Your Apple Music Needs ‘Smart’ Playlists

Your Apple Music Needs ‘Smart’ Playlists
Photo: Cristian Dina, Shutterstock

Apple Music’s curated playlists are good enough for many people, but they can’t compare to a customised playlist built to suit your tastes. Even better, there are ways to mix, match, and combine multiple Apple Music playlists to create a mammoth list of tracks to suit any mood. You can also define certain rules, such as “songs played at least 25 times” and/or “released in 1970 or earlier,” etc., to quickly make large, self-updating playlists. We’re going to show you how to create smarter playlists for Apple Music, using both official and third-party tools.

Create smart playlists on the Music app on your iPhone

Apple’s Shortcuts app allows you to create smart playlists on your iPhone without resorting to a third-party service. If you are comfortable with creating and modifying shortcuts on your phone, this method will serve you well. As an example, here’s an iPhone shortcut for making smart playlists on Apple Music. It was created by Ronald Langeveld, who optimised it to pick up the top 25 songs in your library and add them to a new playlist.

You can open the shortcut and tweak or add different parameters to optimise it for your needs. You may even use the Automations tab in the Shortcuts app to run this shortcut automatically every day, so that it continually updates your playlist.

Use third-party Apple Music apps to make smart playlists

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

Third-party Apple Music apps can do a lot of things that the stock app cannot. Both Marvis Pro ($10.99) and Soor ($10.99) allow you to create rule-based playlists without breaking a sweat, and are generally better alternatives to the stock Music app. Both these app add a host of features and a much nicer interface while retaining almost all of Apple Music’s typical features.

If you are happy with the stock music app and you just want an easy way to create smart playlists, you can buy Miximum ($2.99), an app dedicated to the task.

The smart playlist features in all of these apps let you define a set of rules — such as songs you’ve never played, or songs of a certain length — to automatically generate a playlist, and create auto-updating playlists based on that. (I created a bespoke, 1,000-song playlist in less than 10 minutes using these apps.)

Create smart playlists using the Music app on Mac

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

If you have a Mac, its stock Music app lets you create smart playlists. (Why Apple hasn’t added this feature to the Music app on iPhone is baffling.) On your Mac, open the Music app and go to File > New > Smart Playlist, or use the keyboard shortcut Option + Command + N to open a smart playlist window.

Here you can define all kinds of rules from the drop-down menus under Match for the following rule. Use the + button to add more rules. Be sure to check Live updating to ensure that your smart playlist keeps updating itself. When you’re done, click OK.