Understanding Smart Folders, Albums, Mailboxes and Playlists

When using smart folders or albums it is important to realize what they are. Items are not "in" a smart folder or album. They are simply the results of a search. The items remain where they were. You can't delete items from a smart folder or album because that wouldn't make sense.

Comments: 10 Responses to “Understanding Smart Folders, Albums, Mailboxes and Playlists”

    Anders Kempe
    1 year ago

    Hej Gary,
    Thanks for the clear description about smart xyz on the Mac.
    But, this doesnā€™t apply to the iPhone/iPad e.g. smart albums in Photos.
    Please, add a comment about this, and also a separate video how to manage/sync smar albums.

    1 year ago

    Anders: Yes, the iPhone version of Photos is missing Smart Albums. Hopefully they will add it one day.

    Don R.
    1 year ago

    Thanks Gary, excellent clarification and description of smart folders. This will undoubtedly help my organizing of files photos and songs.

    Jeff Davis
    1 year ago

    Love all your videos. How do I delete a smart folder?
    Thanks a bunch

    1 year ago

    Jeff: Do you mean from its location in a folder, or do you mean in the Finder sidebar? If the former, just drag to the Trash like any other file. If the latter, Control+click and use the context menu or drag it far enough away and you'll see an X.

    1 year ago

    Does the search area need to be Indexed by Spotlight in order to create a Smart Folder for it?

    1 year ago

    Bill: Yes.

    1 year ago

    A fifth place where you can use Smart List is the Contacts application.

    Gregg Lovan
    5 months ago

    Gary. It looks to me like if I'm cleaning up a Smart Folder so that I just have what I want in it, like batch deleting all the old files, its gone forever. I tried it on a file and its gone. So is there a way to 'clean up' a Smart Folder so all the junk is gone? If the criteria still apply, otherwise, every time you delete a file, it would pop back up.

    5 months ago

    Gregg: That's right. A Smart Folder is a search result. Those are the actual files you see there, even though they are not located there. A Smart Folder is not a location. Those aren't duplicates of those files. So if you delete the file there, it is the the same as searching for a file and then deleting it.
    You can't clean up a Smart Folder in that way. It is a search result. If your Smart Folder shows you all of your Pages documents from the last 30 days, you can't remove a file from there that is a Pages document from the last 30 days. By definition that file IS a Pages document and it IS from the last 30 days, so it will be in that list.
    I'm not sure what it is you are trying to do with Smart Folders, but if what you want to see is not a list of files that meet a specific definition, then Smart Folders is not the right tool.

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