What’s New in iTunes 12.7

Apple released iTunes 12.7 yesterday. There are some major changes, and some minor tweaks. Here’s what you need to know:

No more App Store: As I wrote in this article, Apple has (surprisingly) removed the App Store from iTunes. This means that you can no longer browse, buy, or download apps on your Mac or PC, and you can no longer get updates that way. This is a problem for people with multiple iOS devices and limited bandwidth, since you will need to download apps and updates to each device.

No more app syncing: A corollary of the above point is that, 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. You can, however, manually add apps that are already on your computer to your iOS device. See this article.

No more Tones: The Tones library, which housed ringtones and alert tones, has also been removed. You can sync existing tones – or ones you make yourself – using the above method. You can still purchase tones from Apple. To do this, on an iOS device, go to System Preferences > Sounds > Ringtones > Store, or to any of the alert tone options in the Sounds preferences, which also have a link to the Tone Store.

No more iTunes U: Apple has removed iTunes U and placed all that content in the Podcasts library. If you have any iTunes U content, or if you’re searching for any, you need to go to the Podcasts section of the iTunes Store.

SidebarNew sidebar libraries: 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. You can display this item by hovering your cursor over the section of the sidebar that says Library, then clicking Edit. As you can see here, there are other options that you can show or hide. Downloaded is new; this should show music that you have downloaded from Apple Music, but it only shows a couple of my downloads. And the TV & Movies entry is for videos you add to your library from Apple Music’s Browse > TV & Movies section.

Listening History: A new feature to be rolled out in Apple Music is the ability to share what you’ve listened to to friends and followers. If you check Use Listening History, in the General preferences, you are authorizing iTunes to share this information. I’ll write an article about this new sharing next week, when iOS 11 launches. If you’re managing iTunes for a child, and you want to prevent this sharing, you can block in in the Restrictions pane of iTunes’ Preferences. There are also checkboxes under playlist titles that allow playlists you’ve created to be shared.

Listening history

There are a number of changes in the way certain items display: the download buttons on album artwork are no longer on the artwork, but below; there is no longer an Edit Playlist button, you just drag and drop and move and delete; and the process to create a playlist description is different.

Aside from a few minor changes to menu items and menus, that’s all I’ve found for now. If you spot anything, drop a note in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list.

54 thoughts on “What’s New in iTunes 12.7

  1. Nice overview. I download the new iTunes on one of my Mac’s, and also noticed that Apps had disappeared. When I look inside the iTunes library using Finder, however, I still see the Mobile Applications folder with all my downloaded apps. I wonder if this will disappear at some point too. Any reason I need to keep that folder?

    • No, I don’t think they’ll delete it. You can use it to manually drag apps to a device, as I mention in the article linked above. But if you don’t need them, delete the folder and save space.

  2. While “Edit Playlist” is gone, you can still edit the description text of a playlist. While in Playlist View, click on the blue “…” button at the right in the header –or right-click anywhere in the header–and select “Add Description” or “Edit Description” from the contextual menu that pops up.

  3. A minor (but welcome) detail is that the Albums view can again be viewed as a List as an alternative to the grid view (View > View As > List). This option was removed a couple of versions ago but is now back.

    Apple might want to evaluate their terminology though. iTunes Preferences makes references to “List View” which affect the Songs view rather than the Albums List View.

    Small correction: playlist descriptions can be added and edited. You have to open the playlist then click on the three ellipses to the right of the Shuffle All button to find the Add Description option. Existing descriptions can be edited by the same menu or by double clicking on the description text.

    • There is bug with this though. If you set you album view to List. Then choose a song elsewhere in itunes > right click > Show Album in Library, it will show the album in grid view and your album view stay on grid.

  4. I haven’t updated iTunes yet, but I have a question about the “edit playlist” option. Will there still be a way to refresh an entire playlist?

