Dear Apple, please go thermonuclear on iTunes

Apple needs “to adopt the same approach for OS X as it does for iOS, splitting out the various iTunes functions into separate apps,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “Having now been using version 12.2 of iTunes for a month, I’m escalating this from a moderate whinge to a full-scale rant. The time has come for Apple to finally rid us of this creaking, bloated disaster of an app, and start afresh.”

“Don’t misunderstand me: I happen to rather like iTunes as a music player,” Lovejoy writes. “But it’s a different matter where other media is concerned. Where are podcasts, for example? Where are audiobooks? Ok, we’re techies, we know that if we can’t see something in a visible menu, it’ll be hidden inside that ‘…’ icon, but we’re not short of space in the menu bar here, so why do we have Music, Movies and TV Shows visible, but not Podcasts and Audiobooks? And Apple hasn’t even tried to integrate ye olde Internet Radio with Apple Music Radio – they are in completely different places.”

“Things get even messier with syncing. Horribly messy,” Lovejoy writes. “I could go on, but tl;dr: iTunes is a total mess – about as far from an ‘It Just Works’ experience as you could possibly get, and an utter embarrassment for a company which prides itself on simple, intuitive user interfaces. It needs to die, and be replaced with individual OS X apps which each do one job, and do it well.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, has shown a great and admirable willingness to cannibalize themselves. They obliterated their iPod business with the iPhone, for one example. But, when it comes to iTunes, they seem paralyzed by fear of change. Apple paralyzed by fear is not a pretty thing and it doesn’t yield pretty things. It yields hot messes like iTunes.

iTunes screams to be broken up into separate, streamlined apps. It’s been screaming that for years. But Apple seems to be scared silly to do so — perhaps 800+ million credit cards have something to do with it — so they’ve tinkered around the edges, making questionable tweaks here an there and bolting on even more bloat.

Grow a pair, Apple, and do what needs to be done already.MacDailyNews Take, July 17, 2015

Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

Marco Arment: iTunes is a toxic hellstew – July 27, 2015
Jim Dalrymple: I got (most of) my music back; Apple working to fix Apple Music issues shortly – July 26, 2015
Jim Dalrymple: Apple Music is a nightmare, and I’m done with it – July 23, 2015
Apple’s iTunes: Whatever happened to ‘It Just Works? – July 17, 2015
The iTunes Report: Still a mess – July 14, 2015
Apple releases iTunes 12.2.1, fixes iTunes Match issues – July 13, 2015
Apple Music, both on iOS and OS X, is an embarrassing and confusing mess – July 10, 2015
iTunes 12.2 is mangling network-shared libraries – July 6, 2015
Serious iTunes Match issues for some users ahead of Apple Music launch – June 26, 2015


  1. Dear Apple,

    Mentioned over two years ago, iTunes needs to be broken down into several apps. As was iChat – happily we now use Messenger and FaceTime – please follow that example.

    An application for buying Apps both iOS and OS X.

    An application to shop for Media — rent/buy movies, music and books.

    An application to see the content of your iDevices – for backing up and managing the content of everything it holds.

    iTunes really sucks and Eddie you just keep spreading the shitz about.

    1. Yep, that’s likely to happen. My biggest complaint about iTunes is that other people don’t know how to use it.

      The growing rants of the ignorati will eventually be responded to by Apple. When this happens, I expect something similar to occur as losing Aperture for Photos.

      It’s a shame because iTunes is an incredibly powerful media app that is easy to use, if not to learn.

      I guess most people can’t be bothered to learn anything, so we’ll end up with the lowest common denominator that “everyone” can use.

      1. Perfect comment. I have been using iTunes since before it was even owned by Apple. I won’t say I agree with all the interface changes that Apple has made over the years, but the functionality has never failed me.

        1. Well I have to say I understand your point… yet OS X also has flowed in a similar method of simple apps from iOS. And iTunes on iOS do not function like iTunes in OS X. Either make extreme differences to one platform empowering those who can tolerated longer learning curves, who love to customize, and toy with settings – I am all for that… and some how if needed fuse the same experience to what is know as Apple. You explain that… and then I will totally agree with you.

          1. Hmmm, since the iOS music player is called Music, not iTunes, it isn’t too surprising that it differs from iTunes in OS X. Actually, many programs are quite different between the two since it is a completely different paradigm.

      2. “Ignorati?” Screw you!

        Just because iTunes suffices for your limited usage, that does not make it good. It is overflowing with counter-intuitive, very un-Maclike features.

        1. Calm down. If your complaint is that iTunes isn’t more robust and full featured, or if you’re complaining that despite investing time in learning how to use it, you find that you still have specific criticism, then my comment wasn’t meant for you.

