The Trouble with iTunes on the Mac and Windows

The Trouble with iTunes on the Mac

For a company that prides itself on providing a top-notch user experience, Apple ought to hang its head in shame for the disaster that iTunes has turned into. It's a bloated, piggish, unreliable mess. It's the application we love to hate. It's the application that some of us just hate. But we put up with it. Because we have no choice.

A Brief history of iTunes

iTunes started life simply enough - it was a tool that we used to listen to music. "Rip. Mix. Burn." That was Apple's simple message - rip the music you already owned on CD into digital music files. Create your own playlists. And burn CDs containing your music so you could listen to them elsewhere.

Rip. Mix. Burn.

Then the iPod came along and everything changed. Suddenly we no longer used iTunes just to rip and mix our music, but also to move it to this device that fit in our pockets and stored a thousand albums. iTunes was fun to use, too - you could sort music by genre, rate the songs you liked, and drill down with terrific levels of detail, assuming it was available in the metadata - stuff like composer, release date and more.

The iPod grew and so did our music collections. Many of us began to look for other ways to get music, through file sharing services and other means. So Apple's next step, the iTunes Store, made a lot of sense. It made it easier to get music online, and it provided musicians and their labels with a revenue stream.

But the iTunes Store introducing another layer of complexity into iTunes - now we weren't just using iTunes to store and catalog our music, but to buy it as well. And that meant incorporating copy protection into the mix - Digital Rights Management, or DRM.

When Apple introduced iPods to be able to run applications and watch video, the iTunes Store - and the iTunes app - again increased in complexity. You could do so much more with iTunes than you could before. You could grab movies and TV shows. Copy protected using the same DRM scheme as music - Apple called it FairPlay. Eventually FairPlay copy protection disappeared for music, but it's lingered for movies and TV shows.

Then the iPhone came along, and eventually the iPod touch and the iPad followed. And suddenly the iTunes Store grew more in complexity - now it was selling apps through an App Store. Apple decided to take on Amazon and the Kindle by offering ebooks, which added another layer onto iTunes. And so on, and so on.

iTunes Match

The latest addition is iTunes Match, Apple's $25/year service that makes your iTunes music library available in the cloud, downloadable to any device authorized to play it. And when iOS 7 debuts this fall you'll be able to listen to iTunes Radio, streaming content that is ad-free if you're an iTunes Match subscriber.

iTunes has become a shambling monstrosity

One can't fault Apple for continually trying to add more features to iTunes. But iTunes has become a wall with many layers of wallpaper stuck to it, each glued and layered on top of the last. Eventually they have to come off, and what you're left with is a wall that needs to be refinished before it can be repainted.

The net result is that iTunes does a lot of things, but does them poorly. The interface has become needlessly complex, and attempts to refine and improve it have largely failed as a result. iTunes is the one Mac app that drives your experience with music, downloading television shows, movies and apps. It's trying to do too much. It needs to do much less. As a result, even the name "iTunes" has lost its meaning - "tunes" are only a small part of the app's overall function.

For my part, I have a seemly endless variety of problems with iTunes. With over 23,000 files, iTunes crashes for me frequently and is terribly slow. I lost last weekend trying to download my iTunes library from iTunes Match, after the machine that held my original library went out for repair. The entire weekend. Because iTunes kept crashing and stopping the download.

iTunes quit unexpectedly - quelle surprise

iTunes Match enables me to download music when I'm on my phone when I'm out, but often forgets about album art. iTunes Match on the Mac is far from perfect, too - it has, for no good reason, keeping me from downloading dozens of tracks that I've uploaded. They're grayed out, and Apple hasn't been able to fix it for me (and logging out and logging back in hasn't helped).

Music I can't download

iTunes' duplicate finding capability is miserable. And it often can't find the cover art I'm looking for, or substitutes something else entirely in its place. It's little wonder that utilities like TuneUp exist - they have to, because Apple's done such a poor job with iTunes, some users need help sorting their iTunes libraries.

Time to break up the party

"True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation," explained Apple senior vice president of Design Jony Ive in the intro video for iOS 7. "It's about bringing order to complexity."

I think it's time for Apple to look at iTunes and start over with a fresh sheet of paper. Just admit that this horrible thing isn't working any more and try something entirely new. Ideally, I'd like to see music, apps, and videos broken up into separate utilities.

"Complexity" is a word that describes the iTunes experience to a tee. Hopefully once iOS 7 is out the door, Ive can put his eyes and his best minds to work on the problem of iTunes, because right now it's embarrassing for Apple to be promoting and distributing this software. It's the antithesis of what we expect the Apple user experience to be.

Do you hate iTunes as much as I do? Or do you love it? Do you accept it as a necesary evil? Or do you use other utilities entirely? Let me know in the comments.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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The Trouble with iTunes on the Mac and Windows

107 Comments

Don't love it... don't hate it either. It has moments of total annoyance... it does what I need it to most of the time... :)

Ditto. I use to really hate it when I first used it back on Windows with the first iPod nano, but now it does it's job and I have no complaints.

The sooner you get behind in your work, the more time you have to catch up. Here you can make money be spending some hours on your laptop.,, ωωω.ℬuℤℤ14.ℂℴℳ

I know I may be in the minority, but I actually have no problem with iTunes. I have a music library of 20,000+ songs, a dozen or so movies, a few TV shows and music videos, 100 or so iOS apps, and some ebooks. For me, iTunes is snappy and responsive, and very rarely crashes.

The way I look at it, iTunes is the repository for all my media (aside from photos), and the interface for my iOS devices (iPhone and iPad), and I kind of enjoy being able to go to one place to access, manage, and distribute it all.

That being said, I'd be curious about a revamped approach to iTunes, but the thought of multiple stand-alone apps taking the place of what iTunes now does isn't that appealing.

My sentiments exactly, I just don't get all the anti-iTunes arguments at all. I have 3800 songs, 163 apps, and subscribe to 10 podcasts. iTunes keeps them all updated and when I plug in my iPad, iPhone, or iPad Mini they are synced with no problem. I don't want to have to launch 4-5 different apps and sync each one individually, or manually, that's ridiculous. iTunes works just fine.

Consider the iOS model - there are different apps for ebooks, video and music. One place to buy them (except for iBooks) - iTunes - but different places to actually use them.

