Do You Think iTunes is Bloated?

One of the common tropes I see on the internet about iTunes is the fact that the program is “bloated.” A lot of people who know very little about programming or computers in general repeat this in forums and on blogs, and I’ve always wondered why people say this. Granted, iTunes has a lot of features, but if you don’t use certain features, why would they bother you? For example, Microsoft Word has lots of features, one of which is a set of reviewing features for tracking changes, comparing documents, and more. This is something I often use professionally, but most people don’t even know about it. Does this make Word bloated?

I’m planning to write an article about this, and I’m looking for input. If you’re one of those people who accuses iTunes of bloat, I’d appreciate your posting a comment here to tell me exactly what you mean. Do you mean the size of the program? (This is 2010, so it’s not about hard disk space or even the size of an installer or updater that you have to download.) Do you mean that it has features you don’t need? (Well, what about the people who do need and use those features?)

I’ve looked at this article, and I find it a bit surprising. Sure, iTunes installs QuickTime; it needs QuickTime to play back media files. It installs Bonjour for iTunes library sharing. Mobile Device Support is for, well, mobile devices. And Apple Software Update is to make updates easier. Is 200 MB really that big an issue in the days of terabyte hard disks?

I’m especially interested in hearing from anyone who understands Windows internals and any memory issues that may exist. I’ve read a lot of people who complain about memory usage on Windows, and, while I run Windows using VMware Fusion, I only use iTunes there for test purposes, and have never seen problems. I’m wondering how much any memory issues could be caused by iTunes, and how much they are simply due to people using old PCs without much memory, or old versions of Windows. (To be honest, the “iTunes bloat” meme seems to come only from Windows users…)

In any case, feel free to comment below. Pass this on to others, as I’m really trying to get to the bottom of this question. Thanks!

146 thoughts on “Do You Think iTunes is Bloated?

    • 1. Do the features in it that I don’t use get in my way? No. Generally, you can hide them or work around them very easily.
      2. Are the features I use readily available and predictably functional?
      3. Are there lags due to the size of a 60k+ file library? No, but you need modern hardware. My 2004 Mac works very slowly with a library this size. My current one not at all. But I have plenty or RAM and a excellent processor.
      4. Are there more features in the program than are necessary? I don’t know, and I don’t care as long as i can assess my music and movies, add apps to my phone and see a responsive, easy to use interface.

    • 1. Do the features in it that I don’t use get in my way? No. Generally, you can hide them or work around them very easily.
      2. Are the features I use readily available and predictably functional?
      3. Are there lags due to the size of a 60k+ file library? No, but you need modern hardware. My 2004 Mac works very slowly with a library this size. My current one not at all. But I have plenty or RAM and a excellent processor.
      4. Are there more features in the program than are necessary? I don’t know, and I don’t care as long as i can assess my music and movies, add apps to my phone and see a responsive, easy to use interface.

  1. Yes. iTunes is VERY bloated. Apple needs to have a re-do of iTunes and separate it into multiple apps. The sad part is that there’s no good alternative- the closest thing is DoubleTwist, but that’s only good for syncing- the playback UI in DoubleTwist isn’t ideal.

  2. Yes. iTunes is VERY bloated. Apple needs to have a re-do of iTunes and separate it into multiple apps. The sad part is that there’s no good alternative- the closest thing is DoubleTwist, but that’s only good for syncing- the playback UI in DoubleTwist isn’t ideal.

  3. Personally, I think both MS Word and Win iTunes are bloated. That is, that the number of features and dependencies required by these perceptually monolithic apps render them unstable.

    Both are heavyweights, iTunes eats double the memory that my Firefox with 30 tabs open uses. Personally, looking at Win/Safari (I use foobar anymore as a media player when I’m forced to work in Windows) is because it isn’t coded using what Windows laughably calls standards. It uses internal wrappers for OS X-oriented APIs. It’s the same thing with Safari, which refuses to use Windows font-rendering, and uses its own implementation.

    You’ve already mentioned that it installs Bonjour instead of using Windows zeroconf, and the iPod service too. It requires QuickTime because it won’t use DirectX, but it means many layers of services and virtualization that actual native apps use.

    Word is just a cruft-laden mess that needs to be recoded. Know anyone who uses mail merge?

  4. Personally, I think both MS Word and Win iTunes are bloated. That is, that the number of features and dependencies required by these perceptually monolithic apps render them unstable.

    Both are heavyweights, iTunes eats double the memory that my Firefox with 30 tabs open uses. Personally, looking at Win/Safari (I use foobar anymore as a media player when I’m forced to work in Windows) is because it isn’t coded using what Windows laughably calls standards. It uses internal wrappers for OS X-oriented APIs. It’s the same thing with Safari, which refuses to use Windows font-rendering, and uses its own implementation.

    You’ve already mentioned that it installs Bonjour instead of using Windows zeroconf, and the iPod service too. It requires QuickTime because it won’t use DirectX, but it means many layers of services and virtualization that actual native apps use.

    Word is just a cruft-laden mess that needs to be recoded. Know anyone who uses mail merge?

  5. I begin by assuming the main complaint is a lack of responsiveness, contributing to a perception of a loss of performance (or ‘speed’) over time.

