iTunes 12.1 Brings Changes to Info Windows, Adds Notification Center Widget

iTunes 12.1 has been released, the first major update to the latest version of this app. Apple claims that this update improves sync performance, and there is a new Notification Center widget that you can use to control your music.

Notification center itunesThe Notification Center widget displays when you invoke Notification Center, if you choose to add it. It shows what’s playing, and gives you simple controls: play/pause, previous and next. It also shows the time elapsed, and the time remaining in the current track. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show album art; this would be a good touch.

To add this widget, invoke Notification Center; you can do this by clicking the icon at the far right of the menu bar, or by swiping with two fingers from the right edge of your trackpad. Click Edit at the bottom of the sidebar, then click the + icon next to iTunes in the Items list.

There’s another big change in iTunes 12.1, and that’s the way Info windows display. These are the windows you use to edit tags, that display when you select one or more tracks and press Command-I.

Here’s the previous window:

Info single

And here’s the window now:

Itunes new info single

This corrects one of the elements of iTunes 12 that I was critical of in my Macworld review:

“I find the lack of borders around the text fields make it a lot harder to visually scan the window, like trying to use a spreadsheet with no borders. It’s also hard to tell which fields are editable. I’m also disappointed that not all available fields appear by default. To add extra fields you have to click Add Field at the bottom.”

All the fields are now visible, with borders, making it easier to navigate this window. However, for some reason, Apple felt it wasn’t necessary to have the window display all the tags, and has it set to be scrollable. This is unfortunate. You can resize the window, if you wish. In my first tests, the new size wasn’t retained when I re-opened the window, but I changed it again, and it was saved.

iTunes 12.1 has also removed the possibility of displaying the old-fashioned Info window. You could do this by selecting one or more tracks, pressing the Option key, right-clicking, and then choosing Get Info. Now, this operation displays the same window. But the main reason to display the older window was to have access to certain fields that weren’t available in the new window; you no longer need this.

Also, this new window is poorly designed: read why, and see a mockup of my ideal Info window.