iOS 5.1 and iTunes Match.. close, but no cigar.. yet.

I must admit that whilst I really like the idea of iTunes Match and still don’t regret subscribing to it if nothing else as a music-backup opportunity, the delivery of the offer on iOS devices was so shonky that I ended up disabling it on my iPhone and iPad.  Frustrations over missing artwork (hello, OCD!) and a couple of erroneous button presses meaning my phone attempted to download swathes of music over a cellular connection just caining my data allowance all mounted up to just switching it off.

Upon updating to iOS 5.1 I had been looking to see if people had noted any improvements on iTunes Match – and it’s been pretty quiet.  So, sitting on a Friday afternoon at work waiting for a query to run on our database I mischievously slid the slider to on – to be greeted with a new option that I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere.  You can deactivate cellular transfers (once I realised it was happening before I ended up disabling data manually) for iTunes Match – woo.

So that’s one very sensible reservation answered – I won’t end up with a big data fee now by accidentally trying to download my entire Levellers collection (yes, that’s predictably what happened!! – shuffle artist with everything showing – oh, I’ll just download ALL that for you, shall I?).  As far as I can tell there’s still no option to download iTunes matched content at a 128kbps rate as you can with an iTunes sync – so I imagine I’ll still be switching between Match and non-Match on my phone.

Now the Music.app is working and thinking about what I’ve asked it to do – past experience shows that it takes the phone a while to get the information it needs to show all the stuff not on it that is in your library – so I’m content to leave it to it and see what happens.  Cautious optimism is the watchword – music missing from my phone is now visible, there are obsessive compulsiveness twitching gaps in my album artwork – however, I’m prepared to be patient to see if that is resolved once the updating phase finishes.

In summary – it’s still not quite right, but I might be more prepared to live with it from a mobile situation.  Oh, playlists are often a source of consternation with iTunes Match – mine have all appeared as I would expect to see them and I can use them as I would normally (starting to see the missing artwork crop up though!).  No sign of Genius Mixes though.

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Categories: iPhone / iPad / Mac | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “iOS 5.1 and iTunes Match.. close, but no cigar.. yet.

  1. Meh. Every album has artwork, but it seemed to need to download them from the cloud – and it’s same track-by-track – so it’s frustrating, basically!

    If you’re on the go and have disabled cellular transfer you might end up with no artwork as you’re using your iPhone/iPad. The question is, am I anal enough to scroll through each track to force the artwork download?

    I might be…

  2. Yup. A bit of experimenting suggests activating iTunes Match on your iOS device doesn’t, as we know, replace the music already on the device.

    It DOES, however, appear to summarily annihilate most of your album artwork. If you view the album list in Music.app it will download the album artwork both on the device and those that you might not have locally on the iOS device. It doesn’t download them for every track, though.

    As you play tracks Music.app will attempt to download the artwork on a track by track basis – of course, if you’re away from a WiFi connection (which we oft are when listening to music, of course!), then if you’ve got the ‘Use Cellular Data’ option switched to off, then it will not download anything.

    It’s really annoying. I shall continue to monitor performance.

  3. Hi, just came across your blog after searching for others who *must* be suffering like I am.
    I hear you on all the points- yesterday after updating to 5.1 and redownloading my Match music to iPhone I accidentally blew through my data allowance when I left the house. When I realised I could shut off Cellular, it was too late.
    But now? Now when I select music to download (on WIFI) it just stares back at me- a little circle with a square in the middle. Not filling at all (unless I try to listen to it, but I’m not going to listen to *every* song to get it on there) But even stranger- even though it doesn’t download, the spinning dots in the status bar to signal something downloading is CONSTANTLY on. But the only thing coming down is my battery :o/

    Now stuck with half my collection and considering moving back to iTunes sync for music. Man, and I thought it was broken *before* the update…

    Any advice or revelations much appreciated, thanks guys.

    • I can’t replicate that I’m afraid Ryan – I just tried downloading a track from the Cloud not present on my iPhone and it came straight down… that’s on WiFi… obviously it won’t do that on the go as I’ve disabled cellular downloading…

  4. Right.

    I’ve taken iTunes Match off my iPhone (mainly because I wanted to add some purchased music, but not at 256kbps) – upon syncing it systematically re-added all the album artwork that the iTunes Match activation removes for no good reason.

    I’m not going to turn it back on. Bloody thing.

  5. Ron

    Hello again,

    Haven’t done the upgrade yet, so hopefully you can shed some light…

    So basically 5.1 has still NOT fixed the issue where it does not download the artwork when downloading the track…is this correct?

    Furthermore, because iTunes match thinks its god almighty, it seems to delete artwork randomly too (I painstakingly went through EVERY track to make sure the artwork downloaded, but several weeks later some tracks are blank again!) Frustrating. Have you noticed this?

    Finally on the playlists, I’ve noticed that on 5.0.1 the smart playlists do not match up to what I see on iTunes, (whereas the normal ‘not smart’ playlists have no problem in arranging the order to match on all devices). do you see if that has been fixed?

    • Hey Ron

      My experience has been that when you download music from iTunes Match it DOES download the artwork.

      On existing artwork then yes – I have found that it deletes them (that’s my main bone of contention), yet will attempt to download them (if you’re on WiFi) whilst playing them. I too have been anal enough to make sure I have artwork for every track (using AppleScripts)

      I don’t use Smart Playlists (although do still have the ‘Recently Added’ one) and that seems to work okay when iTunes Match is enabled, other playlists work fine with the exception of Genius playlists which didn’t make an appearance when I was briefly using iTunes Match on iOS 5.1

  6. The album art issue is a nuisance. Not as bad as playlists not syncing. It just started with 5.1 and is driving me bonkers. Anyone else run into this issue?

    • Hey there,

      My playlists seem to be fine when I used Match on my iOS devices, but I’m not a particularly complex user of playlists – just a few manually managed ones that I use, no smart playlists or anything.

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