    Non-programmers usually discover the casual correlation between increasing features and decreasing performance (even if they don’t use those features) and reach the conclusion that the one must have caused the other. This is somewhat understandable, as it is very difficult for a non-programmer (or even a programmer who is not intimately familiar with the codebase) to obtain any provable evidence of what can cause a program to become slower over time. And as most people of a logical persuasion know from experience, the majority of the human population is prone to jumping to conclusions without provable evidence. Q.E.D.

  6. I begin by assuming the main complaint is a lack of responsiveness, contributing to a perception of a loss of performance (or ‘speed’) over time.

    Non-programmers usually discover the casual correlation between increasing features and decreasing performance (even if they don’t use those features) and reach the conclusion that the one must have caused the other. This is somewhat understandable, as it is very difficult for a non-programmer (or even a programmer who is not intimately familiar with the codebase) to obtain any provable evidence of what can cause a program to become slower over time. And as most people of a logical persuasion know from experience, the majority of the human population is prone to jumping to conclusions without provable evidence. Q.E.D.

  7. In my opinion it is bloated too, because it feels slow (iMac i7, 8Gb RAM) – lags, occasional freezes. I like it though!

    • Some operations are slow for me, but I have a library of 55,000 tracks, and I’m sure that makes certain things (ripping and tagging, notably) slower than with smaller libraries. How big is your library.

      • I’ll check as soon as I’m home, but rather big too, I guess. And we are 3 users on this home computer, with iTunes open on each account… but nevertheless, we had less performance issues with older versions (before 9 I think).

      • OK, _rather_ big: 9000 tracks (+ 64 films and 264 TV series) on the main account, 2000 tracks on each other account. We also use the sharing feature a lot.
        It has certainly become some sort of media center, general purpose, maybe at the expense of the usual elegant Apple way.

  8. In my opinion it is bloated too, because it feels slow (iMac i7, 8Gb RAM) – lags, occasional freezes. I like it though!

    • Some operations are slow for me, but I have a library of 55,000 tracks, and I’m sure that makes certain things (ripping and tagging, notably) slower than with smaller libraries. How big is your library.

      • I’ll check as soon as I’m home, but rather big too, I guess. And we are 3 users on this home computer, with iTunes open on each account… but nevertheless, we had less performance issues with older versions (before 9 I think).

      • OK, _rather_ big: 9000 tracks (+ 64 films and 264 TV series) on the main account, 2000 tracks on each other account. We also use the sharing feature a lot.
        It has certainly become some sort of media center, general purpose, maybe at the expense of the usual elegant Apple way.

  9. Apple has stuffed so much into iTunes that it feels a bit cumbersome to use. But the bigger issue for me is one of performance.

    • Come on, Dan, tell me more… As I said in another comment, it’s slow for me when I do certain things, but I’m not surprised given the size of my library. I’m guessing you have a big library too…?

  10. Apple has stuffed so much into iTunes that it feels a bit cumbersome to use. But the bigger issue for me is one of performance.

    • Come on, Dan, tell me more… As I said in another comment, it’s slow for me when I do certain things, but I’m not surprised given the size of my library. I’m guessing you have a big library too…?

  11. Bloated means full of rarely used features. I use everything in iTunes, if anything, I Tunes needs more features. Gor instance, you cant even play it in mono mode if you have a broken speaker or one speaker inside and one outside for instance!!!

    • Hmm, that’s an interesting comment. I don’t know if other music player software lets you play in one-speaker mode.

    • That is a very good point. I am deaf of one side. Although I can hear without any problems with speakers, evidently using headphones is a struggle and I tried several ways and cables to convert to mono and I did not get very far.

    • @relaxo:
      I agree. I have dozens of Doug’s Scripts, and at least 6 helper apps for the functionality I need. iTunes needs more features, not less.

  12. Bloated means full of rarely used features. I use everything in iTunes, if anything, I Tunes needs more features. Gor instance, you cant even play it in mono mode if you have a broken speaker or one speaker inside and one outside for instance!!!

    • Hmm, that’s an interesting comment. I don’t know if other music player software lets you play in one-speaker mode.

    • That is a very good point. I am deaf of one side. Although I can hear without any problems with speakers, evidently using headphones is a struggle and I tried several ways and cables to convert to mono and I did not get very far.

    • @relaxo:
      I agree. I have dozens of Doug’s Scripts, and at least 6 helper apps for the functionality I need. iTunes needs more features, not less.

  13. ITunes is a memory hog. It also takes too long to accomplish its work of moving digerati from CD to hard disk to player. My ITunes never worked properly. I also had to send the I-Pod. My I-Pod sits uselessly next to my computer. I had to erase my hard disk to get
    rid of ITunes. There is no uninstall to remove it. I then moved to a
    Sansa but found I couldn’t organize tunes in order with it unless I
    received an ordered download from someone who knew what they
    were doing. Even if you arranged chapters in order, that still didn’t
    guarantee chapters would play in order. Finally, about two months ago I found a cheap $18 battery/AC Memorex DVD player that would play a CD in order. I carry it when I’m running. Its not too inconvenient and it doesn’t jostle, though I can’t carry it anywhere but in my hand or it will. The cheap Memorex player has solved my problem.

    • Okay, memory hog; can you be more specific? (Because what I’m looking for is specifics. No one seems to want to provide them.) How much RAM do you have in your computer?

