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Restore album art on iOS devices, and get the iTunes Store app to work in iOS 7

Kirk McElhearn | Oct. 7, 2013
This week's column deals with missing album art on iOS devices, problems with the iTunes Store app in iOS 7, and more.

This week's column looks at some problems involving album art going AWOL on iOS devices, and the iTunes Store app having trouble getting up in the morning with iOS 7. I also answer a couple of iTunes Store questions related to gifting items and copying links to songs.

Q: I have a number of album covers that got scrambled in the move to iOS 7; some albums now show the wrong artwork. Any ideas on what happened and how to fix it?
Problems with album artwork on iPods and iOS devices are common. Sometimes nothing displays at all; other times the wrong artwork appears. The only solution I've ever found to such troubles is a bit radical: Delete all the music on the iOS device and resync the music.

To do so, connect the iOS device to iTunes, select it, and click the Music tab in the header bar. Uncheck Sync Music, and then click Sync near the bottom of the iTunes window. After the syncing is complete, recheck Sync Music--iTunes will have remembered your settings, whether to sync all music or just selected items--and then sync again. This can take quite a while, especially if you use iTunes' feature that converts your music to a lower bit rate when syncing. In that case, you might want to start the sync before you go to bed at night.

If you copy music manually to your iOS device, this technique won't work. Start by displaying the iTunes sidebar: Choose View > Show Sidebar. Then click the disclosure triangle next to the device's name, and click Music. Choose File > Library > Export Playlist, and save this playlist on your computer.

Next, choose File > Library > Import Playlist, and select the playlist you just saved. It will be added to iTunes. Back on your iOS device, select all the music you see when you click Music; then press the Delete key, and iTunes will delete all of the music. Find the playlist you imported, select all of its tracks, and drag them onto the iPhone in the sidebar. iTunes will then copy all the music back, though the operation might take a while if you have a lot of files.

Another method that sometimes resolves album artwork problems is to delete the iTunes Album Artwork Cache folder. You'll find this inside your home folder (the one with the house icon). Go to Music > iTunes > Album Artwork. Delete the Cache folder, quit iTunes, and then relaunch it. As you display music, iTunes will extract the album artwork from your files and create new items in the cache folder.

Make sure that you don't delete the Download folder in the Album Artwork folder. The Download folder contains album artwork for iTunes Store purchases--artwork that isn't embedded in the actual music files. (I explain how to do embed it in those files in another column.)


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