Apple updates iTunes with ‘simpler’ design that doesn’t really solve anything

“Apple knows that the iTunes interface is extremely confusing and needs work,” Jacob Kastrenakes writes for The Verge. “But apparently its solution is to add even more menus.”

“Apple released an update to iTunes today that’s supposed to give it ‘a simpler design,’ supposedly making it easier to navigate between sections to find what you’re looking for,” Kastrenakes writes. “To do that, it brings back an old iTunes standby: the lefthand navigation bar, which disappeared a while back.”

“It’s definitely easier than searching for those items in drop-down menus, like you had to before,” Kastrenakes writes. “But the update doesn’t address the core issue with iTunes’ navigation, and perhaps even makes it worse: it’s still weirdly difficult to find the section you’re looking for — as in, your music library, your video library, or the App Store.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Today was merely a stopgap measure, hopefully.

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

If you have to ask yourself “Why is this so difficult? Am I an idiot?” then there is a User Interface problem, not a user problem. This is, after all, what we pay Apple for. Those type of questions are for Windows/Android sufferers, not Mac/iOS users.

Who’s responsible for iTunes’ unsettled, rather awful UI, a blind Microsoft reject or nobody at all?MacDailyNews Take, July 10, 2015

Apple releases iTunes 12.4 – May 16, 2016
Apple Music needs a web widget – March 8, 2016
Fixing iTunes: To the iCloud! – February 18, 2016
Spotify dims as Apple Music shines – April 27, 2016
Yet another example of how Apple Music is messed up – December 16, 2015
Alternatives to Apple’s bloated iTunes – November 17, 2015
Should iTunes be split into 16 different apps? – October 20, 2015
Apple admits it has ‘homework to do’ to improve Apple Music – September 3, 2015
The tragedy of iTunes: Nothing ‘just works’ – July 28, 2015
Dear Apple, please go thermonuclear on iTunes – July 28, 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 Music, both on iOS and OS X, is an embarrassing and confusing mess – July 10, 2015


  1. Even the music player streaming my library to my car sucks. I started usjng BBE sonicmax pro and i can advance instantly and have the metadata read on the nav screen just as fast. As a side bennie the BBE process makes it all sound amazing. Why cant Apple do this?

  2. Hang on, we are often told, or through experience wish for, central unifying front doors into related functionality, after all a load of separate apps just becomes a jungle that separate folders oes little to solve, in which to find the one you are looking for. Yet suddenly MDN seems to think splitting everything up is the simple and obvious answer. I seem to remember them thinking the single button mouse was eternally the answer too mind long after it had had its day. I will guarantee if you do split them up that there will be a new public outcry featuring manic laughter and shaking heads and downright submission to insanity. But surely a single front door to the separate functions where the others disappear till you need them isn’t beyond the wit of man.

    1. Yes, aren’t the separate iTunes Store, App Store, Music, and Videos, and Podcasts apps on iOS so much easier to find stuff? Not really.

      It wasn’t difficult to figure out the new navigation but this proves that a left menu is what is familiar to most people. I think this improvement is a great step and probably what they should have done when they first added the top menu.

  3. Every time Apple releases an update it is worse than the prior. I really am beginning to wonder what is up with Apple. I still say they have “big company” syndrome. Got to big and can no longer do much right.

    1. I call it a case of PVFS – Post Visionary Founders Syndrome – settling in after Jobs’ pipeline has petered out leaving the Designer and the Supply Chain guy to be revealed as lacking that quality, i.e., a grand vision that drives the company.

      This is a problem for so many companies who lose their lodestar and often takes a few new leadership to correct – if it ever gets corrected….

    2. Apple needs a Usability Czar, like Steve used to be, that can look at these products through the eyes of a Novice and have the power to say WTF, this sucks, go fix it!

  4. I’m all smiley, shiny, happy. The thing that drove me nuts in iTunes last night has been solved. Now I have the amazing option of Deleting the stupid podcasts I didn’t want to start downloading in the first place, rather than having them sit in the downloads list on Pause until the next time I start iTunes and they start downloading all over again. Amazing. A minor sane step taken. Time to dance for joy. 👯👯👣🐾

  5. wrote this section yesterday on a long post about Tim cooks’ ‘New Apple’ which seems relevant to this issue:

    ” I tend now to agree that Tim Cook doesn’t even seem to vet or use many Apple products personally before launching them. As critics say he would never have launched Apple TV with NO remote app if he had to set up a device himself with passwords etc or approve the Apple Music interface (or launch it with NO GUIDES ).”

    perhaps if he had really spent time with iTunes , he might have asked for more radical improvements before relaunching ‘improved iTunes’.

    my full comment yesterday :

    1. If you have a decent home audio system, you can do better. Rip your CDs as Apple Lossless (ALAC). Bigger files than 320 kbps MP3s but significantly better quality. You’re worth it.

  6. I refuse to download the new version.

    Apple is lost, it has no idea how to make a complex system simple.

    For the first time in my life, I am blaming Tim Cook for this.

    There is a moment when the CEO has to crack the whip and make the geeks meet the needs of the customers.

    Tim, start using iTunes! Pretend you know what it is to be a customer!

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