      As for ripping CDs, that’s probably the fault of the speed of your CD drive…

  14. ITunes is a memory hog. It also takes too long to accomplish its work of moving digerati from CD to hard disk to player. My ITunes never worked properly. I also had to send the I-Pod. My I-Pod sits uselessly next to my computer. I had to erase my hard disk to get
    rid of ITunes. There is no uninstall to remove it. I then moved to a
    Sansa but found I couldn’t organize tunes in order with it unless I
    received an ordered download from someone who knew what they
    were doing. Even if you arranged chapters in order, that still didn’t
    guarantee chapters would play in order. Finally, about two months ago I found a cheap $18 battery/AC Memorex DVD player that would play a CD in order. I carry it when I’m running. Its not too inconvenient and it doesn’t jostle, though I can’t carry it anywhere but in my hand or it will. The cheap Memorex player has solved my problem.

    • Okay, memory hog; can you be more specific? (Because what I’m looking for is specifics. No one seems to want to provide them.) How much RAM do you have in your computer?

      As for ripping CDs, that’s probably the fault of the speed of your CD drive…

  15. I don’t know that I think of iTunes as bloated. But, I do know that whenever I’m called upon to explain it to a new users it can come across as being confusing – and a bit daunting. It can take a while for folks to become comfortable with it. Mind you, once they’ve grasped the features they’re interested in, it’s not difficult to use. My biggest complaint, therefore, is that it seems a bit inelegant and unintuitive when you pair it off with the elegant, intuitive and very simple seeming devices it’s meant to work with – e.g. the iPad. — Put another way: It’s git ugly.

  16. I don’t know that I think of iTunes as bloated. But, I do know that whenever I’m called upon to explain it to a new users it can come across as being confusing – and a bit daunting. It can take a while for folks to become comfortable with it. Mind you, once they’ve grasped the features they’re interested in, it’s not difficult to use. My biggest complaint, therefore, is that it seems a bit inelegant and unintuitive when you pair it off with the elegant, intuitive and very simple seeming devices it’s meant to work with – e.g. the iPad. — Put another way: It’s git ugly.

  17. In my opinion iTunes is bloated in terms of brand extension. What is iTunes in the mind? A music player? A video player? A podcast player? A radio? An app store? A CD ripper? A MP3/AAC encoder? etc etc

    An analogy is toothpaste. Do you use all they different types of Colgate to brush your teeth? If not, why not? You could, so what’s stopping you? Is Colgate “bloated” with features you never use, and confuses your mind about what category of toothpaste Colgate truly is. Is it for 24 hour protection from plaque? Is it to help prevent cavities? To whiten your teeth? To help sensitive teeth? What is Colgate?

    To me, bloat dilutes the brand and makes me search out expert narrowly focused tools for the job I want to do. I still use iTunes as a music player, but never use it for watching video (I use VLC) never use it for radio (I use Last.FM), rarely use the app store (I use the iPod directly) etc etc.

    Bloat goes far beyond the 80/20 rule and tries to be all things to all people – which is just impossible and leads to mediocre products in the long run.

    • That’s certainly a valid argument, but iTunes has become a brand name that, for better or worse, won’t change. I’ve seen this comment elsewhere, and it’s just a question of semantic drift. But it’s true that the program has expanded greatly since version 1, which was a very limited music player. (BTW, I don’t think toothpaste is a good comparison; maybe an appliance would be a better tool to look at, say a stove, oven or toaster.)

  18. In my opinion iTunes is bloated in terms of brand extension. What is iTunes in the mind? A music player? A video player? A podcast player? A radio? An app store? A CD ripper? A MP3/AAC encoder? etc etc

    An analogy is toothpaste. Do you use all they different types of Colgate to brush your teeth? If not, why not? You could, so what’s stopping you? Is Colgate “bloated” with features you never use, and confuses your mind about what category of toothpaste Colgate truly is. Is it for 24 hour protection from plaque? Is it to help prevent cavities? To whiten your teeth? To help sensitive teeth? What is Colgate?

    To me, bloat dilutes the brand and makes me search out expert narrowly focused tools for the job I want to do. I still use iTunes as a music player, but never use it for watching video (I use VLC) never use it for radio (I use Last.FM), rarely use the app store (I use the iPod directly) etc etc.

    Bloat goes far beyond the 80/20 rule and tries to be all things to all people – which is just impossible and leads to mediocre products in the long run.

    • That’s certainly a valid argument, but iTunes has become a brand name that, for better or worse, won’t change. I’ve seen this comment elsewhere, and it’s just a question of semantic drift. But it’s true that the program has expanded greatly since version 1, which was a very limited music player. (BTW, I don’t think toothpaste is a good comparison; maybe an appliance would be a better tool to look at, say a stove, oven or toaster.)

  19. I think if you’re going to ask whether a program is bloated you should first define the term. What does bloated mean to you? I think it means something different to just about everybody. To me it’s one of those vague terms that means something similar to “I don’t like it”.

    I don’t care if a program has “too many” features. If the features I use are at hand when I want them that’s what I care most about. If there are lots of other features and I can find them if I ever need them, that’s even better. What really matters is how easy is it to find features when they’re needed and how easy is it to use them.

    Itunes does many things I don’t care about and that’s fine. The problem is that the things I do care about aren’t always easy to use and they aren’t always easy to find.

    More imporant, Itunes takes forever to load. A lot of the features are very slow as well. Switching contexts can be very slow. I hate to compare a program to Windows Media Player, another program I like to avoid, but the fact is that Windows Media Player is far faster than Itunes. It’s features are as obscure and it’s names are as unrelated to their functions as those in Itunes, but it is fairly fast most of the time.

