Apple Updates iOS Remote App, Fixes Album Artwork Display Bug

Part 13 of my Fixing iTunes series discussed the Remote app. This iOS app lets you remotely control iTunes, or an Apple TV. Since the release of iOS 8, this app has had a bug: on most iOS devices, album artwork did not display. Apple has released an update to this app, squashing that bug. You can download this from the App Store app or the iTunes Store on a computer.

This is the second of my Fixing iTunes gripes that have been fixed since I ran my series. The first was a redesign of the layout of the iTunes Info window. I hope many more of my suggested fixes get mended too.

Note: I see the fix on my iPhone 5s, and I’ve heard from others who are seeing it on other devices. If you’re not seeing album art, post a comment below.

20 thoughts on “Apple Updates iOS Remote App, Fixes Album Artwork Display Bug

  1. The update didn’t work for me. But then I was trouble shooting it AGAIN, this morning and noticed if I scroll up and down in iTunes on the computer with the Remote app open, the covers load in the app. When you close the app the covers disappear again. So I got to thinking maybe it’s The Cloud. I turned off iTunes Match and all the covers started to load of locally stored media! It’s iTunes Match that is the problem; it doesn’t speak to REMOTE correctly (or vice-versa). But now I have to consolidate, reload and download everything that is not showing up. 800+ albums have disappeared. Not impressed!

    • I’m not sure I understand. The Remote app has nothing to do with iTunes Match, it is only for controlling iTunes locally, or controlling an Apple TV. Perhaps you just had a network issue that slowed things down? Or perhaps this is a new bug with the Remote app.

      Also, you’re saying that albums have disappeared; do you mean from your iOS device, or your computer?

    • Yes indeed – I have noticed many times that you can “coerce” the artwork into loading on the remote app if you scroll up and down in iTunes. Basically, anything you do in iTunes (switch playlists, views, etc.) causes the remote app to start communicating more fluidly again with iTunes. That’s not by any means a solution, but it does potentially tell us something for troubleshooting purposes.

      Unfortunately, the idea of turning off iTunes match did not work for me, as I never had that enabled. I tried disabling iTunes store and other settings to minimize or eliminate iTunes’ interaction with “the cloud”, but so far, nothing has worked 100%.

      • The other thing I noticed is that if I go into iTunes preferences and then LEAVE the preferences dialog open, then the artwork loads just fine on the remote app! It’s kind of an inconvenient workaround, but it does seem to work. (My iTunes is 64-bit for Windows 7.)

        • My setup is the same 64-7 Pro. It’s working on iPhone in Album view fine, but Artists view is still sketchy. Doesn’t totally load covers. iPad is still messed up. Once you close the app, only about 100 or so covers are still there upon reopening. And then as you scroll on iPad they VERY SLOWLY start to load. Even if you put the app in background and not completely close it, you still lose the covers again. And it’s worse on iPad because the artists names do not accompany the Album name. So with no art you don’t really know which album it is. Especially when you have 1300 albums. Not fun! At least the iPhone version still has both Album Title and Artist Name in Album View so you can figure it out.

          • Thanks Kev. Great feedback. I can’t believe that this is still so messed up. I keep thinking something will fix it – iTunes update, etc. But nothing does.

            Have you tried to go into iTunes and open the preferences dialog and just leave it open? Then see how the iPad behaves in the remote app. I am not saying this is a solution, or even a reasonable workaround. I just want to see if someone else can recreate this effect where leaving the preferences dialog open in iTunes has a positive effect on loading the album art on the iOS device running the remote app. It seems to keep the communications open.

            I noticed by using “window spy” that comes with Autohotkey that when I inspect the class, iTunes says the class is iTunes. But when I open the preferences dialog, the class is “iTunesCustomModalDialog”. Somehow, keeping that preferences screen up causes iTunes to continue to communicate the artwork to the remote app. Otherwise, it just freezes over time, and stops loading artwork. It eventually resumes and loads a few more, but then stops. But when I force the preferences dialog to stay open, the artwork always loads quickly on the iOS device that is running the remote app.

            • Jerome: I know this is a long-forgotten thread, but I stumbled upon this exchange and wanted to comment.

              I have long had the issue of artwork delivery being delayed (or not delivered at all) to iOS devices and (especially) my Apple TV (3rd gen.) I recently migrated my music library from a local hard drive to a home NAS, and still the problem persisted. I am a stickler for album art, so this drove me a little nuts.

              One thing I had discovered is that if art wasn’t making it to the Apple TV I could fire up the remote app in either my iPhone or iPad, and this forced the artwork onto the Apple TV display. It seemed like such a stupid, unnecessary step, but doing it “solved” the problem.

              Your “solution” is even better, though, and remarkable for how quickly the art displays. Even with the app on in one of my iDevices, there would frequently be a 2-3 second delay before the art appeared. By leaving the preferences dialog box open on the PC iTunes app, the artwork delivery is instantaneous.

              So, first, thank you for this. Second, since then, have you come to discover why this is or if there is a more elegant solution? Periodically I google the issue but rarely see anything useful. I assume part of the problem lies in my having a mud-blood system (Windows PC and iTunes app, Apple everything else), so 100% Apple ecosystems don’t run into this.

              Anyway, don’t know if you’ll see this, but thanks again.

  2. The update didn’t work for me. But then I was trouble shooting it AGAIN, this morning and noticed if I scroll up and down in iTunes on the computer with the Remote app open, the covers load in the app. When you close the app the covers disappear again. So I got to thinking maybe it’s The Cloud. I turned off iTunes Match and all the covers started to load of locally stored media! It’s iTunes Match that is the problem; it doesn’t speak to REMOTE correctly (or vice-versa). But now I have to consolidate, reload and download everything that is not showing up. 800+ albums have disappeared. Not impressed!

