Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that many of our customers invest a lot of time and effort in their playlists and that includes the artwork, not just the tunes. By artwork, we mean both the “sleeve” artwork of the individual tracks and the image attached to a playlist as a whole.
Retaining artwork when moving playlists between platforms throws up some significant technical challenges. We’ve invested much time and effort trying to ensure that Playlisty gives you the best possible experience, read on if you’d like to learn more.
Let’s say (like us) you’ve spent many hours creating a playlist on Spotify getting everything just right. And by just right we don’t just mean the right tracks in the right order, we mean that when you selected New Order’s “Blue Monday” you didn’t just pick the first mix you came to but instead carefully picked the one with the “correct” floppy disk cover art.
Let’s say you’ve then used a tool to copy that playlist over to Apple Music and your Blue Monday artwork gets translated to a fluorescent “Best of the 80’s” album cover. You’d be disappointed, right?
Well over the last year we’ve invested a lot of time & effort in Playlisty trying to keep that kind of disappointment to a minimum. Here’s how:
- First of all, with Playlisty you can match using the album or EP (which is usually associated with artwork) as well as the track itself. So when you match with (say) Spotify you can ensure you are getting the same track from the same album, not just the same track.
- If an album or EP isn’t available to match against but there are still a number of different covers for Playlisty to choose from, Playlisty uses a complex algorithm to try to ensure you get the “best” artwork. Starting with Playlisty 3.2 we give you control over this algorithm so that, as far as is possible, you get the artwork (or audio quality) you want. To learn about the algorithm control features in Playlisty 3.2 click here.
- Regardless of what settings you choose, when matching we ALWAYS try to avoid “best of” albums and compilation albums. We always try to pick singles or original artist albums where available and where the metadata allows us to identify them.
- Sometimes things will still look odd, often because (Spotify, we’re looking at you) we get given the “wrong” album by a music service. We try to correct these situations where possible, so if (for example) there are 5 tracks from album A and 1 track from album B even though that track was also available on album A, we’ll use the album A version instead.
Having said all of this there are some caveats which are worth bearing in mind:
- Playlisty will NEVER swap one track for another for the purposes of optimising artwork if it will result in a different audio file, so your playlist will always sound as it should. The music always takes priority.
- Remember that sometimes the exact track you want just isn’t there in Apple Music or the metadata associated with a track is not good enough for Playlisty to find it. In those situations there’s only so much that Playlisty can do.
Unfortunately Apple don’t currently provide any means for apps such as Playlisty to associate artwork with a playlist in Apple Music. Technically it’s just not possible: the only way to associate artwork with your playlists is by using the iOS or macOS “Music” app.
However, we’ve done what we can to make the manual process of moving artwork from one service to another as easy as possible.
Specifically, while you are in the Library view in Playlisty, you can long-press on playlist artwork and Playlisty will give you the option to save the artwork straight to your photo album.
It’s then easy to pick this from your photo album when adding artwork to a playlist within the “Music” app.
It’s a bit clunky but until Apple give us an API for artwork we’re afraid it’s the best we can do!
I’ve heard I can use Playlisty to get access to my Apple Music “Loved” tracks. How?
If you are used to Spotify you will probably be used to the functionality it offers where “Liking” a track causes it to get automatically added to a “Liked Songs” playlist.
At the time of writing, no such functionality exists on Apple Music and if you “Love” an Apple Music track and forget to also add it to a playlist or your library, there’s no easy way to find the track again. If you’ve already “Loved” hundreds of tracks before realising this it can be very frustrating.
Luckily there is a workaround. It’s easy, but it does take a bit of time while you wait for Apple to do their thing. This is how you do it:
- Log-on to https://privacy.apple.com using the Apple Id that you use for Apple Music (this is very important – if you use different Ids for Apple Music & iCloud)
- Select “Obtain a copy of your data” and then “Apple Media Services information”. Then “Continue”.
- Choose a maximum file size (the minimum of 1Gb should be fine) and then “Complete request”.
- Wait. For a day or two. Or three. Keep checking back here: https://privacy.apple.com/account to see if your file is ready for download.
- Once it is ready, download your file (it is called “Apple Media Services information.zip”) and unzip it (easiest on a Mac or PC).
- Next, find the file “Apple_Media_Services.zip”, unzip it and then open the folder “Apple Music Activity”.
- Find the file “Apple Music Likes and Dislikes.csv” and put it somewhere where Playlisty can open it e.g. on a Mac leave it in the Downloads folder; on an iPad or iPhone, put it somewhere on your iCloud or DropBox drive.