    I have certain smart playlists where I use this option. I keep the edit button unchecked because I want to manually annotate the comments field after listening, and don’t want the list updating until I finish annotating. At that point, I briefly turn on the edit button, and based on the smart playlist definition related to the comments field, the entire list will be refreshed. Then I turn the edit button off again until the next time I want to refresh.

    Will there be a way to control lists now so they don’t automatically update until you want them to, and then do this type of refresh to update an entire list at once?

    • Yes, that’s still possible as long as you uncheck Live Updating for the Smart Playlist’s rules. The edit button that I think you’re referring to is now named “Edit Rules”.

      By the way, you might want to check out Doug’s “Refresh Smart Playlists” script for an alternative way to force a smart playlist to update.

      • Thanks – I hadn’t realized (or perhaps forgot) that there were two edit buttons. I’ll check out the script you mention this evening when I have more time.

  5. And yet Genius, a feature to create good playlists on the fly still seems to be around and fully completely not updating. It’s not on iOS, but still in iTunes for what purpose? You have Apple Music. The database is for music released prior to the launch of Apple Music. It has not been updated. Why use this feature and why still have it? Aside from the new features and discontinuance of iBooks (having audiobooks but not a Books section) is odd. I get where Apple is trying go with a refreshed approach to their future, but they’ve got to ease people into these changes.

  6. .PDF digital booklets and also music videos have disappeared from albums grid view when you click on an album (I keep my booklets and music videos together with the originating album). They are there in album list view, however, so I think this is a bug?

  7. And now how do I add custom ringtones? I have to buy them now? This was a bone head move. As usual, Apple does arbitrary shit that doesn’t benefit the customer.

  8. Old iPod really are being killed off. No “apps” in iTunes means no way to sync games to old click wheel iPods. (Unless I’m missing something.) Hopefully, they are still a part of the back-up and will be included in a restore.

  9. Looks like the Watched/Unwatched/Partially Watched badges are gone from videos. Now everything looks like it’s “watched” at a glance. Hopefully, the bug that caused newly added video to be marked as partially watched or watched without actually BEING watched and watched videos being marked as unwatched has gone away. That bug made finding videos in a large library on an AppleTV VERY tedious.

  10. Is there any way to make Apple Music Playlists that you’ve added to my music library show up in the Recently Added section like they do in iOS and tvOS? I’m not talking about adding the songs contained in the Apple Music playlist. I leave that option off. I’m talking about the Apple Music Playlist ITSELF showing up essentially like an “album” in that section of the app. Apple Music is really pushing its curated playlists and I’ve added hundreds of them to my library. It would be nice when listening to music on my MacBook at work if I could EASILY find the ones I’ve “Recently Added” to my music library. Instead of being forced to REMEMBER the name of it and then search through an ALPHABETICAL list in the “Apple Music Playlists” section. For me this has to be my number one usability gripe about iTunes. Clearly it can be done because again it works just like I’m describing on my iPhone and Apple TV. But on my MacBook not so much because it’s like the development teams at Apple don’t care about “platform consistency” anymore. I’ve reported this many times to the “black hole” that is the Apple feedback form. Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those stunningly obvious bugs that Apple simply ignores and refuses to address. So at this point I’m looking for a “hack” or a “plugin” or something that fix this problem for me?

  11. Here’s a neat little addition. In TV episode list mode, it now shows how many minutes have been played in a progress bar.

  12. Annoyingly, there seems to be no way to update a non-live updating smart playlist from a right click as you could before.

    Also Show Artist in library option has been removed.

  13. The only complaint I have about 12.7 (so far) is that it doesn’t remember the column browser position. I view my library in Song view, with the column browser lengthened enough to show all my genres – now I have to reset it every time I launch iTunes. Hopefully, just a bug.

  14. Has anyone found a problem with the column browser? (Windows 7)

    I use the column browser a lot and I know find that the three panes on top (Genres, Artists, Albums) are being covered over by the Album details which should be below.

    It is not easy to find the horizontal line to drag down and uncover the panes and unfortunately it does not stay down when you close i tunes or open another playlist view. Its an bloody nuisance.

