If you acquire television shows from sources other than the iTunes Store (s aapl) for enjoyment on your iOS device, some of that enjoyment may be frustrated by a bug that inexplicably missorts shows and episodes. Luckily, the fix is simple, if a little illogical.
In the above screenshot from the iPod app on an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1, two shows are listed on the left, Fringe and The Office, the latter showing seven episodes. However, drilling down into The Office reveals three episodes of that show, three of Caprica, and one of Fringe. A variation of this problem may also create an “unknown” television show with one or more shows and episodes within. Annoyingly, this can happen even if shows are properly tagged.
Tagging television shows is done in iTunes through the Get Info (Command + I) dialog box under the Video tab, where show, season, episode ID, and episode number can be edited. Unfortunately, even if all that information is correct, and displays correctly in iTunes, it still might not work right on an iOS device. I’ve seen this problem on an iPhone, an iPod touch, and an iPad, but strangely never on an Apple TV 2.
The solution is to go to the “Info” tab where the “Name” of the episode is found, and under “Artist” enter the show’s name. It makes no sense, but it works. As can be seen above, the episode number is also entered under “Track Number.” Previously, shows that were correctly grouped might have episodes listed alphabetically unless ordered with the Track Number. Apparently, that was fixed in iOS 4. Hopefully, the this bug will soon be fixed, too, but until then this workaround solves the problem of missorted television shows.
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