- Open Playlisty, select the “Files” tab and add the “Apple Music Likes and Dislikes.csv” file. Hit “Next…” and let Playlisty do the rest.
Sorry if that sounds complicated – it really is not, but you do have to wait a while for Apple to get your data together. Hopefully a future version of Apple Music will make this all unnecessary.
How do I cancel my Playlisty Pro subscription?
There’s no subscription for Playlisty Pro – it’s a one-off payment. So there’s nothing to cancel.
We don’t like subscriptions ourselves and don’t think they make sense for products like ours.
What are the pre-requisites for running Playlisty?
To install & run Playlisty you will need:
- To be running iOS 16.1 or MacOS 13.1: Unfortunately we use some of the latest Apple APIs, which weren’t available before these versions.
- An Apple Music subscription with iCloud Music Library switched-on.
What is “Sync Library” and why do I have to enable it?
If you enable “Sync Library” you are allowing the Music app to store your library in the cloud rather than just locally on your device. If you have multiple devices connected to the cloud they will all share the same library, so if you add a track on one device, within a few seconds all your other devices can see it too. So there’s no need to sync your devices any more – they stay up to date automatically. It’s magic.
But what if some of your devices don’t have enough room to save all of your tracks? Apple have thought of that: when a device downloads your library it doesn’t download any of the tracks themselves. It just downloads the “metadata” – the data about what tracks you have (including your playlists) which uses only a tiny amount of memory. You can then either choose yourself which tracks you want to download for offline access or let your device decide for itself. Either way you should not run out of memory. It’s very clever.
Downsides? Well, if all your devices have different stuff on them it is all going to get added to the cloud when you enable Sync Library, which means that there’s sometimes a bit of sorting-out to do afterwards e.g. some duplicates. But apart from that, there really aren’t any downsides.
What does all this have to do with Playlisty?
The answer is that for a playlist to contain an Apple Music track it MUST be in the cloud. If you have a local “non-cloud” playlist you simply can’t add Apple Music tracks to it. It’s a rule.
Which means that if you want to copy any playlists to Apple Music, however you do it you are going to need “Sync Library” switched on.
I just installed on a new device and tried to restore my purchase. It didn’t work!
Please select the section which applies to you:
I purchased playlisty pro on a mac and I’m having problems restoring on an iphone
Unfortunately we’ve been seeing this issue quite a bit recently and have escalated it to Apple. They accept that the issue is on their side: there seems to be a “break” between the macOS & iOS app stores at the moment.
Luckily a few weeks ago one of our customers found what looks like an easy fix:
“To fix the issue I’ve gone through the purchase process again on my iPhone, and as it is a non-consumable IAP there was no second payment”
I should stress that we can’t test this fix as we haven’t been able to reproduce the issue ourselves, but dozens of other customers have told us that it works and if you do get charged (very unlikely) you should be able to request a refund from Apple.
If you get this problem, the first thing to check is that the Apple ID you are logged-in with is the same as (or has access to, via family sharing) the account with which you purchased Playlisty. It sounds obvious but we’ve made that mistake ourselves.
If the Apple ID looks correct then the most likely reason for a restore not working is that Apple’s servers are too busy and the request is failing at their end. So the next thing to try is simply waiting a bit – an hour or two ought to be enough – and then trying again.
If that doesn’t work, you might want to consider the “repurchase” method mention in the section above (note: if you’ve purchased “Pro” you should not get charged again).
If it still doesn’t work, contacting Apple is probably your next best step. Playlisty just uses the standard Apple mechanisms for in-app purchases and whenever we’ve recommended that customers call Apple in the past, they’ve always managed to resolve it.
However we know from experience that the first couple of things that Apple recommend are 1). A reboot of your iPhone, and 2). To sign-out & of Media & Purchases on your iPhone, reboot and then sign back in again, so this is probably worth doing before you call them.
Why doesn’t Playlisty work on a child’s account & how can I work around this?
Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t allow third party apps such as Playlisty or Amazon Alexa to connect to accounts that are set up as “Child” accounts within a family sharing group.
If you want to get some playlists from a child’s Spotify account and save them to their Apple Music account, you therefore need to go through a few steps:
- Install Playlisty on an adult’s device and link it to the child’s Spotify account. If Playlisty is already installed and pointing to another Spotify account you will need to delete / re-install it.
Tip: if you have set up custom playlist sources you may want to go in to “Settings” and save them to a file before deleting.
- Import the relevant playlists to the adult’s Apple Music account.
- Share the playlists from within Apple Music (see https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/music/mus140a2e93/mac).
The child user can then access the shared playlists and link / copy them as required.
How do I “Share” a playlist from another app such as Safari?
