iTunes 12.5: Apple Finally Gets Rid of Horrid “Custom Colors” for Albums and Playlists

“Someone at Apple thought it would be a good idea, a few years ago, to have iTunes display content in certain views using colors extracted from album artwork. Sometimes this is quite attractive. But sometimes, this borders on torture.”

That’s what I wrote in June, showing how ugly iTunes can be when using the “custom colors for open albums, movies, etc.” setting. As I said at the time:

But how did Apple’s designers not see displays like the one above and tweak the algorithm so they simply couldn’t happen? Anytime the dominant color of an album’s artwork is dark, you get these horrid, unreadable contrasts.

Well, Apple is changing this in iTunes 12.5. They’re eliminating this feature entirely. While there is currently an option to turn it off, I suspect that most people don’t bother to look for the setting, or don’t know it exists. And they then end up with a display that is simply unreadable.

Here’s how it looks now, using the custom colors setting; this is the My New Music Mix playlist, which has an icon in an unfortunate shade of pink:

Pink playlist

And here’s how it looks in iTunes 12.5:

White playlist

Note that this change is also reflected in the iOS 10 Music app.

Cleaning this up is a no-brainer. While some colors look good with the current algorithm, most don’t. I’m glad Apple has gotten rid of this.

68 thoughts on “iTunes 12.5: Apple Finally Gets Rid of Horrid “Custom Colors” for Albums and Playlists

  1. With the new interface I feel like it’s 2005 all over again!

    Why does Apple seem to have this habit of introducing new interface features only to remove them once people start getting attached to them?

  2. I’m seriously considering going back to a PC and possibly a Google phone. The Apple I supported years ago seemed to understand what their customers’ wanted. Now, they change 50 things that weren’t broken just to say they changed 50 things. I’m unimpressed with the overuse of white on every new/old program and app. It’s seriously forcing a rethink on my next computer and phone choice. Sorry Apple but all these changes are NOT customer friendly and I’m taking back my choice on how my computer and phone looks.

  3. I abhor not having color now. This new appearance is certainly devolvement, but what’s worse is that they simply don’t have a dark mode for iTunes. I’d be fine with no color at all, but only if they will eliminate white. Looks like moving to Swinsian and Waltr.

  4. I am extremely disappointed that they completely removed the color scheme. I really loved this feature! Please apple, give us the option to turn it back on!!

    • They could have at least left it as an easy option within the prefs. So much Apple is missing now from when they first got going with osx. :(

  5. absolutely disagree with the author of this article.

    agree with majority of feedback here. color scheme toggle ON / OFF option = better UX.

    apple has stripped the itunes brand and its interface of any remaining Steve Jobs’ soul it had left.

    tim cook is the design devil, making bad decision after bad decision :)

    • I have to say, design is really going down hill. Even us who work in studios are still suffering with no nice pure dark interface for the entire system. Really rotten and frankly I’d shift away if there were another option (e.g., macOS apps running on top Linux with a new GUI is a real viable option, but I’ve not gone forward with the project. Essentially a WINE for macOS apps on X11.)

  6. I was hugely disappointed that they removed the colors. It’s so deadly dull now, I miss that distinctive feature. Sometimes you get flaming pink. It’s better than this antiseptic “File Organization Software” look.

  7. More options isn’t a bad thing. If you can turn it off, then it doesn’t need to be removed. Personally, I hate looking at an non-customizable bright white interface. I want my color back. So, if there is an option to turn it on ever introduced, please let us know. Because right now, my finder windows, iTunes window and Safari window are all glaring at me in bright white. This is terrible for my head and eyes. Allow me to change that easily, and I’ll be happy again.

  8. Yeah, but now everything is too white. I just want simple black/grey backgrounds with white text, is that too much to ask for? + the blue stars – it gives me an old computer vibe…

  9. It seems I’m way late on this thread… Anyways, I just updated iTunes today, looked at it for 2 min and made this search on Google : “itunes 12.5 lost colors in album view”.

    This was the first result and I agree fully with 99,9% of the replies to this OP.

    Within the next minutes, I went to find how to go back to an old version of iTunes… DONE !!

    I was so pissed off.

  10. Well, it sucks IMHO – I liked the different colors; now it’s bright boring white all over the place; you need freaking sun glasses for Csakes.

  11. Having (and hoping) to find a pluggin or something to allow the color scheme to come back. Or worst case scenario find an old update. I see your points and agree only had they made everything optional, but they just either add a single track idea that can’t be edited, or they remove it all together like 4ssholes.

  12. I too loved the color for my Apple Music. I feel somewhat offended that it just randomly is changed without the simple option of being able to integrate it in to the new look.

    I’ve actually delayed updating my iOS simply due to this feature. Now I have to but the bullet and update the phone, never seeing this look again, it appears. Unless the Apple Music people come to their senses, read the opinions in this overwhelming response to this thread, and reject J Ive’s (or whoever it is) preference for some kind of imagined “clean white look.” Not in Apple Music–a MUSIC app–thank you very much.

  13. I’m literally installing an older version to get this feature BACK. I put custom photos in for my playlists, and I HATE the garish white, even with f.lux.

  14. I think they should return the Custom Colors, I looked over and over in settings to serif i could turn this feature back on, i feel like this was so wrong to just get rid of it period, so now i have to look at this bright light when i open a album in iTunes, this should be the people choice to cut it on or off….

    • It WAS our choice. Which is why I have no idea why it got removed. And I can’t exactly upgrade to see if they put it back by now; I can potentially upgrade to 12.7, but that will apparently require that I upgrade my OS as well, which I don’t think my 2011 laptop can handle anymore. It’s having a very hard time as it is keeping up with things that are actually important, like Time Machine — that doesn’t work for me anymore, and hasn’t for a long time. I can’t exactly afford to upgrade my computer either.

  15. I was just seeing if I could find the version for the colors again. Maybe if we all bug apple we can get the choice to have that option back.

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