You Have Me to Blame for the iTunes 12.7 Fiasco…

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Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #245

Rant ON.

You have to be careful what you wish for. I’m afraid I’m at least partly to blame for last week’s iTunes 12.7 fiasco.

iTunes Must Die Redux

See… Last year I wrote, produced, recorded, and released a song called, “iTunes Must Die.” with lyrics that included:

It’s inconsistent, confusing and jumbled…it don’t happen often, but Apple has stumbled…

and concluded:

A thing you could do that would right all your wrongs… just let iTunes go back to being about songs.

Not surprisingly, the song was rejected by the iTunes Store, so I made it a free download.  And, for even more iTunes bashing fun, check out my unfinished music video excerpt here.)

Anyway, I’m afraid I got what I asked for. But I don’t like it. Not a bit. I mean, the song went on to say:

If you make a new app that’s just for syncing… iTunes would surely do much less stinking.

What I wanted was a more streamlined, less bloated iTunes. I envisioned separate Mac apps for syncing and perhaps other features like movies and TV shows. What I got a more streamlined, less bloated iTunes, alright. But now there’s no way to sync or manage iOS apps on my Mac!

The iTunes 12.7 Fiasco in a Nutshell

Long ago we really loved iTunes. Then, Apple began bolting on additional functions such as app stores, device syncing, music stores, movie and TV show stores, podcasts, ringtones, and more. Over time, iTunes became a confusing, bloated mess. Still, there were things it excelled at, one of which was managing my collection of over 2000 iOS apps.

Last week my MacBook Pro automatically upgraded iTunes to version 12.7 and I was greeted with this alert when I launched it:

These 44 words mean you can't use your Mac to manage iOS apps or ringtones anymore.

These 44 words mean you can’t use your Mac (or PC) to manage iOS apps or ringtones anymore.

I was shocked. iOS apps and the iOS App Store have been removed from iTunes 12.7, and you can no longer manage them using your Mac (or PC). After you install iTunes 12.7—which is required if you’re going to use iOS 11— you’ll only be able to buy and manage your iOS apps on an iOS device.

That sucks eggs. I have over 2,000 iOS apps. Do you know how long it takes to scroll through a list of 2,000 ANYTHING on an iPhone?

And, what about changing the order of my 12 Home screens? I used to do that in iTunes, but I don’t see any way to do it at all now!

Here’s another headscratcher: There are 2,457 files in my iTunes Mobile Applications folder, taking up a whopping 161GB of disk space. Do I need them anymore? Is it safe to delete them? Should I archive them first? And, if an app is no longer available in the App Store but I have a copy on my hard disk, is there any way to install or restore it?

Apple published a support article entitled Changes in the new iTunes yesterday, with links to separate articles that show you new and less convenient ways to download apps, podcasts, books, and ringtones. The technique to export ringtones from GarageBand now is particularly hilarious:

  1. Choose Share Ringtone to iTunes.

    I know iTunes doesn’t support ringtones anymore but choose it anyway. Don’t bother looking for your ringtone in iTunes, either. That would be easy. Instead, you must use the new, far less-convenient and totally unintuitive method:
  2. Navigate to the Import folder inside your iTunes Media folder.
  3. Identify the ringtone you just shared from GarageBand. 
  4. Drag the ringtone onto the iTunes sidebar.
    Note that if you don’t drag the ringtone onto precisely the right spot in the iTunes sidebar, or your iPhone isn’t connected and selected when you drag it, nothing will happen.
    If that happens:
  5. Return to step 2 and try dragging the file more precisely.  
I just don’t see how that’s easier or more convenient than the old way:
  1. Select Share Ringtone to iTunes in GarageBand.
  2. Sync iPhone.
  3. There were no steps 3, 4, or 5.

Rant OFF.

There is one last thing… here are the rest of the lyrics to iTunes Must Die:

iTunes Must Die! By Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus: Lyrics and guitar chords.

iTunes Must Die! By Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus: Lyrics and guitar chords.

