Apple to discontinue iTunes U, iBooks Author no longer updated

iTunes U on iPad
iTunes U on iPad (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is discontinuing iTunes U and no longer updating iBooks Author.
  • iBooks Author won't be available to new users starting in July.
  • Both programs have transitioning alternatives.

As first discovered by Apple analyst Rene Ritchie, Apple is transitioning its iBooks Author program to Pages (opens in new tab) and it will no longer be available to download by new users as of July 1, 2020, and will discontinue iTunes U (opens in new tab) at the end of 2021. Fear not, my friends. Your niche needs will be met. Apple is already preparing transitioning tools for Pages, so you can continue your book writing process there.

iTunes U will continue to be publicly available until the end of 2021, but after that, Apple recommends that you switch to Schoolwork for private publishing and Apple's various services (Apple Podcasts and Apple Books) for public content instead. Apple's support document (opens in new tab) has more information.

In a tweet, Ritchie notes that an import tool will be added to Pages in the near future, which will allow users to easily transfer materials you're working from iBooks Author.

Ritchie also notes that ClassKit support will be added to Schoolwork to help transition out of iTunes U.

After July 1, 2020, you won't be able to download iBooks Author if you've never downloaded it before. However, you can still install it on your device if you've previously downloaded it. You'll find it in your App Store purchase history. Apple clarifies (opens in new tab) that books you've published to Apple Books from iBooks Author will continue to be available.

The ability to create and publish ebooks using Pages has been available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac since 2018. It looks like Apple may have decided that merging into Pages is more effective than keeping two different programs updated that share the same features.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

1 Comment
  • Can I ask you a question? Did you ever use iBooks Author to create an Enhanced iBook, not a regular ePub? If so, then you would be really worried. There is nothing in Apple's statement nor the support page that even mentions the Enhanced iBooks format. This is a huge deal and if these features would be implemented in a future Pages app, then the first thing Apple would do is to ensure the authors and publishers that this will still be available in the updated Pages.
    However, the fact that this is not even mentioned, could mean that there is one terrible decision made at Apple. "Discontinue the Enhanced iBooks format". And that would be the actual news today.