Right there with you. I used to do tech support and IT maint. for a major BPO company. That experience (not to mention 9 Xbox 360s with the ring of death) have made me despise anything associated with Microsoft in even the most remote way.
While there is room for improvement, I find it the most simple and user-friendly system for its purposes. I for one am sick of needing to subdivide every single thing I do. Having a single central place with witch to store and use my media without an app or program running for each is preferable to me. I disagree with the less is more theory entirely. Why do we have smartphones? People were tired of having a device for calling people, another for navigation, another for checking emails and IMs (back in the day). Smartphones were born. I feel the author is clinging to the past too much. Admittedly, iTunes may not be the best name to describe what it does, but I'm sure you all know the reference to a 'rose by any other name'
In further contradiction to the above mentioned opinion, I believe that Apple is growing with their apps/programs much the way the smartphone did. iOS 7 is proof of that with the integrations and built-in features it adds. If you follow these lines of evolution, you'll see that one day, iTunes (or whatever it is called by then) could be a central entertainment hub. Possibly partnering with others trying for similar ideas in various forms of entertainment, such as Steam, a similar system to centralize and reward video gaming. Even live, streaming television shows and news broadcasts. Along those lines, it could replace satellite/cable tv altogether eventually (or at least be a strong competitor). These are all "ifs" but nevertheless, would be impossible by slowing down and subdividing the system.
If you want to make 'Apple Media Center' the name and split it into 'iTunes', 'iMovies/TV', 'iPhoto', and so on, then fine. But it's the same thing and we are only arguing semantics.
If you want everything separate, try MS-DOS.

I'm in the same boat as you. Literally to the count.

In my house, we use Apple TV's for all media consumption, with iPap's and iPhone's supporting them and syncing to iTunes.

No crashes, no issues.

But I really needs to be fixed. It's messy. The ability to detect duplicates and automatically delete them, find artwork, all spot on.

I agree ChicagoMatt!! I think its the trend to complain about iTunes. I RARELY if ever havea problem with iTunes. If you don't like try something else and see how that works for

Great piece, Peter. You sum it up in saying that iTunes is the antithesis of the elegant simplicity Apple strives for. I like Apple products for the most part, but I truly bemoan iTunes and their approach to mobile file management in general.

I think you have hit the nail on the head, iTunes needs to be split into separate apps. One for music/videos, one for Apps, and one for ebooks. The app management aspects of iTunes are so dysfunctional it is ridiculous. Great article! Hope somebody from Apple reads it.

Great article Peter! While iTunes works for me 95% of the time (its slow to start up and also gives me the wrong Album Art for a few albums causing clean versions of songs instead of explicit songs to be uploaded to iTunes Match) its nice for what it is. Like other have stated iTunes needs to broken up into separate apps for different stuff, and we may or may not see that happen in in iOS 7 but hopefully it will happen in future iterations of iOS.

On my 2012 13in" Macbook Air, iTunes runs ok. However, when I buy vinyl and get download codes, adding to the library crashes nearly every damn time. I have 30,000 songs. They screwed up the column browser in iTunes 11, which made me rage harder than ever. There is no good alternative for listening to locally stored music.

I have a feeling iTunes crashed right before you wrote this article. Seriously, though I have zero issues with the app aside from the fact that it needs to break itself into several streamlined apps, which I bet will happen with OS11. Have you used Spotify or Mog? There is no comparison.

I really can't say much about iTunes because I just don't use it. I ditched the iTunes model for buying music, and get all of my music off of Spotify. For Movies and TV Shows, well, I don't watch them through iTunes but use Netflix and Hulu. Obviously, I have to use iTunes for apps, but I don't purchase iPad/iPhone apps via my computer, but from my device. Now, I don't even have to connect to my computer to get the latest update, but can do it straight from my device. I can't even remember the last time I have opened iTunes on my Mac(and probably only because of accidentally pressing the icon in my dock). The alternatives to iTunes features, are much better in my opinion. One thing iTunes does excel at is content management, there is no one better, but since I have basically branched my content off to all the listed services, I have no use for management. I have nothing against iTunes, and when I did use it, I loved it, but I have moved on and am very happy for doing so.
Great article Peter! :-)

This is less than useful. It's just a "boast post" or outright SPAM.

"I'd like to reply to your article about cars, by talking about my bicycle." (roll eyes)

That is your opinion and you are more than welcome to it. I can assure you that my intent was not to boast or create a spam post. All I was trying to say, it that there are a lot of other services that I have found to replace iTunes, that are in my opinion better, so I can't really say much about how well I like iTunes. Maybe, I went into to much detail for your liking, and I am sorry if I caused you any emotional distress over it, but I was just trying to put the reader to a point where they could understand my position. Again, I have nothing against iTunes, and think it is a great service for managing content, as I said, there is "no one better".
Thanks for the reply! :-)

Not going to lie, I can't stand iTunes, it is not user friendly and really has become a mess now. Since I use many different systems besides Mac, I have dabbled in many programs and the sad part is there is no one program that simply works. Out of all the music programs I have tried, the one that has worked best for me was Zune for Windows (imo), but now with that scrapped there is Xbox Music which is just as bad as iTunes (if not worse in many aspects). Now I just use a shamble of music programs: Pandora, Spotify, Slacker Radio, Zune, Xbox Music, and iTunes; but it would be really nice to simply use one cohesive program for my music collection and organization.

I expect better of Apple and hope that they can get back to a theme of simple elegance with later versions of this program. I think they shouldn't have separate apps for TV & Movies, eBooks, etc... But I think something new and fresh could really help iTunes out.

I actually enjoy using iTunes and I think it has matured and improved as the years have gone by. I have over 30,000 music tracks, about 150 HQ movies, I use Match, and I have thousands of saved podcasts. I have never had a problem with iTunes crashing on any kind of a regular basis. I like the UI and the UX it provides. I like the fact that I can manage my iPhone, iPad, and iPod classic 160GB using just one application. My MIDI turntable DJ mixing software works flawlessly with my very well organized library (which I easily keep organized without using third-party tools) and playlists. Never a problem downloading content from the cloud, and Amazon's downloader for digital content works with my iTunes library without any issues. The only thing I have to complain about is the lack of variety for visualizations and a tool to create your own like what Winamp offers on my crappy Windows 7 work computer - but I rarely ever turn on visualizations so not that big of a deal. And, iTunes is beautiful to look at and very well integrated on my Mac computers.

The one suggestion of yours that I really take exception with is the breaking apart of iTunes into multiple applications based on media type. Such a move would actually introduce more of the complexity you believe needs to be addressed. Are users really going to appreciate the fact that they will need to use multiple applications to manage content on a single iDevice? Or are you proposing multiple applications based on media type, and then one or more to manage iOS devices and possibly shop for new stuff along with other non-media management activities? A full suite of Apple media applications to bounce back and forth through just to manage a few libraries and some iOS devices? I know I would be quite unhappy with such a change in direction. I prefer the simplicity that Apple provides by making media, shopping and iOS device management possible with just one application that has worked more than fine for me for years.

