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iTunes 10.5 running on Mac OS X Lion
|Initial release||January 9, 2001|
[ (June 11, 2012 )±]
|Preview release||N/A [±]|
|Operating system||Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows|
|Size||126.23 MB (varies by OS)|
|Available in||22 languages|
iTunes is a media player computer program used for playing, downloading, saving, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop or laptop personal computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.
iTunes can connect to the iTunes Store to purchase and download music, music videos, television shows, iPod games, audiobooks, podcasts, movies and movie rentals (not available in all countries), and ringtones (only available on iPhone and iPod Touch 4th Generation). It is also used to download application software from the App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. iTunes has been criticized for not being able to transfer music from one portable device to another.
SoundJam MP, developed by Bill Kincaid and released by Casady & Greene in 1999, was renamed iTunes when Apple purchased it in 2000. Jeff Robbin, Kincaid, and Dave Heller moved to Apple as part of the acquisition, where they continue to work today as the software's original developers. They simplified SoundJam's user interface, added the ability to burn CDs, and removed its recording feature and skin support. On January 9, 2001, iTunes 1.0 was released at Macworld San Francisco. Macintosh users immediately began poking through iTunes's resource fork, where they discovered numerous strings and other resources that indicated iTunes was a re-engineered SoundJam MP. Casady & Greene ceased distribution of SoundJam MP on June 1, 2001 at the request of the developers.
A version of iTunes was shipped with cell phones from Motorola, which included the ability to sync music from an iTunes library to the cellphone, as well as a similar interface between both platforms. Since the release of the iPhone, Apple has stopped distributing iTunes with other manufacturers' phones. In the absence of support from Apple, Nokia has released a Mac application called Nokia Multimedia Transfer that supports transferring data from iTunes and iPhoto onto some Nokia devices. Palm however reverse engineered iTunes to allow its Pre device to sync directly with iTunes. It did this by fooling iTunes into thinking the device was an iPod.
In late March 2010, Apple released version 9.1, which has support for the iPad and its iBooks application.
In late June 2010, Apple released version 9.2, which brought support for the new iPhone 4, as well as any iDevices running iOS 4, included support for the new iPhone and iPod Touch version of the iBooks app.
On September 1, 2010, Apple held their annual music press event where they unveiled an updated version: iTunes 10. The new version was available for download later that day. One major feature includes the integration of "iTunes Ping", which brings a social factor to the iTunes experience. Apple CEO Steve Jobs also announced a new logo, one without a CD in the background because of the increasing popularity of iTunes digital downloads.
iTunes is an application that allows the user to purchase and manage audio and video on a personal computer, acting as a front end for Apple's QuickTime media player. Officially, using iTunes is required in order to manage the audio of an Apple iPod portable audio player, although alternative software does exist. Users can organize their music into playlists within one or more libraries, edit file information, record Compact Discs, copy files to a digital audio player, purchase music and videos through its built-in music store (iTunes Store), download free podcasts, back up songs onto a CD or DVD, run a visualizer to display graphical effects in time to the music, and encode music into a number of different audio formats. There is also a large selection of free internet radio stations to listen to. Additionally, users can add PDF files to their library (to add digital liner notes to their albums, for example), but the PDFs cannot be transferred to or read on an iPod, but can be read on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. However, iPhone/iPod Touch apps exist to sync any type of file to and from the device to an "iDisk" using Apple's MobileMe service.
In iTunes 8.0, the Preferences window was given a complete makeover. The result added very few new options, but instead removed several options. For example, iTunes once gave users the option to display arrows beside the selected song's title, artist, album, and genre that link directly to the iTunes Store. Now these arrows are not removable, except through the direct editing of a preferences file.
iTunes keeps track of songs by creating a virtual library, allowing users to access and edit a song's attributes. These attributes, known as metadata, are stored in two separate library files. The first is a binary file called iTunes Library and it uses a proprietary file format ("ITL"). It caches information like artist and genre from the audio format's tag capabilities (the ID3 tag, for example) and stores iTunes-specific information like play count and rating. iTunes typically reads library data only from this file. The second file, iTunes Music Library.xml, is refreshed whenever information in iTunes is changed. It uses an XML format, allowing developers to easily write applications that can access the library information (including play count, last played date, and rating, which are not standard fields in the ID3v2.3 format). Apple's own iDVD, iMovie, and iPhoto applications all access the library. If the first file exists but is corrupted, such as by making it zero-length, iTunes will attempt to reconstruct it from the XML file. Detailed third-party instructions regarding this are documented elsewhere. Beginning with iTunes 10.5.3 this behavior has been changed such that the XML file is not read automatically to recreate the database when the database is corrupted. Rather, the user should load the iTunes Library.xml file via File > Library > Import Playlist....