    Itunes is always slow. Very slow. It’s one of the slowest programs I’ve used in recent years. If you define “bloated” to mean slow, then yes, it’s really bloated.

    Yesterday I thought I accidentally purchased something expensive on Itunes that I didn’t want and I wasn’t able to find out how to be sure so I called Itunes support. This was after quite a little bit of looking for a way to know if I had made the purchase. I called support and they told me to hover over my email address in Itunes and click the triangle and go to My Account and check my purchases. Imagine that!

    Okay, maybe I’m a dummy for not remembering that from reading the help a couple weeks ago when I got my Ipod. And maybe I’m twice a dummy for not finding it. But, as a long time professional programmer, I tend to think that when users don’t find something it’s the programmer who is the dummy.

    I probably wouldn’t use the word bloated to describe Itunes. To me it’s slow and the interface is poorly designed. I find it ironic that it came from the same company that developed my very graceful Ipod Touch.

    Barry

    • Yes, the meaning of the word “bloated” is part of what I’m trying to pin down. Apparently, there are several meanings: large in size, using a lot of memory, slow, feature-laden, etc… For many of these, I don’t see there being a problem: who cares how much disk space it takes up today? Who cares, as you say, about features that you don’t need?

      I’m interested in why it’s slow for you; do you have a big library? As I’ve said, my library is very large, and I accept that certain operations are a bit slow, but it’s definitely not an issue. I’d like CDs to rip faster, but that’s not an iTunes issue: it’s a combination of my processor and my CD drive.

  20. I think if you’re going to ask whether a program is bloated you should first define the term. What does bloated mean to you? I think it means something different to just about everybody. To me it’s one of those vague terms that means something similar to “I don’t like it”.

    I don’t care if a program has “too many” features. If the features I use are at hand when I want them that’s what I care most about. If there are lots of other features and I can find them if I ever need them, that’s even better. What really matters is how easy is it to find features when they’re needed and how easy is it to use them.

    Itunes does many things I don’t care about and that’s fine. The problem is that the things I do care about aren’t always easy to use and they aren’t always easy to find.

    More imporant, Itunes takes forever to load. A lot of the features are very slow as well. Switching contexts can be very slow. I hate to compare a program to Windows Media Player, another program I like to avoid, but the fact is that Windows Media Player is far faster than Itunes. It’s features are as obscure and it’s names are as unrelated to their functions as those in Itunes, but it is fairly fast most of the time.

    Itunes is always slow. Very slow. It’s one of the slowest programs I’ve used in recent years. If you define “bloated” to mean slow, then yes, it’s really bloated.

    Yesterday I thought I accidentally purchased something expensive on Itunes that I didn’t want and I wasn’t able to find out how to be sure so I called Itunes support. This was after quite a little bit of looking for a way to know if I had made the purchase. I called support and they told me to hover over my email address in Itunes and click the triangle and go to My Account and check my purchases. Imagine that!

    Okay, maybe I’m a dummy for not remembering that from reading the help a couple weeks ago when I got my Ipod. And maybe I’m twice a dummy for not finding it. But, as a long time professional programmer, I tend to think that when users don’t find something it’s the programmer who is the dummy.

    I probably wouldn’t use the word bloated to describe Itunes. To me it’s slow and the interface is poorly designed. I find it ironic that it came from the same company that developed my very graceful Ipod Touch.

    Barry

    • Yes, the meaning of the word “bloated” is part of what I’m trying to pin down. Apparently, there are several meanings: large in size, using a lot of memory, slow, feature-laden, etc… For many of these, I don’t see there being a problem: who cares how much disk space it takes up today? Who cares, as you say, about features that you don’t need?

      I’m interested in why it’s slow for you; do you have a big library? As I’ve said, my library is very large, and I accept that certain operations are a bit slow, but it’s definitely not an issue. I’d like CDs to rip faster, but that’s not an iTunes issue: it’s a combination of my processor and my CD drive.

  21. iTunes is beyond bloated. Apple sorely needs to rethink it, and rebrand into another product(s). iTunes does far more than manage and play tunes, and that’s not reflected in its name. Futhermore, it seriously deviates from what Apple typically does best — elegance and simplicity — that hides underlying complexities.

    • The thing about the name is a non-issue. But you don’t say why it’s bloated, which is what I’ve been asking.

  22. iTunes is beyond bloated. Apple sorely needs to rethink it, and rebrand into another product(s). iTunes does far more than manage and play tunes, and that’s not reflected in its name. Futhermore, it seriously deviates from what Apple typically does best — elegance and simplicity — that hides underlying complexities.

    • The thing about the name is a non-issue. But you don’t say why it’s bloated, which is what I’ve been asking.

  23. I’m not sure I’d say iTunes is “bloated,” or any more bloated than any other modern program (I have specific-use utilities that are bigger than my first hard drive), but I’ve always found the UI to be clunky, cluttered, and unintuitive. It seems the least Mac-like of any software I routinely use.

    I can’t offer much in the way of constructive criticism because I honestly can’t think of how a program like that *should* work. iTunes in its current form just feels like it takes effort to use.

    I get the same feeling using iTunes that I do when I have to work on XP machines. It doesn’t suck, exactly, but it’s not fun, either.