I'm not a super Apple fanboy, and I have been known to criticize Apple when appropriate, but I grew and continue to love iTunes and will continue to promote its quality and usefulness when the need to do so presents itself.

But, as far as opinionated Apple pros go, to each their own...

Good post. I agree. Itunes works great for me and that's on windows. I'd have to attribute user error for those that have major problems. My library is on a separate hard drive.

Also take exception to breaking apart itunes. That remains the silliest idea that keeps popping up on iMore. It makes you wonder at times.

Sure, make itunes better. It has some glitches time to time. I don't care for the UI introduced with itunes 11. But this remains by far the best way to manage media on your iOS devices.

I agree with you have stated. And I have already expressed my thoughts on breaking iTunes apart into multiple applications, so I will not be a troll and rant on that anymore than I already have.

But to complement what you said regarding glitches and user error, I will simply say that like any software and any web-based service there will be bugs that require fixing and Apple is generally quick to fix them. Resolving an album art issue is just a quick Google image search away (one can even do the same for their movies in their iTunes library). And, barring any bugs that need to be corrected, problems using iTunes in such a way so that it does what you expect it to do and looks the way you want it to all seem to boil down to one, the other, or both of the most typical root causes of problems reported by many users when working with nearly any bit software: PEBCAK and/or RTFM.

When I updated my library seven months ago with the help of iTunes Match, I added cover art for any of over 28,000 tracks that were missing artwork or where the iTunes Store artwork was wrong.

Today I have dozens of tracks that are missing artwork, and others that have reverted back to incorrect versions.

I’d love to learn which page I need to read in the manual that explains what I did wrong.

Never had a problem with iTunes on all of my Mac's that I've ever had.

User error is all I can offer as an explanation Peter.

Learn to use iTunes.

iTunes Match issues are not user error.

Feature creep and UI complexity is not user error.

Poor performance with large libraries is not user error.

With a combined total of about 1,000 music tracks, apps, books and videos, my library pales in comparison to those of some posters above. iTunes on the Mac works well for me, so no complaints. I never viewed it as bloated, just a one-stop program to handle all my media.

Back when I had an iPod Classic, I spent quite some time and effort to NOT use iTunes. I even went so far, eventually, as switching to a Creative Labs (MS .wma oriented) player for a while when my 3rd gen iPod ("with click-wheel") died. Because as much as I liked the iPod, I couldn't stand iTunes. After a while I switched back to a newer iPod Classic (5th gen, 80GB) because as much as I didn't like the bloat that iTunes was becoming even then, I just couldn't find any media management system that just plain WORKED as well.

I gave up looking for an alternative when I got an iPhone 3G.

When I switched cellular carriers to one that didn't have the iPhone, I started that replacement search again, and four years later, I still hadn't been able to find one so during that time, I was using an iPod Touch for portable media.

So I guess you could day that I consider it a "necessary evil". Although I actually would not like to see it broken into parts as that would ruin it more. I don't want to have to use one app to sync music, another to sync photos, another to sync apps, another to sync videos, another to sync books. I want all of my portable media management in one place.

I do want to see it completely re-written from the ground up as a better organized, better optimized application. Perhaps as modules that only get loaded when called for. Launch iTunes and you get whatever media UI you set as the default, and then when the user opens another part, that part then loads, and goes away when done.

Oh, and get rid of "bonjour" in Windows completely. It's redundant. Windows has had a zero-config networking setup available for ages.

As for actual technical issues with iTunes, I haven't had much in the past few years. Occasionally, the wrong album art would be attached to music (haven't seen that since v10), and sometimes when I drop a track's rating down to 0, I instead get 4 hollow stars that keeps it in the "4 star rating" grouping.

It gets me what I need but very slowly and sometimes with multiple crashes before I am done. But overall...I hate it. I will not store my music and movies in the cloud so I have to use it. If I have to do something with iTunes I simply have to plan a bit of time to get it done. Terrible product.

Sent from the iMore App

Peter Peter Peter, you keep the only backup of your iTunes in iCloud? You should have it, not only on Time machine, but also on a separate clone backup of your HD. (as in SuperDuper). Although I have fortunately not needed it often, it has saved my butt more than once over the years. BTW, I agree. It needs to be simplified. Possibly separated as you suggest.

So we need to buy an external hdd to use itunes? Sounds silly, but that is what we end up doing. $150 extra for backups if you use iTunes!!!

I have a Time Machine backup of the computer that went out, along with Crashplan and a Carbon Copy Clone too - I exercise good backup practices. That isn't the point. My digital music collection goes back 12-13 years, since I started ripping audio using Casady & Greene's SoundJam.

At that time, hard disk space was at a premium, so I didn't rip at anything above 128K using MP3 encoding. Thousands of my songs were ripped at that bit rate or lower.

One benefit of downloading through iTunes Match is that for anything that matches what's available in iTunes, you get "fresh" copies from the iTunes Store, encoded at 256K AAC. So it was an opportunity to "upgrade" my digital music collection without going through the painful process of having to re-rip my old CDs.

I just wish it had gone better. I still can't download some files, and the download itself was fraught with problems like iTunes freezing up or crashing, or the downloads stopping.

I've been using iTunes since '07 without a single hitch. The latest version is the best it's been in years when handling a large (500GB) library and I've no complaints. I've never fully understood the venom thrown at it to be honest. Sure, it has some quirks but nothing that I'm ever going to lose sleep over. It allows me to store my music library in an organised and easy accessible fashion so I'm not sure what else people are expecting from it.

Great overview and history of the product. That said, iTunes complexity on the PC/Mac seems to play well into Apples argument of a post-PC world.

My biggest complaint is that iTunes is painfully slow at times, even on a brand new Macbook.

I've actually stopped using it other than a weigh station between my devices. It's a necessary evil like that, ut I don't use it to listen to music or watch videos or really anything that I used to.

The iTunes that plays music rough my ipad works fine once my music is on but I use Pandora and Songza more now just to get variety. There's engh streaming music stations out there that I simply just don't care about what I own as much. If I do listen to music that I own, it's through my iPod when I commute.

To me iTunes is still just a music player. It plays music in the background while I do my work on the Mac. And for that it works perfectly. Love the new mini player, the way albums are sorted. I really like the latest version of iTunes.

Of course I also use it to transfer music from my Mac to iPhone, and this is something I wish I didn't need iTunes for. Not because it is complicated, but because it is an outdated way of doing things (iTunes match is not available for me yet, and based on the reviews I probably wouldn't have payed for it either)

One of the reasons I don't use it for anything more though, might be because of the reasons you are putting forward. It is to complex and messy for me to bother.