It has also been noted that iTunes does not automatically track changes to actual files in the library. If a file is moved or deleted, iTunes will display an exclamation mark beside the library entry and the user will need to manually amend the library record. Several third party tools address this problem.
iTunes supports ripping from CDs, but not from DVDs. However, in 2008, Apple and select film studios introduced "iTunes Digital Copy", a bonus feature on some DVDs that provides a copy-protected and iTunes-compatible file for select films.
iTunes can also play any audio files that QuickTime can play (as well as some video formats), including Protected AAC files from the iTunes Store and Audible.com audio books. There is limited support for Vorbis and FLAC enclosed in an Ogg container (files using the Ogg container format are not naturally supported) or Speex codecs with the Xiph QuickTime Components. Because tag editing and album art is done within iTunes and not QuickTime, these features will not work with these QuickTime components. As of Snow Leopard, iTunes 9 (Mac) will play HE-AAC / AAC+ internet streams. The latest version of iTunes (Win/Mac) supports importing audio CDs with the default iTunes standard file format of AAC at 256 kbit/s, but users can choose from 16 kbit/s to 320 kbit/s constant bit rates (CBR) in either AAC or MP3.
Importing of audio CDs into MP3 or AAC formats can also be accomplished using variable bitrate (VBR) encoding. However, a double-blind experiment conducted in January 2004 of six MP3 encoders noted that the iTunes encoder came last, in that the quality of the files produced by iTunes was below par. It was stated in the final results that these tests only covered VBR encodings, thus iTunes might have performed better with a constant bitrate (CBR). In a follow-up test performed in October, 2008, iTunes' results were similar to those of the four other MP3 encoders being compared.
The Windows version of iTunes can automatically transcode DRM-free WMA (including version 9) files to other audio formats, but does not support playback of WMA files and will not transcode DRM protected WMA files. Telestream, Inc. provides free codecs for Mac users of QuickTime to enable playback of unprotected Windows Media files. These codecs are recommended by Microsoft.
In addition to importing CDs into the iTunes library, the user can also import non-Apple mp3 files from Amazon.com and other sources. This can be accomplished by either right clicking on the file, selecting open with, and then selecting iTunes or dragging the file into the open iTunes window. Alternatively, for Amazon.com mp3s, the Amazon MP3 Downloader application will automatically import the mp3 files into the iTunes library.
For MP3 files, iTunes writes tags in ID3v2.2 using UCS-2 encoding by default, but converting them to ID3v2.3 (UCS-2 encoding) and ID3v2.4 (which uses UTF-8 encoding) is possible via its "Advanced" > "Convert ID3 Tags" toolbar menu. If both ID3v2.x and ID3v1.x tags are in a file, iTunes ignores the ID3v1.x tags.
Advanced Audio Coding and Apple Lossless files support Unicode metadata, stored in the MPEG-4 Part 14 container as so-called "atoms". The QuickTime plugin that supports the OGG container format has no support for tag editing or album art. iTunes uses the Gracenote interactive audio CD database to provide track name listings for audio CDs. The service can be set to activate when a CD is inserted into the computer and an Internet connection is available. Track names for albums imported to iTunes while not connected to the Internet can be obtained during a later connection, by a manual procedure. For any album loaded into iTunes for which there is not an existing Gracenote track listing, the user can choose to submit track name data to Gracenote.
File metadata is displayed in columns, including album, artist, beats per minute, bit rate, composer, date added, date modified, disc number, genre, last played, last skipped, plays, purchase date, size, skips, time, track number, year, and a few fields that may be supplied by users, such as description, kind, and rating. Metadata fields not loaded with the song, or added by a user, remain blank.
The Genius feature, introduced in iTunes 8, automatically generates a playlist of songs from the user's library which are similar to the selected song. Genius playlists are created by the ratings system and collaborative filtering. An iTunes Store account is required because information about the user's library must first be sent anonymously to Apple's database. Algorithms determine which songs to play based on other users' libraries, and Genius becomes more intelligent given a larger data set. The resulting Genius playlist can contain 25, 50, 75, or 100 songs and can be refreshed for new results or saved. The iTunes Sidebar recommends selections for purchase from the iTunes Store based on the selected library track. Once Genius becomes active in iTunes, it can be used on current generations of the iPod Classic, iPod Nano, iPod Touch or the iPhone. iTunes 9 added Genius Mixes, where the Genius software finds similar music and automatically puts them into mixes. iTunes Genius creates playlists from the user's existing iTunes library based on a single selected song. Genius Mixes create playlists based on the musical genre.