  24. I’m not sure I’d say iTunes is “bloated,” or any more bloated than any other modern program (I have specific-use utilities that are bigger than my first hard drive), but I’ve always found the UI to be clunky, cluttered, and unintuitive. It seems the least Mac-like of any software I routinely use.

    I can’t offer much in the way of constructive criticism because I honestly can’t think of how a program like that *should* work. iTunes in its current form just feels like it takes effort to use.

    I get the same feeling using iTunes that I do when I have to work on XP machines. It doesn’t suck, exactly, but it’s not fun, either.

  25. Yes, I think it’s definitely bloated! I’ll explain:

    first and foremost, it’s a music player – fair enough; but considering the fact that you need iTunes to handle everything from setting up syncing of photos and apps on your iPhone/Touch/iPad to the recent handling of files that you want to transfer to/from your iPad, and it becomes a little unwieldy…

    To me personally it doesn’t really make sense that you need to go through your music player to do those things. Sadly though, I don’t know what would be a better solution – perhaps a certain service you could call upon, depending on what you’d like to do?

    To start with, why not allow the iPad for example to appear on the desktop as any other external hard drive, and then drag and drop your files?! I mean, the Finder’s already there.

    So in that way, yes it feels kinda bloated. When it comes to memory usage though, I think it’s performing rather well.

    • Ah, drag and drop the files… I was waiting for that one. I hear that from people who are used to doing that with their MP3 players since back in the day. Apple has removed the file system from user intervention, in order to make them simpler to use. I think the average computer user is much better off that way.

      As for it being “first and foremost a music player”, well, it’s not anymore.

  26. Yes, I think it’s definitely bloated! I’ll explain:

    first and foremost, it’s a music player – fair enough; but considering the fact that you need iTunes to handle everything from setting up syncing of photos and apps on your iPhone/Touch/iPad to the recent handling of files that you want to transfer to/from your iPad, and it becomes a little unwieldy…

    To me personally it doesn’t really make sense that you need to go through your music player to do those things. Sadly though, I don’t know what would be a better solution – perhaps a certain service you could call upon, depending on what you’d like to do?

    To start with, why not allow the iPad for example to appear on the desktop as any other external hard drive, and then drag and drop your files?! I mean, the Finder’s already there.

    So in that way, yes it feels kinda bloated. When it comes to memory usage though, I think it’s performing rather well.

    • Ah, drag and drop the files… I was waiting for that one. I hear that from people who are used to doing that with their MP3 players since back in the day. Apple has removed the file system from user intervention, in order to make them simpler to use. I think the average computer user is much better off that way.

      As for it being “first and foremost a music player”, well, it’s not anymore.

  27. Here is my main gripe about Itunes.

    It is a large app which is always pointed out to me when I get the notice of an impending update .

    I tend to resent having to download an update which often only has small negligible improvements for me, but usually is there, I think, to include support for a newer version of some piece of hardware (like a new Ipod, Ipad, or Iphone model).

    When you compare the size of these updates to other, perhaps more useful updates of other system software, you certainly get the impression that Itunes is a “bloated” piece of software.

    I don’t often actually run Itunes, and sometimes it seems every time I do load it, I get that darn “Do you agree or not” window.

    So to me, it tends to be a bit aggravating and not a lot of value (seemingly) added to have to upgrade Itunes so often.

    And I will say I am a Mac fan for over 20 years! If I was a Windoze user with an Ipod, I could imagine I would really be ticked off!

    • I was discussing this with a friend today. We both agreed that the downloading of the entire app and its support files, instead of just an incremental update of only those files that are needed, is probably done for reasons of stability and security. I don’t think you can fault that. I don’t know of many apps that only download part of their code during updates.

  28. Here is my main gripe about Itunes.

    It is a large app which is always pointed out to me when I get the notice of an impending update .

    I tend to resent having to download an update which often only has small negligible improvements for me, but usually is there, I think, to include support for a newer version of some piece of hardware (like a new Ipod, Ipad, or Iphone model).

    When you compare the size of these updates to other, perhaps more useful updates of other system software, you certainly get the impression that Itunes is a “bloated” piece of software.

    I don’t often actually run Itunes, and sometimes it seems every time I do load it, I get that darn “Do you agree or not” window.

    So to me, it tends to be a bit aggravating and not a lot of value (seemingly) added to have to upgrade Itunes so often.

    And I will say I am a Mac fan for over 20 years! If I was a Windoze user with an Ipod, I could imagine I would really be ticked off!

    • I was discussing this with a friend today. We both agreed that the downloading of the entire app and its support files, instead of just an incremental update of only those files that are needed, is probably done for reasons of stability and security. I don’t think you can fault that. I don’t know of many apps that only download part of their code during updates.

  29. I don’t think iTunes is bloated. I do however think iTunes is used too much in conjunction with the iProducts. There are so many things I would like to do with my iPhone or iPad in conjunction with my entire computer, instead of just iTunes. Things like using my computer to dial a 3G/VOIP call, or sharing files between my computer and my iProduct via drag and drop. It seems as though Apple is catering to the “DRM require-ers” rather than it’s customers. And this causes me to think that Apple is treating it’s computer and mobile products as two completely different, un-related consumer products.

    isay:
    Let me drag movies, videos, songs, ringtones, etc., right from a finder window to a virtual iProduct that appears right on my desktop when I connect it!

    iTunes is not bloated, Apple is just forcing us to use it to do almost everything with our iProducts. I’m happy I own them, but un-happy with Apple’s implementation of how I use my product with my computer. It’s a big let down, and has been since June 29th, 2007.