  15. Just a quick question ???
    Have Apple added any extra visualisers to iTunes like a good spectrum analyser?
    I have been using a third party one but Apple killed off all 3rd party visualisers in iTunes 12.6.
    Thanks

    • There is only iTunes Visualizer and iTunes Classic Visualizer. I don’t have any third-party visualizers, so I don’t know if that functionality has been restored. I doubt it.

    • Clarification: Apple didn’t “kill off all 3rd party visualizers in iTunes 12.6” as much as they made a change that required them to be updated in order for them to keep working. (Most of my installed visualizers are no longer being developed though, which means they stopped working.) But the excellent visualizers from soundspectrum.com are working fine, after being updated.

  16. Yes OK – You are probably right but Apples change still stopped a lot of them working and the spectrum analyser I really liked was one of them – Does iTunes 12.7 still have the same two or have they added more?

    • I happen to be the developer of what you might be referring to as ‘the spectrum analyser’, or SpectroGraph as it is called (unless you mean another one).
      If anyone can point me to an SDK or sample code or whatever, that shows how a plugin for iTunes 12.7 can be built, I might try to resurrect the SpectroGraph plugin.
      I tried one of the plugins from soundspectrum.com and just like all the others, it does not show up in the visualiser menu.

        • You can download it from this page: https://www.dr-lex.be/software/spectrograph.html
          If you are still running in 32-bit, you should download the regular 2.0 version. However, I just added a download for an unfinished but usable 64-bit build, in case you can only run iTunes in 64-bit. This should work up to iTunes 12.5.

          Even though I have very little time to work on this, I have done a quick stab at making a new build, and I managed to run it in the latest iTunes in High Sierra, but the window stays black. Debugging this is a royal pain without any extra information.

  17. I dont understand why they took the “Edit Palylist” option away. Manually moving around tons of songs takes forever when i could just tell it how i want to sort it and have the playlist open so i could drag songs much easier. I need to find the correct person to complain to about this. >:(

    • http://www.apple.com/contact/feedback.html Complain here. After two hours unable to resolve the missing ‘Edit Playlist’ problem, Apple Support suggested this feedback link to complain.

      I did stumble across a way to do the edit on another site and although it is not as seamless as ‘Edit PLaylist’, it does the job….

      In iTunes, Right click on the Playlist you need to adjust.
      Then Left click on ‘Open in New Window’ and now with two windows open, you can drag from one window to the other.

      I still hope they re-introduce the ‘Edit Playlist’ facility. It is neater.

  18. I like that it is more like a music player as I only use iTunes for that…dont’ share, do Apple Music, podcasts, nothing extraneous. But I used to be able to click the icon while a song was playing and I’d get my full-screen album artwork which I set once. Now, it only comes up small and you have to right-click to expend to fit screen. I guess I must be among the few who like album artwork so they did away with the feature, but I did find a workaround. Once I size the artwork, I can hide (yellow button on Apple Mac) the picture and all following pictures will show the large screen size artwork from then on. But when you close out iTunes it doesn’t remember. Like I said, album artwork apparently isn’t too important to Apple designers but some of us still like it.

    • If you like to view large album artwork while listening, I can recommend the Screensleeves screensaver by Peacock Media. If you adjust the default screensaver settings, you can get quite a nice set up for full-screen artwork. I use the “Ambience” theme and use hot-corners so that the screensaver launches when moving the mouse cursor to a corner of the screen.

  19. Hi there

    Just tried Soundspectrum’s Whitecap and it works fine with iTunes 12.7.

    Apple licenced Soundspectrum for the included Visualizer and iTunes Classic Visualizer

  20. “Edit Playlist” used to be so simple. Easy to do and easy to see and easy to adjust. Since upgrading to 12.7, it is no longer so easy. I spent more than two hours with Apple ‘Support’ and after trying everything known to them, they eventually phoned Cuppertino and found that the ‘Edit’ facility has been changed to something else so user-unfriendly that I was unable to understand it. This also affects the ability to create a Playlist. If you value the original means of creating Playlists, I urge you to contact http://www.apple.com/contact/feedback.html and ask them to re-instate the original Edit Playlist.