One way of sharing a library is over the network, known as network sharing. A user's iTunes Library can be shared over a local network using the closed, proprietary Digital Audio Access Protocol (DAAP), created by Apple for this purpose. DAAP relies on the Bonjour network service discovery framework, Apple's implementation of the Zeroconf open network standard. Apple has not made the DAAP specification available to the general public, only to third-party licensees such as Roku. However, the protocol has been reverse-engineered and is now used to stream audio from non-Apple software (mainly on the Linux platform). DAAP allows shared lists of songs within the same subnet to be automatically detected. When a song is shared, iTunes can stream the song but won't save it on the local hard drive, in order to prevent unauthorized copying. Songs in Protected AAC format can also be accessed, but authentication is required. A maximum of five users may connect to a single user every 24 hours. The multiple, alternate "View" options normally available to iTunes users including "Cover Flow" are disabled when viewing a shared library over a network.
Library sharing was first introduced with iTunes 4.0, where users could freely access shared music anywhere over the Internet, in addition to one's own subnet, by specifying IP addresses of remote shared song libraries. Apple quickly removed this feature with version 4.0.1, claiming that users were violating the End User License Agreement.
With the release of iTunes 7.0, Apple changed their implementation of DAAP. This change prevents any third-party client, such as a computer running Linux, a modified Xbox, or any computer without iTunes installed, from connecting to a remote iTunes repository. iTunes will still connect as a client to other iTunes servers and to third-party servers.
iTunes libraries can also be shared using the “Home Share” option. This option enables users to share both video and audio files through the application. This allows users to also look for items that they don’t already have. Like network sharing, it allows users to share over the same network to up to five computers. The media can then be transferred to any type of iPod or iPad. To set up home sharing, the two computers being used must be on the same network as well as set up using the same Apple ID.
Another option to share music files is to burn CDs. To do this the user needs to create a playlist with the songs the user wishes to share. If the playlist exceeds roughly twenty songs it is likely they will need to make multiple CDs. By inserting a disk into the disk drive a button on the bottom of the window should give the option to burn a disk. The files are automatically downloaded to the disk and may be uploaded onto another computer or saved as a backup for the user’s computer.
iTunes has four different views for music and video libraries – a song list, an album list, Grid View or Cover Flow.
The standard song list view displays library files with several detail fields.
Album lists are much the same as the standard list view, only the list is broken up by albums, with the artwork as the header of the list. Album lists were introduced in iTunes 10.0, and although this view allows users to browse content more visually, sorting the list view by name will accordingly break up the library into redundant instances of each album.
Cover Flow was introduced in iTunes 7.0 and it displays the album art as CD covers in a sliding format at the top of the screen. Under the album art is a small list of all the songs in that album. Compilation albums are only shown as a single album cover. If there is no album artwork, iTunes will display the default music note pictures.
Grid View is similar to Cover Flow, displaying the user's cover art in a grid rather than a side-scrolling format. While using this view mode, music can be grouped into album, artist, genre, or composer. Grid View was introduced in iTunes 8.0.
iTunes can also sort albums by artist or year, to make its artwork-centered interfaces more intuitive.
In addition to static playlist support, version 3 of iTunes introduced support for smart playlists. Smart playlists are playlists that can be set to automatically filter the library based on a customized list of selection criteria, much like a database query. Multiple criteria can be entered to manage the smart playlist.
Some automatic smart playlists that are added to the user’s library include Top 25 Most Played, Recently Played, Recently Added, My Top Rated, Music Videos, Classical Music, Purchased, and 90’s Music. While creating Smart Playlists the user has to choose whether they want the playlist to be based on genre, whether or not the songs have album artwork, date added, etc. and if they want it to contain or not contain certain genres or artists. For example, a genre like country music, or songs added in a specific month or year, or an individual artist. The user can also limit the amount of songs they want in the playlist or they can leave it as unlimited. The Live Updating option will automatically update their new playlist as their library changes.
Any user of iTunes can publish a playlist to the iTunes Store with his or her own preferences, which is called an iMix.
