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Car Tech Spotlight: iTunes Tagging in the 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

Hear a song you like on the radio, hit a button and you can buy it later on iTunes.

By Douglas Newcomb Feb 15, 2013 11:31AM

Ever hear a great song on the radio and think, “I need to remember the name of that tune so I can buy it later?” But if you’re like me, you never do because you forget it -- until you hear it again and think the same thing.

Apple, in its infinite wisdom and ability to market its technology and products, has a way for you to remember these tunes -- and, of course, buy them. It’s called iTunes Tagging and is available in a variety of vehicles. But, for now, not in the latest version of iTunes.

Although I’ve been aware of the feature for a while, I tested it for the first time in a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, and the process is relatively easy -- and much more reliable than trying to remember a song or write down the name while driving.

In the Jetta, you simply access a radio submenu, which you’re forced to do if you just want to tune from station to station instead of tuning through presets. Then you select the “Tag” option while the song is playing and it's saved to a list. But the feature works only in satellite radio mode, not with AM or FM. In other vehicles, it also works on AM and FM with HD Radio.

The Jetta radio automatically saves the tagged songs on the iPod. When an iPod isn’t connected, it can save up to 50 tagged songs in memory. Then the next time an iPod is connected, the tagged songs are saved on the device and the previously tagged tunes are deleted.

The next time you connect your iPod to your computer and launch iTunes, you’re given the opportunity to purchase the tagged songs. But by the time I tried it, Apple had updated its iTunes interface and the Tagged button that was previously in the left rail was gone.

I reached out to Apple to find out what happened to the "tagged" songs icon in iTunes but didn't hear back. I guess the infinite wisdom at the company's 1 Infinite Loop headquarters is finite after all. I'm hoping there will be a fix for this soon.

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