    • Actually, replying to myself here but for the benefit of anyone else mourning the loss of ‘Edit Playlist’, a solution exists:

      Open the Play List to be edited.
      Right click on the header.
      Click ‘Open in new Window’.
      You can now drag and drop from your library into the playlist as before.

  21. I have discovered in iTune 12.7 that, when playing a Playlist, re-ordering the Playlist is not respected. Tracks are played in the original order (as set prior to starting to play the Playlist).

    This is nuts! Grrr!!

  22. I’m with Bob on the Artwork. I am old school and love artwork. I have a massive itunes library and have been fighting with keeping artwork showing on macbook. Many times when I turn my macbook on alot of the artwork doesnt show. I can then go edit the album and it will then display. Having to to do this everytime is really a pain. In 12.7 I have to close itunes down after going into the edit mode. Anyone have any easier ways? I have also tried deleting the album cache . That sometimes works.

  23. What is it with Apple? Every upgrade screws stuff up and takes away features. Some years back, I used to not upgrade until I read a lot of commentary. Recently, upgrades had become less of a disaster, so I went ahead and upgraded to 12.7 which removed many of the features I used to use.
    It’s as if Apple either want’s to force people to follow their “way”, or they really don’t give a shit about their software or their customers, as long as they can sell hardware.
    Disgusting. Back to never upgrading without waiting and reading. Do they even QA their stuff?
    As someone above mentioned, iTunes upgrades often just seem like madness.

  24. Attempting to use itunes at the moment is incredibly frustrating.

    The slightest testing before release would surely have highlighted the column browser issues?

  25. Artwork displays horribly on fullscreen, all cut or with a black bar at the right, cpu usage is incredibly high, now you have to login or be reminded (harassed) every 20 minutes, changes made to an album are not shown immediately like in any older version, instead you have to change the playlist and reload the one with the changes so you can see them, takes like 40 seconds more to load all the albums art, God, Apple knows how to make a useful little software into a big useless turd with each update, i bought a goddamned mac because of the software and the os, but now they are obsessed with destroying what they built in every sense, from the low quality of the materials used since Jobs died and this constant fucking up things that are not broken. I hate them now with a passion!

  26. Less then thrilled that the column browser is no longer usable with the IPOD classic or the Nano. There are probably still alot of people like me who use both those devices.

    • I use it and the present situation is absolutely infuriating – surely even rudimentary testing should have spotted this?

  27. UPdated to 12.7 iTunes on Windows 7 the other day. Album artwork does not show up on any of my music views. It does show up in the mini-player and for the “now playing” song. It does not show up in the “up next list” or “history” list. It does not show up in the mini-player “up next” list.

  28. I have messing around with iTunes, since the update in September, because it throws an error every time I launch it and am connected to the internet.

    If I select “Debug”, it gives me a box with title of Visual Studio Just-In-Time Debugger and an error message that reads: “An unhandled win32 exception occurred in iTunes.exe [9204].

    Below that, it lists “New Instance of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010” in Possible Debuggers. If I select “Set the currently selected debugger as the dafault” and then select “Yes”, it brings up a Visual Studio 2010 Shell “Invalid license data. Reinstall is required” error. If I select Close, then I can select another debugger but that doesn’t work.

    Is this related to the visualization software requiring an update? Can I update the Visual Studio 2010 Shell? Or should I uninstall that and reinstall something else? How do I do that within iTunes?

    Thank you for any help you can give me on this.

  29. Fricking Apple!

    Tim Cook can prance around over emoji, but can’t protect my playlists. I suspect Apple is doing this intentionally. Do you think the transition to becoming the Evil Empire began before or after Jobs’ discovered he needed to shower?

  30. Thanks for the overview. I noticed a change that has to do with scripts. Any script applet has to be code-signed in order for it to appear in the scripts menu tab.

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