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How to keep your Nano fresh

On 03, Feb 2007 | 3 Comments | In Apple, User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

Smart PlayslistsI love my iPod Nano; all 4GB of it. It’s just the right size for my Podcasts, calendars, contacts and notes. And even though the Nano won’t fit my entire music library, I utilize Smart Playlists to prevent my music from getting stale. As long as you are listening to music on your iPod and getting new music often enough, this approach is more or less self-maintaining.

I created 5 Smart Playlists each containing 700MB the following:

  • 1 CD Most Recently Added. 700MB of the most recently added songs.
  • Heaviest Rotation. A random selection of songs played more than 10 times.
  • Lightest Rotation. The least played songs that were not added in the last three months.
  • Newish. A random selection of songs added in the last 12 months.
  • Oldish. A random selection of songs not added in the last 12 months.


  1. Dan S

    I do something similar except it goes like this: 2-star: two stars, not played in the last 3 weeks 3-star: three stars, not played in the last 2 weeks 4-star: four stars, not played in the last 1 week 5-star: not played in the last 3 days.

    Then I pull them all together into a aggregate playlist which includes all the playlists above, plus anything added in the last 30 days. (you could also limit total size here).

    I find it keeps a good mix of music I like, and weights my favourite songs a little heavier, while still playing music I haven’t heard in a while.

  2. Hey, I like to touch technology as much as the next guy. In fact, I often find myself in the middle of conversations looking for excuses to touch technology because I just have to “confirm that on Wikipedia” or “see what the critics said” or “Google that a-hole”… That being said, the mere thought of rating thousands of songs via clickwheel or mouse gives me tennis elbow. Also, who are we to judge art?

  3. Love your response, Ryan. I use Smart Playlists for my lovely new 1 GB iPod Shuffle. Slightly off-topic: it was paralysed by a firmware error only two weeks after I got it, and I couldn’t restore it with iTunes (iTunes wouldn’t even recognise it).

    If this ever happens to you (and it seems to happen to more and more iPod users with MacBooks or PowerBooks), erase the contents in DiskUtility first, then iTunes will prompt you to restore it — no problem.

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