Look for the share icon, and then press it
Select “Import Playlist” or “Playlisty” from the list
When the Playlisty “Share Extension” pops-up, hit “Post”, and then head over to the Playlisty App.
I posted a playlist from the “Share” button but nothing happened…
By default, when you hit the “Post” button your playlist gets saved. It will get picked-up as soon as you start the “Playlisty” app. This is the way that Apple says it’s supposed to happen.
In case you find this laborious and would prefer to go straight to Playlisty when you hit the “Post” button, there’s a switch (at the bottom, under the Post button). If you change this from “Import Playlist -> Later” to “Import Playlist -> Now” then the Playlisty app will start as soon as you hit “Post”.
I tried importing a Podcast/Web-page and it didn’t work…
There are a couple of reasons why a playlist sometimes won’t be immediately recognised:
- Sometimes there’s a playlist there but despite its advanced pattern matching technology, Playlisty just can’t find it. It’s worth cutting and pasting just the playlist text itself (without all the other text on the page) into the app – often that will work when sharing the whole page did not. If there’s a page you use a lot and it’s not working, please send it to us and we’ll try and get it working in a future release.
If all else fails, you can see the playlist but Playlisty simply won’t recognise it, try pasting it into a text file and try and clean it up a bit yourself. If you can get it in:
- Track name – Artist name
format you can be sure it will be recognised.
I’ve hit the “Share” button but Playlisty isn’t there…
Scroll to the right hand end of the list of “Share Extensions”, and select “More”.
Scroll down the list until you find “Playlisty”, and then turn it on. If you want to save a bit of time it’s worth moving it nearer the top of the list as well – this will make it quicker & easier to find.
I’ve selected the Playlisty “Share” icon but I’m not getting a playlist. I’m getting nothing/garbage instead…
If Playlisty couldn’t find a playlist at a URL you shared with it, but it did find some text, it will show you the stripped-down text that it received in the hope that you can clean it up a bit and try again. This is best done by cut/pasting it into a text editor and then pasting it back when cleaned-up. Better still, save it as a text file on your iCloud/DropBox/Google drive and open it in Playlisty from there.
By cleaned-up we mean as close a possible to a list of lines, each containing “Track name – Artist name” (or the other way around – it doesn’t matter).
If you want to know more take a look at the “I tried importing a Podcast/Web-page and it didn’t work…” section.
Lots of my tracks are failing to match
The most likely reason is that you are importing classical music. Unfortunately there are so many additional factors involved in getting a perfect match (Orchestra, Conductor etc) that partial matches are as good as you can hope for on most classical tracks.
The other common reason why you might not get a match is that the track simply isn’t available in Apple Music yet.
If you think Playlisty has missed a simple match with a track you know is there in Apple Music, please send us details using the form below, and we will try to fix it!
You say you support YouTube. I just tried it on my YouTube Music account and lots is missing!
Unfortunately YouTube & YouTube Music are not the same thing, although currently Google do not provide a way to access YouTube Music data except though YouTube (or more specifically the “YouTube Data API”).
What does this all mean?
It means that sometimes you won’t be able to see some of your YouTube Music playlists in Playlisty. And sometimes you will be able to see them but they take hours or days to appear after you create them.
It also means that very frequently when you try to import a YouTube Music playlist in Playlisty it will not be able to match some or many of the tracks.
This is because much of the data about your tracks (e.g. the artist) gets stripped off as it goes through YouTube because, for example, “artist” is not a data field for YouTube videos.
We really hope that Google fix this soon.
Playlisty says it has finished but my playlist is missing (or partially missing)!
This is because when Playlisty creates your playlist(s) it creates them in the cloud and (usually) it takes a little while to sync back to your device. There’s nothing you or we can do to speed this up – be patient and your playlists should be there in a few minutes.
You can check they made it to the cloud by looking at the Apple Music web site, here: https://music.apple.com
How does the “Add to existing playlist” function work?
Say there’s a playlist that gets regularly updated on an external service such as SoundCloud or Spotify e.g. perhaps a friend shares their favourite tracks in an “On Deck” playlist which they add to each week.
Suppose you want a playlist in your Apple Music library that gets updated with any new tracks that appear in that their “On Deck” playlist.
That’s what the “Add to existing playlist” (aka “Add Mode”) function is useful for: each time you import “On Deck” with Add Mode switched-on, instead of simply creating a new playlist (e.g. “On Deck (2)”) Playlisty will compare the Spotify version of “On Deck” with the version in your Apple Music library and it will add any new tracks to the end.
