Using iTunes Genius on Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Some music and app fans enjoy the Genius function in iTunes, and some don't. It's gone through very limited changes since Apple added the function to iTunes in 2008. However, as devices have been added to the iTunes repertoire, they've arrived with iTunes and Genius, meaning everything that has iTunes also has the Genius capability.

iTunes Genius on a Mac

The Genius option did go through one small change. They took some of it away. It's not clear whether it just wasn't as popular as they expected it to be, or whether they just thought the Ping service would be that much more popular, but they did take away the suggestions that were always made in the right side.


With the Genius options as they stand now for iTunes 10.3, it will suggest songs, TV shows, and movies based on what you have bought through iTunes. I don't really care for their music choices for me, as the music bought on my account is also purchased by others in my family who don't share my musical tastes.


Using the music that you have in your library, iTunes will create several Genius Mixes, creating them by genre. It will put alternative rock together, classic rock together, etc. It can be a great way to listen to music without having to skip around too much. You can also choose a song in your music library and ask iTunes to create a Genius Mix around it. If you go into the Store menu at the top of the app, you can either turn off the Genius option, or update its choices


iTunes Genius on an iPhone

On an iPhone, your choices are broken up differently. In the iPod app, if you click on "Playlists" at the top of of the list, it offers a choice of creating a Genius Playlist off of one song. These lists can also be saved from your computer or your devices, if it creates one that you particularly like.


If you want song suggestions based on prior purchases, open the iTunes app and click on "More" at the bottom, then the "Genius" option. It offers suggestions for music, TV, and movies. Genres can be chosen to narrow down these options as well. It will also tell you why it's making that suggestion, such as suggesting The Who based on a purchase of Bruce Springsteen.


Again, I don't follow the Genius suggestions too much for music, or even TV and movies. Where I find it extremely useful is with the App Store. I buy a lot of apps, and I'm always interested in knowing about others that might be kind of similar, whether it's a music player, writing app, etc. Opening the App Store, if you click on the "Featured" menu, it has an option at the top right for "Genius." If you click on that, it will then allow you to "Turn on Genius" and make suggestions similarly to the way it made music suggestions.


iTunes Genius on an iPad

The choices on an iPad are very similar to the choices on an iPhone, being that they're both running the same iOS and similar apps. Here the option for making a Genius Playlist based on a song is in the lower left corner of the iPod App.


To get Genius song selections on the iPad, open the iTunes app and click on the *Music* menu at the the bottom, followed by the "Genius" tab at the top. Again, the choices can be narrowed by genre. This will give you recommendations by both song and album.


This is a place where the Genius recommendations are very useful. As with the iPhone, open the App Store app, the click on the "Genius" option at the bottom. This will again offer you an option for "Turn on Genius," then will make app suggestions for you. I had to turn this option off, as it caused me too much of a slowdown in the app. To turn off the Genius app choices, or to turn off the Genius music choices, click on your account name at the bottom of the "Featured" page of either the iTunes or App Store menus, then click on "View Account." You can both turn it off here, or also turn it on.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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