iTunes is just plain awful. Will version 11 fix it?

“One of the most-used programs, regardless of platforms, is iTunes,” Dwight Silverman reports for Houston Chronicle.

“Given that the iPod is far and away the dominant media player, and that Apple has sold hundreds of millions of iOS devices, the application used to buy and manage audio, video, apps and books is ubiquitous,” Silverman reports. “It’s also, frankly, pretty bad. iTunes’ design hasn’t been updated since its initial 2001 release. It’s bloated and notoriously slow. It’s incredibly non-intuitive.”

Silverman reports, “On Windows, iTunes is prone to lockups and crashing. On the Mac, it’s more stable but still balky… Apple kicks hardware designs to the curb every few years, but it doesn’t seem inclined to redo software. Still, iTunes is long overdue for a do-over. Please fix it, Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: At this point, iTunes certainly could use some work.


    1. You must be new here. MDN has a long history of criticizing and finding faults in Apple’s products and strategies.

      The only apparent progress is you finally noticed.

    2. MDN is absolutely fair when they criticize apple. At the same time, they are quick to kick overblown criticisms from others to the curb.

      If there’s a problem, MDN will address it… BUT, they will be fair and evenhanded about it, and will not make claims about devices overheating when there’s no real issue.

      1. mmmmmmmmm not so much. Pretty much rah,rah but seldom any real objective comments. MDN did actually knock iTunes in this article’s republishing. Then, iTunes does suck. It’s pretty hard to be defensive about a product that has been around for years and only get’s worse. Apple screws up too just not that often. All readers want (except fanboys) is good objective news coverage. Not gushing praise and circling the wagons whenever there is criticism.

        1. By objective comments do you mean hateful things about items that are not PERFECT??

          Yep, I agree that iTunes could use help. I have suggestions myself. But could you name a better music player that connects all your music, video, movies, etc to where ever you are. A friend uses Microsoft music player…. nuff said.

          PS, consider the amount of people using iTunes… Just that must make it a busy program.

  1. Works great on my MBP. I agree that it could use an update, but compared to what Windows has to offer for a complete audio, video, app management, and phone backup, it is still years ahead of the compitition.

    I feel sorry for the Windows users though. /s

    1. 100% agree.

      iTunes isn’t perfect, but it works fine for me.
      Only problem I ever have is sometimes my network drive goes to sleep (plugged into my airport) and iTunes forgets where everything is. Not hard to fix.. But it’s annoying sometimes.

      Beyond that, it works fine.

    2. Agree here….works fine for me! I know people I work with complain about it, but they all use Windows. Maybe its the Windows version that is so horrible. Alot better than what I have seen available!

      Only thing I don’t like are certain videos open in iTunes instead of quicktime. I don’t like videos opening in iTunes. Personal preference.

      Other than that I just got an iPhone and think everything works fairly well. I wish I had the option to mount the phone as a USB thumb drive though.

      Other than that good here.

      1. From what I’ve read the Windows version has problems. I’ve never felt like iTunes on the Mac was “awful” or non-intuitive. The author is being simply hyperbolic in claiming that iTunes hasn’t been updated since 2001. I am wondering what the wish list of fixes is. Maybe I should have list is to fix iTunes. Maybe I should have the article.

        1. I stopped at “awful” and “incredibly non-intuitive”. Is it great? No. But calling it awful is hyperbole. Non-intuitive misses the mark by a long way. Because of the the number of functions it serves, it certainly has a number of thing that are not straightforward.

          I’d give the interface an overall grade of good. The speed is sub-snappy. Fair enough. But I don’t think it ever gets to the point of being awful.

        2. Yea, he seemed to be a bit hysterical for no good reason other than generating clicks. Did he give an example of how it should be fixed?

          Sounds like the SNL commentator on the economy,

          Just FIX IT!!!!

          1. Yes, use a real indexed DATABASE to store the data for everything in the library. It’s embarrassing that any minor change, even updating a playcount for a single track, causes the whole “iTunes Library.xml” text file to be rewritten. Slows any large library to a crawl.

