Apple’s iTunes 12 unveils radical new redesign, promises simpler playlist editing

“To coincide with the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple has unveiled iTunes 12.0.1, the first major release of its media manager and player for almost two years,” Nick Peers reports for BetaNews.

“The new release debuts a flatter, more modern look designed to tie in with Yosemite, which includes a new red app icon and some redesigned and restructured elements,” Peers reports. “The update also adds support for some iOS 8/Yosemite-only features such as Family Sharing.”

“Playlist editing has been made easier by placing playlists side-by-side with users music libraries, making it simple to add tracks to existing playlists by dragging and dropping them on to the playlist in question,” Peers reports. “The Get Info box for a selected item has also been radically redesigned and simplified.”

Read more in the full article here.

42 Comments

  1. All good news — however I look forward to the day when iTunes on OS X and iOS allows a user to shuffle individual playlists rather than have it be a blanket option. I don’t want to shuffle my Top Songs playlist of 30 tunes but would like to shuffle my Main Playlist of 1,200.

    Unless this is already possible and I’m a complete idiot, which could entirely be the case…

      1. It appears as though that would do the trick — I’ve always just used the main shuffle button but this should randomize things for me. I don’t know why I couldn’t figure this out before. Thanks Dave G. and leggo!

        1. With all due respect, the reason few people were able to figure this out is because Apple is getting worse at giving users intuitive interfaces. Too much hidden behind meaningless flat grey icons and sliders. Sad.

          1. Somewhere along the iOS updates they “hid” that shuffle option so you had to drag it down to find it.

            Can’t remember when it was.. was it 7?
            imo a stupid move. Never good to have to search for stuff like that.

  2. “Playlist editing has been made easier by placing playlists side-by-side with users music libraries, making it simple to add tracks to existing playlists by dragging and dropping them on to the playlist in question,”

    As I remember, this existed in earlier versions of iTunes. Great to have that back, as that is the easier and faster way to add songs to playlist, IMO.

    1. So true! Drove me crazy when they changed it to something less intuitive in later versions. Glad to see it’s back.

      Looks like even Apple isn’t immune to the ‘change for the sake of change’ malaise.

    2. Yep. I hated when they went with the less intuitive look and functionality of Windoze Media Player. It was like it somehow gave validation to Windoze version, while in reality it became much less usable. Glad we’re getting back to basics here.

    3. This existed in the ALL previous version of iTunes. In iTunes 11, the sidebar is hidden by default; you just have to select “Show Sidebar” from the View menu. With the sidebar visible, it works mostly like earlier versions of iTunes.

      iTunes 12 is a MAJOR re-design that departs significantly from previous versions. There is no setting to get the “old look” back. However, once you understand the changes, you’ll see that is well done and logical; it’s not change for the sake of change.

  3. “placing playlists side-by-side with users music libraries, making it simple to add tracks to existing playlists by dragging and dropping them on to the playlist in question,”
    ===============================

    Thank you!

    1. This version is actually a functionally sound redesign of iTunes, unlike the previous iTunes 11 attempt. I like it…

      The sidebar is there, when it makes sense to see it. Select Music, and then use the Playlists view, with the “toggle” (to the right) set to show Songs. This shows the sidebar with your main library and playlists, with a list of songs (for whatever is selected in the sidebar). Your “Devices” also appear in the sidebar, so if you manage iPod (or other device) content manually, you can drag and drop songs to load iPod. This is functionally the “classic” iTunes look.

      If you select Music and use the My Music view, the sidebar goes away to free up that space. However, if you select one or more items on the list and start “dragging” the selection, the sidebar automatically “slides out” from the left side of the window so that you can drag the selection to a playlist or device. When you “drop” the selection, the sidebar slides back out of view.

      1. I record content with my Eye TV, transfer shows from my TiVo and rip DVDs for my personal use. Labeling under this train wreck of an interface is proof some stylist who never uses the product was in charge.
        Jony belongs at The Gap designing overpriced sweatshop clothes.

        1. What are your specific issues? Other than not being familiar with the new iTunes…

          The main problem with the previous sidebar was complexity. iTunes started as a third-party Mac OS 9 (and earlier) music “jukebox” program. Apple bought it and transformed it into iTunes.