Introduced in iTunes 4.5, the "Party Shuffle" playlist was intended as a simple DJing aid. By default, it selects tracks randomly from other playlists or the library, but users can override the automatic selections by deleting tracks (iTunes will choose new ones to replace them) or by adding their own via drag-and-drop or contextual menu. This allows a mixture of both preselected and random tracks in the same meta-playlist. The playlist from which Party Shuffle drew could be changed on the fly by the computer user, but doing so will cause all randomly chosen tracks to disappear and be replaced.
Party Shuffle was renamed iTunes DJ in iTunes 8. When iTunes was updated to 8.1, quite a few features were added to iTunes DJ. The free Apple Remote application for the iPhone and iPod Touch was also updated at this time that added a new iTunes DJ option in the settings screen when the user is connected to a Wi-Fi network and a new song request feature is enabled in iTunes DJ on the hosts. Along with the song request feature voting on songs in the queue was added, the more votes a song gets the higher in the queue it will be and the sooner it will be played. Song voting can only be done when song requesting is enabled and in two ways: the first by right clicking on a song in the iTunes DJ queue on the host's computer in iTunes, the second is in the Remote application ether connected with the iTunes DJ option by a guest or by the host in the full playlist section. When song requesting is enabled a customizable welcome message is displayed below the host's shared library name in the button used to connect to iTunes DJ.
Playlists can be played randomly or sequentially. The randomness of the shuffle algorithm can be biased for or against playing multiple tracks from the same album or artists in sequence (a feature introduced in iTunes 5.0, and later discontinued in iTunes 8.0). iTunes DJ can also be biased towards selecting tracks with a higher star rating.
The App section on iTunes keeps track of all of the apps the user has downloaded or purchased. It also organizes their apps by genre and there is another tab that lets the user see all of their apps. It also informs the user when they have updates available for their apps.
iTunes includes sound processing features, such as equalization, "sound enhancement" and crossfade. There is also a feature called "Sound Check" which automatically adjusts the playback volume of all songs in the library to the same level; this is usually called volume leveling or audio normalization. Like "sound enhancement" and crossfade, this can be turned on in the 'Playback' section of iTunes' preferences.
In October 2005 the iTunes Store began to offer the option of downloading television shows. iTunes offers the option of buying individual episodes of TV shows for $1.99 in standard definition or $2.99 in High Definition. The high definition feature on TV shows was added in July 2008. iTunes also offers the ability to buy a season pass for television shows. This allows viewers to buy an entire season that automatically downloads new episodes around twenty-four hours after they air. In the iTunes library, these shows are then categorized by season of the particular show. iTunes also gives the option of ordering shows based on: series, genre, or whether or not the episodes are unwatched. In fall of 2010 iTunes offered TV show rental options, but as of August 2011 this option is no longer offered.
In September 2006 iTunes progressed to selling full-length films. This entails downloading movies from the iTunes store. The prices for these range from: $9.99, $14.99 if it is a new release, and $19.99 if it is in High Definition. iTunes also gives the option of renting movies, which began in January 2008. The price for renting a movie can range from $0.99 if the movie is on sale, $3.99, and $4.99 if the rental is HD. However, iTunes sometimes carries, for a limited time, movies to rent that are available OnDemand, for a price of $6.99 in both SD and HD. Once a rental is downloaded the viewer has thirty days to watch the movie before it expires. Once the viewer begins to watch the movie he/she has twenty-four hours to finish the movie before it expires. Movies can be organized in the iTunes library by title, genre, or unwatched.
On May 9, 2005, video support was introduced to iTunes with the release of iTunes 4.8. Users can drag and drop video clips from the computer into the iTunes Library for cataloguing and organization. They can be viewed in a small frame in the main iTunes display, in a separate window, or fullscreen. Before version 7 provided separate libraries for media types, videos were only distinguished from audio in the Library by a small icon resembling a TV screen and grouped with music in the library, organized by the same musical categories (such as "album" and "composer").
On October 12, 2005, Apple introduced iTunes 6.0, which added support for purchasing and viewing of video content from the iTunes Music Store. The iTunes Music Store initially offered a selection of thousands of Music Videos and five TV shows, including most notably the ABC network's Lost and Desperate Housewives. Disney Channel shows (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and That's So Raven) were also offered 24 hours after airing, as well as episode packs from past seasons. Since then, the collection has expanded to include content from numerous television networks. The iTunes Music Store also gives the ability to view Apple's large collection of film trailers.
