Apple releases iTunes 12.7 which removes iOS app backups, introduces interface changes

“Apple rolled out iTunes 12.7 on Tuesday with support for iOS 11 — the new version of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system that will be publicly available on September 19th,” Jeff Gamet reports for The Mac Observer. “The update also makes some interface changes and does away with saving backups of the apps installed on your devices.”

“The iTunes update moves Internet Radio to the Music sidebar, moves iTunes U content to the Podcasts section, and removes Ringtones,” Gamet reports. “Apple added the ability to create Apple Music profiles for sharing playlists and following friend’s playlists.”

Read more in the full article here.

“While many people have argued iTunes’ feature creep over the years had made it an increasingly odd sack of unrelated items, this shift doesn’t come with commensurate improvements or additions elsewhere in macOS, and may cause some difficulties for people with modest Internet throughput or low bandwidth caps, which can affect people across both the developed world (more the U.S. than elsewhere) and the developing one,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld.

“The biggest hit is to the iOS App Store in iTunes, which was always a strange fit. iOS apps were in iTunes, because iTunes was once the only way to manage content,” Fleishman writes. “But you’ll have to adjust your behavior and find new places to carry out activities you might have before. Let’s go through the changes.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Since there is no more App Store, there is also no more Apps library, and you can no longer sync apps to an iOS device,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville. “You can, however, manually add apps that are already on your computer to your iOS device.”

“The iTunes sidebar has been changed a bit. Internet Radio has been moved from the Media Picker – the menu above the sidebar – to the sidebar itself,” McElhearn writes. “You can display this item by hovering your cursor over the section of the sidebar that says Library, then clicking Edit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iTunes backups are still there for iOs devices, but performing a restore won’t transfer your apps from your Mac, but will instead download them over the Internet from Apple, which is, of course, likely to be slower. Still, anything that removes years-old, anachronistic cruft from iTunes is a Good Thing™.


  1. When is Apple:
    1 Going to create a Podcasting App for the Macintosh like they have on iOS and get it off of iTunes?
    2 Put iOS Apps in the App Store on the Mac instead of iTunes?
    3 Ever fix metadata tagging for home grown video files?
    4 Move TV and Movies off of iTunes for the Mac?
    5 Add HealthKit and HomeKit support to the Macintosh?

    1. Why do Apple products keep getting more expensive and complicated, while offering less features?

      It only makes sense that iTunes is getting worse also, if that’s even possible. It makes sense when you think about it though… because Apple’s CEO is also getting worse.

    2. Please excuse me DavGreg for absconding with your first level post in the thread.

      APPLE HAS DELETED iTunes 12.7 from the Mac App Store as of the evening of September 13th. I think we can guess why. For those who already installed it: Keep an eye out for WHY it was pulled and fixes for any damage done.

  2. Removing IOS apps from iTunes is a mistake. Now I will have to download multiple times to cover all devices instead of just once, then sync. Living in South Africa has its challenges, including carriers that place data caps on internet plans. Anything else Edie that makes iTunes more dysfunctional and IOS use more costly?

    1. This will be a bigger clusterfxck when one needs to restore a device requiring a download of all IOS apps instead of a simple sync. Who makes these decisions at Apple? Does anyone actually think this through from a User experience.

      1. Horrible!!!!

        A device restore will require (in my case) a 20-gigabyte download of all the apps formerly stored on my Mac. Try that on a metered connection or hotspot and see how much it costs. See how long it takes on DSL. Of course it will be complerly impossible if you, your Mac, and IPhone have no internet connection at all.

        It will also delete all the apps that I bought and paid for, but that are no longer available on the iOS App Store for one reason or another.

        What idiot came up with this?

        1. Also note that the iTunes “upgrade” is NOT optional for anybody who upgrades to the new version of iOS and needs to manage their music library. Looks like another push towards streaming rented music, not storing owned music. Well and good if you always have access to fast cheap WiFi or wireless. Sucks for the rest of us.

        2. It is horrible, to the point I can’t believe its true.
          This is what iCloud backups are for. With iTunes I always felt somewhat at ease knowing the ENTIRE iphone was backed up into that backup folder on my computer, which i store on a RAID1 mirrored drive separate from my OS drive and I make backups of also. Ugh!

      1. Thank you for this. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t think about this. I suspect that my situation is extreme. I have 12 ipads (sadly I sold all three of my first generation ipads) and many macs (including one of the original 1984s). But I moved to a rural area that has no high speed internet other than cellular and satellite. Back in my youth I was VP of Development for a satellite communications company and don’t see that as agood option. Consequently, I have data plans on six of my ipads. I hope that the recommendation that you made is still viable in the latest macOS update. Again, thanks.

      2. I just updated all apps EXCEPT ONE for my iPad via iTunes 12.6. Then I tried Apple Configurator 2. Unfortunately it’s not reliable for updating, because it stated “No updates are available for “xxx’s iPad”. The installed iOS apps are already up to date.” No, not all are. 🙁

    2. Ultimately they should remove iOS devices from iTunes. Your iPhones and iPads should have their own desktop app to backup and sync data and media.

      Let iTunes manage music; “ITV” (or something) manage movies and video; iBooks manage reading material; AppStore manage all apps (for all your Apple products): and so on.

      The the “iPhone” App on your desktop is used to bring it all together and back it all up.

      It seems they are taking yet another step to minimize the usefulness of a desktop Mac.

      This mandatory update for iTunes in High Sierra will really piss a lot of folks off.

    3. I always thought it was wasteful to serve apps updates to my phone all the time and then also send them to iTunes. I didn’t factor in multiple devices. If everyone only has one device then this move cuts server load in half, except for restore scenarios. Unrealistic I know since quite a few of us have several. Just a starting point for dialogue. I wonder if that is part of the reason for the change though.