Also, if you don’t want to have to remember to do the sync every week you can setup a Siri Shortcut to do this for you, using the “Add to Siri” button on the final “Save” screen, and then creating an “Automation” in the Apple shortcuts app. For more details on how to use Playlisty within Siri Shortcuts, click here.
What’s the difference between “Save to library” and “Save to playlist”?
“Save to playlist” does what it says: it saves the tracks you’ve selected to a playlist.
“Save to library” will not save the selected tracks to a playlist. Instead it will save them to your cloud library and you’ll be able to see them by looking in Library -> Songs. Note that there is no specific order for “Songs” – you can sort them into whatever order you want.
Generally if you are not sure which you want, choose the Playlist option. If you later decide that you want to add them to your library this is easy to do after the event using the Music app itself.
What’s the difference between “Save to new playlists” and “Save to your library ‘as is’”?
“Save to new playlists” will save whatever playlists you’ve selected to new playlists, including your “Liked Songs” and “Liked Albums”. Or in other words:
- Playlists -> Playlists (with same names)
- “Liked Songs” -> a “Liked Songs” Playlist
- “Liked Albums” -> a “Liked Albums” Playlist
If you are not 100% familiar with Apple Music then choose this option – it is simplest to understand, and if you want to move the tracks in a playlist to your library at a later time it’s easy to do in the Music app.
“Save to your library ‘as is’” will save Playlists as Playlists but will transfer Liked Songs & Albums (if selected) direct to your library. Or in other words:
- Playlists -> Playlists (with same names)
- “Liked Songs” -> the “Songs” section of your library
- “Liked Albums” -> the “Albums” section of your library
This will copy your Spotify library (for example) over to Apple Music in the way which is closest to how you see things in Spotify.
Can I import entire albums?
Click here to see how to import a list of albums, not tracks, in Playlisty.
Controlling how Playlisty matches tracks
Whenever you import a playlist, Playlisty uses sophisticated heuristics to find the optimum equivalent track in Apple Music. Usually this results in a perfect match, but it’s not uncommon for Playlisty to find several Apple Music tracks which exactly match from an audio perspective but which have different cover art and were released differently e.g. as a single (released in Spatial Audio), an album, a “best of” album and even a compilation album.
Which of those versions you’d like Playlisty to choose will depend on your priorities, and starting with Playlisty v3.2 you can now configure how you’d like Playlisty to choose between different versions of tracks.
This section is intended to provide some recommended settings based on common priorities, assuming you are using Spotify as a source. You’ll find the new options in the “Control” section of Settings.
And remember: Playlisty will never deliberately pick a “compilation” version of a track unless it’s the only version available or unless Apple Music’s metadata is inaccurate (which happens more often than we’d like!).
Priority: “I want my Apple Music Playlist to be EXACTLY the same as my Spotify playlist”
If you spent ages getting your artwork just right on Spotify and want to keep it that way then these settings are for you. Click here to learn more about how Playlisty handles artwork. Also bear in mind that the exact track isn’t always available:
|Use Album Details||Yes|
|When matching||Prefer Singles|
|Explanation||Slavishly tries to copy what’s on Spotify but switches-off any further “album optimisation”, leaving Playlisty free to pick the best tracks for anything which didn’t match.|
Priority: “I want the best possible audio quality on Apple Music”
If you want to upgrade your Spotify tracks to the best audio quality that Apple Music has to offer then we recommend the following:
|Use Album Details||No|
|When matching||Prefer Dolby Atmos/Hi Res (delete as appropriate)|
|Explanation||Leaves Playlisty free to pick the best audio quality in all situations. Note that Playlisty will also favour Apple Digital Master tracks with these settings.|
Priority: “I want to keep my play stats as clean as possible”
If you like to keep your play counts against the same instance of each track you’ll want Playlisty to pick the most ubiquitous version available (usually the album version) when importing. We’d recommend:
|Use Album Details||No|
|When matching||Prefer Albums|
|Explanation||Steers Playlisty towards picking the original artist album version of each track, regardless of what was on Spotify, as this is usually the most widely used version.|
Priority: “I’m generally Ok with my Spotify playlists but clean them up a bit where possible”
This is our default setting and is a good overall compromise. It mostly gives you what you have on Spotify, but will tidy-up your playlist by “consolidating” where possible e.g if on Spotify you picked a couple of tracks by the same artist from a compilation album, but Playlisty sees that both those tracks are available from the same original-artist album, it will “upgrade” the tracks to the original artist versions:
|Use Album Details||Yes|
|When matching||Prefer Albums|
|Explanation||Generally gives you an accurate copy of your Spotify playlist but if you have a scattering of compilation tracks which are available from original artist albums then Playlisty will attempt to upgrade them.|
About Deep Search
Deep search is a feature introduced in Playlisty 3.6 to enable additional depth to your track searches in certain circumstances. You can switch it on or off from the “Matching & Playback” section in settings. It’s OFF by default, although when you tap on a track to see potential matches Playlisty will always perform a Deep Search so that you can see every possible option.
