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2,862 Tutorials

How to use the Genius sidebar in iTunes

Get recommendations based on your existing music collection

Apple's iTunes is great software for organising your digital music collection. It allows you to organise files by track name, album, artist, genre or star rating that you provide, as well as letting you create playlists of tracks. These tracks can then even be transferred to any of your devices that run iOS, such as an Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod or shared with other computers located on your home network.

However, it also offers features that can help you discover new music and create custom playlists. In version 8 of the software, Apple introduced a feature known as Genius, which compares your songs, playlists, and iTunes purchase history against what Apple offers on iTunes and library information from other users to give you the most relevant recommendations and create random playlists based on a song's baseline. We've already shown you how to create Genius playlists but here's how to use the Genius sidebar to get recommendations.

Step one
Open the Start menu and select iTunes to launch the program.

Step two
You'll need to make sure the Genius function is switched on the sidebar is visible. If you've not yet enabled Genius, then the sidebar will explain what the function does and offer a button that can be clicked to turn it on. Alternatively, if the sidebar isn't viewable, select the Store menu at the top of the window click Turn on Genius.

Step three
Next, you'll be required to enter your Apple ID (an account with the iTunes store, even if you have no plans to purchase anything). If you don't already have one, you can create one using the link displayed in the Window. Once you've accepted the terms and conditions, the function will analyse your music library and alert you when the service is ready to use.

Step four
Now make sure the Genius sidebar is viewable by opening the View menu and selecting Show genius sidebar.

Step five
Now, simply click any song in your library and the sidebar will display several recommendations. There are four sections in the Genius Sidebar. The first are top albums from the selected song's artist, closely followed by top songs by the artist not currently in your library. Next, a relevant iTunes Essentials collection will be displayed and finally the Genius Sidebar will offer up recommendations based on your selection.

Step six
You can also access Genius recommendations through the iTunes store. Click on iTunes Store from the left-hand side of the software and then scroll half way down the store's front page to see a list of Genius recommendations. Press See all and you'll have a list of albums and tracks displayed, which are similar artist you already have in your library. Press Buy to purchase them.

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