          On the other hand, if you’re part of the ever-growing number of people who, like the author of the article, feel the need to spend more time writing and complaining about it instead of learning how to use it, then you might want to think about learning how to use it instead of complaining that it needs to be dumbed down.

          iTunes is far from perfect, but it’s far better than anything else out there and far better than most people give it credit for. Most complaints, like that from this author, tend be be easily addressed with “choose to sync via the cloud or local” or generically, “just go to preferences and select ____”.

          As far as “my limited usage”… my usage is far from limited. I manage multiple libraries that are quite large for personal and work related use and use these libraries for multiple devices and users. As such, I invested time in learning how to properly use iTunes, and I’m very happy with it.

          What I don’t want, is like Aperture, to be told that a large amount of functionality is being removed because a dumbed down app is going to replace it all due to people not being willing to invest any time whatsoever learning how to use it.

          1. Yes. RTFM.
            No one wants to read a manual anymore. Too many people treat electronic stuff like a toaster. One button, one dial. “What!! It burnt the toast.” It must be defective.

  2. It doesn’t need to be broken up. Just the search parameters have to be adjusted to each subject. The problem I have with iTunes is finding where the hell things are in the menu.

    When you have millions of colors to work and all the menu options are in a thin gray bar with gray words, on top of gray bar it’s really bad design. The sacrifice of colors for control-freak neat gray is really bad design. Sure it’s LOOKs neat. But the eyes have hard time differentiating info quickly.

    Why can’t there be definitive COLORFUL icons at the top of or on the side of an iTunes home page for:

    TV Shows

    Once you click on the icon the search parameters for that subject changes…isn’t this all about categorization in the metadata at the end of the day?

    1. Well its not intuitive anymore and I too have long used iTunes and do believe it is a great music player and ripper… still, if thats what you need it for … make things simpler. Make an app of that Apple. To learn an Application is one thing… the learning should be easy… not confusing. I agree this is a UI problem however splitting the current iTunes into smaller programs will help. Yeah Photos is another dump. Apple did it to use with Final Cut Pro… however over time things improved also. Breaking it Down… starting over… making improvements distilling the good and the bad into a better experience is Apple Software 101. So do it. Fix it… customers may be dumb or unwilling to learn… yet the feeling out there is the iTunes is a mess. Come on. Do not fight with the majority. Apple must listen… shit why fire Scott over maps, Fire Eddie. Fire more people… everyone is getting fat and lazy and sucking in the dough putting out mediocre work. Please, you know I am right,

  3. Meanwhile the resident WSJ tech pundit, a respected “good friend” of many Mac pundits, once again bashes Apple- this time falling for Windows 10. She makes me sick- the hack needs to be exposed. Go to it, MDN!….

  4. Start by renaming iTunes iMedia. If it’s going to contain all of your books, tv shows, movies and podcasts in addition to your music and music videos, then it deserves a name that represents all types of content.

    Secondly, either break it up or rework the interface so that it is once again user-friendly. Why not have separate libraries for each type of media, so that it’s not the bloated mess it is now?

    Put all of the App Stores in one place. If it’s for sale, put it in the same app. Mac App Store, iTunes, Software Updates, Apple Store – what gives? You should be able to launch one app and purchase anything you desire that Apple sells. Moreover, the app should remember what Apple devices you have and display the content or apps that will work with your devices.

    1. You got it…
      The App Store presently as a single app is also a mess, however. sadly to say, compare it to Android store. The organization of Apps on App Store really blows. And finding what you want quickly – searching for that app, really blows… compare that to where it finds what you want and offers similar products… Apps Store sucks. Find something and try hitting the return arrow… damn thing throws you right to the beginning of the list. Sucky Apple. Really… come on… who is developing the applications the same staff making the flat ugly icons. Sorry, I will never agree to the flat icons… Besides I can reflect on some flat icons which do not follow suit and get very complex in the design. Making icons look interesting and possibly self explanatory only improve the communication by which they for. They are not roads signs by which I am traveling at 80 Km per hour and need read fast… these are icons. Anyways. rant rant ants in my pants.

      Apple is not perfect yet it needs to focus much more.
      Whats the heck, seems they are becoming the lazy Macrosloths they all despised.

  5. What’s to stop them putting the iTunes store and the Mac App store together, bringing back iSync, and then making iTunes just for media? They’ve split out books (and audiobooks in iOS), so why is everything else still lumped together in iTunes?The main problem is that they insist on making it a one window solution.

  6. This is why Cook is not the right fit to lead.
    He come out to promote why Apple strives for, perfection…
    tearing down ideas, ripening them, starting over, and challenging the idea again. iTunes needs to get blown up.
    Start over Apple.