I thank god I hardly every have to use it. Awful, bloated software. Eddy Cue and Jeff Robbin should be ashamed.

Hate it! I have the problem of 1347 temp files in itunes folder, because library file can not be read/written because of some unsolvable permission issues! It is a nightmare, because i fix it just to start over again! Long time ago I had Zune. That was. Masterpiece. Unfortunately the project died.

icloud, everything in the cloud, PC free no wires works great for me. I haven't used iTunes on a computer PC or Mac since Apple cut the cord.

Sent from the iMore App

Honestly, I don't even understand what you're complaining about (besides the iTunes Match problem). It just does what it needs to do, and everything (music, apps, movies...) is right there where you'd expect it to be. Can't say that I LOVE iTunes, but can't see another app doing a better job.

I'd much rather use iTunes than Spotify. I don't get the "Spotify blows iTunes away" comments - especially when it comes to the design of the app itself. I *hate* the way Spotify works and is designed.

Of the major streaming services, Rdio blows Spotify away when it comes to the app itself. Rdio is clean and makes a lot of sense, where Spotify has always seemed like this dark, dreary, confusing mess.

Spotify is for people who don't like music IMO.

It's like the radio your grampa always kept on in the kitchen. :)

Though I agree with a lot of what you say, I can see why Apple keeps iTunes all under one roof. It's one thing when it comes pre-installed on all Macs, but imagine PC users having to install separate apps to connect their iPhones, iPods and iPads to use different Apple services or for back up to those devices.

I don't have many problems with iTunes and my music library is fairly decent size, approx. 3000 items/20GB. One of the big problems is when Apple does try to streamline iTunes they cut out useful features like iTunes DJ as they did with iTunes 11. That was the main way I used iTunes for music and I'm not alone as this huge nearly 40 page Apple Discussions thread indicates:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4553398?start=525&tstart=0

Anyways, I don't know what the solution is and evidently, neither does Apple. Hopefully iTunes Radio is not a mess when it debuts. I'm happy with Spotify and do most of my music listening there now. iTunes Radio will have to win me away. It might make sense for Apple to bring all the music over to the iTunes Radio and split the other chores up between TV & Movie video, apps & back up, but it seems doubtful.

I have zero problems with iTunes, even iTunes Match works great for me! I often change the start position of my songs and it syncs perfect between my Mac/PC and my iPhone.
I do admit i don't use it for movies/TV series... I can't wait to test the new iTunes Radio!

I had no crash in iTunes the last year. It is really getting slow on my 2007 iMac. But I have no alternative. :-)
The one thing I really want is a real iTunes server software, so I could have one server at home and many clients using the same library. No home sharing is no alternative, because it didn't work for syncing iOS devices!

I'm kind of torn between the idea of featuring multiple apps that iTunes does itself. Would kind of go against this idea of simplicity Apple is doing, but let's admit.. iTunes just isn't simple. Not user wise, but programming wise and I agree that it simply has TOO much going on. Maybe if somehow they used certain features like iBooks, Podcasts and the such as widgets that you could download from the App Store but not universally bound to the system? I don't see an easy fix, but maybe with the complete stripping of iOS we will see similarities to other Apple featured, and that iTunes is #1 on the list.

Sent from the iMore App

I used to hate itunes and it's clunky ways in the early days, but as Apple has added more features over the years I have used it more and really like it. It isn't the most elegant application Apple has written but it does the job it was designed for. I have some thousands of tracks, some videos, books, and many hundreds of apps and it is always fast and efficient. I don't recall it crashing on me (we have both Mac and PC versions).

What could they do to improve it? I am usd to the current layout so please don't break it apart! Make more feautures hidden and contextual. Try and make it more modularised with distinct and obvious sections for each function. Make the tea!? LOL only joking!

I like most things about itunes except that:
1) it's slow/sluggish as hell.
2) doesn't monitor a local music folder.

Other things i can deal with. But those bother me.

I'm on windows. Second i'm not sure what you mean "make that local music folder." regardless, winamp, mediamonkey, etc have monitored a folders for around 10 years. I just looked at the Automator support page. I saw nothing about itunes folder monitoring. Maybe it's there but why is this made so complicated. With winamp you select your music folder. That's its. any changes in that folder will get reflected in your library. no outside software, not extra steps. you just add it to your library and done. It just works. Apple used to be like that.

Most issues I have on Windows, but on Mac iTunes is working fine. I think that Apple will update its version 11.0.4 to 11.0.5 soon to solve such troubles.

if apple tries to have all music/video/apps and ebooks in one application
he has to change its politics around its devices.he has to increase the
ability of his devices like processing,ram,graphic and other thing which
is neccesory to run such application(itunes).of course they wont do that
cause if they do they must keep the prices fix and there should not be
a increase in devices price.so only thing that they can do is to
separate the features to several application like accessing multimedia
in one software and accessing apps in another software and having ebooks in another one.

Good article. My Apple products are an iPhone 4S and and iPad 4. I've been an Apple customer less than 2 years and am definitely hooked.

When I first tried iTunes I was blown away at how much it sucked. I was going to catalog the music I owned with it and realized it was a complete waste of time. I simply do not use iTunes and am baffled why anyone does for the most part with the other services at your disposal.

It works most of the time, but the Windows version is a sluggish program that just doesn't live up to the quality and responsiveness that Apple users have come to expect. It's almost as if Apple reluctantly built the Windows version, got it working and ran for cover with hopes that they wouldn't need to further enhance the program. Maybe they just need to hire a more motivated Windows development team or do I dare say....take it to the cloud. Personally, I like having my media server local so that it's available all the time.

I also disagree with Mr. Cohen's assessment. iTunes "just works" for me. I see no need to break it up into separate apps. And like others who have posted, I have never had any problems with iTunes on my iMac. It has never crashed on me in all the years using it.

The statement I disagree with the most is...

"It's a bloated, piggish, unreliable mess. It's the application we love to hate. It's the application that some of us just hate. But we put up with it. Because we have no choice."

No it isn't.

Agree. I think our perspective on apps in general, whether desktop or mobile, has changed radically since iPhone was released. Simplicity and elegance usually beats complexity and awkwardness. Yes, iTunes has become more complex over the years. No, it's not the most complex OS X app out there.

And I think that Apple might refresh OS X the way they have refreshed iOS 7. Simpler, cleaner, with new navigation styles between views. Apple could be saving a radical re-org of iTunes for some post-Mavericks OS X release. Maybe a careful redesign of the UI is all that's needed.

