep everything alphabetical. Sucks to see that this irritating behavior has migrated to iOS without any way to sort-on-the-fly within iOS.

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Authored by: asmeurer on Jul 26, '11 04:18:06PM

I'd say this is better. With the old way, you are forced into an ordering. This way, you can have alphabetical, but also any other order you want.

If you want to have a separate order on your computer from your iPod, create a separate "dummy" smart playlist that pulls in the other playlist but has a different order.

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