    3. I don’t have a problem with iTunes, it works fine, I can easily find what I’m looking for. Please someone say plainly what is so horrible about iTunes? And what is the vision for a updated iTunes?

    1. +1

      A sense familiarity with the program.

      I can see it evolving but if you stray to far from the original design you risk losing something. Change it and I’ll have 20 hours of phone calls my 70 year old mother and a bunch of her friends asking me why and how to use it. Crap!

  2. Itunes needs to allow for all your library and backup files to be easily hosted on external drives, via an easy to enable setting. The iTunes library and all my iOS backups took Up 95gb on my 128gb ssd. I had to manually reprogram OSX via the terminal in order to be able to host all those externally when syncing. That’s not the way to go in the limited memory ssd future, and is currently its biggest flaw IMO.

    1. Isn’t the ability to point to other drives in Advanced Preferences > Advanced tab? I’ve used the setting for “iTunes Media folder location” to point external drives.

        1. Thanks for reminding me of this! I just deleted the iOS backups I didn’t need and my backup folder went from 47GBs down to 18GBs.

          Ya, I’d like to keep my iOS backups in my iTunes Library folder, but don’t want to do a symbolic link.

      1. One can also hold the Option key down on launch and choose another library, or create one, and iTunes doesn’t care where that library is, whether on your boot volume or an external one. Mine is on an external 750 gig drive and works just dandy.

    2. Using the “suggestion” from Alvin, quite a while ago – I have all of my music, movies, books, apps, etc filed on a 2TB external drive – never a problem. And I currently have used 1.5 TB of disk space. My confuser is a MBA 13″ w/ 27″ Thunderbolt display. All seems to work just fine.

      As for an update/upgrade for iTunes: it needs some tweaking but I see that happening as time passes.

      As I see it: Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.


    3. I have my iTunes library split so that my movie files (1400 movies = ~ 1.1 TBs in reduced format that can be transferred to an iPad) on an external 2 x 2 TB RAID 1 drive and my music files (13,000+ songs = ~60 GBs) on my MBP internal drive.

  3. I’ve had no problems with iTunes.

    I’ve used it since it was a Mac OS 9 application (as version 1), so I understand how it has evolved over time to encompass more and more functions and features. I can certainly understand how someone who is brand new to it (right now) would be confused by its interface. If and when Apple does a MAJOR overhaul, I’ll understand why, but I’ll probably miss the “old” iTunes.

  4. Whether you like it or not, it’s pretty hard to say iTunes has not been updated in over 10 years. It’s changed quite a bit from the original version. I have no problems with it, but I also have not looked at the alternatives in a long while either.

  5. Needs work… a monster of a program just to play a song. Syncing is like having a root canal. Hate it.

    Why can’t I just drag some songs I want on my iPhone. Instead I have to go thru the Spanish inquisition…. U must sync your 400 apps, and all kind of other crap.

    1. Monster of a program? Maybe so, but it takes less than 1 second to launch on my MBP with a 7200 RPM Hard Drive and over 6000 songs and 100 movies. I would have to say that it is a non issue with me and is FAR from AWFUL! Other end of the scale for me. On Windows however it is closer to OK. Windows is AWFUL not iTunes. It’s the OS that makes it not run so great.

      1. It takes 34 seconds between the time I click on iTunes and the time I can click on a track in the library. This is on a first gen Mac Pro with 13 GB of RAM and the iTunes library files on a 3-drive RAID-0 7200rpm set. The Library files are external, over 300k tracks. It’s glacially slow to change or update any info, as it re-writes a gigantic text file (XML) for any minor change. It needs to work SOLELY with an indexed database file that should be able to handle billions of tracks.

      2. Wow. 6000 tunes. Why even post that. Of course it can handle it. Try it with 4T of storage. What a lame dog it can be. That’s raid storage on an 8 core processor with a ssd boot drive.

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