Music management among MacOS / iOS devices

lizkat

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Part of the problem people have with music transfer across devices, of course, is variations in expected levels of an iOS or MacOS on the devices. I have a few older Macs still in use and have long since got used to warnings like "You need to upgrade your operating system to connect this device". Sigh. Time to fish around for recollections of the last time I managed some workaround, or looked for one in vain.

But I have for a long time also expected certain missing features to be added to Apple's Music app, and one of them is that annoying thing about copying a playlist from one device to another and discovering that not all of the source list even came over, just because not all tracks in the list are on the targeted device.

This is particularly annoying in the age of cloud music options... seems to me they should just bring the list over and give you the option to download the missing track, and meanwhile when playing the list, just skip a track that carries an exclamation point (signal that the track's not present).
 

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Part of the problem people have with music transfer across devices, of course, is variations in expected levels of an iOS or MacOS on the devices. I have a few older Macs still in use and have long since got used to warnings like "You need to upgrade your operating system to connect this device". Sigh. Time to fish around for recollections of the last time I managed some workaround, or looked for one in vain.

But I have for a long time also expected certain missing features to be added to Apple's Music app, and one of them is that annoying thing about copying a playlist from one device to another and discovering that not all of the source list even came over, just because not all tracks in the list are on the targeted device.

This is particularly annoying in the age of cloud music options... seems to me they should just bring the list over and give you the option to download the missing track, and meanwhile when playing the list, just skip a track that carries an exclamation point (signal that the track's not present).

The remedy for my devices may not be what other folks would consider viable for themselves, but the only portable iDevices I have are iPod nanos, while the only other iPod I want to consider is an iPod classic which I can refurbish with an SSD.

The remedy I’ve chosen is having all Macs (save one) use the same version of iTunes: 10.6.3 (which can be run from OS X 10.5.8 to macOS 10.14.6). Having music database consistency across Macs has helped around issues of playlists being incompletely transferred and risk of my library being corrupted when having to move to a lower version of iTunes.

Mind you, what’s central to the work I do on my library doesn’t tend to be typical of how most users use iTunes and Music: I use iTunes as an archival tool [note: an MR link] for a project I’ve been working on for over thirty years. What I found with 10.6.3 was it has the broadest latitude of compatibility and, it also features the best of the capabilities which attracted a lot of users to iTunes in the first place.
 

lizkat

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What I found with 10.6.3 was it has the broadest latitude of compatibility and, it also features the best of the capabilities which attracted a lot of users to iTunes in the first place.

I liked that version a lot as well... especially when I was working up some "permanent" playlists of various kinds. Could have a bunch of playlists open in the iTunes editor at one time, use option-shuffle on a list and see the shuffled results visually on demand, and "much much more." Still waiting for the Music app to restore some of that older iTunes functionality. It's been so long waiting that most Music users never heard of some of those options.

The problem I have now is with my newer phone, a XR that I do cart around with me, and inability to hook up to an MBA 2020. That laptop is running the MacOS (Catalina) that came on it (plus all the Catalina updates). But since it's not running Big Sur, I can't connect my XR to it to sync stuff manually and I'd sure rather do that -- since it's a lot quicker to load a mobile with music from a laptop than it is to turn on the cloud music and download what I want of that over a DSL connection. I can work around it by turning on Home Sharing and so then play stuff off a library shared from the MBA, when I'm near that laptop, but that's a cumbersome sort of workaround.

The XR is the mobile I use most often for news and book-reading, and so I'd like to be able to use it more often for music, but not until I can load it up in a few minutes with whatever I want off my purchased collection on my laptop. Still mulling over whether to upgrade the OS to Big Sur...

Turns out maybe it's a bad time to think about Big Sur, since a lot of people have apparently had some unhappiness over the 11.5 update.

I dislike waiting for the release of Monterey and don't like being behind the 8-ball on any OS used on my main laptop, because of security concerns. So I dunno. Damn, I'll end up buying a new laptop with a newer OS at the rate I'm not getting anywhere just over Big Sur concerns, which used to be limited to a short list of incompatible apps. Now every time I hear of an update to that OS it comes with new concerns. Ugh.
 

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I liked that version a lot as well... especially when I was working up some "permanent" playlists of various kinds. Could have a bunch of playlists open in the iTunes editor at one time, use option-shuffle on a list and see the shuffled results visually on demand, and "much much more." Still waiting for the Music app to restore some of that older iTunes functionality. It's been so long waiting that most Music users never heard of some of those options.

