No Genius in iTunes Match on iPhone/iPad

I’ve been a paying subscriber of iTunes Match since it was first available in an iTunes developer beta in late August. As you’d expect it was pretty buggy in the early stages but improved somewhat over time. The official release of iTunes Match this month still seems premature to me. While it achieves the task of storing my music library in the Cloud for playback on iOS devices just fine, things look a bit different when it comes to other features that come with iTunes.

No Genius in iOS 5

The Genius feature, introduced in iTunes 8, automatically generates a playlist of songs from the user’s library which are similar to the selected song. I’m using this feature a lot because my library is quite extensive and Genius surprises me every now and then with a song that I didn’t know I even had. However, if you enable iTunes Match on iPhone or iPad, the Genius feature will not be available anymore. Yep, Genius has left the building. Also missing are the dynamically created, genre-based Genius Mixes playlists.

Smart playlists not working

On my iOS devices, the names of the smart playlists are being synced. However, they contain either no or all songs in my entire library. They’re completely useless on my iPhone/iPad at the moment.

No higher quality conversion

I own a lot of lower bitrate (lower than 256 kpbs) 1980’s/1990’s stuff where iTunes Match was able to match the song in iCloud’s iTunes music database. Unfortunately, iTunes doesn’t offer me to to download the higher quality version from the iTunes Store to replace the local version for any of them. The only songs available for download in a higher quality are a handful of CD-ripped Neil Zaza instrumental guitar tracks for which iTunes Match was unable to detect the exact bitrate (most likely because Neil just shreds too hard). In fact, the version iTunes offers in these cases are of lower quality than the tracks existing in my local library. Obviously, I’m not gonna replace those.

With the absence of Genius and my carefully crafted smart playlists, listening to my music library is a lot less fun on my iPhone/iPad. I’d expect Apple to extend the subscription period for free until these bugs have been fixed but I know that might be wishful thinking.

20 replies on “No Genius in iTunes Match on iPhone/iPad”

  1. I don’t even have match enabled and I can’t get genius back with any of the phone based fixes I’ve seen posted so far. I think I lost it with the last update but I’m not sure. What the f~€k happened? I’m so disappointed. Hopefully a computer based fix works cause I like the unexpected tunes it unearths.

  2. I sincerely apologize for hurting your feelings, Joe. I was just a little frustrated. iPhone/Pad has no 4G, limited free apps, can’t download music except iTunes, etc, etc. Apple is a Baby-Boomer and GenX phenom and a great product. They thought of it first, after all, and I’m sure it is great for some people. GenY are more independent thinkers and are more drawn to the open-source Android platform that allows for more creativity. ios5.1 prevents you from jail-breaking the phone any therefore making the phone less “lemming-like”. Not claiming to be “too smart”, it’s just a matter of preference. Good luck and best wishes.

  3. I just switched from Droid x to iPhone just to get Genius. The phone is getting sent back today. Getting Samsung II or Razor. Apps are limited too. Apple is all hype and no substance. They apparently shove their crap down you’re throat. Big mistake and I feel like a fool for paying more on top of it. Wake up Apple lovers!

  4. This “oversight” was finally fixed in the recent IOS 5.1 update. Cloud-based Genius playlists – IT ROCKS!!!

  5. Hello,
    same story more working genius on ipad2. It still works fine on my ipod/iphone and mac book pro. Only not on my Ipad2. Never used Match.

  6. The comments here seem to me a bit too mild. Apple have really screwed their customers with this, both by the popular features that Match renders useless and, worse in a sense, because they didn’t give any warning of these problems.
    “It would be nice if Apple would have made it very clear…” – too right! But they didn’t! What does that make them?

    How are the competition shaping up, anyone know?

  7. @Masta – Your instructions work, but I get an error stating this song does not have enough related songs to create a Genius playlist, and the Genius icon goes away and you have to go through those steps again to get it to come back.

    It would be nice if Apple would have made it very clear that turning on Match would remove this capability.

  8. Another annoyance I’ve found is that if you browse by “Artist” you can’t shuffle songs across all their albums…. Only within the album of the first song you choose.

    Anyone else notice this?

    Isn’t that supposed to be the point to sort by “artist” and not by “album”?

    The lack of genius with iTunes match is super annoying as well…

  9. This is what works for me.
    I do this once: I keep quite a bit of music loaded on my iPhone using the normal sync process with my Mac (via USB cable) prior to turning on iTunes Match (…let’s me listen to at least some music even when disconnected from the net, like when on a plane).  And then I turn iTunes Match back on (and leave it turned on) and it gives me access to the rest of my music library from iCloud when I have network access (3G or Wifi) for normal listening using my whole library over Match.
    I start playing a song on my iPhone (one that doesn’t have the iCloud icon)
    I click the home button (physical button on iPhone that closes the Music app)
    I then double click the home button (opens the task manager at the bottom)
    Quit Music (press/hold on the Music icon in the tray until the little red circle with an x appears to quit the app)
    Then restart Music (tap the Music icon on my iPhone home screeen)
    When the Music app restarts, it opens to the last song playing.  if it was one of the songs downloded to my iPhone, it has the litlle atomic symbol again and I can create a genius playlist from it.
    (i found that in macrumors and it WORKS)

  10. I hooked my Ipod touch up to the computer, opened itunes, and turned Genius on from inside Itunes. It then updated my Ipod and gave me the symbol back for my songs. Not sure why the update undid all of my previous Genius settings… Good Luck.

  11. SO actually its easy to get Genius back. Just turn off Match temporarily (In settings.A little bit of a pain, but worth the effort.

  12. I, too, lost Genius without warning. Big problem. I would expect Apple to make this right with an immediate update or free service. Not sure what they were thinking with this one.

  13. Wish I had known about losing Genius, I wouldnt have bought Match. Other wise I like it.

  14. Genius gone! That’s a definite show stopper for me. I hope Apple is not thinking about abandoning Genius. That would throw them back to stoneage where all the other “normals” are crawling around.

  15. Installed Match today – and unexpectedly lost Genius. I’m very sad about this. I used Genius every day.

  16. you can download the higher bitrate copies. just remove your copy from the itunes database. you don’t have to delete the music file, just remove it from itunes.

    then the matched version of the song is all that’s available in iTunes. at this point just click download and there’s your 256kb aac.

  17. I also found out today that Genius doesn’t work. That is a big problem with me. The biggest reason why I have an iPhone is for that feature, otherwise I would be on Android.

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