About Playlisty “Replace Mode”

Since the earliest days of the iPhone, Apple has only allowed 3rd party apps to do 2 things to your playlists: 1) Create them, and 2) Add new tracks to them. That’s it. No deleting of playlists, no removal of tracks or amending the order, no updating of playlist names or descriptions. And definitely no artwork.

It’s been that way for 15 years and over that period we developers have given Apple plenty of feedback that that we’d like to do more.

Well starting with iOS16 & iPadOS16, we can: Apple introduced a couple of new functions at WWDC22 which finally allow us to amend some of the attributes of playlists, including descriptions and (crucially) tracks.

Being able to truly mirror the contents of a playlist from a service such as Spotify to an equivalent Apple Music playlist is one of our most commonly requested features, the idea being that you could simply run a sync each week and any track deletions, order changes or new additions on the Spotify side would automatically be reflected on the Apple Music side.

The Playlisty team have been working hard since the WWDC announcement in June to make this possible, and the result is a new kind of sync called “Replace Mode”.

This is a big change and rather than giving it to everyone at once we are making it available to users on an “experimental” basis, starting with Playlisty v2.24. This means that:

  • We don’t claim it works in all scenarios and if it doesn’t work for you, please let us know about it ASAP (please don’t expect that we’ll immediately know how to fix it!). The new mode won’t do anything horrible to your music library or playlists but the occasional crash is a real possibility and you might get the occasional error.
  • If you do get an error, please wait a bit and try again before contacting us. Most errors are related to syncing between your device & the cloud; waiting 15 mins or so usually resolves them.
  • It won’t work on old playlists. Apple actually gave us new functions to create playlists, as well as amend playlists, and the new amend function will only work on playlists that were created with the new create function. In practice this means that “Replace Mode” only works on playlists which were created with Playlisty 2.24 or later and when “Replace Mode” was switched-on in settings at the time.
  • The author of any playlists you create this way will be “Playlisty” by default, although you can override this in Settings.
  • The progress bar while saving playlists is gone. The new methods from Apple don’t give us a way to track progress so unfortunately there’s nothing for us to show you.

Honestly most of the time we find this new feature works pretty well. And once you’ve successfully created a “Replace Mode” playlist we rarely have any further problems with that playlist: subsequent attempts to update these playlists usually go smoothly. We hope that’s true for you too.