How to automatically set ‘remember position’ in iTunes (Mac)

Something that’s bugged me for years is the fact I download a lot of podcasts, radio shows and long mixes, but was having to set ‘Remember Playback Position’ formerly known as Bookmarks manually for most of them.

If you download your podcasts via the inbuilt iTunes Podcast receiver then you’re fine, that (book)marks the shows automatically, but if you use say, gPodder or another podcatcher then bring them in or download them manually, that won’t happen. Same with radio shows from get_iplayer or downloaded mixes or podcasts. There was a Doug’s script to do this but not automatically, and it doesn’t seem to work anymore. There was another script to change your files to m4b (audio books) but obviously won’t work for non-AAC files, and as his scripts tend to be really buggy I’d rather not.

So I’ve worked out a free way for Mac users to mark their shows automatically or on a single click, for ALL filetypes without having to convert them to Audiobooks. This is done with Automator which comes free with OSX since 10.4. Note I’m doing this on Yosemite, so I can’t check if earlier versions are exactly the same – should be as I’ve been using Automator since Snow Leopard.

Open up Automator and you have your first decision at the ‘type of document screen’. If you want to run this automatically, then choose ‘Folder Action’, otherwise click on ‘Workflow’ – don’t worry it’s easy to (re)create both.

You then want to select/find ‘Find iTunes Items’ and drag it into the workflow. You can select from the Find dropdown either tracks, playlists or sources. Obviously if you have all your tracks tagged or named in a certain way then you could use those to find tracks, but I use playlists. It’s easy to do with a SmartPlaylist, I recommend it – and it’s far easier to change or edit playlists that fiddle about with Automator every time you add a new podcast or new type of media! Explore the drop downs – it can match many playlists by a complete name, or beginning/part of a name, or exceptions (not that name).

Then drag in under the first box ‘Set Options of iTunes Songs’ and click on Remember Playback Position and set the dropdown to ‘Yes’. So it should look like this (click for full size):


If you’re not running it automatically then you can just save the workflow there, selecting ‘Application’ in File Format. This means you can just click on the App and it will run, setting the Remember Position to ‘yes’ in all of the specified playlists. You can also use it like a normal Application, so drag it into your dock or Applications folder.

If you’re creating a Folder Action (i.e. want it to run automatically) then there is a couple of extra steps:

First you also need to select a folder at the top of the action, labelled ‘Folder receives…’ – this can be where you download your podcasts, any folder on your system but I have it set to my ‘Automatically Add to iTunes’ folder as I sync my podcasts and shows there – look at my setup here (again click for larger):


Save your Folder Action (something like ‘Remember Position Folder Action’).

Then go to the folder you specified in Finder (in my case ‘Automatically Add to iTunes’), right/Ctrl click and select Services > Folder Actions Setup… You should then see a list of folder actions called ‘Choose A Script To Attach’ including your new saved action. Click on your action to add it.

Now when any file is added to that folder, the Folder Action will run!

Remember both types will go and (re)add this bookmark position option to EVERY file specified in the action, which usually doesn’t take that long even for many files, but if it does take too long then you could make a special SmartPlaylist only for new podcasts/shows. You could for instance easily set it to bookmark shows bigger than an hour, or only with the genre Podcast.

One caveat with the automatic method – it usually finishes processing before the file that triggered it is added, so quite often that file isn’t processed (but it will be next time). It’s why you might want to create both automatic and Application versions.

Other improvements: you could be clever and try and get currently selected songs etc. which is another action but it is simpler to do it this way with tracks or playlists. Also you could run the Application via Lingon or cron every X minutes or hours, but not tried that.

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