          The sidebar was fine, when it was just for managing songs. Then, iPod came along, and iTunes became its interface. Then, different types of audio content (such as podcasts and audiobooks) became separate categories. Then, the iTunes Music Store opened, using iTunes as its storefront. Then, various types of video content became supported. And ALL of that functionally (and more) was crammed into that one sidebar.

          Now, there is a horizontal bar near the top of the window that controls the interface view. Going from left to right, you first select the iTunes media type. If you are working with movies, click the Movies button. Then, the rest of the iTunes window is dedicated to working with your movies. Next along the horizontal bar, select your view. If you select Playlists, the sidebar appears; it is dedicated to managing your movies. At the right side of the horizontal bar, use the toggle to select how your list is shown. To show a simple list, select Movie List.

          To work on TV shows, select that iTunes media category. To work on your songs, select Music, etc…

          1. There’s so much wrong with iTunes that these minor UI changes over the years have utterly failed to address. I have an enormous video library that I would love to keep on an external drive for when I’m home, but when I’m traveling I’m perfectly happy just listen to music while I work. Can we do this? No. It’s nice to be able to stream television shows, movies and music, let’s try to stream in audiobook. You can’t.

            There’s so much that can be done with iTunes, features that people have been requesting for years, and all we get is a confusing new UI every so often. ITunes is a mess and has been for a very very long time. There has been talk of a from-the- ground-up rewrite, but that’s all it’s been, talk.

            1. > I would love to keep on an external drive for when I’m home, but when I’m traveling I’m perfectly happy just listen to music while I work. Can we do this?

              Yes. Go to System Preferences Advanced pane. Uncheck the box for “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library.” Going forward, add video files to the external drive, organized however you want. Then, drag videos files (or folder containing video files) to iTunes to add them to your iTunes library. iTunes will NOT copy the video files to the iTunes Media folder; iTunes will access them from their location on the external drive. (For videos that are already in your iTunes library, you’ll need to delete them from library, copy the video files to the external drive, and re-add them to your library.)

              Or, subscribe to iTunes Match. Set your iTunes Media folder to be on the external drive. Access your music from iCloud (though iTunes Match), and access your videos from the external drive (when you are at home).

              The audiobook thing is probably related to the licensing agreement with book publishers, who do not want to allow streaming (or even re-downloads). It’s not a technical issue preventing it, nor is it related specifically to this new version.

              This new version is a significant re-write. It is only confusing right now because it is different. Unlike the changes in iTunes 11, the iTunes 12 re-design is logical and improves functionality. You ask for change to improve iTunes, yet complain when changes are made. 😉

      2. What USED to be 1 click… now is MULTIPLE CLICKS TO ACCOMPLISH THE SAME THING. Oh, and look flatter.

        What USED to be all in the same general area… is now ALL OVER THE PLACE.

        I have a 27″ screen, I *have* the space to have the damn sidebar always out. Let us have the OPTION to keep it out.

        1. Select Music, then the Playlists view. Set the toggle at the right to show the list by Songs. This view is the “classic” iTunes look, with the sidebar along the left side. Use it like old iTunes, except without dealing with the clutter in the sidebar and the rest of the window (that is not related to “Music”)

          The key improvement is working in ONE iTunes media category at a time. If you select Music, everything else on the iTunes window is related to playing and managing songs. The sidebar and the rest of the window does not show “the kitchen sink.” If you select Movies, everything else is related to playing and managing movies. Etc.

  4. As usual, Apple changed the UI but added no necessary features. It’s been the same old buggy code for years, just with a new ugly face. I want the sidebar back and it needs to be rewritten from the ground up.

      1. To see the sidebar, select Music and select the Playlists view. Over to the right, there is a “toggle”; set that to show Songs. With this view, the sidebar is there showing the main Library, Devices (such as iPods), and Playlists. This is functionally the “classic” iTunes look.

        If you select Music and use the My Music view, the sidebar is NOT visible. That’s a good thing when you don’t need to see it. However, if you select one or more items and start dragging the selection, the sidebar automatically slides out so you can drag the selection to a playlist or device.

          1. Select Podcasts as the media category, and then Playlists as the view. The sidebar is there, like when Music is the selected media category.