The benefit to Apple would be an even cooler, slicker, more modern version of iTunes on OS X than on Windows. And if a UI redesign is all that's needed, Apple wouldn't need to spend all that time and effort splitting up iTunes on the desktop.

iTunes is indeed not working well, but I would honestly hate to see it broken down into pieces. It is already a mess on the iPhone / iPad having to deal with and switch between a music app, a podcast app, a video app etc. pp. That does not help at all, in fact it makes using various types of media much more cumbersome than having one integrated interface. Would you break down Final Cut and remove all audio processing tools, just because Logic does a better job? And remove all video functionality from Logic? For sure not. Personally I dislike the notion of having more and more pieces of apps around, because it clutters the desktop and slows down my workflow - one app which handles media correctly would be more than welcome - and I am certain it can be done, because other Apple apps do for sure handle much more difficult tasks without the number of issues.

I think the iTunes bashing is getting old... not because it's not true or because it's been done too many times... but because Apple's strategy is clearly moving away from it. They did a refresh to make it a little more friendly, but the future is getting content on devices, not thru iTunes. How many people buy apps thru their computer any more? How many people manage their music thru iTunes? How many people still back up their devices to iTunes? There are enough people above here who disagree with Peter, and enough people who aren't even using it, that iTunes doesn't matter that much any more.

iTunes used to be key in the "Mac as your digital hub" strategy, but now the strategy is iCloud and cloud services being the digital hub. iTunes is good enough for now, but more energy will be directed into the cloud services to the point that iTunes will one day matter so little that it will go away.

I don't know about separating media into different apps but with the current interface iTunes has become a bloated beast. I think you hit the nail on the head Peter: Start clean and build it new from the ground up. Quit patching crap on to it and make the interface simple and break everything down into a better tabbed system for the different strains of media or something like that. Also, name it something else. It's time to let the name iTunes die or just stay on as the individualized mobile app. It would be awesome to see a completely new desktop app to go along with iOS7! Good write up!

I really like iTunes overall however I do find it too slow at times, mostly when trying to sync stuff to an i device.

Also, a few times I have ripped a CD and after a while it separates some of the tracks giving me duplicate album art with various tracks on each one. Weird.

So yes, there is room for improvement.

iTunes is a bit slow and sluggish, but to be honest, it's no worse in performance than a hundred other poorly executed desktop apps that clutter my Windows system. The Mac version seems pretty good to me (particularly as it has a biggish 25,000 library and iTunes match). Running on a hybrid drive makes it pretty speedy! I have always found iTunes to be far better than many other media managing monstrosities (from Nokia, Samsung, Sony et al) and, for me, it is a damn site faster than Spotify, (considering all the extra gubbins iTunes is doing). The days of the lean, mean, memory sipping desktop app seem long gone - and at least iTunes doesn't run Flash or Adobe Air or whatever...

I just wish iTunes would monitor a folder for media changes so that I would not have to manually add tracks/folders to the library.

I don't disagree with your ultimate advice to break it up, but I think you are letting your frustration get the better of you. I have terabytes of movies and 40-50GB of music and I don't find it slow or crashy at all. I haven't had an iTunes crash in years.

I have had major issues since iOS 6.0 with keeping the content synced across devices, and iTunes seems to have major problems figuring out what content I have purchased and what I have not, with supplying cover art, and "sound check" seems to be completely broken on all my mobile devices despite being set. The "wish list" is also notoriously broken when used across more than one device.

One thing I don't do however is use "iTunes match" as I've heard major horror stories about it from others who tried it. I think it's essentially still in beta whether Apple admits it or not. Most of your problems seem to be related to iTunes match more than they are iTunes itself.

Never had a problem with it. It was god awful slow on Windows until I got extra RAM installed..then it was fine.

For OSX on my Macbook Pro I've never had a problem with it....ever. I don't get the hate. It does what it's supposed to do. My library consists of over 800 CD's ripped into it, plus whatever I've bought from the iTunes stores over the last couple years.

To be fair, I'm not using Match, so I have no idea about that.

Likely you can’t download Girl Talk’s “All Day” via iTunes Match because that album’s no longer available in the (US at least) iTunes Store.

I upgraded the quality of my library via iTunes Match last winter and I ran across a dozen iTunes-purchased tracks that could no longer be re-downloaded. It made me realize that I couldn’t rely on Match as a backup.

There’s a lot to like with Match, but the glitches (cover art randomly disappearing, iOS devices slow to sync changes, seemingly random Sound Check support) are a real drawback to the experience.

"Likely you can’t download Girl Talk’s “All Day” via iTunes Match because that album’s no longer available in the (US at least) iTunes Store."

Doesn't matter, because it's in my library, and should be accessible to me even if it's not part of iTunes' catalog anymore. In fact, there are a large number of songs and albums that aren't available in iTunes which I'm able to download without trouble.

I agree completely. I purchased these songs from iTunes, I expect them to always be accessible. I haven’t found that to be the case.

While cleaning my library, I too ran across songs that were no longer available in the store but that I could download. Others weren’t in the store and could not be downloaded. One “bonus version” album that I bought was no longer in the store, but the standard version was still there, so I could only download the non-bonus tracks.

The best was an album I had purchased that had been removed from the store, and iTunes matched and allowed download of all tracks but one. I “acquired” a different copy of that song online. iTunes matched *that* copy and I was able to re-download the original.

In all cases when a song is no longer in the store, it’s also been removed from my Quicklinks > Purchased list, like a disgraced politburo member.

I love iTunes and I think v11 is the best one yet.

Admittedly, I have far fewer files (about 2K) in my library than the tens of thousands Peter and others here have in their libraries, but for me iTunes has been reliable, responsive, and easy to use.

I am not an advocate of breaking up iTunes into separate apps. Unlike in iOS, I think a dismembered iTunes would result in an inefficient and ambiguous user experience, especially for people who prefer to manage their stuff manually. I would dread having to launch separate apps to move files to my iOS devices.

Re: '"Complexity" is a word that describes the iTunes experience to a tee.'

And that's just fine. Because desktop computing, on Mac or PC, is all about complexity anyway. When the Mac was released, it was seen as a revolutionary simplification. Vastly simpler than memorizing command line interface syntax. Simple drag-and-drop manipulation of objects, bitmapped graphics, WYSIWYG desktop publishing, etc. Over the decades, both OS X and Windows have gradually become much more complex.

And now there's mobile computing, which is much simpler than legacy desktop computing. I'd argue that Apple wants to keep the iTunes experience on Mac and PC exactly the way it is right now. Complex, somewhat frustrating, very old-school. iTunes has already been split into smaller apps on iOS. All the better to boost sales of iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, which are far more important to Apple's bottom line.

