Launched for the first time in 2001, Apple's iTunes is one of the most used pieces of software ever created – and one of the most divisive.
Just as useful as the music and media management tool has been over the years, especially for those of us with iPods, iPhones and iPads, it has also changed, expanded and evolved into a bloated and confusing piece of legacy software.
That is all changing now. Apple announced on WWDC 2019 that iTunes will close soon on Mac with the Autumn 2019 update, replacing individual new Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts apps instead to help the company focus on every type of media.
But what about all the music you have collected and playlists that you have artfully devised? What about people who still want to buy digital numbers instead of paying a monthly subscription? And perhaps more importantly, what about Windows PC users? Apple has asked a short FAQ to help us, who is already answering these questions. Here's everything you need to know.
From one, many: iTunes to Apple Music, Podcasts, TV
Apple used WWDC this year to unveil the next major macOS update, macOS Catalina, and the event was preceded by grim headlines that predicted the inevitable death of iTunes. And they were right to a certain extent.
It is true: on Macs, iTunes does indeed disappear as a piece of software. The long-awaited closure of iTunes is finally taking place. As mentioned above, Apple will roll out individual apps for music, TV, and podcasts that are specifically built to mark and manage each type of media.
Apple Music, the company's all-you-can-listen subscription service, has become a major driver of revenue in recent years as people turn away from buying individual albums and tracks. The iTunes Store certainly still has a number of fiery users who want to "own" their music, but those songs are decreasing considerably. The fusion of classic iTunes and Apple Music has never been the most harmonious combination, so this reorientation makes sense.
Similarly, since digital video has become a much larger part of the entertainment ecosystem, it has contributed to iTunes becoming a bloated, difficult-to-navigate business. With Apple launching its own Apple TV Plus streaming service this year with original TV shows & movies, trying to cram into the existing iTunes experience could be a mess. Instead, Apple is launching a special TV app with macOS Catalina.
And while podcasts are becoming more and more popular, it makes no sense to continue to include them as a listening pillar alongside Apple Music and the iTunes Store in one app. The Podcasts app gets its own special experience for fans to use on their Macs.
How is it going to happen?
In essence, iTunes divides its responsibilities between three children's apps, and they will continue their legacy in a hopefully easier way to use. And Apple, the company "it just works," seems to be aware that this transition does not create unnecessary burden for Mac users as they get used to the transition to new types of media apps.
Apple has published a support document that answers many of the persistent questions from the WWDC disclosure, including what each app will do and how your existing iTunes content will be treated by those new apps. Naturally, almost everything should happen automatically.
Music that you have imported into iTunes or purchased from the store is automatically available through the Apple Music app. This also applies to playlists and smart playlists, so you don't have to worry that your playlists ' Workout Jamz ' or ' Best summer EVER ' go anyway. They will still be as great as ever in Apple Music.
Surprisingly, the iTunes Store itself does not go away: it simply becomes a tab in the Apple Music app on the Mac. If you subscribe to the Apple Music service, you can even hide the listing in the iTunes Store just for simplicity. Meanwhile, the iOS and Apple TV versions of the iTunes Store remain exactly as they are today.
Podcasts from iTunes are expected to be automatically transferred to the new Podcasts app, along with your subscriptions. However, audiobooks will be sent to the updated Apple Books app on the Mac and you will use that app to purchase further audio books in the future.
Movies and TV shows that you have purchased or rented from iTunes will then be automatically displayed in the Apple TV app that you will use for future purchases and rentals. And when the new Apple TV subscription service is live, it will exist alongside your purchases, just like Apple Music does with purchases in the iTunes Store.
Do you have account credit in iTunes? Don't worry, it will be transferred. The same applies to all iTunes gift cards that you have now – you don't have to rush to redeem them right away. You can still use them with the new apps and the App Store.
Finally, iPhone, iPad and iPad backups, synchronization and recovery are done via Finder on Mac. That's all right, right?
What about iTunes on Windows PC ' s?
Good question! Although Apple is clearly the most busy pushing the latest and greatest software to its own hardware, iTunes has a huge number of users on a Windows PC. Many of them were likely to become addicted via an iPod, iPhone or iPad, while others can subscribe to Apple Music. But really, regardless of whether they still spend money in the Apple ecosystem, they must be kept happy.
Here & apos; s the good and bad news: nothing changes for PC users. That's good news, because the existing iTunes stays exactly the way it is, meaning you don't have to get used to new software, and no reason to worry that the transition will be less smooth than Apple intends.
The bad news is of course due to all the little complaints we referred to above. Although iTunes is functional enough nowadays, it has become large and messy over the years. Putting the new Apple TV subscription service in is certainly doable, just as Apple did with Apple Music, but iTunes will not look cleaner or easier to navigate.
But at least that is the reality of the situation. Maybe Apple will roll out the individual apps in the future or streamline or rework iTunes for the PC audience. However, we must think that this is probably not a major priority in the big picture. By the way, if Macs have the better Apple entertainment software on board, this is just another possible reason to force PC owners to switch.
All Mac users with compatible devices will see the major changes sometime around September or October when macOS Catalina rolls out, but those who don't mind playing with pre-release software may experience it sooner: Apple has released a developer & apos; build macOS Catalina according to the WWDC keynote, and anyone can register and download the public beta when it is rolled out somewhere in July.
- macOS Catalina versus Windows 10: what is the better operating system?