Here’s Why Removing Apps from iTunes Is Stupid

I’ve written about how Apple has removed apps from iTunes in version 12.7. I’ve pointed out that this is problematic for people with slow or limited internet connections, especially if they have multiple devices.

Here’s a concrete example. Apple has updated its iWork apps – Pages, Numbers, and Keynote – for iOS. I am still running iTunes 12.6.2 on my main Mac, and I see the updates this morning. These updates are large; here’s how big each one is:

  • Pages: 412 MB
  • Numbers: 385 MB
  • Keynote: 607 MB

That’s a total of 1.4 GB.

Keynote update

I have a 15 Mbps connection, and here’s how long it will take to download Keynote (I took this screenshot just as the download was beginning):

I have four iOS devices, and if I had to download these updates individually to each device, that would saturate my bandwidth for about an hour (15 minutes or so for each device). Not long ago, I had a 4 Mbps connection; the same updates would have taken four hours for all my devices. And this doesn’t count the many other apps that I have to update.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m sure that a) most people don’t download many apps, and b) most people don’t use iTunes to download and sync apps. But removing that functionality for those who do is simply bone-headed. Simplifying iTunes is a noble effort – though the simplification most users want is less iTunes Store integration – but doing so at the expense of usability is simply stupid.

If Apple won’t restore app management and syncing to iTunes, they should add it to the Mac App Store app, or create a new app for syncing all content. Punishing those users with sub-standard internet connections is wrong.