Apple Releases iTunes 12.7; Removes iOS App Store

Apple has released iTunes 12.7, which features a major revamp of the content types available from the app. Notably, the App Store is no longer include in iTunes. You can now only download apps to iOS devices.

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Apple says the following about this update:

  • Apps: Looking for your past iOS app downloads? Learn how to redownload apps on your iOS device.
  • iTunes U: Collections of iTunes U content appear in the Podcasts section of iTunes.
  • Internet Radio: Your Internet Radio stations appear in your music library’s sidebar. Click Edit in the sidebar to show or hide Internet Radio.
  • Ringtones: iOS 11 supports redownloading ringtones directly to your iOS device, without the need to use iTunes on your Mac or PC.
  • Books on Windows: Books on iTunes for Windows are managed in iBooks for iOS. Learn how to redownload books on an iOS device.

This change will be problematic for many users. Since you can no longer sync apps from iTunes, if you have multiple iOS devices, you’ll need to download apps to each device individually. This means that if you have limited bandwidth, or bandwidth caps, you may have problems getting your apps and updates. Also, if you have a bunch of apps that you don’t keep on your devices, you will no longer be able to sync them when you want to from iTunes. I have about 20 GB of apps on my iMac, that I have downloaded at different times, some of which I occasionally put on one of my four iOS devices. While those apps are still in my iTunes Media folder after updating iTunes, there is now no way I can sync them to my devices.

This is also problematic if you have to restore an iOS device. You now need to re-download every app on your device, rather than syncing from iTunes. This could take a very long time for some users.

I think Apple is going to get a lot of flak for this. Not everyone has the luxury of fast, unmetered internet access, and this will lead to problems for many users. I generally found it easier to update apps in iTunes, then sync my devices, and this is no longer possible.

I strongly suggest that you hold off updating if you need to sync apps from your computer. This could be problematic for many people who don’t have the bandwidth to constantly re-download apps.

Update: in this article, I discuss other new features in iTunes 12.7.