  30. I don’t think iTunes is bloated. I do however think iTunes is used too much in conjunction with the iProducts. There are so many things I would like to do with my iPhone or iPad in conjunction with my entire computer, instead of just iTunes. Things like using my computer to dial a 3G/VOIP call, or sharing files between my computer and my iProduct via drag and drop. It seems as though Apple is catering to the “DRM require-ers” rather than it’s customers. And this causes me to think that Apple is treating it’s computer and mobile products as two completely different, un-related consumer products.

    isay:
    Let me drag movies, videos, songs, ringtones, etc., right from a finder window to a virtual iProduct that appears right on my desktop when I connect it!

    iTunes is not bloated, Apple is just forcing us to use it to do almost everything with our iProducts. I’m happy I own them, but un-happy with Apple’s implementation of how I use my product with my computer. It’s a big let down, and has been since June 29th, 2007.

  31. No complaints all, and I have been using iTunes since version 1. Currently running on two 24″ iMacs. Average memory usage is between 43 – 85 MB running well over 7,000 songs with many, many playlists, apps, TV shows, movies. It does what I need it to. Running in the background most of the time while I work – running now in fact.

    Most complaints I hear are from Windows users that either do not take the time to learn how it works or like to constantly shop around for the next great app. I spent far too much time with someone who refused to accept that you can’t simply drag audio files directly to the mounted iPod volume. There is no question that iTunes is overdue for a facelift – the name is not really relevant anymore. But, it keeps my entertainment organized, and allows my to sync two iPods, an iPhone, and maybe an iPad someday.

    As far as updates go – all updates are huge. Who knows what’s going on. Bandwidth is cheap, for the most part.

  32. No complaints all, and I have been using iTunes since version 1. Currently running on two 24″ iMacs. Average memory usage is between 43 – 85 MB running well over 7,000 songs with many, many playlists, apps, TV shows, movies. It does what I need it to. Running in the background most of the time while I work – running now in fact.

    Most complaints I hear are from Windows users that either do not take the time to learn how it works or like to constantly shop around for the next great app. I spent far too much time with someone who refused to accept that you can’t simply drag audio files directly to the mounted iPod volume. There is no question that iTunes is overdue for a facelift – the name is not really relevant anymore. But, it keeps my entertainment organized, and allows my to sync two iPods, an iPhone, and maybe an iPad someday.

    As far as updates go – all updates are huge. Who knows what’s going on. Bandwidth is cheap, for the most part.

  33. I really don’t think so. Sure, it’s bigger and does more than it used to, but it’s still a great app, on Mac at least, not so sure about WIndows.

  34. I really don’t think so. Sure, it’s bigger and does more than it used to, but it’s still a great app, on Mac at least, not so sure about WIndows.

  35. Nice discussion. To me Word is bloated. And I can only define it relation to Pages. There is simply too much stuff (features) and correspondingly, too much UI options. The simple tasks become a little overwhelming and the more complex stuff becomes exponetially more difficult. I actually always wondered about everyone complaining about iTunes bloat so I often try and use it going in with the assumption it is bloated. But when I start using it, I just am not convinced. I think the UI is pretty well thought out and so things don’t feel cluttered and therefore there is no feeling of bloat. Having said that, if they keep adding more features which require more obvious UI buttons or tabs then it could cross the line. My only issue with iTunes is that 1) My iPod nano doesn’t always appear on the desktop and open iTunes automatically- not sure why. 2) Sometimes I wonder why with all the horsepower does cover flow stutter and 3) I NEED more control over regulating Podcasts on my iPod! Once I listen to a podcast and it is complete I want it off my iPod automatically when I sink the following day for the next episode. Not sure how to do that.

    Good luck, and nice topic.

  36. Nice discussion. To me Word is bloated. And I can only define it relation to Pages. There is simply too much stuff (features) and correspondingly, too much UI options. The simple tasks become a little overwhelming and the more complex stuff becomes exponetially more difficult. I actually always wondered about everyone complaining about iTunes bloat so I often try and use it going in with the assumption it is bloated. But when I start using it, I just am not convinced. I think the UI is pretty well thought out and so things don’t feel cluttered and therefore there is no feeling of bloat. Having said that, if they keep adding more features which require more obvious UI buttons or tabs then it could cross the line. My only issue with iTunes is that 1) My iPod nano doesn’t always appear on the desktop and open iTunes automatically- not sure why. 2) Sometimes I wonder why with all the horsepower does cover flow stutter and 3) I NEED more control over regulating Podcasts on my iPod! Once I listen to a podcast and it is complete I want it off my iPod automatically when I sink the following day for the next episode. Not sure how to do that.

    Good luck, and nice topic.

  37. I just realized something that most people, well, don’t realize. I looked inside the iTunes 9.1 package. The actual code for the program is pretty lithe, coming in at about 30 MB. What takes up all the disk space is the different localizations and help files. For the 19 languages available on the Mac version, these resources are 146 MB. So suggesting that the application is “bloated” because of its size is ridiculous.

