If you signed up for the $25-a-year Apple service iTunes Match, which lets you access your entire iTunes library on the fly from your iPhone or iPad, you may have noticed one major flaw: iTunes Match killed Genius.
Well rejoice, for Genius has been restored — kind of.
Genius is Apple’s answer to Pandora, effectively. Choose a song, hit the Genius button on that track — the one that looks like an atom — and you get an instant playlist of similar-sounding tracks. It’s a great way to DJ from your iPhone if you’re feeling lazy.
But iTunes Match users were dismayed to discover that signing up for the service, which launched last November, meant losing Genius. Apple has offered no explanation; the Genius icon simply disappeared from your tracks.
Mac experts offered all kinds of workarounds, such as creating a bunch of Genius playlists in iTunes on your computer. But none of them quite got the lazy DJ nature of Genius. The whole point was that we like to use it spontaneously, an intelligent shuffle to match our mood. It was especially useful in offline situations, such as in-flight or on a long road trip.
As of the iOS 5.1 update, however, Genius has been quietly restored. Apple made as much mention of its return as of its departure (ie. none, though we have reached out to the Cupertino company for comment).
There’s one big difference with this new version of Genius, however — you have to be online to use it. Even then, it appears not to work for some users.
“I was so excited to see 5.1 added Genius,” wrote one user in an Apple forum that has been discussing the problem since November. “But every time I try to use it I get a message to try again. Come in Apple, I really want to use this service!”
In Mashable‘s tests, we were able to replicate the “try again” message on obscure tracks with few Genius matches. It does not appear to be a bandwidth issue.
Are you using iTunes Match or Genius? Have you seen this issue? Let us know in the comments.