Mac App Notes: CoverSutra, the Ultimate iTunes Controller

As you all probably know, music is a big part of my life, and iTunes is the tool I use to organize and play my music. But iTunes itself isn’t enough. When I’m working and listening to music, it can be a hassle to switch to iTunes to pause what I’m listening to when the phone rings, to start playing music again, or to change the volume.

Enter CoverSutra. This $5 app from Sophiestication lets me control iTunes from the keyboard. Now there are lots of apps that can do this, but CoverSutra has enough extras to make it my tool of choice.

To start with, there’s a nifty bezel that you can display by pressing a keyboard shortcut:

As you can see, there are controls on the bezel, so you can play and pause, skip tracks, change the volume and more (if you don’t want to use keyboard shortcuts to perform these actions). You can set a rating (which you can also do from the keyboard), and there are a couple of other options, such as toggling shuffle and repeat.

CoverSutra also displays a brief pop-up from the menu bar showing a track’s name and album art when it starts playing, so you can see what’s next in your playlist, and skip it if you want (using keyboard shortcuts).

The app also has a search box that you can display by clicking on its menu bar icon or by pressing a keyboard shortcut. (The app itself is hidden, with the exception of that icon in the menu bar.) Using this box, you can search for a song, artist, album or playlist. I use this mostly to launch playlists without having to switch to iTunes. But sometimes if I know which album I want to listen to, I use it for that as well.

While I spend a lot of time in my iTunes library, CoverSutra saves me plenty of time by giving me quick access to basic controls and simple searches. It’s worth far more than the $5 it costs, and if you listen to a lot of music, you’ll find that it makes controlling iTunes much easier.