20 Comments Add a comment

  1. Rick Allen

    Hi Bob

    This is an amazingly bad move. It hurts app developers as it cuts down their means of promoting an app via links. I also used to do a majority of my app discovery / buying / reviewing on the Mac. Now how do you promote an app if you are a developer? Also what about affiliate links? How are review sites going to maintain any business model now that one avenue of the model is permanently closed. I feel for sites like Touch Arcade and App Advice. This is on top of the management and backup aspect you mentioned. I am holding off on upgrading my phone to iOS 11 as some of my grandson’s favorite games are not supported. Now I don’t even have a really good method to keep and install those apps if I have to. I also have a bunch of music apps that used to use a lot of the file upload and transfer features in iTunes. I don’t know how I will deal with this in Cubasis or Ampkit or any of the other pro music apps I have.

    Take care

    –Rick–

    • Robert LeVitus

      Rick:

      Some of that stuff is still doable. Not as easily as before… but you can still transfer apps from your Mac to your iPhone manually. And, if you haven’t seen Apple’s tech support article “Changes in the new iTunes” with links to half a dozen other articles… It’s worth bookmarking until you (and I) figure out all the new and less intuitive ways of doing things that used to be easy.

  2. geoduck

    Not your fault.
    I too have called for Apple to reduce the bloat in iTunes. And it looks like they’ve started. The trouble is that Apple hasn’t done the second part that we’ve all said they needed to do. As they pull things out of iTunes they need to come up with small specific apps to take over each function. Apple has failed to follow through.
    Apple needs to release an app to manage iOS Apps. They have not done this. This is Apple’s fault not yours.

    • smatgar

      Went back to iTunes 12.6.2. But 12.7 is not the only bad (incomplete) move on the side of Apple. I will not go High Sierra nor iOS 11, there appear to be too many problems with older stuff. I need e.g. Olympus’ 32bit app to move image files from camera to iPad. Also most of my storage is HDD, not SSD. I feel no compulsion to experiment. Instead I ask myself whether for my next computer I should consider a ThinkPad. Important photographic software licenses will allow me to install at least one Mac and one Win verison, so no loss in investment due to system change.
      Back in January of 1988 when I upgraded from ][+ to a Mac Plus I never expected to reconsider machinery but now I do. There’s this nano-computer fetish in Cupertino, aka iPhone. My mobile is for calling and texting and the old BB Z10 does fine out here in the boonies. …sheesh, looks like I’m gonna fall off the wagon?!
      Quote: “Of course it’s Apple’s fault!
      Eddie (Cue) are you kidding?*”

      • stevezdude

        How did you go back? Everything I try ends up with the “created by a newer version” lie.

  3. NorthSaanichBC

    Bob, what Apple should do to manage iOS apps on your Mac, is to put the iOS apps into…. (drumroll)… the App Store app!

    It makes sense that all apps should be available in the App Store app. Especially since many apps have both macOS and iOS versions that we need to manage on both our Macs and iOS devices.

    Hopefully Apple will make this addition to the App Store app…. Soon!

  4. Robert LeVitus

    NorthSaanichBC:

    That’s brilliant! Then they won’t even have to make a new app just for syncing (as I begged for in the song)… They can just graft the iTunes app syncing code into the App Store app.

    It makes total sense to us… Does that mean there’s no chance of Apple doing it? :-p

  5. weschutzer

    Seems like this is an opportunity to suggest/review some non-itunes options to replace this lost important feature.

  6. dlstarr7

    I hold out hope that Apple will still release an iOS App Store, but in the meantime I’ve downgraded back to iTunes 12.6 and will keep my iPad from iOS11 for the time being…

  7. Jamie

    I didn’t update it once I had read the release notes and internet kerfuffle, thank goodness. Perhaps it’s because I have been using iTunes from the start, but bloated beast that it is, I have never found it difficult to navigate, on average. Would love it if Apple got their ducks in a row and created a dedicated sync app. Useful though the cloud may be, it’s not where I want to put such critical backups, and I sure as heck don’t care to pay so much for the privilege when I already have the tools to do so (that may be specific to me, as I have a great deal of data to back up. Mileage may vary for others).

  8. AdriftMac

    I’m still annoyed how they changed how marking movies and tv shows watched or unwatched. So often I wonder how these things get released to us when they feel half done or incomplete. Like removing the apps and leaving so many questions. I’m really going to hold off on installing High Sierra. Just updating my Apple TV 4’s yesterday had me wanting to pull out my hair. Its so slow and keeps doing odd things. I even restored the Apple TV 4 to factory settings thinking it would go back to tvOS 10 but went right back to 11. Still having the same issues.