    I don’t know how to check such things on Windows apps, but I would guess it’s pretty similar. Now, you could say that Apple might want to provide individual versions per language, but that is pretty onerous to set up and maintain so many download links. So the size issue is truly a moot one, and only the actual code is loaded into RAM, as well as, perhaps, a few files that contain texts for the interface, and a handful of graphics files.

  38. I just realized something that most people, well, don’t realize. I looked inside the iTunes 9.1 package. The actual code for the program is pretty lithe, coming in at about 30 MB. What takes up all the disk space is the different localizations and help files. For the 19 languages available on the Mac version, these resources are 146 MB. So suggesting that the application is “bloated” because of its size is ridiculous.

    I don’t know how to check such things on Windows apps, but I would guess it’s pretty similar. Now, you could say that Apple might want to provide individual versions per language, but that is pretty onerous to set up and maintain so many download links. So the size issue is truly a moot one, and only the actual code is loaded into RAM, as well as, perhaps, a few files that contain texts for the interface, and a handful of graphics files.

  39. If developers of desktop applications had to contend with the limitations of the mobile world they’d find a way to create more efficient code.

    Instead we’ve reached the point where nobody thinks twice about including a 10MB library to avoid writing 50 lines of code, a world where Word 2008 takes just as long to do simple rendering as Word 5.1 did despite the fact that today’s computers are a thousand times as fast as the ones we used back in 1992.

    An app like iTunes that has changed so much since its original incarnation has probably had feature after feature bolted onto a frame that was never designed for them. I bet the various parts do not communicate efficiently and I bet it’s full of redundant functions and other code that’s been commented out because it became obsolete over the years. It’s almost always less expensive and lower risk to leave old code in place than to try to rip it out.

    Only when a codebase gets so old that it becomes really difficult to modify will anyone do the right thing. Remember how Steve Jobs described iMovie 8? Something like one developer, one week and it did almost as much as iMovie 6.

    I’m skeptical about iTunes and the way it deals with growing libraries. We’ve had computerized inventory systems around for decades. Lists larger and more complex than those in iTunes were stored on machines with 386 processors.

    Don’t get me started on idiotic things like the fact that album art is stored on a per user basis in the file system while the music is stored in a central database or that each user has a unique index of that database. iTunes is no more ready for a networked, multi-user, multimedia world than Windows 95 was.

    • I agree that it’s likely that the code base for iTunes is not totally up to date, but it’s hard to tell. As for the actual libraries, iTunes made a huge improvement in version 8.1 that improved speed and greatly reduced their size.

      I’m skeptical about the album art stuff; why wouldn’t it be stored per user, if you’re networked? That reduces the need to fetch the art remotely, which clearly takes time. I also disagree that iTunes is not ready for a networked world – it’s library sharing is quite nifty. What you probably want is one single iTunes as a server, and others as clients. I think we’ll see this in a couple of years, whenever Apple releases a home server. But for now, that’s not the way the majority of people use iTunes.

      • Remember that Apple is still constrained by the demands of music companies regarding networking, sharing, and so on. (Ahhh! the month of sharing heaven between v4.0 and v4.0.1! Windows users did not experience that.)

  40. If developers of desktop applications had to contend with the limitations of the mobile world they’d find a way to create more efficient code.

    Instead we’ve reached the point where nobody thinks twice about including a 10MB library to avoid writing 50 lines of code, a world where Word 2008 takes just as long to do simple rendering as Word 5.1 did despite the fact that today’s computers are a thousand times as fast as the ones we used back in 1992.

    An app like iTunes that has changed so much since its original incarnation has probably had feature after feature bolted onto a frame that was never designed for them. I bet the various parts do not communicate efficiently and I bet it’s full of redundant functions and other code that’s been commented out because it became obsolete over the years. It’s almost always less expensive and lower risk to leave old code in place than to try to rip it out.

    Only when a codebase gets so old that it becomes really difficult to modify will anyone do the right thing. Remember how Steve Jobs described iMovie 8? Something like one developer, one week and it did almost as much as iMovie 6.

    I’m skeptical about iTunes and the way it deals with growing libraries. We’ve had computerized inventory systems around for decades. Lists larger and more complex than those in iTunes were stored on machines with 386 processors.

    Don’t get me started on idiotic things like the fact that album art is stored on a per user basis in the file system while the music is stored in a central database or that each user has a unique index of that database. iTunes is no more ready for a networked, multi-user, multimedia world than Windows 95 was.

    • I agree that it’s likely that the code base for iTunes is not totally up to date, but it’s hard to tell. As for the actual libraries, iTunes made a huge improvement in version 8.1 that improved speed and greatly reduced their size.

      I’m skeptical about the album art stuff; why wouldn’t it be stored per user, if you’re networked? That reduces the need to fetch the art remotely, which clearly takes time. I also disagree that iTunes is not ready for a networked world – it’s library sharing is quite nifty. What you probably want is one single iTunes as a server, and others as clients. I think we’ll see this in a couple of years, whenever Apple releases a home server. But for now, that’s not the way the majority of people use iTunes.

      • Remember that Apple is still constrained by the demands of music companies regarding networking, sharing, and so on. (Ahhh! the month of sharing heaven between v4.0 and v4.0.1! Windows users did not experience that.)

