How best to set up music library on iPad?

If you were starting from scratch, just installed Djay on iPad and Mac (with intention of organising on desktop and DJing using iPad,
), how would you organise your music library - so it was synced across devices - and with what software (or hardware) for best ease of use when DJing and least faffing about when organising?

Alternatively, if all your music was on your laptop, but you wanted to use your iPad (no music currently) for DJing, how would you set up?



1 Like

Hi there, welcome to the forum.

I have my main bulk of music on my Mac, iPhone and iPad, all installed on “my collection” I also have a couple of streaming services I subscribe too.

For any new music I add to my collection I tend to add to one device iPhone, iPad and air drop to the other devices. Presently djay pro doesn’t sync playlists across devices. I have tried Apple Music music management app but it’s clunky in terms of playlists not syncing properly. It’s doable but it’s very clunky. I tend to airdrop across devices. It’s not a bad way of working as I have the bulk (44000 tracks) installed identically in same folder structure across all my devices. It’s just new music I need to add now. Hope that helps. I have newish iPad and iPhone 15 so adding bulk of music was a breeze because of usb C. I transferred all to usb sticks then installed on iPad/iphone. Job done.


Also using Mac + iPad. I am using iTunes / and sync manually. I do not subscribe to Apple Music or iTunes Match. I create all playlists inside (both on desktop and on-the-go) and find they synchronize perfectly across devices. I have about 2000 songs in my collection. One thing to be careful about this scenario is deleting songs. If you do that, your next sync might duplicate playlists that had this song in them. Annoying but I got used to it and I’m not creating many playlists anymore nor am I deleting a lot of songs lately.


Hey guys,
Take it one step further, Create “smart”playlist in iTunes (music) on your Mac.
Then drag these playlists to the devices. That’s it.
Now, they’re “Smart” playlist.
Smart playlist with genre is “Rock”…anytime you add a song with genre as “rock” iTunes will automatically added to this playlist to all devices that sync this playlist.
The guys are right. iTunes has its drawbacks, but 90% there and sync 90% faster than years ago.


Also a heavy user of smart playlists, they are just great like that. This is the big reason why I’m not creating playlists anymore :slight_smile:


Hey @djjoejoe ,
How do you sort your smart playlists on iTunes for Djay to view as default?
Just figured out after all these years how to sort smart playlists by “Date Added”.
So that new tracks show up on top on Djay with any smart playlist by default.


My playlists only contain up to 20 songs, 30 in some exceptions. I mostly sort by key to allow for easy key mixing. I have a hierarchy of playlists that goes Decades (ie 90s) > Genres (ie Boom Bap Hip Hop) > Subgenres (ie Boom Bap Chill).

i wouldn’t sync my library accross devices. I would back up my main library like my faves to multiple places like a usb stick, a usb stick at my moms house, google drive, then like have the files on my ipad using finder on mac, then like yeah i would stream apple music as well and maybe some beatport

Sure thing,
Know that if you go playlists, you can choose which playlists go to which device.

1 Like

Yeah, Smart Playlists have a lot of flexibility for different people. I use them to get recently added tracks for different gigs. This way I always have an auto-updated list of latest tracks I’ve gathered in one playlist for various needs.

Example is I spin for roller skating groups in addition to dance gigs. Skating tunes tend to be better at slower BPM and have a more relaxed, funky vibe.

In Music app on my laptop, I set one or more tags in the Grouping field within the track Information screen based on what I want to use the track for. Then create a smart playlist based on recent additions to a given Grouping (in this case I use “Sk8” for the chosen songs).

After setting certain tracks to “Sk8” in their Grouping fields, I make a Music app Smart Playlist called "Recent Sk8s) with the following settings:

  • Match all
  • Date Added in the last 4 months
  • Grouping Sk8
  • Live updating

Obviously, I can create static playlists for preferred skating tracks (and I do), but these are a bunch for different genres like oldies, R&B/Soul, Electro/Freestyle, and so on that I’ve built over years. There are thousands of tracks and I wouldn’t want to manually walk through all of my static playlists to find new tracks when I’m at a gig.

I use it like a djay Queue playlist but it’s auto-created from my latest finds so I don’t have to manually do it.

Hey @CliffyPop ,
I’m curious here, have you been able to have your smart playlist show up on djay in the order you need them? Example date added

Hm, I don’t think that’s possible with smart playlists. In my date added example, tracks show from most recent to least (as specified in the rules). I can’t then change the order of the results in the smart playlist.

Manual ordering is limited to regular playlists as far as I know. It seems like manual ordering undermines the concept of rules-based selections. But I haven’t experimented to see if it’s possible with other types of rules in smart playlists. It doesn’t work with my date added playlists.

I’ve always had problems sorting by latest.
You should check out this feed.

Not sure if this will work but have you tried sorting your DJAY smart playlists by the Track# option?
I think that might be alphabetical order though…

Hey @rishi ,
I’ve not needed to sort by track #.
Trust me, try it.
Latest songs added will be on top in Djay without sorting in Djay.

IMO this is the biggest dilemma to solve when using DJAY on an iPad.

DJAY is by far the best DJAY software on iOS (IMO) but it is lacking severely in the areas of cross device syncing and library management. Rekordbox (is so annoying in many ways) but has music organisation, tagging and cross device syncing sorted.

I could rant for ages about the challenges but I’ll spare you and just say this…

Whilst you are trying to work out your system to …

  • download music to desktop
  • organise music on desktop
  • transfer music to your iPad
  • update and sync playlists between desktop and iPad

… remember that DJAY does this poorly and there is no great solution.

There are work-arounds but to save yourself the headache the simplest thing is just to:

  • do everything in the on desktop
  • sync to your iPad
  • use DJAY to read your playlists
  • make limited DJAY (smart) playlists for important things because the filtering and smart actions are really powerful in the DJAY app.

This is unfortunate. I have grown to hate Rekordbox but still appreciate that for library management, it is amazing. Having multiple panes open and having a sub-pane for things like Related tracks (matched to key and +/- 10% BPM), but only within the current playlist is a lifesaver at times!

What I’d love is to do create playlists on my mac and have them sync across my iOS devices without touching

Prep, Tag, Organise and Sync DJAY to multiple devices without involving the is the dream.

Enough with the features DJAY, it’s time to focus on workflow enhancements IMO.

Maybe you’ll see a stack of RB defectors finally come across to DJAY…


Perhaps someone should post this in the suggestions group.

Hey everyone.
I am so curious is why do so many consider Apple Music (iTunes) to be avoided?

I have found myself trying to create a playlist on an iOS device.

But now a days iTunes just works across all devices