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Apple updates iTunes: What's better and what's worse

Apple updates iTunes: What's better and what's worse

In the rush of recent updates to the iPad, the iMac, iOS and OS X, it's easy to overlook Apple's updates to one of its long-standing programs: iTunes.

Yes, iTunes 12 is out and it brought with it some major changes. Predictably, some are good while some other updates have people upset. Let's take a look at both.

The first big update is the look. iTunes is designed to fit in with OS X Yosemite, so everything is flatter. That's good, but for this same reason, Apple has eliminated the sidebar.

This is one thing people are upset about, since the sidebar has been around forever. Now to get to your media libraries, you have to click one of the icons in the top left corner.

However, you can get the sidebar back, sort of. If you click the "Playlists" button in the top center of the screen, you'll get a sidebar with the playlists for the media library you've selected.

One good new feature in iTunes - which is long overdue - is Family Sharing. You can share music, movies, books and apps with up to six people, all with different accounts. As the name implies, this is great news families.

Family sharing done through the iCloud Family feature. To set it up, go to System Preferences>>iCloud in OS X Yosemite or Settings in iOS 8.

Other iTunes 12 changes include:

  • Faster access to all of your favorite media. iTunes now includes dedicated icons for music, movies, or TV shows, which make it easier to get to wherever you want to go in your library with a single click.
  • Seamless browsing between Store and library. The iTunes Store is now a part of the music, movies, or TV shows views of your library — making it simple to jump between your personal collection and what’s new for each category in the Store.
  • Recently Added. iTunes puts recently added albums, movies, or TV shows at the top of your library — making it effortless to find something new to play.
  • Improved playlist editing. You can now see your full music library and playlists side-by-side, making it easy to browse your music and drag your favorite songs into any playlist.
  • Improved Get Info. The all-new Get Info has been completely redesigned to focus your attention only on what’s necessary for the selected item.
  • A New Icon. Yes, this is just a cosmetic change, but it's one that has caught users off guard. The well-known blue iTunes icon is now a bright red!

Sounds like an update for you? Click here to download the latest iTunes version.

iTunes 12 should also be much faster on a Mac and a bit faster in Windows. However, it's still a massive program and it doesn't play well with non-Apple products.

If you're looking for something a bit sleeker that's compatible with your iTunes library but works on Windows and Android, check out DoubleTwist.

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