MP3: v2.3/APEv2 Tags and iOS 14.2 Music App

Hi Folks,

Not really a MP3TAG specific anomaly but I figured I'd post here asking if anyone else has encountered the following issue.

Note that I've used MP3TAG (latest version) to process all my MP3 Audio Tags which included removing ID3v1.x metadata from the MP3 file. I'm not using v2.4 as I still have legacy players that require pre-v2.4 tags to be present.

Onto the anomaly ...

Just wiped clean my iPad and installed a net new (fresh) install of iOS 14.2 using macOS Mojave running iTunes. The iPad only contains the default apps - nothing else at the moment.

If I drag an artist album from my network (read only) share over to the iPad (via iTunes), the files get copied to the iPad as expected. However, each track (song) is it's own Album. What I've also noticed is that the Artist category is missing.

If I delete the tracks (song) via iTunes and re-copy them, all the tracks (songs) appear as a single Album as expected and the Artist category is now visible in the iOS Music app.

It's seems like 'Artist' is not being processed the first time around. What I'm wondering is do I need to add additional metadata to the MP3?

Appreciate any insights anyone can offer.

Reference links:

As you mention APE tags in the thread topic - do you (still) write them? Or could it be that they are present in the files from former times but they are out of sync?

Appreciate the reply 'ohrenkino',

Using MP3TAG ... I read ID3v1, ID3v2, and APE; first thing I do is "save".

Then I re-read to make certain all is good; afterwards, I de-select ID3v2 and APE, choose the "remove tag" option which effectively purges the ID3v1. I then re-select ID3v2 and APE, do a re-read of the files, and force another "save".

I can upload an MP3 "test" file if you want to have a look at what metadata is stored. I'm thinking I probably need to add additional metadata ... just not sure what though.

FYI ... my entire library is MP3LAME 3.100, Joint-Stereo, 192kbps, 200x200 cover art, ID3v2.3, APEv2, and MP3Gained.

I would not write APE tags - they only cause irritation and bring no real advantage.
Yet, you have to take care that the "gain" program does not only update the APE tags.

To see files as part of same album, the fields for ALBUMARTIST, ARTIST, TITLE, ALBUM and TRACK should be filled.

I've been using MP3Gain (sourceforce) to add track and album gain information to the MP3 file ... I'm open to a different approach.

Is there a downside of stripping out the APE metadata from the MP3?



Upload pics.


If the gain information is only stored in APE tags then you loose that.
Otherwise: no, I see rather more advantages (less overhead, fewer irritations)

Uploaded a couple of metadata screen captures to my previous reply.

Ok, I'll take a test album and strip out the APEv2 metadata and see what happens in iOS Music. Wasn't an issue pre-iOS 12.7 but now it is and since it's been ongoing, I'm assuming Apple changed the "rules of the game".

Posted some links to various threads on the subject in the first post.


Well ... stripped out the metadata that was non-ID3v2.3 specific and the results are the same.

Short of putting the ID3v1.x metadata back in, not sure what else could be causing this anomaly.

V1 tags do not have an equivalent to the ALBUMARTIST field. So I doubt that this is really the root cause.

Appreciate the assistance ... suspected as much after I reviewed the ID3v1 specs.

Short of downloading an "official" audio track from Apple to see what's "under-the-hood", not certain as to what other approach to take.

My guess is that they changed behavior in iOS that effectively limits support for non-Apple provided audio.


I can't confirm this. My music library consists of mostly non-Apple provided audio and looks just nice also on iOS 14.2.

Check if you need to remove and re-add the adjusted ID3v2-only files in and resync with your iOS device.

Hi Florian,

This became an issue back in iOS 12.7; the "workaround" seems to be:

  • Copy the files to the iOS device via iTunes - using iTunes library or by intermediate copy via iTunes direct to USB connected device (doesn't matter which)
  • Launch the iOS device Music app
  • Delete the files from the iOS device via iTunes
  • Re-copy the files to the iOS device via iTunes - using iTunes library or by intermediate copy via iTunes direct to USB connected device (doesn't matter which)

Like you, my entire library is non-Apple provided audio and absolutely every audio file in my library is the same. I use dbPowerAMP to transcode to LAME 3.100, 192kpbs, Joint Stereo. At one time, I used to use TagScanner but now I use MP3Tag exclusively to process the metadata.

I'm only seeing this issue with post iOS 12.7 - i.e. pre-iOS 12.7 works just as expected. Other media players aren't having an issue - ex: Window Media Player, Sonos, Roku, DLNA devices, dbPowerAMP, VLC, KODI, etc. and iTunes itself.

Is MP3Tag displaying every single metadata element found in the audio file? ... I'm assuming it is. If not, it would be an awesome feature to have (even if they displayed 'read only'). Would make investigating metadata elements far easier.



So I finally bit the proverbial bullet and purchased an album from iTunes to have a look at the metadata they store in their .M4A files.

I noticed there is a TITLESORT (Id3v2.3: TSOT), ALBUMSORT (ID3v2.3: TSOA), ARTISTSORT (ID3v2.3: TSOP) metatags present. There's a ID3v2.3: TSO2 (ALBUMARTISTSORT) but that doesn't appear in the .M4A files that I purchased.

I don't have any of the above-noted tags (TSOT, TSOA, TSOP, or TSO2) present in my .MP3 audio files. I wondering if this might be the root cause of the songs being their own albums. I'm looking to try to test this on a "test album" but I'm not quite certain how to go about adding these metatags to MP3TAG.

Is it even possible? and if so, could someone be so kind as to provide a weblink on how to go about it?

Thanks you,


iTunes uses all four of this Sort tags to allow the database to do things like omit "A/An/The" and other articles, as well as to use alternative sorting for names like "Jackson, Michael" while still using "Michael Jackson" in the display.

There are some other players that use the sort tags now as well.

To use these for any files in mp3tag, simply add them like any other. You can even customize the Tag Panel to show these always.

Well ... adding the ID3 'SORT' tags appears to have solved the issue!

For those using iTunes; when looking at the 'GetInfo' (mac) song option, the 'SORT' tags appear populated leading one to think that iTunes - and by extension, the iOS Music app - are automatically populating those fields ... clearly not the case, at least when one drag-and-drops directly to the iOS device using iTunes as the copy conduit.

... it does not, however, fix the issue where one cannot launch an album from iWatch Music app - since watchOS 6.2. Not sure how to figure out "that" issue just yet.

Thanks for all the assistance!

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