iTunes features that Apple’s retired — and what’s next to go

“iTunes has been around for just over 14 years, and has seen its share of improvements, enhancements, and added features,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville.

“But some of the features added to iTunes don’t last. I took a look at iTunes’ history to find those marquee features that were added to the app, but that didn’t last very long,” McElhearn writes. “Some lasted for many years, other just a couple, but these features were considered to be big deals when they were introduced. And now they are gone.”

iTunes Features that Have Been Retired
• iMix
• Party Shuffle
• Smart Shuffle
• The iTunes MiniStore
• Cover Flow view
• Genius Sidebar
• Ping
• Multiple Windows

McElhearn writes, “What’s next [to go]?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Today is Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. and the markets are closed. As usual on such trading holidays, we will have limited posting today.


      1. Agreed. But with Apple lately, you just don’t know.

        I am having a heck of a time with iTunes Match. I have custom unique recordings that I can’t sync manually and Match won’t let me put them on my iDevices.

        Funny I get so many down votes when others were being just as sarcastic as I was and they get up votes.

        1. I gave up on iTunes match because of the custom songs sharing problem, as well as major sync headaches. Concept is great…practical application…beta at best.

      2. Fan, you mean *downgraded* to AAC.

        A CD offers approximately 5.6x the data (AIFF format) as the AAC files Apple sells in iTunes. Audiophile music services and SACD disks offer still better audio quality beyond the venerable Compact Disc.

        Match is a false economy — paying a monthly fee to hear at poor quality what you already own on a CD in very good quality.

        If one just can’t afford a decent hard drive to archive & curate his own music files in meaningful playlists, I don’t know how you can justify paying for yet another monthly subscription. Admit it: Match, iTunes Radio, and other subscription services are taxes on the lazy. It’s economically foolish to rent what you already own — or can own for very little money, given the cheap price of used CDs these days.

        1. It’s an annual fee of $25 and if you have a bad overly compressed MP3 file from olden times, then it will UPGRADE to AAC with a matched version. It also allows you have have cloud access to every song (say all 15,000) on your hard drive computer to all your iphones and ipads and Apple TV’s. Is that worth $25? For some not, but others yes very much.

          1. I know exactly what Match promises. What you get with Match is dependency on Apple’s servers to do anything. Apple’s iCloud is poor and inconsistent on a good day. Heaven help you if you don’t spend your life online. And if you think 256 kbps AAC is good quality, well … don’t bother to buy a good stereo system, it will reveal how much you are missing.

            Managing your own media is freedom. Alas, so many are so lazy. 1984 is here, and Apple is now Big Brother.

    1. no application reveals a spinning beach ball more than iTunes. It’s time to break it into separate applications for audio and video — and go back to an interface with toolbars so people didn’t have to control-click random grey icons to do anything. The latest iTunes GUI is absolutely pathetic.

    1. People forget that Finder is an app as well, one that’s meant for more broader general purpose. Media management via the Finder app instead of a music specific app or photos specific means either bloating the heck out of the Finder app or removing all kinds of functionality from what we have in media specific apps.

      Also, if you want to manage your media in the Finder and never use iTunes, do so. There’s nothing stopping you now.

  1. Why on earth did Apple get rid of the “Burn” button?!

    And yes, I know where to find it, but I shouldn’t have to “find” it.
    And besides, it reminded me of Duke Nukem.

    1. I’d say the obvious reason is, since Mac’s no longer contain optical drives, it’s to prevent people from writing posts that say, “Why on earth does Apple have a big “Burn” button in iTunes when my Mac doesn’t have anything to burn to?” (as well as the fact that almost all new audio gear is either Bluetooth or iPod/iPhone/audio input jacks)

      So, the reason there’s not a button front and center is because it (burning and playing discs) is obsolete. However, like you noted and for older machines and for the few people who still like burning discs, it is still there, under the file menu if you have a playlist selected. And I agree, it was a cool looking button, but while I miss the look of the button, I don’t miss having a non-functional button on the iTunes interface.

      1. Is strongly prefer software that offers a fully configurable toolbar so that I can decide exactly which tools I can access with a single click.

        Apple’s user base DOES include a lot of people who need optical drive support.

        Apple needs to stop dumbing down its interfaces and start listening to its customers. Burying functions is horrible for all users.

        1. But the obvious problem is that you (a user) disagrees with those above (other users) who disagreed with other users above them. So precisely what users is Apple supposed to actually listen too? Maybe they even did listen and they just happen to be users who don’t agree with you. Not sure how to re on lie that one without a democratic vote of all users.

          1. “So precisely what users is Apple supposed to actually listen too? ”

            To cast a UI in stone? No one in particular.

            But as Mike mentioned, there’s no *need* to cast it in stone. Have a configurable “toolbar” like we’ve had on OS X Finder and many core apps for the last 15 years.

        1. Mike’s suggestion above makes the most sense: give users control of the toolbar again. Apple DOES need to stop hiding useful functions and let users have the ability to see the buttons they need to see in all the popular default apps like iTunes.

          Wasn’t that the whole point of Apple’s one-button mouse to allow one-click access to functions? Now the Mac requires as many or more complicated clicks as Windows, which is not a compliment. Worse, on new Mac apps, one doesn’t even know where to click. Resizing windows has become a chore rather than an intuitive simple task. What is going on now ? Ive is dumbing down the Mac OS as if screen real estate was as precious and limited as an iOS device. It isn’t, so his minimalism borderless window, flat icon, grey-white mess is totally unwelcome on the desktop. Give users the ability to set their own toolbars!!!!

