Tuesday, May 17, 2016

iTunes 12.4

Kirk McElhearn:

When I reviewed iTunes 12 back in late 2014, I said, “Overall, I find the navigation confusing—it requires too many clicks to get around.” I find the changes Apple has wrought to the interface of iTunes 12.4 to be both positive and intuitive, and I think all users will find these new ways of navigation to be more efficient, once they get used to them.

Navigating iTunes is now—or, again—centered on the sidebar and a single menu in the navigation bar. (You can show or hide the sidebar in the View menu.) Instead of a lot of confusing media kind buttons in the navigation bar, there is now a popup menu that Apple calls the Media Picker. Click it to choose a media library, edit the Media Picker menu, or mount another iTunes library with Home Sharing.


Apple has thankfully merged the two different types of contextual menus, in most locations. Instead of one menu displaying when you click the ... button, and another when you right-click an item, the menus are the same, and work in the same way.

Kirk McElhearn:

But there are a lot of little changes I’ve spotted in the latest version of iTunes. Here are some of them[…]

Doug Adams:

Apple released iTunes 12.4 today. It features a significant UI change as well as updates under the hood. And AppleScript additions!

Benjamin Mayo:

The sidebar is a resurrection from the days of iTunes 11. I like the sidebar better than the transient popover (OS X has enough screen real estate to allow such affordances) but it hasn’t been thought through. It’s shoddy and incomplete. There are distinct sidebar sources for Albums and Compilations and yet selecting Albums still shows Compilations in the detail view when you scroll down. Some media types do not hide the sidebar but have no sidebar items to choose between (Podcasts). Many media views have no sidebar at all, leading to jarring transitions between tabs, including all of Apple Music.

See also: MacRumors.

Update (2016-05-20): Kirk McElhearn:

As timmorrislw points out in the comments, there’s a new iCloud Status of No Longer Available. This shows tracks that you added to your Apple Music library that record labels are no longer allowing to be streamed. It’s interesting to create a smart playlist with this condition, to find how many tracks have been removed. Previously, I had, as the comments said, a smart playlist excluding all the other statuses. Out of 16,000 tracks in my Apple Music library, 843 are no longer available.

Update (2016-05-21): Doug Adams:

The podcast value for media kind will confuse older scripts that look for the podcast property of track. The podcast property for track (“is this track a podcast episode?”) was removed in iTunes 12.4. Similarly, the iTunes U property of track has also been removed and is now a value for media kind.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

It's definitely better reversing some of the incomprehensible UI choices of the past few years. However it's still embarrassing that iTunes from 7 years ago seems so much better than the current version.

From Kirk's blog post:

The Song menu is new. (I mentioned this in the Macworld article.) It features all the menu items that are available in contextual menus. But this menu is itself contextual; if you’re viewing your Movies library, it changes to Movie; if you’re looking at audiobooks, it says Audiobook.

Contextual menu bar items? Burn it down. Burn it all down...

Chris Snazell

I've never bothered with Apple Music or iTunes Match but I've seen all the bad behaviour in iTunes that people are laying at the door of these services. Albums mysteriously being deleted, album art & metadata being corrupted, the whole nine yards. My current bugbear is that for some artists iTunes has decided to create a duplicate entry and as I play tracks listed against the initial artist entry they are being transferred to the duplicate entry and being moved around on the file system.

Have I hit up the feedback site & told them about it? No. Nothing I've ever reported to the feedback site has ever been fixed. I chased them for years over the problem that if you list an artist's albums by year and then play the artist's work iTunes plays the albums in alphabetical order. 12.4 still does it.

As a consumer I've given up on iOS because the platform has slowly but steadily reached the point where it's now actively hostile to how I use my phone and iTunes, as the gatekeeper to an iDevice, has played a significant part in that.

While spinning it as not a "bad idea", Gruber does note the sheer damn weirdness of a contextual menu bar item on the Mac.

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