As of September 5, 2006, the iTunes Store offers over 550 television shows for download. Additionally, a catalog of 75 feature-length films from Disney-owned studios was introduced. As of April 11, 2007, over 500 feature-length films are available through iTunes.
Originally, films and TV shows were only available to U.S. customers, with the only video content available to non-U.S. customers being music videos and Pixar's short films. This feature is being extended to other countries as licensing issues are resolved.
Video content available from the store used to be encoded as 540 kbit/s Protected MPEG-4 video (H.264) with an approximately 128 kbit/s AAC audio track. Many videos and video podcasts currently require the latest version of QuickTime, QuickTime 7, which is incompatible with older versions of Mac OS (only v10.3.9 and later are supported). On September 12, 2006, the resolution of video content sold on the iTunes Store was increased from 320×240 (QVGA) to 640×480 (VGA). The higher resolution video content is encoded as 1.5 Mbit/s (minimum) Protected MPEG-4 video (H.264) with a minimum 128 kbit/s AAC audio track.
In February 2010, Apple announced the release of the iPad, and along with it a new app for it called iBooks. The application performs two functions. The first function is as a direct link to the iTunes book store, called eponymously iBooks, which can be accessed on iOS devices and computers (Mac or PC). The second was as a storage place for downloaded books (whether free or purchased) from the iBooks store. The format of books from the Apple store (and the only one users could use with iBooks, until PDF functionality was added later) is ePub.
Additional functions were later added in mid-2010 to include annotations and placeholder/bookmarks in any book being read. Also PDF documents were able to be added, and were stored under their own tab in a user's iBooks library, with the same functionality. The iBooks app for the other two iOS devices (iPhone and iPod Touch) was released when iOS 4 was distributed shortly before the release of the iPhone 4.
One current limitation of books (though not PDF documents) is that they can only be read using the app on any iOS device and cannot be read inside iTunes on a user's Mac or PC. PDF documents can be read using Preview or any other PDF reader/editor application the user has on their machine.
On June 7, 2011, iTunes in the Cloud was debuted as part of iTunes 10.3.1. The free feature allows for the wireless synchronization of iTunes Store purchases across multiple devices. This was announced alongside the forthcoming iCloud service, which would synchronize non-iTunes-purchased media across multiple devices.
Version 4 of iTunes introduced the iTunes Store, then named the iTunes Music Store, from which iTunes users can buy and download songs for use on a limited number of computers and an unlimited number of iPods. In previous years, purchased music from the iTunes Store were copy protected with Apple's FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) system which allows protected songs to be played on up to five computers at one time, as well as unlimited devices (iPod, AppleTV, etc.) DRM protected songs cannot be played on computers not authorized to the purchaser's iTunes account. At the 2009 Macworld Conference & Expo, it was announced that the iTunes Music Store would be DRM-free, with all songs digital rights management (DRM)-free by April 2009.
Apple also announced changes in their price tier. They announced that songs will now cost $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29, but did not elaborate on how they will be priced. Observers expected new hits to be $1.29 while older songs will be the cheaper $0.99 or $0.69 tier. However, many record labels have listed whole catalogs by artists with nothing but $1.29 songs, taking advantage of the price option. Due to this, there are very few songs in the iTunes store with a $0.69 price tag.
On January 6, 2009, Phil Schiller announced in his Macworld 2009 keynote speech that over 6 billion songs had been downloaded since the service first launched on April 28, 2003, making it the largest online music store in the world.
At the previous Macworld Expo 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated that the service had set a new single day record of 20 million songs on December 25, 2007. He also announced that the iTunes Store will offer over 1,000 movies for rental by the end of February. The iTunes movie catalog includes content from 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. These movies will also be transferable to all 6th generation iPods.
On February 24, 2010, Apple announced that over 10 billion tracks had been downloaded from the iTunes Store.
As of Tuesday, November 16, 2010, Beatles fans could download their entire catalog digitally via iTunes. Artists whose music remains largely unavailable include Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Kid Rock, Tool, and Bob Seger. Def Leppard albums are no longer available through iTunes.
On May 30, 2007, Apple announced the launch of "iTunes U" via its digital content store iTunes which delivers university lectures through a format called iTunesU. The service was created to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content for students in a college or university. Member institutions have the opportunity to have their own iTunes U site, which facilitates searching for material. The online service is free for uploading or downloading these documents. iTunes U includes lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports, and campus tours provided by many colleges and universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.