    4. Think I will hang fire, as they say, and wait until High Sierra to see what they are proposing as a proper iPhone sync and back up utility. Perhaps there is something coming that will actually make sense? One can but hope!

  3. With this change, “Download on the AppStore” links no longer work on a Mac. There is no AppStore in iTunes and no way to search or discover for iOS Apps from the desktop.

    I have no problem separating i-devices from iTunes. For many, it was a bloated, confusing solution. But to eliminate iOS AppStore without a replacement is a bit ill-conceived and poorly executed.

    Who’s in charge around there?

  4. ” performing a restore won’t transfer your apps from your Mac, but will instead download them over the Internet from Apple, which is, of course, likely to be slower. Still, anything that removes years-old, anachronistic cruft from iTunes is a Good Thing™.

    How is making it slower a good thing?????

  5. This update has removed all functionality and references to Apps on your iOS devices. When you connect an iPhone or iPad, you there is no category for “Apps” in the Summary. The “On My Device” section lists, Music; Movies, TV Shows, Books, Audiobooks, and Tones… but no Apps.

    Books still get an honourable mention — and they have their own desktop app (iBooks) — what gives?

    You can no longer rearrange your iOS home page(s) — this was a convent feature and more efficient than dragging Apps around on an iPhone or iPad.

    What should App Developers do about their broken App Links?

  6. This was NOT a well thought out change. I don’t have a problem with removing iOS app management from iTunes. I DO have a problem with not providing any other method of managing iOS apps from a Mac.

  7. Download a copy of iTunes 12.6.2 quickly, and keep it handy. It might work for moving/syncing apps in the future. I keep my iTunes synced with Dropbox just to have old app versions or apps that have been removed from the App Store.


    1. iTunes 12.7 adds support for iOS 11, so 12.6.x presumably will not work if you upgrade any of your iDevices to the new operating system or buy a new device with iOS 11 installed. The High Sierra upgrade for Mac will also likely replace iTunes 12.6 or break it, as it does a lot of other legacy applications.

      1. Reminds me of the iWork “upgrade” where opening a file in the new version made it unusable in the old version, with no warning, either of that or of the removal of most page layout features.

        Bad, bad move, and right after a good day for Apple customers.

        This sort of thing has removed my enthusiasm for the new MacOS and IOS upgrades. I have used MS Word since the week it was released in 1985, but I skipped the last upgrade because it had no compelling features. High Sierra breaks Office 2011 and a number of other old programs I still use.

  8. Skipping this iTunes upgrade, at least until I see what they have planned in High Sierra, for app stores in general. Perhaps there is plans for a stand alone, app/sync thingy for phones. Will need to be cross platform of course. Separate from the MaccApp store, but with similar functionality, plus sync and phone management? Would help strip out some crud from the iTunes app while they are at it. Looks like they have started that part. Perhaps some sort of iMedia thing that handles everything except music?

  9. I was seriously considering upgrading my wife’s and my phones to iPhone 8 units come October. Now I’m considering not. Why? Just one more new inconvenience from Apple. Hell, we might even stay with iOS 10 for as long as possible.

    Historically when we’ve bought new iPhones we buy them, take them home, and restore everything into the new iPhone from our Macs. My wife has a couple dozen apps. I have many more than that. Now, we’ll have to 1. download everything all over again and 2. for those company unique apps download from the various companies that have Apple approved corporate apps. No more simple restore from the Macs.

    I do NOT backup to iCloud — just encrypted backups to a specific Mac for each iPhone.

    This is truly a stupid move by Apple. It might even rank up there with the hockey puck mouse!

    If Apple had provided dedicated iOS backup applications for iOS and macOS in which you could back up everything, encrypted, to the Mac then this might have made sense to remove functionality from iTunes. As it is, this is just an extremely stupid move.

  10. I feel like a senior citizen who continues to do things the old way. I continue to use my computer as my hub for all my devices and I update everything through it. I am not happy that I will not be able to do this over my computer now using itunes. Can I just not update my itunes to 12.7 and continue my old ways ?

  11. Isn’t it obvious?. Apps won’t be stored on the Mac because Apple no longer likes the Mac. As soon as they can say there is just no more need for a Mac in the Apple system, they will ditch it. Woe to us. Back to MS and Google for real computers. Very sad.

  12. And here I was browsing the new iPhones. After reading this I am not touching iOS 11 or pulling the trigger any new iPhone upgrade until this nonsense about app backups is sorted out.
    It sounds like any apps no longer on app store won’t get restored after a backup restore! Wow what a boneheaded lame decision.
    And I’m not even considering the bandwidth implications yet.
    Holy crap this cannot be true.

    1. “This cannot be true?” That’s what I used to say every time Apple did something like this. I can only assume that their recent decisions are being made by 20-somethings who haven’t a clue how actual consumers use their Apple gear. Clearly, they haven’t a notion of “workflows” or they have access to a bottomless bank account so that they can replace all their software and hardware and retrain every few months.

      Among other things, these guys cannot imagine that any Apple customer might live someplace where there isn’t an affordable, always-on, always super-high-speed wireless connection to every device. If that were only true, there might be a reason to force users to store their iOS backups in the cloud with no option for a local copy.

      The next step will be to deprecate local music storage and force everybody to keep their tunes in the cloud or just avoid the hassle by streaming everything across that always-on cheap internet connection they imagine. See also forcing users to keep their image collections on iCloud rather than in a local Photos library.

      To be fair, Apple has always been bad about pumping the Next Great Thing and then dropping it like a rock as soon as anybody relies on it. Veterans could list countless examples all the way back to the Apple III.

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