In principle I'm very much with you on the need to break these functions out separately, as it produces an application that's ridiculously complex. In practice, though, it doesn't really affect me much. I don't listen to music on my mac, don't really do much with books or videos at all, so it's not that big of a deal to me in real life. But some other issues are: namely, backup and syncing. This is ludicrously complex. I'm not sure why there's even a distinction: aren't they really the same thing? But they're broken out into two functions, so some data is handled one way, other data another, the mac & iphone have to be in one state for automatic backup to happen, another for automatic syncing to happen. It's nuts.

And, outside the scope of this discussion, but the situation with iPhoto is even worse. Photostream is a great idea, but in practice I wind up with the same photo stored both in photostream AND in my camera roll AND in photos/events/whatever. And my photos that used to just show up in date order are now split in two: everything I took on an actual camera in date order, and everything that came over via photostream in a big monthly blob. And the application is slow as hell and crashes all the time.

I know that changes are afoot in Mavericks/iOS 7. Here's hoping they improve the situation.

To revamp iTunes, start by making the database and sharing compments a service that doesn't need me to be logged in. Just make the user component a UI to these services. For me iTunes works best when I don't have to see it. Want to play some music while washing thrushes, use iTunes remote. Want to send music to the lounge, add airfoil and tell it to play to my lounge PC. Want to play using my media centre, I need a DLNA agent on the Mac and then it just works. The biggest problem is I have to be logged in all the time on my Mac. One of my kids logs in and it all stops.

itunes 10 years ago was great, it was lightweight, fast, and didn't slow my computer down. i want itunes to work like that again. i wouldn't say that i hate the current itunes but i will avoid using it sometimes. i wish it was for music only and that's it, no apps, videos, etc. anymore i'd rather plug my ipod into something and play music from that instead.

Lightweight? You have got to be kidding! It installed 5 apple-only services on any Windows system, it was this close to being malware. And still is. It forces quicktime codecs (and its usage and file associations) down your throat. It phones home way too much, and it's a resource hungry NSA-friendly piece of code. And last but not least: It doesn't exist for Linux.
There are plenty friendly alternatives.

1) I think it needs renaming first (iMedia or something).

Then, 2) Move all iOS Apps to the Mac App Store which seems pretty logical to me.

3) Move the movies, tunes and books part of the iTunes Store to a separate application.

4) Make the music, radio and video browser/player much better. (See XMBC for example).

Finally, 5) Move the iOS device syncing to an 'always ready' position in Finder. Where it is now is becoming stupid.

Sent from the iMore App

Ok so click on 5 different apps to get all the stuff I can get in one area? And move it to the Mac App Store?? Hmmm ok so ppl who don't have a Mac are screwed good idea. This article makes no sense!! It's easier having everything in one place!!

Sent from the iMore App

Seriously who cares!!! I've nvr had a problem besides when everything was changed. How about an article on how bad Siri SUCKS?!?!?! She nvr gets my speech to txt right at all maybe a few words of a VERY short sentence but anything over 6 words its nothing like what I said or somehow puts a word that sounds nothing like what I said!! Really if u need different apps on ur computer to get music videos books ect then ur just stupid. Who ever wrote this is dumb! Same w the ppl that have a problem w it. Are u seriously on iTunes on ur comp that much??? I get on it to back up put new music on the iPod and that's it!!!! How about an article on how shitty of a job they've done on Siri

Sent from the iMore App

I don't understand it. I gave upon using it all together so the music on my iphone will remain on my iPhone. Itunes is to cumbersome so don't use any of my devices my music playback anymore. I carry a usb stick t play in the car and the rest of the time I do without my music.

My main beef with iTunes is the stupid lingering restriction that you can only sync one iPhone/iPad with one iTunes Library. A few months back, I somehow lost my iTunes Library file that my iPhone and iPad were married to. All my content is there, and I was able to restore my playlists, play counts, metadata, etc., but now iTunes doesn't want to sync things properly to either of my iDevices, and it's driving me nuts.

One issue is that if I download app updates via iTunes, they never make it onto my devices, and I have to re-download them on each device. I shouldn't have to restore my iDevices as new just to get them syncing again. I even tried using a hex editor to get the persistent library ID from my iPhone and change it in my iTunes Library file, but that didn't work.

I never took the time to realize the different uses of itunes.
Now that it has been brought up, i agree 100%.
I'd love to see something updated yet simpler.

"I lost last weekend trying to download my iTunes library from iTunes Match, after the machine that held my original library went out for repair. The entire weekend."

No... no you didn't. You lost last weekend because you were trying to use iTunes as a data-recovery tool. If you had valued your data, you'd have kept it on a RAID, or have had it backing up somewhere (instead of using the $25 iTunes Match as a poor-man's Carbonite). Instead, your actions don't indicate that your collection was all that valuable to you. Yours sounds like the other 20k+ collections I've seen; the result of voracious duping of friends' collections, most of which you never listen to... for the sole purpose of showing other people how wide-ranging, eclectic, and sophisticated your musical tastes are (and how iTunes just can't cope with a library as extensive as yours). Well, on the bright side, you got to achieve that end *again* with your humblebrag, here, about how long it takes the internet to get your tunes back.

Well, at least your article goes a little further than the typical slew of "iTunes doesn't work like magic. Would somebody who knows about these things fix it so that it does?". At least you present a suggestion on how to improve it. But your solution is... to break it up?!?! So, we're supposed to use one app to manage *music* on our iPhones/iPads/iTouches and another to manage *photos* and another to manage *video*? And this is supposed to be a step *forward*?

Look... iTunes has an interface which is a bit unintuitive in places, true. But I can't think of a slicker way of managing everything it does, nor have I seen one proposed. And, once you just accept it's "way" of doing things, it's pretty self-maintaining; my audiobooks, movies, songs, playlists, etc... all stay synced automatically. As much as I've tried to forget, I still remember what things were like before my first iPod... using things like WinAmp or MusicMatch to manually drag stuff on and off of my mp3 player.

Sure, iTunes has its quirks. And it crashes on occasion, and it slows down when you ask it to manage huge libraries. But I haven't seen any other device with a better media management app, nor have I seen any *detailed* suggestions about how to make iTunes' interface more fluid.

Joe:

Your comments are predicated on a basic assumption that is wildly inaccurate: that I tried to use iTunes Match, as you put it, as a "poor man's Carbonite." Nothing could be further from the truth. If you'd bothered to scan through the comments to this article, you would have known differently. See my comment to "rkevwill" in the thread above, I can't be bothered to copy it in again here.