            NOTE: The button for Podcasts is not visible, by default. Click the three dots, and then Podcasts to select it as the media category. If you want a Podcasts button to be there, like Music, Movies, and TV Shows, click the three dots, and select Edit. Check the box for Podcasts.

            1. Who the Fu%^ has time to find all the hidden controls and stuff that should be obvious? Those of us who work with big screens want a real sidebar to see EVERYTHING all at once.

              And no, i don’t want an interface that changes every time i click something. That would be a Microsoft Ribbon. I expect to see a REAL sidebar that offers me a consistent set of controls at all times, in one compact area. Apple is pissing me off by moving everything all over the screen like a bad website. Apple, you screwed up again. To top it all off, you made everything flat and ugly. STOP THE INSANITY!

            2. “And no, i don’t want an interface that changes every time i click something. That would be a Microsoft Ribbon.”

              EXACTLY!
              Did not see your post till now, 100% exactly right. It does remind me of the ribbon..

        1. EXACTLY. something ken1w will never understand.

          In Podcast view.. anyone know how to remove the stupid “unplayed” and “saved” from the top of the list? Or at least able to shove it to the bottom?

          Or something I have wanted for ever… release date/month?
          not year… some groups have released 2 or more albums in a year.. annoying having to go into the sorting field and putting them in correct order manually.

          1. Select Podcasts (button) as the media type, then select the Playlists (instead of My Podcasts) view at the middle of that horizontal bar. To see a simple list of podcasts (instead of the “columns”), at the right side of the same bar, toggle it to show your list as Episode List. I don’t see “unplayed” and “saved” in that view.

            That simple list view sorts by “Release Date.” The overall list is alphabetical by podcast name, and within each podcast, the episodes are in release date order (either older to newer or newer to older). No manual ordering required…

            1. http://tinypic.com/r/xbaddk/8
              This is what i’m seeing

              Episode list will just show me the basic view of the podcasts I have actually downloaded, or recent ones.. would have to CHANGE the view to go through past episodes, of say a recently added podcast….

              “That simple list view sorts by “Release Date.” The overall list is alphabetical by podcast name, and within each podcast, the episodes are in release date order (either older to newer or newer to older). No manual ordering required…”

              ……………….talking to brick wall. (When does a “podcast” release multiple “ALBUMS” in a year?…)
              For example…
              http://zeppelinsite.com/7-artists-who-released-multiple-classic-albums-in-one-year-led-zeppelin-bob/
              “2 The Beatles
              From 1963 to 1965, the Beatles released two albums each year, and though there’s an argument to be made for each Beatles album being a classic in its own right, the band released two unimpeachable classics in 1967: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in June, and the weirdest Beatles album of all, the Magical Mystery Tour movie soundtrack, just five months later.”

              “SGT” COMES AFTER “MAGICAL” in iTunes. (Incorrectly)
              you have BOTH albums…. BOTH SAME YEAR………………. iTunes lists them in ALPHABETICAL ORDER BY YEAR. NOT CORRECT DATE OF RELEASE.

              Just one example, so YES manual ordering required IF YOU WANT THEM LISTED CORRECTLY.

              If you have an ALBUM and an EP released in same year…. without MANUALLY reordering them iTunes will just put whichever one comes first alphabetically. (I have LOTS of bands with this very problem)

              hey check this out… dating WAY back to 2008.. Issue Apple refuses to correct.
              http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=609897

              (Yes I used the Beatles as the example JUST cause i’ve used jolly jimmy’s way for years, after seeing that very post)

            2. At the risk of further insults flung my way for not being able to understand your writing clearly… 🙂

              The image you provided shows Podcasts in Playlists view, with the toggle at the right of the horizontal bar set to Podcasts. When you change that to show your list as Episode List, look at the bottom of the simple list (along bottom of window). Change the setting there for Show to “Feed.” That should show you all the episodes that are available. Assuming I understood your problem statement…

              For the second issue, you are discussing music albums not podcasts. So, in the Music category, with Playlists view showing a simple list, I guess you are using the “Album by Artist/Year” column to sort the list. There is a Year field and a Release Date field for each song, which you can show as columns in the simple list of songs. In my library, the Year field is usually populated, the Release Date field is not. That data comes from the music industry. When I rip a CD, it comes from the industry’s online database (the same one that provides iTunes with data such as name of album, artist name, track names, and track numbers of the CD’s songs). If the music industry does not provide better granularity than just the year (since the release date field is blank), how can Apple do what you want? That data needed is simply not there; that’s not Apple’s problem.