    • I’m not sure I understand. The Remote app has nothing to do with iTunes Match, it is only for controlling iTunes locally, or controlling an Apple TV. Perhaps you just had a network issue that slowed things down? Or perhaps this is a new bug with the Remote app.

      Also, you’re saying that albums have disappeared; do you mean from your iOS device, or your computer?

    • Yes indeed – I have noticed many times that you can “coerce” the artwork into loading on the remote app if you scroll up and down in iTunes. Basically, anything you do in iTunes (switch playlists, views, etc.) causes the remote app to start communicating more fluidly again with iTunes. That’s not by any means a solution, but it does potentially tell us something for troubleshooting purposes.

      Unfortunately, the idea of turning off iTunes match did not work for me, as I never had that enabled. I tried disabling iTunes store and other settings to minimize or eliminate iTunes’ interaction with “the cloud”, but so far, nothing has worked 100%.

      • The other thing I noticed is that if I go into iTunes preferences and then LEAVE the preferences dialog open, then the artwork loads just fine on the remote app! It’s kind of an inconvenient workaround, but it does seem to work. (My iTunes is 64-bit for Windows 7.)

        • My setup is the same 64-7 Pro. It’s working on iPhone in Album view fine, but Artists view is still sketchy. Doesn’t totally load covers. iPad is still messed up. Once you close the app, only about 100 or so covers are still there upon reopening. And then as you scroll on iPad they VERY SLOWLY start to load. Even if you put the app in background and not completely close it, you still lose the covers again. And it’s worse on iPad because the artists names do not accompany the Album name. So with no art you don’t really know which album it is. Especially when you have 1300 albums. Not fun! At least the iPhone version still has both Album Title and Artist Name in Album View so you can figure it out.

          • Thanks Kev. Great feedback. I can’t believe that this is still so messed up. I keep thinking something will fix it – iTunes update, etc. But nothing does.

            Have you tried to go into iTunes and open the preferences dialog and just leave it open? Then see how the iPad behaves in the remote app. I am not saying this is a solution, or even a reasonable workaround. I just want to see if someone else can recreate this effect where leaving the preferences dialog open in iTunes has a positive effect on loading the album art on the iOS device running the remote app. It seems to keep the communications open.

            I noticed by using “window spy” that comes with Autohotkey that when I inspect the class, iTunes says the class is iTunes. But when I open the preferences dialog, the class is “iTunesCustomModalDialog”. Somehow, keeping that preferences screen up causes iTunes to continue to communicate the artwork to the remote app. Otherwise, it just freezes over time, and stops loading artwork. It eventually resumes and loads a few more, but then stops. But when I force the preferences dialog to stay open, the artwork always loads quickly on the iOS device that is running the remote app.

            • Jerome: I know this is a long-forgotten thread, but I stumbled upon this exchange and wanted to comment.

              I have long had the issue of artwork delivery being delayed (or not delivered at all) to iOS devices and (especially) my Apple TV (3rd gen.) I recently migrated my music library from a local hard drive to a home NAS, and still the problem persisted. I am a stickler for album art, so this drove me a little nuts.

              One thing I had discovered is that if art wasn’t making it to the Apple TV I could fire up the remote app in either my iPhone or iPad, and this forced the artwork onto the Apple TV display. It seemed like such a stupid, unnecessary step, but doing it “solved” the problem.

              Your “solution” is even better, though, and remarkable for how quickly the art displays. Even with the app on in one of my iDevices, there would frequently be a 2-3 second delay before the art appeared. By leaving the preferences dialog box open on the PC iTunes app, the artwork delivery is instantaneous.

              So, first, thank you for this. Second, since then, have you come to discover why this is or if there is a more elegant solution? Periodically I google the issue but rarely see anything useful. I assume part of the problem lies in my having a mud-blood system (Windows PC and iTunes app, Apple everything else), so 100% Apple ecosystems don’t run into this.

              Anyway, don’t know if you’ll see this, but thanks again.

  3. ‘Sort By Artist’ is still broken. It used to sort the Album view by Artist when enabled. It hasn’t done that for a while now.

  4. ‘Sort By Artist’ is still broken. It used to sort the Album view by Artist when enabled. It hasn’t done that for a while now.

  5. In response to George Scarlett on Dec 1, 2017:
    I am glad you were able to use my workaround for the artwork. Unfortunately, I have no idea why that works, and I have not found any better solution since.

    I would also like to mention that I to have a “mud-blood system”, and I have often wondered in the past if this may be related to the issue. Perhaps Apple engineers never encounter the problem in an all apple environment. Just for the record, my PC runs windows 7 64-bit, and I have a linksys router. I also tried installing iTunes XP and also a 32-bit Windows 7 system, but the problem with the artwork was always the same.

    Perhaps one day, I will test this with an Apple router and see if that changes anything. But for now, I just use the workaround of leaving the preferences dialog box open on the PC iTunes app.

    Jerome

  6. In response to George Scarlett on Dec 1, 2017:
    I am glad you were able to use my workaround for the artwork. Unfortunately, I have no idea why that works, and I have not found any better solution since.

    I would also like to mention that I to have a “mud-blood system”, and I have often wondered in the past if this may be related to the issue. Perhaps Apple engineers never encounter the problem in an all apple environment. Just for the record, my PC runs windows 7 64-bit, and I have a linksys router. I also tried installing iTunes XP and also a 32-bit Windows 7 system, but the problem with the artwork was always the same.

    Perhaps one day, I will test this with an Apple router and see if that changes anything. But for now, I just use the workaround of leaving the preferences dialog box open on the PC iTunes app.

    Jerome

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