I stand by what I did - it should have worked. The fact that it didn't work well says more about Apple's ineptitude at offering coherent cloud services and a music catalog client that works as it's intended that it does about my use.

Regarding your assumption about how I acquired my music - again, you're wrong, and I couldn't possibly care less what you think of my musical taste.

I agree that separating media is a devolution of sorts. Wasn't to whole point to bring them together?
I use two iTunes libraries. First is for syncing with iPod/ipad and that's ok. The second manages my imedia which consists of movies, videos, podcasts, iTunes U, books (mostly pdfs) for classroom teaching. I have tricked some PDFs into thinking they are albums (think cover art and click to see the chapters). Other PDFs think they are podcasts. Most are in books though and
KEEPING THE METADATA AND SMART PLAYLISTS IS VITAL for managing thousands of multimedia files and which can be used both on mac and PC.
Does anyone out there do this? I would welcome suggestions or comments especially with regards to the new ibooks.

I know you guys wont believe this but I got a free iTunes Card Code and it redeemed just fine! Got it at freeitunesforever|d●t| com

Other then the Album Art that comes up missing, I never understood why people hated iTunes so much. It's huge, I'll give you that, but I don't have all the trouble people say they have with. I do get an occasional crash, but I like the fact I don't have to open one thing for movies, or music etc... and have everything in one place.
iTunes Match has always works for me, but I don't keep music on my MBP, I leave it in the cloud, which could be one of the reasons why I have so little problem.
I will say on a Windows PC, iTunes has always had a history of problems, but slowly has gotten somewhat better over time.
I guess everyone assumes applications have to be as thin as glass to be good.if Apple would correct what people are griping about, and only suffer the very occasional problem, there would be no complaints.

Aside from the fact that iTunes store was excruciatingly slow, I do like managing my i-devices media with iTunes itself. However when I bought a new super PC with Win 8 a few weeks ago and now try to click on the iTunes store, it crashes with a stopped working error every single time. Otherwise, the software seems to be working just fine and does access for everything else. I've tried every fix I could find but nothing seems to be able to let me open up the store. So that means Apple is losing any purchases I would be making. I can access the store on my devices but my PC is where I make purchases. I don't like browsing the store on those smaller devices, which is too small for me for shopping and also is even slower running the store as well. I just want to be able to open the iTunes store from my windows 8 laptop without it crashing and keep using iTunes overall to manage my media and music databases. Very frustrating. I don't know why Apple and Microsoft don't just give up their petty childhood differences and join the rest of the world to work together like adults. Childish differences do nothing but isolate their markets and cost each other money. There's plenty of users to go around who would use both if they had the opportunity.

All I want to do with iTunes is access my iPad. I can download music, apps and what-not from the inbuilt software on my iPad.. I certainly wouldn't use iTunes for music playback or anything else as there are applications that are worlds beyond iTunes for those tasks.. I simply want to use my iPad.. I want to sync it.. I want to copy documents into my apps folders.. I want to manage my iPad.. however with Apple's ineptitude at delivering a stable and consistent Windows experience for their iPad customers, I find I have to uninstall and reinstall iTunes every 3 or 4 days.. it's an absolutely joke that Apple is as big as they are and still can't create a simple and easy to use piece of software that does the only essential set of tasks that it needs to do.. I could care less about all the other addon stuff they have in there.. I just want it to work to do the essential tasks. I can't do app folder management on anything other than iTunes.

Interesting read. I've used iTunes for a number of years now and the key was always that if you tried to use it as a "player", things never really went that well. As soon as you enable full management and copying of music files etc. then it's your best mate.

I agree with what someone said about the new interface being actually really nice.

My biggest issue with iTunes at the moment is iTunes Match. I've used it since it came out and was very excited by the idea.. and for the most part it's great. But I have constant niggles with it on my Mac (and occasionally phone where music just won't download/play). It's always uploading something or unable to connect to apple or whatever. The point is (as someone else said) you expect a music player to behave in the background playing your music while you work/whatever. I actually ditched match for a month or so a while back but it was too damn helpful that I just put up with the constant complaining it gives me when I'm at my desk.

i have a pc,i won't bore you with specs, but its a snazzy one. no problem with any applications..
except itunes, even in the simplest "list" view, it hangs,freezes and lags horribly its quite disgusting to use,much less try to work with ,ie load in new music,change details etc.
i absolutely rue the day i bought an ipod.
i have also used itunes on an ancient half broken old macbook,single core etc..and it worked like a charm,so i can only surmise marketing has a foul paw in this monstrosity of a program.
however i,personally will never buy any apple product again.
a complete toilet of a program,i HATE it.

iTunes used to be great - it would take about 5 minutes to add a CD to my iTunes library - now it's taking 20-30 minutes! It's the biggest shambles Apple has created!. Since it changed I have artwork that has gone black or white that cannot be deleted or changed. I have kept the old version on my MacBook Pro - I wish I had never updated my Mac Pro!

I've been using iTunes since 2005, on both Mac and Windows machines. I have 70GB of music, and I've never encountered these horrific scenarios that people continue to describe. Granted, iTunes wasn't very fast on my older machines, but it never crashed. Now that I have a new 2013 iMac, it runs like a dream!

Some of iTune's UI changes have been jarring, but now that I'm acclimated to it, I find the interface quite lovely.

As for album art/ iTunes match problems: They need to address those issues, but I provide my own album art when I rip CDs, and don't use iTunes match, so I haven't personally experienced the problems with those services.

One way to simplify it is to lose the restriction of how music gets to your iPhone. It makes no sense that while you can put pictures directly into photos, you have to go through iTunes on your computer to get music to your device. It should work more like the music player on an Android, or like the Free MP3 Downloader app which you can load with music directly from Dropbox or email.

I was loving it, I only use it for music to put on my ipod shuffle and carry around with me, but after I "updated" to the new version, I could no longer synch my new purchases to my Ipod. And the support just tells me to update and "authorize", but it's just not working. Are there any alternative programs out there? I just need something simple, for music, no need for podcasts, videos, any of that. Just songs. Any ideas?

I absolutely HATE iTUNES!!!! I found this site out of frustration. I just cannot understand how to organize my songs so I can find them. I simply cannot!!!! Genre Logos do not work, and so many album shave the same "unknown" title and dozens more get lumped into the same other categories. Why so many columns? Why columns for artists, albums, genres, etc??? I want a song list and I want them alphabetical, and I want them arranged by whatever genre I pick! Not have the whole thing change when I pick a genre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sick of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just spent another hour tonight playing around and clicking on every damn tab I could find and it just makes no sense!!! Compilation, album by artist (NO ARTIST EXISTS!) advanced preferences, blah, blah, blah!!!! Why do all my "albums" have the same DAMN LOGO IMAGE!??????????

