I've got a media center running iTunes, and it has some smart playlists set up.
I've also got a desktop computer running iTunes, with which I sync my iPhone.

I want to use the music and the smart playlists from the media center, and not the few songs I've got on the desktop computer. I thought that I could set up the media center to share its library and select that in the iPhone sync settings, but I don't see it.

I do see the media center's shared library on my desktop, and the songs play, so that bit works. I don't see the media center's smart playlists in the desktop's iTunes and also not in the desktop's sync settings.

Is this just not possible, or what did I miss? Both computers are running Windows, but I'm hoping that iTunes would work the same way regardless.

Bonus points for getting the star-rating changes I make on the iPhone synced back to the media center...

  • iTunes Match might be another way to try this: apple.com/itunes/itunes-match Mar 3, 2012 at 12:53
  • @james.garriss are you saying that Apple offers a $25/year "service" that lets me use my own music? That's how I read it, and it would be ... totally insane. Mar 4, 2012 at 7:48
  • It's a service that achieves what you want and offers features that your home-grown solution doesn't. If the cost is too high or if those features aren't important to you, then don't use it. Mar 5, 2012 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


You can only sync local music (music that exists in the iTunes library on the computer you sync your iPhone with).


I do something similar, but not identical. I have a hard drive connected to my TimeCapsule, and the hard drive has my music files. (No media center.)

I use the iTunes on my iMac to create playlists from my music files. I can play them on my iMac just fine.

When I sync my iPhone using my iMac, I can sync the playlists created in iTunes. iTunes will copy them to my iPhone.

So maybe the only thing you need to do is get iTunes on your desktop to access the files on your media center box.

Hope that helps.

  • James, does this mean that you'll have a lot of network traffic? I mean, if my desktop is going to scan and index 50GB+ songs over the network, I worry that it's going to take forever. Mar 4, 2012 at 7:46
  • Streaming the songs over my wireless network does consume network bandwidth. I don't know how long it would take to index your songs; I didn't really pay attention to it when I did mine. Maybe you can just run it overnight? Mar 5, 2012 at 16:05

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