    What those opening keynotes videos represent, is Apples DNA; how ideas are perfected and how Apple strives to do beyond expectations. This is that Apple I remember. Yet Talking about it and promoting it without example is not the leadership I see lasting. Tim was the right choice at the time yet hasn’t held up to the true fashion of Apple.

    Fix ITunes. Fix Maps. Fix Flat iOS.

    Those words mean a great deal to you??? Tim do it.

    1. iTunes does not craft around the feeling of love, surprise or enjoy. It is a fine application yet sucks at the same time.
      Focus please Apple.

      Apple while you are busy making everything else, don’t forget to fix iTunes, as it confuses connivence with joy.

  7. Actually iTunes disintegrating usability is part of broader trend in all Apple software including, increased steps/clicks to do the same thing, lack of consistency- Save and Done had unique meanings not now, contrast has beenreduced making some things almost impossible to read. With only 2% of the eyeyes receptors sensitive to blue, you ever use blue text on a black background but Apple does. Even Siri shows this backwards slide. I trsted creating and sending an email using Carplay. It was simple to create ans send. Ther was the familiar swoosh sound letting me know thatthe message was sent but then Siri sole to say the message was sent, intrusive, useless, and redundant. I have an idea of how Steve Jobs would react.

  8. Not to mention the mess that is video streaming to iOS devices, if you have a large library. Works ok on Apple TV as the movie artwork is downloaded one at a time. In the iOS video app it has to do it all at once. It takes a long time to be load them all, and the artwork seems easily corrupted (artwork assigned to wrong movie) – for example, if iTunes is quit at some point. This requires quitting the video app (if its open in background), then signing out of your Apple ID in settings/video; signing back in; then launching the app again and waiting for it to load…. It’s a complete mess and has been for years. Why have sharing if it doesn’t work in an Apple seamless fashion.

    I totally agree, they need to put Old Yeller (iTunes) down – it saved ma, pa, the music industry and Apple, but now its rabid. Time for clean, smart, fast apps for the different functions.

  9. Before Apple fixes iTunes, I want it to spend more time on LGBTQYMOUSE issues. I have a homosexual friend and he does not have a job and his parents won’t let him live in the basement with his partner. If he were straight this would not happen. I have another friend who is T (see the acronym). This friend is not allowed to take young men to the prom at his high school, because they won’t go with him because he looks sort of like Dennis Rodman. They should want to go with him. But Apple is so busy on their Watch and their Phone that they have not made life equal for my friends. And in my house I have to have the AC on a lot, all cause of the climate which gets hot every year around this time. Apple should do more to end hot summers. I don’t have money for AC after paying my credit card for the PEACE tattoo that is on my butt. And the nipple ring that I just got which glows in the dark. That is what Apple should be doing. Fixing LGBTQMYMICKEY and setting the temp at about 70 all year, maybe 68 at night.

  10. Please just make iTunes a music Library once again. I long for the days of old when iTunes was a joy to work with. Break out the functions into separate Apps please!

  11. Some people are their own worst enemies. Believing anything written by anyone as long as it in the mainstream is just stupid. This leads to good things getting bad. It is popular to say these things that the story says. People just suck it all up as if it is a real problem. All it really is is clickbait. Especially this article. The editor realized what a big hit “blah blah blah Toxic Hellstew……” was. He simply put out “an order” to come up with some manufactured “blah blah blah go thermonuclear……” with a bit of “it just works…” sprinted in in a negative way. And as a result it get’s lots of clicks as people just soak up all this nonsense.

  12. Some inside baseball on iTunes:

    iTunes was engineered atop QTML, the QuickTime Media Layer, a broad cross-platform library that Apple always insisted “is not a porting layer.” Yet iTunes used QTML as a porting layer so they could fast-track Windows support. They even hired the lead engineer of QuickTime for Windows, Tom Dowdy, to head the iTunes project.

    Since Dowdy’s sudden death in 2008, to my knowledge the iTunes project has never been re-architected. The project must be nearly impossible to maintain at this point.

    If I’m right about that, iTunes requires a complete rewrite on both Mac and Windows platforms, using modern frameworks and languages.

    1. True or not, iTunes no longer makes sense. As another commenter said, being with the name. And now that Windows is in decline… and a iDevice no longer needs to be connected to a computer… please Apple do not bother re-writting for Windows.

  13. There is nothing wrong with iTunes. Used it forever. Just works. I would like the option to choose which default Info screen I use. But even that is trivial. It runs great on all my machines. I have a significant media library. It works great.

    Yeah, you could make it modular. But that doesn’t do anything for you. It already behaves in a modal way anyway..
    Marco Arment can go buzz off. Design something better, oh priest of good taste.

    Oh, iTunes is buzzing away in the background while I do a little After Effects rendering. Not one hiccup.

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