The problem I have now is with my newer phone, a XR that I do cart around with me, and inability to hook up to an MBA 2020. That laptop is running the MacOS (Catalina) that came on it (plus all the Catalina updates). But since it's not running Big Sur, I can't connect my XR to it to sync stuff manually and I'd sure rather do that -- since it's a lot quicker to load a mobile with music from a laptop than it is to turn on the cloud music and download what I want of that over a DSL connection. I can work around it by turning on Home Sharing and so then play stuff off a library shared from the MBA, when I'm near that laptop, but that's a cumbersome sort of workaround.

The XR is the mobile I use most often for news and book-reading, and so I'd like to be able to use it more often for music, but not until I can load it up in a few minutes with whatever I want off my purchased collection on my laptop. Still mulling over whether to upgrade the OS to Big Sur...

Turns out maybe it's a bad time to think about Big Sur, since a lot of people have apparently had some unhappiness over the 11.5 update.

I dislike waiting for the release of Monterey and don't like being behind the 8-ball on any OS used on my main laptop, because of security concerns. So I dunno. Damn, I'll end up buying a new laptop with a newer OS at the rate I'm not getting anywhere just over Big Sur concerns, which used to be limited to a short list of incompatible apps. Now every time I hear of an update to that OS it comes with new concerns. Ugh.

Yeah, I understand.

I’m kind of in the camp of, “Is the OS rock-stable and can it open every application I use?” If it doesn’t, then I don’t change what is working. Sometime around Lion, or maybe Mountain Lion, I came to realize Apple wanted something different from their user base than what I wanted and wanted their user base to use a mode of user experience which was very different than what I was (and still am) using.

As it is, I don’t see a path on which I will run my systems on anything later than Mojave, and that’s because I still use 32-bit software which does the job better than anything I know of written in 64-bit. What this means is at some point, if currency is imperative for whatever reason, I will probably do something like buy a modular Frame.work laptop and run either a variety of BSD or Linux.

[Adding: I’ve never really warmed up to “glass” devices, which means I’ve never owned, much less used an iPad, whilst with phones, most non-glass options nowadays are limited to burner phones and “grandparent phones”. I think the last phone I loved was my Nokia E62 with a full keypad and screen large enough for then-browsing, and the main reason I stopped using it was because it got stolen.]
 
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lizkat

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Yeah, I understand.

I’m kind of in the camp of, “Is the OS rock-stable and can it open every application I use?” If it doesn’t, then I don’t change what is working. Sometime around Lion, or maybe Mountain Lion, I came to realize Apple wanted something different from their user base than what I wanted and wanted their user base to use a mode of user experience which was very different than what I was (and still am) using.

As it is, I don’t see a path on which I will run my systems on anything later than Mojave, and that’s because I still use 32-bit software which does the job better than anything I know of written in 64-bit. What this means is at some point, if currency is imperative for whatever reason, I will probably do something like buy a modular Frame.work laptop and run either a variety of BSD or Linux.

[Adding: I’ve never really warmed up to “glass” devices, which means I’ve never owned, much less used an iPad, whilst with phones, most non-glass options nowadays are limited to burner phones and “grandparent phones”. I think the last phone I loved was my Nokia E62 with a full keypad and screen large enough for then-browsing, and the main reason I stopped using it was because it got stolen.]

Yep... my mid-2012 MBP is still on Mojave over some 32-bit software, and reluctance to sink any $ into it to convert the HD to SSD at this point. Mojave can run like molasses on it because of the rotational drive, so Catalina seemed out of the question. I only use it offline at this point except once in awhile when I learn that Apple has released a security update for Mojave (which they just did again the other day, actually),

I don't have your aversion to the glass mobiles (although I sure liked a couple of my clamshell type phones, in particular a purple LG CU-515 and was charmed by the tiny Juke phone / mp3 player). But having moved on to the iPhones and iPad world, now I'm always having to prowl around to find out which new OS versions will behave nicely with which iOS versions.

Seems to me that Apple used to be more backwards-compatible on stuff, but I suppose it does get more and more complicated to do that with so many product lines and fairly generous support for older models of most of that gear. It was definitely easier for them to focus on staying backwards-compatible before mobiles popped into the scene.

But since that time, and speaking now only of software issues, I know I'm not the only one sometimes gets concerned about a drift towards iOS in some of the OS apps. Lately though I also wonder about apparent indifference to the OS side of the separate components of the old iTunes application. I've mentioned elsewhere in these forums that their attention to the MacOS version of Books app w/ respect to audiobooks is practically nil. If you launch an audiobook, you get a miniplayer embedded in the lower lefthand corner of Books library window and that's all there is... no way even to make it into a standalone mini player window. Ludicrous.
 
