Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 78: Is Apple Breaking Up iTunes?

Rumors abound of Apple breaking up iTunes, and we look at what this might entail. We also discuss how Amazon employees are listening in on Alexa devices, and we relate the story of an Apple employee whose confidential Apple devices were subject to searches when he tried to cross the border.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple to Begin Dismantling iTunes?

If you use an iOS device, you have long had access to the TV app to view movies and TV shows. Yesterday, Apple announced that the TV app would be coming to the Mac later this year, suggesting that videos would be removed from iTunes. While I can hear the joy of the many people who have been hoping that iTunes would be dismantled, it’s not clear exactly what this change would mean.

As long as iTunes has supported video, it has also supported home videos; films you’ve shot yourself, or ripped from DVDs. These videos sync to iOS devices when you select Movies as a content type; there is no specific sync option for home videos.

While Apple certainly wants to have a separate video app for its own iTunes Store content, and its new Apple TV+ content, I can’t imagine that they will remove the ability to store home videos in iTunes, or to sync them to iOS devices. And, while many people stream iTunes Store purchases, I’m sure that there is a substantial number of people who want to have these movies and TV shows locally stored so they can watch them without having to use up bandwidth, and to sync them to iOS devices.

It seems more likely that the TV app will be the catalog, not the library, for video content. While Apple may roll the movies and TV shows sections of the iTunes Store into the TV app on the Mac, it’s also possible that they may not do that . Just as on iOS, where the storefront is in a different app, they may retain all of the iTunes Store in the iTunes app.

As I’ve often written, dismantling iTunes into multiple apps is not a very useful solution. It works on iOS because apps are single windows, and there would be too much navigation and too many tabs required to fit everything into one app. But on the Mac, it still makes more sense to have a single app. I expect the TV app to be similar to the one on iOS and the Apple TV: a way to view content you’ve bought or rented, or to view content from the new channels that Apple will be selling. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if iTunes still retained its movies and TV shows sections to store and manage a library of content you want to keep on a Mac and sync to iOS devices.

The Next Track, Episode #136 – Breaking Up with iTunes?

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxWe look at some possible future scenarios about iTunes, in part because a recent change that Apple has made.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #136 – Breaking Up with iTunes?.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

The Version of iTunes with the App Store Doesn’t Work with Mojave

For a while, Apple had released a version of iTunes – 12.6.5 – that still had the App Store, so businesses could manage apps on their devices. With the release of macOS Mojave, this iTunes version no longer works, so the workaround that Apple had provided to allow some users to still download and manage apps from the desktop is now dead.

So there is one other solution: iMazing can download, install, and manage apps for iOS devices. Check out the linked article for more. I’d still rather have the App Store accessible from the desktop, but this is a solution that can be useful for many people.

Full disclosure: I do writing work and screencasting for iMazing.

Playing iTunes Music through the iOS Remote App no Longer Updates Metadata

I have long used the iOS Remote app to play music on my iMac, streaming to one of my AirPlay-compatible devices. It’s convenient, and allows me to control the music and the volume with any iOS device.

But since the recent update to the Remote app, it no longer updates metadata in iTunes. Previously, it would update the play count and the last played date, useful notably because this would put music you played via that app in the Recently Played playlist. It’s a bit annoying; imagine if you play music on shuffle, and you want to go back and check out some of the songs you heard, because you don’t recall exactly what they are. Previously, the Recently Played playlist would show you this; now, there’s nothing.

However, what you can do is start playing the music in iTunes, then, later, if you wish, control if from the Remote app. You can skip tracks and change volume, but you can’t start playing something different; if you do, then the metadata won’t be updated.

I don’t know why Apple has made this change. It doesn’t make things better in any way, and only removes useful data from your iTunes library.

iTunes 12.8 Brings AirPlay 2 Support to the Mac (and Windows)

Apple has released iTunes 12.8, for Mac and Windows, adding AirPlay 2 support to the desktop. When Apple released iOS 11.4, with AirPlay 2, the Mac (and Windows) was notably absent, meaning that you could stream music to a stereo pair of HomePods from an iOS device, but not from iTunes. This his (finally) been corrected.

Download iTunes 12.8 here, or through the Mac App Store app.