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First, a little background. I listen to my iPhone in two cars, a Honda and a BMW. The Honda uses the Aux In, and I have a Bluetooth speakerphone, through which I use Voice Control to start playlists. In the BMW, I use the built-in iPod integration.

I primarily listen to a handful of playlists while in either car, but have dozens more on the phone. I can't use Voice Control in the BMW, so I use the iDrive interface to kick off playlists. As such, I want the playlists I listen to in the car at the top. I prefixed my car playlists with underscores, and everything was great. On iOS 4, they showed up on the iPhone (and iDrive) as follows:

_First Car Playlist
_Second Car Playlist
Another Playlist
Playlist Not For Car

They showed up at the top of the BMW's playlists, and Voice Control still found them with no trouble.

And along came iOS 5, which seems to trim all non-alphanumeric characters from the beginning of each title before sorting. On iOS 5, they show up as follows (on the iPhone and iDrive):

Another Playlist
_First Car Playlist
Playlist Not For Car
_Second Car Playlist

I tried numerous symbols (.$!,?), all of which were ignored. I can't use numbers, because numbers sort to the bottom of the list, and it's not practical to number every playlist. For now I've renamed them as follows:

a First Car Playlist
a Second Car Playlist
Another Playlist
Playlist Not For Car

This works, but it's ugly (less legible), and though Voice Control gets it right when I say "First Car Playlist", it reads it back with the leading "A", which annoys me. Can anyone else come up with another solution?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Oh brother ... I just spent about an hour trying to figure this out myself. I had my playlists in a nice order before this enforced alpha sorting. I hope there will be an update that will allow for some better customization.

Good news is ... I did find one leading symbol that will push your faves to the top! Without looking too ugly! And the voice command lady doesn't pronounce it!

Here it is: ª

... copy and paste!

It's a superscript 'a' used as an ordinal counter in spanish. It'll sort as an 'a' but it's so tiny it doesn't look like much, at least on the ipod screen it's kinda just a speck.

eta: don't know about iDrive or how it might look in the car display

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Thank you, this is exactly what I was hoping for. It looks a little more obnoxious (and, by the way, looks the same on the iDrive as on the iPhone or in iTunes), but is transparent to Siri, and works in all ways like the underscores. Just out of curiosity, how did you discover this character (and/or its use here)? –  Dov Nov 21 '11 at 13:02
    
Just worked my way down the list at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuation until something worked :) Glad it helped. –  pomaceous Nov 25 '11 at 20:48

Have you tried simply sorting them numerically?

  1. First Car Playlist
  2. Second Car Playlist
  3. Another Playlist
  4. Playlist Not For Car

Hopefully Voice Control picks them up correctly here as well.

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The problem with using numbers is that numbers sort at the bottom of the list, and I don't want to number all of my lists (there's more than 20) –  Dov Oct 25 '11 at 20:07
1  
Why the downvote? The original question did not say anything about numbers not working as expected. –  Phong Nov 1 '11 at 18:11

Thanks for posting this. It was very frustrating that I couldn't get a couple of my smart playlists that I use the most to be at the top of my Playlists list.

The only addition I made to your solution was to make it a double a superscript because if you have any other playlists that begin with the full size letter A then not all of the superscript lists go to the top because it's still sorting it alphabetically, starting with a. For example, three different lists:

Business

Asanas

Study

When using a single superscript a gets sorted liked this:

ªBusiness

Asanas

ªStudy

Because it's sorting those three items as:

abu

asa

ast

However, when I added a second a to the superscript, it came out fine.

ªªBusiness

Asanas

ªªStudy

Sorted into:

ªªBusiness

ªªStudy

Asanas

Because it was then sorting the three items as:

aab

aas

asa

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What about putting a space after the superscript a? –  bmike Feb 13 at 23:46

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