Why can't they fix the "genre-logo" feature????? Why are old genre logos stuck in place when I make a new one trying to fix this myself? iTunes really sucks!!! And why won't the "Fade Next Song" feature work???? This thing really sucks!!!!!! Wish there was an alternative!!!!!!
I have about 150 songs and I cannot find them easily. Sometimes I just do a search!!!!!

Even importing a new song.... it's LOST! Takes 10 minutes of scrolling and looking to actually find it! Then I can't remember where it was for next time! OMG I hate this!

I HATE ITUNES!

What should be a very simple, straightforward program is unnecessarily convoluted and unintuitive. Simply transferring songs from my PC to my Iphone is an absolute nightmare. Not only does it tend to crash, but it takes all kinds of esoteric knowledge - I had to resort to google searches several times just to figure out how to transfer part of my home library to my iphone (because the whole thing won't fit).

There doesn't seem to be a way to just copy a song over easily - what happened to the old "drag and drop" that made Apple so great? Now it's all about "syncing", which wants to copy everything, and every time I do it, it comes up with a different amount of data to sync.

Also, why can't I just delete a song from my playlist on my iphone? The only way to remove a song is to go home and plug in to my PC. Ugh!

Then, there is the music that appears to be on my iphone, but isn't. It's listed, but won't play.

You are very right when you say Apple should just start from scratch! Wipe this whole mess of a program, and make a simple, elegant, USER FRIENDLY app. One that doesn't require me to spend an hour researching why it is crashing my computer, and having to download special USB drivers. What's wrong with a standard USB to USB mini A or B connection? This special USB cable, that costs $22 to replace, is absolutely no better than the ONE cable that I can use for all of my other devices!

I'm going to look for another program to use for my music. I hope that WinAmp is compatible with iPhone. But knowing Apple, they've engineered it to only be able to use THEIR software.

ಠ_ಠ

It's official, I have come to hate iTunes after loving it since around 2002. The first thing that really upset me was what happened when Music Match was introduced , my "Smart" playlists stopped working the way I wanted them too. I have about 12,000 songs in my library and whenever I hear a song that I think would to use for my waterproof classic iPod to take swimming, I just type into the comments a key word or phrase for that event, such as "MMM" for swimming, or "Nigel" for a playlist that has only songs that I think Nigel would enjoy, whenever he comes to visit every 3 or 70 years ago. I just make a smart list and tell it ONLY to include songs that have those key words in it. That way it just instantly creates huge playlists of songs that I like for different occasions, and playing them in shuffle mode makes each swim workout or Nigel Party an interesting and varied listen.

But now Apple is trying to slowly destroy all that. First of all, the current version if iTunes v11.2.2 is a mess. Just launching is a disaster, it never will launch without freezing during the "Checking iTunes Library" phase. I watch it with Activity Monitor, and when iTunes is "not responding" so I force quit via Activity Monitor . Then relaunch iTunes in "safe mode by holding down option-shift when opening iTunes. Then it won't crash, and can finally download my podcasts to listen on my Classic IPod. Now the problem is, if I want to listen to any of those playlists in the car, where I use my iPhone, my Infiniti console can't "see" songs that are on Apple"s Music Matcb cloud. All it can see are the actual songs that are downloaded for the phone, completely making it frustrated.

And ....my other favorite smart playlist...I call it "Logan's Run" one in which I set it so only songs that had been added to my library in the last week or so should appear auto-magically that playlist, and after that they are unceremoniously instantly removed.

This still works great on my computer and when I sync it to my iPad... But on my iPhone which gets it music from Music Match...nothing appears, nada. It used to be a great feature to use when I just bought a few albums to not have to scroll around through long lists to find the new stuff. Oh well.

And final: Also I hate it that they moved the refresh button on the top left of the screen, while you hands are busing writing the report!

I agree completely. iTunes is confusing, unstable, and needlessly bloated these days.

Do something and do it well is a better goal than do everything and do them all badly.

I can understand iTunes growth and evolution, and how having all the stuff it manages integrated into one app. The changes they've been making recently, however, do seem to be making the user experience worse, not better. Each upgrade I often have to wrestle with the interface to get it back to simplicity, at least when it comes to my music.

The iPhone apps, on the other hand, is a nightmare, especially when using iTunes to try to organize your different iOS devices. It used to be merely cumbersome, but in the latest version (I'm running 11.2.2), it's nearly impossible to organize my devices. It's just one big hot mess. With the new "method" of having pages pop up, trying to get one app to another page becomes a game of whack-a-mole, only these moles are on speed. I sincerely hope they fix this first, because my biggest issue with iPhones and iPads is how painful it is to organize apps. I would like iTunes to be the tool that makes it easier, not more difficult.

Maybe a separate iOS device manager would be better, built from the ground up to do one thing: making managing your iOS device a breeze and a joy.

I have not had problems with iTunes losing or confusing data. I just find the user interface to be completely counter-intuitive. I never find it clear how to do what I want to do and always spend wasted time on google in order to figure it out.

Generally, I like Apple products. iTunes, however, is dreadful.

I loved iTunes up until about a week ago. I started getting an error message that said something along the lines of Your iTunes library can not be saved. Not able to save/write to the disk. I tried copying all of my music into iTunes again/creating a new library, and now every music file in my iTunes library has completely disappeared. Some of the folders are still there with jpgs and pdf booklets, but the music files are GONE. I can still read music files in other folders (such as Amazon folders), but cannot see my any music files in the iTunes folders. I've searched over 2 dozen threads to find solutions. I'll try some new things again tonight, but so far nothing has worked. I'm ready to try a different solution. iTunes has just become way to glitchy for me. I'm bummed about that because I've enjoyed it for so long.

I had no problem with iTunes for Mac, even though I had a 200+ GB library. It may have been bigger. I don't remember anymore.

I used it a lot when I was still working, to sync my audio and a few videos to my assorted iPods.

Then I started listening to a lot of FLAC files, and got tired of converting them to something Apple could handle.

Then came the abominable filth known as iTunes 11. I hate absolutely everything about that filth excuse of a program. I hate the loss of cover flow. I hate the moronic preset organizing systems. I hate the moronic way it doesn't let you look at or for your own damned music. I hate the hideous filth look of every stinking pixel of it. It looks like something a kindergartener at Microsoft vomited onto the screen when daddy was drunk on the job. I refuse to use that filth.

I switched to Vox, and I've never looked back. I don't even use iTunes anymore, save to sync up my iPods if I get something new that I absolutely must have on the go.