To fix iTunes, Apple should revisit iSync, an app that actually worked

Apple’s iSync “first appeared in Mac OS X 10.2, and its job was to allow you to sync contacts and calendars to and from your Mac and a range of cell phones and PDAs from third parties, as well as Apple’s own iPods,” Christopher Phin writes for Macworld.

“It was easy to sync all or a subset of your contacts and events to each mobile device using iSync, and I don’t remember any syncing conflicts being thrown up that its conflict resolution handler couldn’t resolve,” Phin writes. “The writing was on the wall for iSync, though, with Mac OS X 10.4 — with this release iSync became a kind of glorified front-end for the Sync Services framework rather than handling all the data juggling itself.”

“This was the era when iTunes began its bloat,” Phin writes. “Apple is notoriously reluctant to look to its past, preferring instead to focus on the future. Perhaps with iTunes, though, it could draw inspiration for its future from its past.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Poor iTunes. Look at yourself. You’re a fat, bloated mess! Hopefully Apple will get a plan together soon that’ll dramatically slim you down and get you healthy again.

We don’t know if iSync offers any inspiration, but, come on, Apple, be the UX masters we know you are!


  1. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time… Apple is clearly moving away from “iTunes” branding. First the iTunes app on iOS changed to “Music” Now, with Apple Music, and the Apple Music Festival (formerly iTunes Festival,) seems they are setting the stage to dismantle iTunes.

    1. “Bring back iSync”? That’s really the solution? Where do these so-called “tech journalists” come up with this stuff?

      I use iTunes to sync via USB on a Mac and everything works perfectly. iCloud handles contacts, calendars, reminders, Safari bookmarks, etc. wirelessly. All is well with iTunes 11.1.

      What’s wrong (and needs to be addressed) with iTunes is this: first, restore the interface to version 11 or earlier. NOBODY likes the iTunes 12 interface, and if you say that you do then you’re either lying or you’re retarded. It is, quite simply, an abominable UI. The same goes for the iOS version 8.4 app. Get Jony Ive out of the software kitchen and let him continue to cook as the world’s premier industrial designer of hardware ONLY. Second, instead of adding new features (such as Apple Music) and tweaking the UI for no reason Apple should be focusing on a Snow Leopard-style code optimization to ensure that iTunes on Macs and PCs “just works”. Like it used to.

      And for those of you who cling to this belief that splitting iTunes into a dozen or so different apps will miraculously solve any issues that you’re having: I submit to you as evidence the iOS Podcast app as proof that you are flat-out wrong. All we will end up with is a dozen dumbed-down apps with idiotic UIs that don’t work.

  2. iTunes should go back to being just a music management program and a separate program that handles all the sync functions currently folded into iTunes should be developed.

    And I like the iTunes 12 UI.


  3. I’m frustrated with iTunes so I’ve been looking for an alternative. There are options BUT iTunes is the only way to sync to an iDevice. As long as the sync function is inside iTunes we are handcuffed to iTunes.

  4. Road to redemption:
    1- Sell Beats or shutter it.
    2- Fire the people who came with the wasted $3 Billion.
    3- Apologize to shareholders for pissing away 3 Billion and to Apple customers for fucking up iTunes.
    4- Pack the fake radio hipsters off to London and tell them not to let the door hit them in the ass on the way out.
    5- Introduce a discrete podcasting app.
    6- Introduce a discrete Movie/TV app.
    7- Put the media stores on regular web pages.
    8- Cancel rental music.
    9- Offer Apple Lossless Files as an upgrade like iTunes Plus did when Apple upgraded iTMS audio quality. Should be a nice windfall.

    Apple fixed what was not broken and wasted money chasing bullshit. The sales dropped off as people purchased library stuff initially and now that market is gone.

    The millennial generation is in debt up to their neck and is used to stealing music. It is time for them to grow up- there is no free lunch.

    Music worth listening to is worth buying.

  5. Yes, MDN – iTunes right now is a total piece of crap. Not only is it bloated and slow, but it also has glaring bugs – you can’t “hide” a previously purchased song in OSX iTunes, etc. There is blank cover art for various music genres in iOS music. With each successive generation of iTunes, it has become worse and worse.
    iTunes engineering has even validated the glaring bugs I have shown them, but they haven’t been fixed in months.

    There is a larger problem here, and although painful, I think you should acknowledge it: With Steve gone, egos have gotten the better of people like Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, etc. And Tim Cook leads by delegation. Steve would not have tolerated half the crap that Apple seems to be pushing out now in its “iOS music” and “iTunes” interfaces, yet it seems to still slide out of Apple.
    The sad thing is that I don’t think Apple is hard at work on replacing this crap. I think it is hard at work advancing more of it.

    1. In my opinion, since Steve died, Apple is sometimes missing the intuitive/direct simplicity factor. I see a lot of things I think he’d have thrown back at his engineers and reamed them out to make it more logically simple.

  6. iTunes works just fine. It always has worked just fine.

    Breaking up software into modules will not improve anything. If you think so, you have a very deep misunderstanding of how an application actually works.

    Quit mirroring the vocal rants of a handful of developers.

    I have a large library. I have streaming over Apple TV. All of it works fine.

    1. I suspect you “think” you have a large library. Everyone I know that truly has a large library, say over 10GB (picked number out of my hat), complains about how incredibly slow iTunes is.

      I agree that breaking up iTunes probably isn’t the answer BUT I do think a different interface for different media types makes sense. I also think the sync function should be broken out so we aren’t so tied to iTunes itself.

    2. Every single person I know with a decent sized library complains how slow iTunes is. My library is about 35 Gigs. The latest iterations of iTunes have it crawl so slowly. It takes a while for album cover art to even display – like a 3 second pause after searching for a song. I even sent screen videos of this to Apple engineering, and I see this happen on even the latest MacBook Pros. It is truly pathetic. The interface itself is clunky, non-intuitive and has only gotten worse.

      The worst part of all of this is that I somehow doubt Apple even realizes how bad it is. I think right now they have their head up their asses and believe that it is totally fine. Cook delegates and doesn’t lead, and he has delegated this responsibility to those who seem to think that it is acceptable. Steve wouldn’t have tolerated this, and I fear that the latest patterns of Apple releasing such crap portend a slow decline of the company, I shudder to think of this being the first indication of circling the bowl.

Reader Feedback

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