iTunes 12.5: Apple Finally Gets Rid of Horrid “Custom Colors” for Albums and Playlists

“Someone at Apple thought it would be a good idea, a few years ago, to have iTunes display content in certain views using colors extracted from album artwork. Sometimes this is quite attractive. But sometimes, this borders on torture.”

That’s what I wrote in June, showing how ugly iTunes can be when using the “custom colors for open albums, movies, etc.” setting. As I said at the time:

But how did Apple’s designers not see displays like the one above and tweak the algorithm so they simply couldn’t happen? Anytime the dominant color of an album’s artwork is dark, you get these horrid, unreadable contrasts.

Well, Apple is changing this in iTunes 12.5. They’re eliminating this feature entirely. While there is currently an option to turn it off, I suspect that most people don’t bother to look for the setting, or don’t know it exists. And they then end up with a display that is simply unreadable.

Here’s how it looks now, using the custom colors setting; this is the My New Music Mix playlist, which has an icon in an unfortunate shade of pink:

Pink playlist

And here’s how it looks in iTunes 12.5:

White playlist

Note that this change is also reflected in the iOS 10 Music app.

Cleaning this up is a no-brainer. While some colors look good with the current algorithm, most don’t. I’m glad Apple has gotten rid of this.