Right around the end of 2009/start of 2010, new members' institutions no longer have the capability to upload content to Apple's servers. Any member institutions before that are grandfathered in.
iTunes U has collected materials from a variety of locations around the world, including colleges, universities, museums, libraries and other cultural institutions of educational value. There are currently more than 75,000 files available for download. The Open University in the UK set the record for the most downloads as of October 3, 2011 having reached 40 million downloads.
In late August 2010, iTunes U surpassed 300 million downloads from more than 800 institutions.
Version 4.9 of iTunes, released on June 28, 2005, added built-in support for podcasts.
Users can subscribe to any podcast by entering its RSS feed URL, but also by browsing the podcast directory within iTunes Music Store. The front page of this displays high-profile podcasts from commercial broadcasters and independent podcasters and allows searching by category or popularity. Once subscribed, the podcast can be set to download manually, or automatically — and as with other audio, content can be listened to directly or synced to a portable hardware device like an MP3 player.
The addition of podcasting functionality to such a widespread audio application like iTunes greatly helped podcasting enter the mainstream. Within days after iTunes 4.9 was released, podcasters were reporting that the number of downloads of their audio files had tripled, sometimes even quadrupled, and iTunes is considered the dominant podcast client.
iTunes offers the ability to create "Smart Playlists" that can be used to control which podcasts are in the playlist, using multiple criteria such as date, number of times listened to, type, etc. It is also possible to set up iTunes so that only certain playlists will be synced with the iPod. By using a combination of the two techniques, it is possible to control exactly which music and/or podcasts will be transferred to the iPod. A user may configure a smart playlist to display only podcasts less than two weeks old or removing any podcast that the iPod user has already listened to. This smart playlist is synced with the iPod every time the iPod is plugged into the PC, ensuring that the user does not have to listen to the same show more than once. Once a podcast has been listened to, it will be removed from this list as soon as the iPod is synced with the PC. There are many criteria which can control what goes in a smart playlist, such as "name", "artist", "category", "grouping", "kind", "last played", "play count", "rating", "last skipped", and "playlist" and these can be combined with functions such as "equals", "is greater than", "is less than", "contains", "does not contain", "is true", "is false", "is", "is not", "starts with", "ends with", "is in the range", "is before", and "is after". As a result, it is possible to control exactly which podcasts are transferred to the iPod.
Users can subscribe to RSS feeds through the iTunes Store or by directly entering the feed URL. Video podcasts can contain downloadable video files (in MOV, MP4, M4V, or MPG format), but also streaming sources and even IPTV.
iTunes 2 was the first version of the software to be able to sync with an iPod. iTunes can automatically synchronize its music and video library with an iPod or iPhone every time it is connected. New songs and playlists are automatically copied to the iPod, and songs and playlists that have been deleted from the library on the host computer are also deleted from the iPod. Ratings awarded to songs on the iPod will sync back to the iTunes library and audiobooks will also remember the current playback position.
Automatic synchronization can be turned off in favor of manually copying individual songs or complete playlists. iTunes supports copying music to an iPod; however, only music and videos purchased from the iTunes Store can be transferred from the iPod back to iTunes. This functionality was added after third-party software was written which allowed users to copy all content back to their computer. It is also possible to copy from the iPod using ordinary Unix command line tools, or by enabling hidden file viewing in Windows Explorer, then copying music from the iPod drive to a local disk for backup. Doing this can be confusing because the files are arranged in such a way that their folders and (depending on iPod and iTunes versions) file names are seemingly picked at random as they are put on the iPod. It is worth noting, however, that the files (along with their embedded title and artist information) remain unchanged. It is therefore less confusing to let iTunes reimport, reorganize, and rename all of the files after they are backed up. When music or video purchased through the iTunes Store is copied from an iPod, it will only play on computers that are authorized with the account that was used to purchase them. Several third party utilities can remove this limitation by stripping iTunes DRM from protected files. The legality of using such software in the United States is currently the subject of active debate.
When an iPod is connected that does not contain enough free space to sync the entire iTunes music library, a playlist will be created and given a name matching that of the connected iPod. This playlist can then be modified to the user's preference in song selection to fill the available space.
The Mac OS X version of iTunes can also synchronize with a small number of discontinued digital music players, while the Windows version supports only the iPod. The synchronization is limited, however, in that the iPod is the only digital music player compatible with Apple's proprietary FairPlay digital rights management technology, and thus most music purchased through the iTunes Store (before the introduction of iTunes Plus) can only be played on an iPod. The remaining ability to synchronize with a limited number of legacy digital music players is likely a remnant of Apple's history in the music industry: iTunes was released in January 2001, nine months prior to the iPod's unveiling, and slightly more than two years before the introduction of the iTunes Music Store. When iTunes was released, compatibility with other music players was critical. Since iPod has now become the dominant digital music player, Apple no longer considers that compatibility to be a necessity.