          1. Oh, God forbid you have more than one iOS device showing at a time so that you can update and configure both…..
            The Horror!!!!
            even worse….F.U.G.L.Y. (apparently)

        2. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Like showing removable hard drives on the desktop when they are plugged in, which the Mac OS has had forever.

          INTUITIVE operation makes sense. Burying functions under a gray interface is just not user friendly.

  2. Apparently they have also retired syncing apps automatically.. 🙁

    My iTunes has lost the ability to sync apps on my iPhone 5s, and my iPad2. I have tried almost all the tricks that I know of. iTunes just skips over the updating app step when syncing. I thought it may have been an issue with the iPhone, but same thing happens with the iPad. I have rebooted both the computer that is running iTunes, and the iPhone and iPad. I have also attached the the iPhone directly to the computer running iTunes, but to no avail. Everything else seems to be working in terms of backing up, etc. Could not find any help with the issue on Apples support pages. If any one has had similar issues or a solution, it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. iTunes sync is so flaky now it’s crazy. I am afraid to sync because the last time I did it the “other” category on my iPhone ballooned to some ridiculous amount and basically bricked my phone. Of course you can reset to factory and restore from backup, but that’s not fun. And then if you have to go to many levels of your employer’s IT support just to get a new PIN number to get the “Good for Enterprise” app to recognize you again, it becomes an exercise in frustration.


    If you want to rip CDs — yes, some of us prefer the audio quality of Apple Lossless to 256k ACC — Apple have hidden editing meta data in iTunes, you now have to press ‘alt’ key and right-click to bring up.

    I can see them removing this, and maybe ripping CDs, and making iTunes a downloads only service.

    This would be poor.

    1. No you don’t. You still select tracks and press Command-I. But if you press Option, you get the old style window; that’s the only difference. It has a few tags that aren’t in the new window.

          1. I have been doing this for years — and Apple seems not to have acted on anything. While warranty support with Apple has been superb, software support and beta testing is a joke. Practically no follow through, no response, no thank you, nothing. That’s no better than Microsoft treats its customers.

  4. Loss of multiple windows is the biggest pain for me; when I’m adding new tracks to my phone, I like to have a window open for the device so I can check before adding if it’s already there. Of course, now that drag’n’drop seems to have been disabled as well, I at least have a sort of workaround, by playing music in shuffle mode, when I hear something I like I just use the ‘add to…’ menu by the track name, while I have the device track list open. Not as convenient, but at least it works.
    The biggest issue with that is its not possible to select multiple tracks to add to the device as far as I can see.

  5. What’s next to go? The ability to listen to your music stored on your drive. All Apple is interested in doing is having you stream music you’ve paid for from iCloud.

    1. most of my music is still in the cloud. I used to have all my music on my main mac, but i also matched it in iTunes match. i then sold that mac. I bought a new mac mini and now all that music is in the cloud. There was no need to reinstall all the music onto my new hard drive. Its all available via iTunes match

      1. Congratulations, you have a tiny music collection in lossy poor quality file format.

        Many of us want Apple to stop reducing user choice to what its newest software developers choose as the lowest common denominator.

  6. I am still using a version 10 iTunes because I cannot bear to lose Cover Flow and the ability to shuffle and see what the shuffled playlist contains in which order. Cover Flow is awesome and Steve Jobs loved to show it off. I will never understand why iTunes was changed to be much less user friendly and unique.

    1. if you keep clicking on “shuffle” on one playlist, it is reshuffling the songs, its just not doing it visually. the list on the screen still stays the same, but the suffering is mixed up differently

      1. In other words, Apple is hiding what’s going on. Didn’t Apple at one time believe in a GRAPHICAL User Interface? Hiding everything is just stupid. The user should see what’s going on.

        One thing that I HATE is how when editing a track’s metadata, the list view suddenly jumps. WHY, Apple? It’s not helpful.

  7. I actually miss iMixes for one reason. Back when the feature was first introduced, someone put out an iMix called “the Worst of iTunes”, which was a selection of some of the most hilariously bad music to be found on the store. I would play the previews for these songs and nearly be in tears from laughing.

    Another thing I don’t see on the list that I’m pretty sure is gone are the radio station playlists. Anyone remember these? You could search for radio stations by city and call sign, see what the stations are playing, and have the opportunity to buy the tracks. It was interesting as a novelty, but I can’t imagine it got much use.


  8. How about something TRULY REVOLUTIONARY? I would pay money for this version of iTunes.
    How about a window for iTunes, and a window for my device…. and I can drag and drop music files to my device??
    Oh the horror!
    Simplicity, transparency, what could be better?

  9. I use iTunes as a media center for all the Apple devices in the house. Macs, iPads, Apple TVs can all connect and play content from a mac mini that acts as the server.
    All works very well with a library over 3 TB in size.
    I have to be honest and say that syncing my iPhone is often a challenge. When I upgrade from the iP4S to iP5S the backup didn’t work on the iP4S. In the end I just went with the transfer and everything was where it should be. Same thing happened with the upgrade to iOS 8.
    That area needs to be improved upon. I am wondering if there is too much carry over and may be a few damaged media or app files that screw up the backup process. A clean install may be a good option but takes a lot of time.

  10. Before it was called iTunes, SoundJam used to have a feature in a beta release called Karaoke mode during which it would mute most of the vocals of the music. Sadly, it was dropped after being bought by Apple and never integrated into iTunes.

  11. Maybe iTunes will finally stop syncing that weird bit of content I have every single time I sync my iPhone.
    Or maybe it will finally stop searching for my device when I try to wirelessly sync.
    Maybe they’ll drop the breathless tension of expecting syncing to fail when a new version comes out.

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