Bugs: Using Google DNS and suffering super slow iTunes rentals and downloads?

Apple TV iTunes Rental sample

TiPb's gotten lots of reports from iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users of super slow iTunes rentals and downloads -- we're talking hours and hours! -- and it looks like Google DNS (and OpenDNS) could be part of the problem. According to Joe Mailer:

This totally makes sense. iTunes’ video content is delivered by Akamai who has distributed massive datastores around the world so those large files originate from nearby servers and spend less time getting switched around the network. Akamai somehow uses our DNS routing to determine our location. If Google DNS or OpenDNS routes everyone to Akamai the same way, then those Akamai nodes and the pipes leading to them get overwhelmed.

So if your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Apple TV tells you there are 2+ hours to go before you can start watching check to see if you're using Google DNS or OpenDNS and try switching to your IPs DNS instead. It could cut your wait times down to seconds!

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Bugs: Using Google DNS and suffering super slow iTunes rentals and downloads?


Well well well. Now I know why my rental the other night took 17 hours to download. Using Google DNS as primary, and OpenDNS as backup here.

Going to try this when I get home. Been frustrating that anything Apple related (Trailers, rentals etc.)was taking FOREVER on my 30mbps connection.

I used openDNS and haven't seen this problem. If you do remove your google or openDNS settings be sure to flush your dns and give it a bit.

The story is correct that Akamai does distribute data stores to ISP's. I work for an ISP. But they distribute different levels of this and it's not as if they contain EVERYTHING because that data is massive. In the smaller installs think of them more like caching proxies. So to sum this up, your results may very. This tip may or may not help you.
One last thing, just because your local ISP may or may not have one of these doesn't mean their upstream providers don't.

@Jeff if you dont know how to configure it then dont worry about it. You have to manually configure your network with openDNS or google DNS

Does this also happen if I use Google DNS and downloading Apps from iTunes App Store? Currently I use Satelite internet connection but I'm switch its DNS to OpenDNS. Thanks..

I am not sure how to change to OpenDNS...anyone care to try and bullet point it for a MAC. Or how about Apple TV??? thanks! downloads = days right now

@Richard you are not on it by default so I wouldnt worry about it. Note you ISP can have a crappy DNS and openDNS or Google DNS could help you out. Just go to openDNS and find out more.

In response to infoomatic's post: if you have satellite internet your problem might not be caused by the DNS. Satellite internet is currently not designed to facilitate streaming video, although it will be soon. Don't get me wrong satellite internet is a great service, especially if you are stuck with dial up. If you need more information on this check out my blog at mybluedish.com/blog.

It really depends on where you are. What the reports are saying does make sense - you're being sent to an Akamai server that's far away. But if you live in an area where OpenDNS has a local server, it might not be an issue.
See if you're in a geographical area where there's an OpenDNS server. If you are, and aren't having problems, that's probably why. But if you ARE, and you are STILL having problems, then maybe it's something to look at.
For example, someone in Dallas, TX using OpenDNS should be great because both OpenDNS and Akamai have servers there.

Why is it taking 6 hours to download a movie from itunes at a Starbucks? Is there anything I can do to speed this?

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Test it out!

  • All the very best