In June 2009, Palm Inc released the Palm Pre, which has the ability to sync with both the Windows and Mac OS X version of iTunes by identifying itself to iTunes as an iPod. The Pre is able to sync only DRM-free music. However, on July 14, 2009, Apple released iTunes version 8.2.1, which prevented the Palm Pre from syncing directly with iTunes. Then on July 23, 2009, Palm Inc released WebOS 1.1, re-enabling syncing between iTunes 8.2.1 and the Palm Pre. But Apple again prevented Palm Pre syncing with the release of iTunes 9.
A number of unsupported third-party applications have been created to assist synchronization of songs with any music player that can be mounted as an external drive. Though iTunes is the only official method for synchronizing with the iPod, there are other applications available that allow the iPod to sync with other software players.
As of iTunes 7, purchased music can be copied from the iPod onto the computer. The computer must be authorized by that iTunes account. iTunes currently allows up to 5 computers to be authorized on one account. To de-authorize and register new computers thereafter, all accounts must be deleted, followed by registering the live one. This can be done only once a year.
iTunes does not feature any transfer facility for importing music files between computers directly. This is being addressed in September 2011 by iCloud, but only tracks that Apple sell in their iTunes Store are available (in 256 kbit/s AAC format) without uploading them to iCloud first. Any other tracks, that are either not available in the Store or that the user wants in different encoding can be uploaded to the iCloud with 5 GB of free space and the, as yet undisclosed, potential to purchase more storage. Though what audio formats will be accepted for upload has not been confirmed.
iTunes managed content can also be accessed via the Apple TV set-top box. Files in the iTunes library can either be synchronized with the Apple TV unit, which results in their being copied to the Apple TV's hard drive (for the first generation Apple TV), or streamed to the Apple TV directly from a Macintosh or PC. Apple TV does not require the use of iTunes (as of the 'Take Two' software update) and can now import files from the iTunes Store directly over the internet.
As of iTunes 9.1, it is possible to sync the iPad to iTunes, allowing music, movies, applications and iBooks to be synced to the iPad. As of 10.5, iTunes supports syncing the iPhone using both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Beginning with the introduction of the original iPhone, iTunes can activate their phone through their mobile carrier. The original plan for the iPhone 3G was to have the carrier authenticate it at the point of sale, either through iTunes or through the carrier's own activation interface. However, a worldwide crash of iTunes' authentication servers on July 11, 2008, the day that the iPhone 3G was released, caused major issues. In some cases, AT&T and Apple Store employees told iPhone buyers to attempt to activate it at home. Also affected were original iPhone users attempting to upgrade to the 2.0 firmware. UK Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores were further impacted, as carrier O2's contract processing servers (known as Gateway) could not handle the amount of new contracts and upgrades happening on launch day. Some stores reverted to hand written contracts, while others held stock. With the launch of the iPhone 3GS on June 19, 2009, iTunes at home activation was available for people purchasing their iPhone from AT&T and Apple. This allowed them to activate their new iPhone 3G/iPhone 3GS at home when they arrived.
In Mac OS X, iTunes is tightly integrated with Apple's iWork and iLife suites. These applications can access the iTunes Library directly, allowing access to the playlists and songs stored within (including encrypted music purchased from the iTunes Store). Music files from iTunes can be embedded directly into Pages documents and can supply the score for iDVD, iMovie, and Keynote productions. iTunes is also integrated with Front Row, compiling its information from the user's iTunes and iPhoto libraries. In addition, any song exported from GarageBand, Apple's basic music-making application, is automatically added to the user's iTunes music library. iTunes's Artwork.saver is a screen saver included in Mac OS X v10.4 that displays album artwork as a screen saver. iTunes widget is a Dashboard Widget that controls iTunes.
In Windows, Adobe Photoshop Elements can connect to iTunes in order to stream its photo library on Apple TV.
Moreover, iTunes can be scripted, using AppleScript for Mac OS X or using the Apple-provided SDK for iTunes on Windows allowing many other applications to integrate themselves into iTunes. A common use is to relay the title and artist of what the user is currently listening to into their instant messenger, or social networking service. LimeWire, which closed on October 26, 2010, was a peer-to-peer program that provided integration with iTunes, adding songs from LimeWire directly to your iTunes library without sharing your iTunes purchased songs.
