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Have you ever just wanted to copy one or two songs from iTunes to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to have iTunes try to sync a whole barrage of unwanted music to the iOS device? That happens thanks to iTunes AutoFill, one feature that some users may like when it gets filled up an iOS device automatically with music, but it can be very annoying if you just want to manually add a few songs over yourself without having to include a whole set.
If you manage music manually, you can usually add some music with a simple drag and drop song transfer, which doesn’t force sync of everything in iTunes. But if the iOS device’s music library is pre-populated through a recent sync or backupup, it will try to automatically fill in more things along with that action, regardless of whether you manually manage music or not. The easiest way to identify this is if you try to copy a single song in iTunes, you will see the iTunes progress bar that says something like “Updating Files on iPhone – Copying 1 of 254: Song Name”, so what we want to do here is delete those 254 songs that iTunes wants to auto-complete on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Sure, you can get around this by copying music from the desktop to iOS devices instead, but most users don’t manage their music that way. We provide two solutions to this nuisance, one is quite simple and the other is a bit more complicated simply because Autofill behavior is overly quirky.
Solution 1: create a new updated iOS backupup with iTunes
This is the easiest way to go. As the iTunes Music AutoFill list fills itself based on your most recent iOS backupup to iTunes, you can easily back upup in iTunes that is new and freshly updated to get around the weird autofill behavior. This works because the backed up playlist in iTunes now matches the playlist on the iOS device, preventing the unparalleled playlists from trying to match.
- Launch iTunes on the computer
- Connect the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the computer via WiFi sync or USB
- Go to the “Summary” tab and choose “Back” Up Now ”and let the process complete
This will create a backupup made from everything, including the music playlist on the iOS device, with the side effect of matching the two music libraries, preventing autocomplete from dumping unwanted stuff on your iPhone / iPod / iPad.
Keep in mind that if the current backupup does not match up with your current music playlist, the difference in music will be what you are trying to transfer. This is why creating a new backupup importantly, it will remove any difference in the playlists.
For some reason you don’t want a backupup make with iTunes? You can also throw away the AutoFill library and any music that tries to sync to the device.
Solution 2: Clear iTunes AutoFill list to prevent random music from being copied to iOS devices
Note: This process will delete the autocomplete library list, and as a result, music can also be deleted from iPhone / iPod / iPad. This is because the auto-complete list is by default the same music list on the device – or wants to be on the device – the difference between what’s currently stored on the iOS device and what’s in this list is what’s responsible for the unwanted auto-completion of music that is copied when you try to add a single song or two. Meaningful? Yes, it is confusing, especially since it is strangely implemented feature that makes no sense. Unfortunately, there is no simple option to “Turn off autocomplete completely,” so if you want to stop randomly copying music along with a single song or two, here’s what we’re left with for now. Because of the way this works (or rather, doesn’t work), it’s best to use this if you’re starting with an empty iTunes library on the iOS device, or if you don’t mind just restarting the songs you’re doing want to add back to the iOS device.
- Open iTunes and connect the iOS device to the computer (via USB or Wi-Fi Sync)
- Show the sidebar in iTunes so you can see the ‘Device’ list by going to the ‘View’ menu and choosing ‘Show Sidebar’ – many users may already have the sidebar enabled and you can skip this step in that case
- Select the iPhone / iPad / iPod touch from that “Devices” list in iTunes and choose the “Music” library listed under the device name – this is important, DO NOT select the “Music” tab
- Shown is a list of songs and music currently stored on the iOS device or in the music autocomplete queue – if what you see here is not currently on the iPhone / iPod, this is the list of songs that try to copy ALL when trying just one or two songs – this gives you two options:
- Option 1: Remove only the unwanted numbers from this autocomplete sync list by selecting and manually removing them
- Option 2: Delete all songs from this list by pressing Command + A and delete them by pressing the “Delete” key and confirm the deletion – again, if you have these songs saved on the iOS device, they will be also removed from the iOS device
Obviously this is a bit weird, and it could use a serious improvement for the sake of usability. But this works, so if you’re trying to copy a single song or a group of songs from iTunes to an iPhone and you’re trying to go along with a bunch of music, this is probably why, and here’s how you can prevent it.
Again, the autocomplete list is usually based on the most recent device backupup, so if you have a backupup have made up an iPhone to the computer with a different set of music than what is currently stored on the phone, or if it doesn’t match because you deleted some songs from the Music app in iOS, that difference in the two libraries causes iTunes to try to auto-populate what was based on the most recent backup.up. Therefore, the first solution offered is simply to create a recent backupup.
Do you know of a better way to clear the autofill list and prevent it from trying to fill an iPhone even with manual music management turned on? Let us know in the comments!
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