Should Apple to break up iTunes?

“Every now and then an entity becomes so big, so powerful, and so unwieldy that the creator just does not know what to do about the creation,” Bambi Brannan writes for Mac360. “Think Frankenstein monster and you’ll understand the daunting situation that faces Apple.”

“It’s time to break up iTunes. It’s too huge, too complicated to enjoy using, and it’s no longer just about tunes,” Brannan writes. “iTunes is a veritable digital aquarium of visual options. Even the name doesn’t work anymore. iTunes? That’s like renaming the Mall to 7-11.”

“It’s just not working anymore. We need a better way,” Brannan writes. “I’m thinking Song Store, TV Store, Movie Store, Music Store, App Store. And tabs. Plenty of tabs.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple shows a hint of panic over iTunes Store – April 15, 2014
Why Apple shouldn’t bring iTunes to Android or something – April 15, 2014
Underwhelming start to iTunes Radio lights fire under Apple; iTunes Store may get dramatic overhaul – April 9, 2014
The curious design decisions of Apple’s iTunes Radio – April 1, 2014


    1. iTunes takes over three to five minutes to boot up for me with three devices attached, the updates loading up for the podcasts and apps, and who knows what else it’s doing. I start it and go off and make coffee or even dinner. If it hasn’t hung up or crashed at least it’s up by then.

      1. Load time like that is inexcusable. Apple needs to fix it. iTunes on my computer isn’t quite that bad but it takes 90 seconds or so to load.

        Apple did simplify iTunes a couple years ago but it still needs work. I’m not interested in managing or navigating my media. iTunes should do that for me. I just want to find my media quickly.

      2. Don’t understand why it takes you so long. I have over 13,000 songs in my library on my hard drive plus over 200 movies in a separate library on an external hard drive. It takes less than 10 seconds to boot up.

  1. The problem isn’t iTunes. I don’t mind that the app deals with music, videos, apps, etc. The problem is that managing an iDevice via iTunes is a horrible experience.

    For example, when I’m in iPhoto, I should be able to click on a photo or event (or any other item) and say, “Sync with my iPad and iPhone.” Boom. Done. Instead, I have to go to iTunes, click select a device, click on the photos tab, and select an item to sync.

    Managing devices via iTunes is the problem, not managing music and movies.

    1. I agree with your photo example. I use Aperture, professionally. Think 100K images. Try the iTunes feature of sharing certain albums with via Home Sharing. Think hours waiting on the spinner as it looks at all those images for some reason.
      But iTunes is horrible at managing audio books (albeit in line with your position on managing iDevices). You get a small window to view your (potentially) vast audiobook library, and no way to sort , like maybe showing books you haven’t listened to at the top of the list, or filtering on only books by a certain author. Terrible experience.

  2. No. I’d like to think of iTunes as kind of like an entertainment center. Think of it like Minnesota’s own Mall of America: It’s huge,and has everything you could possibly want. Even the MoA has its own amusement park! Should we break up that place into separate “departments”?

  3. I enjoy using iTunes, and I never have a problem with iTunes—except when Apple does really dumb things like remove the ability to sync contacts through iTunes. iTunes isn’t even close to being a complicated app. I really don’t get this sad song that somebody feels compelled to sing from time to time.

    1. The thought of syncing contacts through iTunes always terrified me! I’ve had my contacts seamlessly syncing from Mac-to-Mac-to-iPhone-to-iPad and back again via .Mac, MobileMe, and now iCloud for 12 years. Works great.

    2. Oh yeah? Not complicated?

      Before applying an update to an iOS device through the USB cable iTunes sometimes complains that some of the items purchased will be deleted during the update. But it gives absolutely no clue on what these items might be. Not to mention that there isn’t an easy way to SYNC BACK the iTunes purchases. As a power user, I want full, occasionally even fine-grained control over my iDevice content, but foremost, I want to understand EXACTLY what will be happening. iTunes is outright horrible in this respect.

      Tim Cook, are you listening? Don’t fire anyone as yet, just tell them iTunes needs to be fixed — or split up.

      Unfortunately, Apple has been iTunes monolithic, because it has been serving as Apple’s Trojan horse to meddle such things as QuickTime, Bonjour, etc to PC users.
      The question is, wouldn’t a clean, nicely integrated app suite where each component does what it’s supposed to do, be more user-friendly?
      Splitting up iTunes may just involve redesigning the tabs (possibly overlapping in functionality) e.g., as follows:
      manage iOS device, music, audio, podcasts, video (self-shot)/movies, OSX apps, iOS apps, …
      When searching for iOS apps, I certainly don’t want to be thrown back into searching for audio CD titles.

  4. I don’t listen to music or watch much through iTunes, but it maintains 100’s or 1000’s of everything in my library. It’s invaluable for that…well, until iBooks/Mavericks showed up and totally f*cked the books part. I’m back on Mountain Lion because of that mess.

  5. If you look at iOS, the same functionality of iTunes is split into at least 2 separate Apps: Music and iTunes Store.

    Did they break up iTunes just on iOS because of fundamental different between iOS and OS X? No – Apple did it this way because they had a fresh start in iOS, so instead of shoving everything into one iTunes app, they did it the right way from the beginning. Apple will make the exact same changes to OS X, breaking up iTunes features into logical separate apps, in future versions of the OS X, because that just makes more sense and will make it easier to use.

    1. Yes, this is the way it should be for OS X.

      Split the iTunes Store out into its own app (just like the Mac App Store) and make a separate Music app which will essentially be what iTunes used to be before the Store, an awesome media player with music management. Then also split the device management (iPods, iPhones, etc.) out into another app. iTunes right now is such a bloated mess and it’s counterintuitive to Apple’s current simplification of OS X apps. Apps that do fewer things very well, rather than one monster app that is a jack-of-all trades.

  6. She JUST noticed the ambiguousness of ‘iTunes’? Didn’t we thrash that subject here a decade ago? Sheesh.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been nagging at Apple about the clunky and unfinished quality of the App Store application. I’d seriously rather have it integrated into the superior iTunes interface than left in its cruddy state on its own. (Yes, I understand why it really should not be integrated into iTunes. Maybe if it was redesigned to be as functional as iTunes).

    What’s wrong with iTunes is the need to further simplify it so that any newbie and granny can swiftly use it with no angst. It needs unification into further simplification.

  7. I agree that iTunes is too big and does too many things. It manages and plays music. It manages and plays video. It manages apps for iOS, but not for OS X. It syncs iOS devices. It is a music store. It’s a movie store. It’s an app store, but not for iOS. It’s a single point of failure for just about everything. It’s called iTunes, but it is really iEverything.

    It needs to be broken up before it becomes a jack of all trades and master of none, or drowns in a sea of spaghetti.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.