  9. Boughtat16

    iTunes just keeps getting worse. I find it almost unusable now with all of the “features” I will never want or use. I’m hanging on to my first gen iPod touch to play music because it no longer demands that I upgrade it. I almost never connect my phone to the internet, I use my Mac for work or browsing, when I’m out of the home/office I am either working, driving, or busy with people. The only thing I want my phone to do other than make calls is connect to my bluetooth radio in my truck. It is now a real pain to get my favorite album to play on iTunes without bringing up some new menu accidentally. Apple wants to suck you into it’s virtual world, and the only way to stay in your own is to say no.
    Absolutely turn off any automatic upgrades. Never upgrade unless you absolutely have to, it’s better to have a working device ( iOS 10 had broken bluetooth for several iterations, once they fixed it I decided never to upgrade again) than some new feature that you don’t need. When you connect your phone to iTunes through your computer, it will automatically dump an upgrade on your phone, especially if you do not have any extra memory! Go to preferences, general, storage, manage, and throw out the downloaded file, think of it as a virus..

  10. CudaBoy

    Rule No 1. DON’T EVER UPGRADE (until you read what others are going through) especially Apple software. I learned that when upgrades messed up ProTools and Adobe suite software big time – for what??? I will NEVER delete/erase Snow Leopard on one of my dedicated older Mac Pros that has the BEST iTunes on it – you know – the one that has hundreds and hundreds of free Internet radio stations? The one with no ads and a clean Mac-like interface? Jobs must be ROLLING in his grave. Thankfully I think OldApps provides ALL the old legacy versions of itunes if you want the iTunes that works and stays the heck out of your life.

  11. John Q

    There are reports that iTunes 12.6 will still sync with iOS 11, and even install the software update payload, if one chooses not to apply it OTA.

    However, I wouldn’t count on that for the long term, as it is probably an unsupported combination, and a redux of the iOS 9 enforced refusal to connect to iTunes 11 will likely occur in the future. That situation also caused headaches for some users.

    Third party apps such as iMazing don’t appear to be alternatives either, as they only handle app data, and cannot connect to the iTunes serves to obtain new versions of apps.

    More and more Apple is causing me to SMH.

  12. skywatcher

    Huge error on their part, but the solution is not to have separate apps to sync apps, TV shows, podcasts, music, movies, books, etc.

    The idea of a centralized iTunes is a good one; it’s just that the name should be changed, the interface overhauled, and the barrage of advertising of new songs, new apps, etc. removed.

    For one thing, it still lacks decent font size controls!

  13. Michael McGlothlin

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and Apple will get around to killing iTunes completely. It’s horrible and buggy and doesn’t do anything well. There is no reason that the appropriate functionality can’t be built directly into MacOS and iOS.

    Unfortunately they probably won’t bother doing that. We’ll get more rubbish like iBooks for MacOS. The kind of software that makes it a huge pain just to move your library to a different device in case you don’t want hundreds of gigabytes of your main drive taken up with books.

    Photos can’t upload new photos if the drive is to full. How does that make sense? And it can’t import just what photos it has space available for, upload them, remove the originals, and get the next batch. And it also leaves duplicates all over the place.

    Wouldn’t it be something if you could just store your apps, photos, documents, and media wherever you want, even on multiple drives, without numerous duplicates being made or files constantly being downloaded over and over. It’s pathetic that iTunes, iBooks, Photos, etc all fail horribly if you actually use them. The reward Apple gives customers that buy more from them is that nothing works. Frustrating for long time Apple fans that these issues never get fixed.

  14. mbawkher

    The worst thing they removed was the management of iBooks from iTunes.

    Unlike apps which are proprietary, users with huge collections of third party ebooks cannot two way sync their collections with iTunes anymore which has crippled the software.

    iTunes used to do this perfectly well before this feature was removed.

  15. stevezdude

    Downloaded 12.7 and my podcasts disappeared. No matter how I try to restore an earlier version, I get the message that it won’t work because the music was downloaded by a later version of iTunes–a complete lie. I hate itunes with a purple passion. I will never buy another Apple product. $200 billion in cash lying around and Apple can’t hire competent people who can design an iTunes update without causing their customers hours of repair time.

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