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Part of the problem people have with music transfer across devices, of course, is variations in expected levels of an iOS or MacOS on the devices. I have a few older Macs still in use and have long since got used to warnings like "You need to upgrade your operating system to connect this device". Sigh. Time to fish around for recollections of the last time I managed some workaround, or looked for one in vain.

But I have for a long time also expected certain missing features to be added to Apple's Music app, and one of them is that annoying thing about copying a playlist from one device to another and discovering that not all of the source list even came over, just because not all tracks in the list are on the targeted device.

This is particularly annoying in the age of cloud music options... seems to me they should just bring the list over and give you the option to download the missing track, and meanwhile when playing the list, just skip a track that carries an exclamation point (signal that the track's not present).
I ended up going for Plex a while ago and loaded all my music on my NAS then use the Plex player on my iDevices etc. to play all my music no matter where I am.
 

lizkat

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I ended up going for Plex a while ago and loaded all my music on my NAS then use the Plex player on my iDevices etc. to play all my music no matter where I am.

I'm almost ready to check it out... and I do keep reading about people who are using Plex, albeit with a few complaints here and there.

As much as I don't crave learning curves on apps with a lot of options, I'm also starting to dislike apps that are stuck in "this is what we have, get over it" for too long.
 

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Yep... my mid-2012 MBP is still on Mojave over some 32-bit software, and reluctance to sink any $ into it to convert the HD to SSD at this point. Mojave can run like molasses on it because of the rotational drive, so Catalina seemed out of the question. I only use it offline at this point except once in awhile when I learn that Apple has released a security update for Mojave (which they just did again the other day, actually),

In the eventual case you do decide to take the SSD plunge for that unibody, it can be a cheap way to really speed it up, especially with post-APFS macOS builds. The speed bump is so effective that there are folks on the early Intel forum who are running Catalina and Big Sur on early 2008 MacBook Pros equipped with SSDs.

I don't have your aversion to the glass mobiles (although I sure liked a couple of my clamshell type phones, in particular a purple LG CU-515 and was charmed by the tiny Juke phone / mp3 player). But having moved on to the iPhones and iPad world, now I'm always having to prowl around to find out which new OS versions will behave nicely with which iOS versions.

I was also a big fan of the candy bar form factor, and I miss those phones. I still think about the Sony Ericsson T610 I used to use and remember how the only thing holding it back was the low-res colour LCD.

I think it would be nice for iPhone models to readily use other operating systems, but Apple have seen to it since, well, the second-gen in 2008 that this cannot happen and must not happen at all cost — without serious hoop-jumping on the side of the end-user who is willing to try. I’m also not enamoured with the removal of a headphone jack, as this seriously limited what could be used with one. Coupled with the notion of disposable electronics at a time when waste diversion simply isn’t enough, I’ve never grasped why Apple have doubled-down with developing and promoting AirPods, as they are not recyclable, nor can they be replenished in any way at all. I find it frustrating on so many levels.

Seems to me that Apple used to be more backwards-compatible on stuff, but I suppose it does get more and more complicated to do that with so many product lines and fairly generous support for older models of most of that gear. It was definitely easier for them to focus on staying backwards-compatible before mobiles popped into the scene.

Well-built, rugged mobile devices would have a much longer use-life than what manufacturers are willing to settle for, since the computing power within these far outshine even laptops made only a few years ago (and new-phone prices reflect that computing power advancement, too). With Moore’s law basically coming to an end, new-gen devices aren’t making the generational computing leaps they once did. To build devices which are not designed to be rugged and which are not modular in any way whatsoever (which really crept up on everyone over this last decade), manufacturers like Apple can use that as leverage to press consumers toward replacing/cycling through their current devices as soon as possible — optimally within 18–36 months, because this is what yields the largest profit margin (as opposed to the most sustainable profit margin).

Yes, it was a better experience all-round for end-users when Apple were focussed on both backward-compatibility and future-proofing their hardware. Then at some point, they realized the removal of these features in exchange for selling non-modular systems (and systems which could not be serviced easily) would generate more revenue with greater obligatorily returning customers who ran into typical usage issues of using hardware (which in the past could be serviced and given much more use-life). But now, it’s hardware which can’t be repaired.

And a lot of what Apple and other manufacturers realized with their phones (i.e., don’t make them rugged or modular) could be applied to every other aspect of their consumer and prosumer hardware. :(

But since that time, and speaking now only of software issues, I know I'm not the only one sometimes gets concerned about a drift towards iOS in some of the OS apps.