  41. Hi Kirk,

    honestly that’s the first time I hear about iTunes being ‘bloated’. I have a Macbook 5,2 2Ghz with 2GB of Ram, my iTunes library contains 16,242 audio files and 14 movies. iTunes launches in approximately 7 seconds, uses 87MB of Ram at launch; 91MB when playing an audio files and around 130MB when playing a film. I don’t think it’s slow, neither for cd ripping (which I only occasionally do in iTunes, preferring XLD which uses accurate rip database and cd paranoia mode) or launch. However, the display of cover art is actually a bit slow in grid and cover flow modes.

    I don’t really understand people who would like the different features of iTunes being replaced by independent applications, I find it more practical to have all media files in one place (except for pictures). I would find more complicated to use a finder window to communicate with my ipods, iphone, ipads or whatever and browse through the multiples libraries without all the information that is displayed in iTunes.

    Actually I think that iTunes lack features that are likely to get more important in the years to come, the first one is the automatic sample and bit rate set-up when you play files of different qualities. For now, let say that you have a 24bit/96Khz audio file, if you don’t manually change the midi/Audio preferences manually iTunes will downsample and it to 16bit/44.1Khz. Inversely it will upsample everything if your set-up is on 24bit/96Khz.
    The second one is the support of FLAC, but I guess that won’t change; and I’ve already mentioned Accurate rip and cd paranoia, which would be nice to have supported in itunes.

    There only change of the last update that annoys me on a daily basis is the need to go in the advance menu to convert a file, I got used to doing it through the contextual menu.

    If there’s a reproach to address to Apple, is rather the redundancy of some of its applications, DVD player, Front Row and iTunes overlap in some ways. It is not really a big deal because it is just a matter of setting the preferences right, if one has a macmini as media centre, it makes sense to automatically launch Front Row when the computer starts up; but using different applications to do the same thing can be a bit confusing I guess.

    the weak part of iTunes to me is the store, I tend to use more and more platforms like Qobuz and I would use HDtracks if I was in the US (there are plenty of other providers of high resolution and lossless files such as Linn, Naim, B&W’s Society of Sound…), but otherwise I am very happy with iTunes but there’s always room for improvement.

  42. Hi Kirk,

    honestly that’s the first time I hear about iTunes being ‘bloated’. I have a Macbook 5,2 2Ghz with 2GB of Ram, my iTunes library contains 16,242 audio files and 14 movies. iTunes launches in approximately 7 seconds, uses 87MB of Ram at launch; 91MB when playing an audio files and around 130MB when playing a film. I don’t think it’s slow, neither for cd ripping (which I only occasionally do in iTunes, preferring XLD which uses accurate rip database and cd paranoia mode) or launch. However, the display of cover art is actually a bit slow in grid and cover flow modes.

    I don’t really understand people who would like the different features of iTunes being replaced by independent applications, I find it more practical to have all media files in one place (except for pictures). I would find more complicated to use a finder window to communicate with my ipods, iphone, ipads or whatever and browse through the multiples libraries without all the information that is displayed in iTunes.

    Actually I think that iTunes lack features that are likely to get more important in the years to come, the first one is the automatic sample and bit rate set-up when you play files of different qualities. For now, let say that you have a 24bit/96Khz audio file, if you don’t manually change the midi/Audio preferences manually iTunes will downsample and it to 16bit/44.1Khz. Inversely it will upsample everything if your set-up is on 24bit/96Khz.
    The second one is the support of FLAC, but I guess that won’t change; and I’ve already mentioned Accurate rip and cd paranoia, which would be nice to have supported in itunes.

    There only change of the last update that annoys me on a daily basis is the need to go in the advance menu to convert a file, I got used to doing it through the contextual menu.

    If there’s a reproach to address to Apple, is rather the redundancy of some of its applications, DVD player, Front Row and iTunes overlap in some ways. It is not really a big deal because it is just a matter of setting the preferences right, if one has a macmini as media centre, it makes sense to automatically launch Front Row when the computer starts up; but using different applications to do the same thing can be a bit confusing I guess.

    the weak part of iTunes to me is the store, I tend to use more and more platforms like Qobuz and I would use HDtracks if I was in the US (there are plenty of other providers of high resolution and lossless files such as Linn, Naim, B&W’s Society of Sound…), but otherwise I am very happy with iTunes but there’s always room for improvement.

  43. Apple software always installs like a herd of elephants charging in. I avoid anything from Apple like the plague. Unless and until Apple can come up with a simple, easy, and unobnoxious way to sell their music (cf. Amazon.com), I just will not use iTunes. That zdnet article you reference seems right on the money, to me. I mean, what part of “it can and will install software you have explicitly rejected” seems good to you?

  44. Apple software always installs like a herd of elephants charging in. I avoid anything from Apple like the plague. Unless and until Apple can come up with a simple, easy, and unobnoxious way to sell their music (cf. Amazon.com), I just will not use iTunes. That zdnet article you reference seems right on the money, to me. I mean, what part of “it can and will install software you have explicitly rejected” seems good to you?

  45. I actually like and use most of the features in iTunes, so I don’t call it bloated for features. My library is about 40,000 music tracks. I find it slow to load and slow to perform any operations. It uses a larger amount of system resources than any other music player (and I’ve tried most of them), and always seems to bog down the whole system.

  46. I actually like and use most of the features in iTunes, so I don’t call it bloated for features. My library is about 40,000 music tracks. I find it slow to load and slow to perform any operations. It uses a larger amount of system resources than any other music player (and I’ve tried most of them), and always seems to bog down the whole system.

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