How does it work? When Playlisty searches for tracks it will normally keep searching until it finds a perfect match for the track you are looking for, including artwork & audio quality, and then stop searching. But with Deep Search switched-on it will carry on searching even when it’s already found a perfect match. It will search until pretty much every possibility has been exhausted in the hope that an even better “perfect” match is out there.
When would this be useful? For most tracks – especially recent tracks – enabling Deep Search will make no difference to the results of matching which is why we don’t enable it by default. However if you have tracks which have appeared on lots & lots of compilation albums (e.g. mainstream tracks from the 1980’s) enabling Deep Search will sometimes result in better quality artwork than the standard search. If artwork is important to you and you are disappointed with some matches using the normal search then we’d recommend giving Deep Search a try.
When should I not use it? Using Deep Search can be significantly slower than performing a normal search. More importantly it can use much more memory, meaning that smaller devices (e.g. iPhones) may close Playlisty down before matching is complete on larger playlists. If you are using an iPhone and Playlisty appears to crash before a large playlist has finished matching then ensure that Deep Search is switched-off.
How do I use Playlisty with Siri Shortcuts?
Click here to see how to use Playlisty within Siri Shortcuts.
How to use Playlisty to import FROM your Music library TO your Music library
Click here to see how to import from your Music library to your Music library.
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.
How can I use Playlisty to backup my Apple Music playlists?
Starting with Playlisty 3.1 you can save your Apple Music playlists to a file and then restore them later using the “Files” tab.
Important: only Apple Music tracks will get backed up using this function. If your playlists contain your own local tracks they will NOT get backed up!
To backup your playlists:
- If it’s not already there, add your Apple Music “Music Library” to your list of Playlist Sources. To do this you will first need to go to settings and enable “Enable your local Music library as a source on the ‘+’ menu”. Then use the ‘+’ button at the bottom of your Playlist Sources to add it to your list.
- Tap on the Music Library playlist source, browse and select the playlist(s) you want to backup. If in multi-select mode, hit “Next…”
- Once matching is complete, hit “Save” as you normally would. Note: it’s not worth “fixing” any tracks which have not matched at this point. All tracks will be written to your archive file – regardless of whether they matched – and if any need fixing you’ll be able to do that when you import them later.
- When the “Save to Apple Music” screen pops-up you’ll see a new “Save to a file” tab. Select this and tap “Start”.
- You’ll be prompted for a location to save the resulting file.
That’s it – Playlisty will create a .plif (PlayList Interchange Format) file at the location you selected.
To restore your playlists:
- Select the “Files” tab in Playlisty and use the ‘+’ button to add the .plif file you created earlier. Hit “Next…”
- Once matching is complete you will have the opportunity to select the playlists you want to restore from the .plif file by checking/unchecking the “Save?” checkbox next to each. If any tracks need “fixing” you should do it here.
- Hit “Save” and save the selected playlists to your Apple Music library as you normally would.
What exactly gets backed up?
If you save one or more playlists with this function, the playlist metadata (name, description, curator1) and tracks (name, artist, album & identifiers, where available) will be written to the resulting file.
This means that if you immediately restore the playlist to an account in the same geographic region then the restored playlist should be an exact copy of the original apart from the playlist artwork (unfortunately it’s not currently possible to back this up).
If, when you come to restore the file, some of the tracks are no longer available (e.g. because they have been removed from the catalog or you have moved to a different region) Playlisty will attempt to find the best possible matches for these tracks at that time.
1Please note that curator will not correctly populated until Apple make it available in a future release
What are PlayList Interchange Format (PLIF) files?
PLIF files are open standard files containing a definition of your playlists in JSON data interchange format. Each file can contain any number of playlists and there are a multitude of tools (other than Playlisty) which you can use to explore and extract data from them, should you wish.
To get you started we’ve published a script written in the Python language which will extract all playlists from a PLIF file and write each to a separate CSV file which you can open in a tool such as Excel. The script can be found here: https://github.com/playlisty/extract_playlists.
If your issue isn’t covered by our FAQ, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also email us directly using the “Contact Us” button on the Playlisty preferences screen.
Also, if there’s a web page, app or podcast you’d like us to support in Playlisty please get in touch using the form below and send us the details (including URL if possible). We’ll do our best to add it to an upcoming release