              If you want to “fix” this manually when there is more than one album from an artist in a given year, select all the songs on one of the albums. Do a Get Info on the selection. In the Info window, on the Details tab, enter a year that is “one year off” (after or before) the current entry, so that iTunes gets the order right when sorting “Album by Artist/Year.”

            3. Podcasts:
              EVERYTHING is correctly displayed EXACTLY how it should be, when showing podcasts not feed. when you do it your way, the screen gets cluttered.
              When you select a podcast, lets say the Nerdist that has over 600 episodes.
              scroll, scroll, scroll…… to find something. now go anywhere else away from the computer. Come back to the computer days later…. what fucking podcast are you looking at?…. SCROLL to figure out what the last podcast you looked at was.
              Other way, the NAME OF THE PODCAST IS ALWAYS SHOWN.

              I just don’t like the unplayed/saved lists at the top.

              Again, Apple changed things for the worse. If you want to see a jumbled mess… well then Apple did it just fine.

              MUSIC:
              I have never purchased any music digitally… ever, from any source. U2’s free album, which i’ve deleted twice… still shows up in iTunes. Oh guess what? Apple didn’t even put a release year there…

              “If you want to “fix” this manually when there is more than one album from an artist in a given year, select all the songs on one of the albums. Do a Get Info on the selection. In the Info window, on the Details tab, enter a year that is “one year off” (after or before) the current entry, so that iTunes gets the order right when sorting “Album by Artist/Year.”

              So your “solution” admits that there is a problem, and you give a solution… that FUCKS UP THE LIST EVEN MORE.

              Thats smart.

              Did you not read the post I made?
              The beatles… released 6 Albums in 3 years. So you want me to ADD a year to those albums….. so the List INCORRECTLY (even worse than before) labels the albums… And now will effect OTHER albums that were not screwed up before..

              I’ve never seen any album that I have ever ripped even give the option of release DATE, just year.

            4. Another thing I just noticed.. Went to eject my iPod from iTunes…

              What used to be a simple click of the eject button.. Now requires two steps.
              Click the iPod in the list… Then go down to the left side and click eject.

              Thanks apple for making things “easier”

              Didn’t try right clicking the iPod in though.. And not at my Mac anymore.

            5. Well, if clicking twice to eject an iPod, not wanting “unplayed/saved lists at the top” of the podcasts screen, and some obscure (existing) sorting “issue” that can’t be “fixed” because the recording industry does not provide the necessary data are the worst things about this new version of iTunes, I’d say Apple iTunes team did an outstanding job of revamping what had become Apple’s “kludgiest” app.

            6. “Well, if clicking twice to eject an iPod”
              See this is the problem.
              Apple changes things to require more and more clicks, or changes features that ALWAYS have been available… to only show (partially) on certain screens.

              And there are those that believe that Apple has made everything better.

              Apple has always about making things easier… now they are making things harder to find, more steps involved.. More external devices when they made a huge deal about PC’s doing that…

              Prior to this release, I think iTunes had finally been worked on enough to be a good app. A few minor issues, but it was fine. IMO Apple took iTunes a few steps backward.

              Just checked, they did finally fix the issue when watching a movie/TV episode full screen. You used to just have to hit esc to return to iTunes, then they broke it and esc shrunk the video to the iTunes window.. and kept playing. had to do “Command + .” to actually stop the video.

              Will take longer to see if iTunes radio is actually fixed for those without iTunes match. (Radio would freeze/stop working if you added more than 10 total artists/songs to ANY station, station randomly stopped working whenever iTunes felt like it)

            7. Oh BTW… RELEASE DATE is a PODCAST field…. can’t use it for MUSIC.

              So your entire “it’s the music industry not Apple” remarks are TOTAL BS.
              *some* iTunes PURCHASED songs do have release dates… but it is NOT editable via iTunes FOR MUSIC… Podcasts yes.

              You can however edit that tag with outside software so iTunes can use it.

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