In addition, visualizer plugins and device plugins are supported. Visualizer plugins allow developers to create music-driven visual displays and free software development kits are available for Mac and Windows can be from Apple.
Apple Inc. also offers a free iOS application that allows the user to remotely control their iTunes library or Apple TV over DACP. This can be downloaded from iTunes itself or directly from one's iOS device. It is only compatible with iOS v2.0 and above. In terms of usage, it is very similar to the iPod application that is included with all iPhones, with the only difference is the lack of Cover Flow support.
Though iTunes itself can be installed where the user desires, ancillary applications such as Bonjour which are part of the iTunes installation cannot be placed in a user-desired directory.
To compensate for the lack of a physical CD, iTunes can print custom-made jewel case inserts as well as song lists and album lists. After burning a CD from a playlist, one can select that playlist and bring up a dialog box with several print options. The user can choose to print either a single album cover (for purchased iTunes albums) or a compilation cover (for user-created playlists). iTunes then automatically sets up a template with art on one side and track titles on the other.
An iMix is a free user-created playlist published in the iTunes Store. iMixes were first introduced in iTunes version 4.5. However, they are limited to 100 songs, must feature content available on the iTunes Store, and are active for one year from their original published date. iMixes are public and searchable by any iTunes user, and can be rated using a five-star system. Users can publish their iTunes iMix to their blog, profile page, or website.
When iTunes was first released, it came with support for the Kerbango Internet radio tuner service, giving users a selection of some of the more popular online radio streams available. When Kerbango went out of business in 2001, Apple created its own Internet radio service for use with iTunes 2.0 and later. As of February 2008, the iTunes radio service features 1795 "radio stations", mostly in MP3 streaming format. Programming covers many genres of music and talk, including streams from both internet-only sources and traditional radio stations. iTunes also supports the .pls and .m3u stream file formats used by Winamp and other media players.
Since the release of iTunes 7, Apple no longer promotes the Internet radio feature, though it remains in the application. Some third-parties offer iTunes plugins that add additional radio stations.
In addition, users are able to enter additional stream feeds to listen to in their own music libraries. This is done by selecting the menu item "Advanced" > "Open Audio Stream..." or by the hotkey Ctrl-U (PC) or Command-U (Mac).
Apple revealed a new feature within iTunes 10 on September 1, 2010 called 'Ping', which is intended to bring a social music networking component to users of iTunes. It is not available in all countries yet. Ping can be connected to user's Twitter accounts. Ping connects user accounts of iTunes, allowing iTunes users to share and recommend music to one another.
Ping lets users follow artists to see the photos and videos they have posted, their tour dates, playlists they have created, and their comments on other artists’ albums. Users can create a profile so their friends can see who they are following, what they’re listening to and what concerts they are going to. Ping also shows users' top 10 lists of songs and albums among the people they follow. It also gives you artist recommendations to follow based on their library and preference options.
The revised policy states that Apple has the right to share this information with 3rd parties who provide services to the customer, including advertising and promotion services. Apple also states that "it may be necessary" to provide this [real-time] information in response to "requests from public and governmental authorities within or outside your country of residence or if [Apple] determines that for purposes of national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary or appropriate.... Additionally, in the event of a reorganization, merger, or sale we may transfer any and all personal information we collect to the relevant third party."
The revised policy does not make any distinction between warrant-based and warrantless searches, nor provide what criteria would trigger the sharing of personal real-time information with government entities, nor allow an opt-out for the location-based information.
The revised policy prompted the co-chairs of the Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus of the United States House of Representatives to request that Apple respond to nine basic privacy questions out of concern of possible violation of that country's Federal Communications Act. The Caucus stated it was pleased with Apple's prompt written explanations, and stated they would continue to monitor the issue.
The Telegraph reported in November 2011 that Apple had been aware of a security flaw since 2008, that would let unauthorized third parties install "updates" to end-user's iTunes' software. They reported that a security writer named Brian Krebs had informed Apple of the vulnerability in 2008. They reported that the flaw was only closed in November 2011. They reported that United Kingdom security software firm Gamma International developed a program named FinFisher, intended to covertly spy on computer uses, which can be clandestinely installed via bogus updates to iTunes' software. Der Spiegel reported Gamma International had advertised the capability to clandestinely install FinFisher by exploiting this iTunes vulnerability.
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