Week after week after week of waiting, anticipating, iTunes Match has finally arrived! Apple finally unveiled iTunes Match the other day and all I can say is that it’s amazing! For only $25 bucks a year, iTunes Match will allow you to just access a complete copy of your entire iTunes music library, which they store on their cloud, the iCloud! You can simply subscribe to iTunes Match, set it up very easily and take it for a ride. It’s pretty darn amazing so just be patient while it’s doing it’s thing. Because once finished you will be enjoying your entire music library, all the CDs you imported into iTunes, all the music you downloaded from the internet, all the music your friends gave you, all the mix CDs that you were given by family, friends etc will be available on the go anytime on the iCloud just for a measly 25 dollars for a year. Imagine you are in a hotel and all you have is your iPad so connect and start listening to your favorite Lady Gaga song!
You have to first check to make sure you are running the latest version of the iTunes software program. This is very easy and since I’m on a Mac computer I’ll start with that first. So on a Mac simply go to iTunes-About iTunes and you can see which version of iTunes you have. In this case I have 5.0 (see pictures – click to enlarge) and will need to upgrade to iTunes version 10.5.1.
If it’s not the latest version 10.5.1 then you will need to upgrade by simply going to iTunes-Check For Updates where you can download the latest version of iTunes in this case version 10.5.1. There’s another way to check to see which version of iTunes you are running but this way you can also check to see every software update you need to make. On a windows machine or PC you need to access the About iTunes and Check for Updates menu options by going to the Help menu and from here you can check to see if it’s running the latest version of iTunes which allows you to access the iTunes Match Service on the iCloud.
Once your iTunes software is upgraded to iTunes 10.5.1, you are able to see iTunes Match finally listed just under the iTunes Store on the left where all your playlists live. Just click on iTunes Match and then just click the blue subscribe button, it says Subscribe for $24.99. Once you click this button iTunes will start scanning your entire music library before doing anything else. It needs to check all the songs prior to trying to match any of them against the iTunes Store and iCloud. Finally once the scanning process is over it will match all of your songs. For those obscure songs that are not available at the iTunes Store for it to match and you know we have those obscure songs that have never seen the light of day of a release it will upload those songs to your space on the iCloud. It will also upload the artwork if the artwork is available.
Unfortunately my entire main iTunes music library is way, way too large for iTunes Match to work. I have almost 170,000 songs/tracks loaded up so it gave me an error message. But luckily I have a much smaller library on my laptop that I had match and from the 4506 tracks in my iTunes library it found 4358 of the songs and leaving just about 150 songs that I had to upload.
Once it has completely gone through matching your songs and finished it’s time to get access to your uploaded music now through the iCloud. Finally this is the fun part. You can have access to your music on another computer in the house or elsewhere or any iOS device such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch or Apple TV. Having access to your entire music library on the iCloud is so darn cool and to be able to get it on any iOS device or any computer is even more amazing. You will be able to share your iTunes library on the iCloud with 10 total computers/iOS devices. Now this is pretty darn cool because I can have it on my iPhone, iPad, laptop and the Apple TV.
How To Add iOS Devices Like The iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch To iTunes Match
When you are ready to finally connect one of your iOS devices like your iPhone or iPad then you simply go to your Settings on the iOS device of your choice. Click Settings then Music then switch iTunes Match to say On as it would be on the Off first time. It will ask you for a password or it might not. It didn’t ask me for a password on my iPhone but it did ask me to put my Apple ID password in for my iPad. Something to remember here is that iTunes Match is going to replace all the music you currently have on your iPhone or iPad or your iPod Touch. Keep in mind to sync your iOS device prior to turning on iTunes Match and replacing it with your music currently on your iOS device. Because if you had purchased music form the iTunes Store on your iOS device and didn’t sync you would lose the music.
Immediately after you have enabled iTunes Match on your iOS device like the iPhone, Show All Music pops up just below where you indicated to turn on iTunes Match on the iOS device in Settings – Menu. When you turn on Show All Music all of those songs that were matched and or uploaded from your iTunes music library to the iCloud will now show up in your iPod app on your iOS device. If Show All Music is off then you will only see the music you’ve downloaded. You are finally able to listen to the music on your iOS device using the iTunes Match service. When playing music you are really not streaming this music but you are literally downloading the music from the iCloud to your iOS device to listen to the music. The best part is that it’s playing the music as it’s downloading the music. You don’t have to wait until it’s downloaded completely. It’s like YouTube in a way!
When you have Show All Music on you will be able to see your whole entire iTunes music library. At least in my case my mini iTunes library on my laptop and not my entire huge library that was too huge for iTunes Match. Every one of the tracks you have on your iPhone’s music player will have a cloud arrow pointing down icon that you will have to click on to download the music. See picture below (click to enlarge).
I was just clicking through as many as I could when I first launched it and it started downloading the files one by one. Once you click it displays a circular icon that shows the download progress with a dark grayish circle going around the icon. At the end of a playlist you will also see a Download All cloud icon with arrow to be able to download the large group of files if you prefer to do it that way.
How To Add A Computer To iTunes Match
If you want to listen to the music on a different computer that your normal iTunes library is on you can add it. You have to make sure the computer is running the latest iTunes that can access iTunes Match and that is currently 10.5.1. You have to sign into your Apple user account and just click on the iTunes Match on the left column. When you login you will be asked to add the computer you are logging into your Apple account from. Just click and add the computer and iTunes will do the same thing it did with your first computer just make sure you are doing two computers at once if you happened to have another computer on hand that you wanted to do this with again. When the set up process finishes on your second computer you will be given access to all of the music you already did match off of your first computer. This is really cool because any iOS devices and other computer that you give access to iTunes Match will allow you to listen to the music from this iTunes. This time in the iTunes you’ll see that cloud with the arrow pointing down icon that are to all the songs in the iCloud. You can click each to download it but unfortunately this time in iTunes it’s not playing and downloading like the exacmple of YouTube I mentioned. It has to be fully downloaded and then you can play the song.
So that’s the process in setting up iTunes Match. It’s not much of a headache to do this all you need is time. I suggest you do it just before you leave somewhere so iTunes Match is going through your songs and you are not waiting around. Or you can simply set it up just before you are going to bed so that you wont need to listen to music and all that good stuff. The other hassle is iTunes Match not able to find songs to match so it has to upload physically from your own iTunes library.