That feature-drift toward the iOS-ification of Mac OS X/macOS has been slow in the making ever since Lion, taking additional leaps with Yosemite and then Catalina. I have resisted that push ever since, well, since Lion came out. I still remember buying my 2011 MacBook Pro in August that year, and within an hour after opening the box, I yanked out the 10.7 drive which came bundled with the system and put in the hard drive with 10.6.8 from the laptop it replaced.

Lately though I also wonder about apparent indifference to the OS side of the separate components of the old iTunes application. I've mentioned elsewhere in these forums that their attention to the MacOS version of Books app w/ respect to audiobooks is practically nil.

For Apple, their money-making is all in their iPortables, and that shift changed the DNA of the company.

If you launch an audiobook, you get a miniplayer embedded in the lower lefthand corner of Books library window and that's all there is... no way even to make it into a standalone mini player window. Ludicrous.

🙃
 

lizkat

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In the eventual case you do decide to take the SSD plunge for that unibody, it can be a cheap way to really speed it up, especially with post-APFS macOS builds. The speed bump is so effective that there are folks on the early Intel forum who are running Catalina and Big Sur on early 2008 MacBook Pros equipped with SSDs.

It's tempting once in awhile... whoever owned my 2009 MacBook that I bought used had upgraded the drive to SSD and installled 16GB RAM. But I remind myself that the reason I kept that machine was that it's in great shape and runs some 32bit software I need. So I don't want to mess around taking it to a later OS even though I've read it can actually support them. I should maybe update the 2012 machine to have an SSD and just run the 32bit stuff on that one. Thing is, that's a machine that also needs a kb replacement, so I use it with a pita BT kb.


Yes, it was a better experience all-round for end-users when Apple were focussed on both backward-compatibility and future-proofing their hardware. Then at some point, they realized the removal of these features in exchange for selling non-modular systems (and systems which could not be serviced easily) would generate more revenue with greater obligatorily returning customers who ran into typical usage issues of using hardware (which in the past could be serviced and given much more use-life). But now, it’s hardware which can’t be repaired.
Yep. As much as I enjoy certain aspects of "the walled garden" Apple offers us, the shine is off the apple in some respects, and stuff like having a thinner machine but no longer even being able to order up a swappable battery (seriously?!!) is infuriating when I let myself think about it.

LOL so I stick to being infuriated over things like the annoying limitations of the Music app's "Up Next" or as they call it now, "Playing Next". How much time did they spend discussing or even focus-grouping that name change on the queued music instead of making that stupid slide-over queue display more useful. Classical music fans have become aware that it's sometimes impossible to see if the upcoming tracks are in the right order on some works because of the unfortunate conflation of a too-narrow queue window and long track names. I complained about that in a feedback once, and then to a tech service rep. The latter suggested workaround of click on the track in "Playing Next" and do a get-info on it,..
 

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It's tempting once in awhile... whoever owned my 2009 MacBook that I bought used had upgraded the drive to SSD and installled 16GB RAM. But I remind myself that the reason I kept that machine was that it's in great shape and runs some 32bit software I need. So I don't want to mess around taking it to a later OS even though I've read it can actually support them.

For now, just using something like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone what’s on your hard drive, onto a SSD, should keep you from having to deal with a different OS until you’re ready.

I should maybe update the 2012 machine to have an SSD and just run the 32bit stuff on that one. Thing is, that's a machine that also needs a kb replacement, so I use it with a pita BT kb.

The high failure rate of the keyboards on the unibody and retina MBPs are a sincere pain in the arse. Whereas they lack the much-loathed butterfly mechanism, they fail often enough to be a chronic design flaw.

My 2011’s first keyboard failed eight months after buying it (right when I was feverishly slamming together my master’s thesis — awesome timing). The second time it happened a few years later, I went ahead and replaced it on my own. I can completely appreciate why few people would want to do that task themselves. (I also ended up fixing my friend’s 2015 15-inch rMBP’s keyboard a couple of years ago, which failed in much the same way and which also revealed to me how Apple never bothered to improve that design’s durability over the span of nine years, succeeding it with… the butterfly keyboard :headdesk: . In fact, the 90 or so screws holding the keyboard to the top case had been replaced in the retina models with… rivets. Please kill me.)
 

lizkat

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For now, just using something like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone what’s on your hard drive, onto a SSD, should keep you from having to deal with a different OS until you’re ready.

That's always been my fallback when I take any machine up to a different OS. When I finally get an M1 machine I'm going to have to read up on any special considerations going forward from there, though. Or maybe sooner. How Apple handles the OS is different than it used to be when it comes to cloning a drive now, I think. Not sure if that's relevant in just going from say Mojave or Catalina to Big Sur or eventually Monterey.
 
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