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Every playlist I have made in the iPod app has at some point vanished. What causes this and how do I make them persist?

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Can you elaborate a bit? When do they disappear? Is it when syncing or at some other random time? – Olly Hodgson Jul 26 '11 at 15:59

When you create playlists on an iOS device, those playlists get added to your iTunes Library whenever you sync. Once this happens, the fact that they were created on the iOS device doesn't matter anymore as far as iTunes is concerned--they're just more playlists that need to be synced back and forth according to your sync settings for said device.

On iTunes, plug in and then select your device in the Devices section. Then, in the Music tab make sure that you have enabled the option to select individual playlists. As long as this option is enabled, you will be able to select and deselect individual playlists. Make sure any new playlists are selected there as well.

Another (less common) scenario is when your iOS device is running a much older version of iOS. Previous versions (back when it was still called iPhone OS) had the concept of "On The Go" playlists as it existed on the original iPod. If your device still has "On The Go" playlists, then the behavior is much different: Those playlists get added to your iTunes library as "On-the-go 1", "On-the-go 2", etc; on which case they may not be synced up if they're not re-selected on sync screen (Music tab) for your device. The original iPhone and iPod Touch still had "On The Go" playlists.

Those are the two scenarios I know of that would lead to playlists not being synced back. Could you elaborate on what your device type and iOS version is? That may help us troubleshoot your problem better. Hope this helps.

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I'll try what you said when I get home. I have an iPhone 3GS with iOS 4.3.4. It did it on previous versions of iOS 4 though. I don't remember actually ever synching a playlist. They just disappear. Without synching, they're just gone. I'm not sure how to recreate the problem. Except I believe synching will actually erase them, everytime. I'll take a look at the settings in iTunes and see how it goes. The thing is I rarely use iTunes, unless I want to buy a song, so I never thought the problem could be there. – Louis Jul 26 '11 at 16:57
Okay, my iTunes was already set up as you described. I synced it and all the missing playlists I created on the iPhone reappeared! Going to wait a bit to see if they'll stick around. – Louis Jul 26 '11 at 22:50
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Turns out the real problem is when I sync with Foobar. Looks like I'm stuck with iTunes.

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