iTunes 12: Understanding the MiniPlayer

The iTunes MiniPlayer is a useful floating window that lets you control iTunes without needing the full window. But iTunes 12 has changed the way you access that window.

Miniplayer

First, there are two menu commands that bring up the MiniPlayer. In the Windows menu, you can choose MiniPlayer, to display the MiniPlayer above the iTunes window, or Switch to MiniPlayer, which closes the full iTunes window and displays the MiniPlayer.

But you can also do this with clicks, and this gets confusing with iTunes 12. If you hover of the album art in the iTunes LCD (that’s the status part of the iTunes window, at the top), you see this:

Miniplayer1

It’s not clear what those two overlays are supposed to represent. But if you click on the album artwork, iTunes switches to the MiniPlayer. If you want to display the MiniPlayer and keep the iTunes window visible, then you need to press the Option key as you click.

Once the MiniPlayer is visible, you can expand it to show your album art. Click on the album art section of the MiniPlayer window, and you’ll see this:

Miniplayer art

You can click on the small square with the arrows, below the close button, to hide the artwork. And, in either view – with or without album art – you can display the Up Next queue by clicking the blue Up Next icon at the right of the MiniPlayer window.

When you click the close button, the behavior now depends on how you displayed the MiniPlayer. If you displayed it in a way that hid the main iTunes window, closing the MiniPlayer will bring back the iTunes window. If you displayed it and the iTunes window is still visible, then the MiniPlayer window will close, and nothing else will change. In other words, when you close the MiniPlayer, no matter what you do, the main iTunes window will show up again.

So the main difference here, between iTunes 12 and previous versions of iTunes, is the fact that a standard click in the iTunes LCD hides the iTunes window while displaying the MiniPlayer. And that closing the MiniPlayer brings back the iTunes window in all cases. A bit of a change, but one that’s easy enough to get used to.

If you use the MiniPlayer regularly, you might want to just learn these keyboard shortcuts:

miniplayer-menu.png

10 thoughts on “iTunes 12: Understanding the MiniPlayer

  1. Did you notice that they switched the two keyboard shortcuts? Since upgrading to iTunes I’m wrong every single time… Command-option-M is hard wired in my fingers to hide the main window and show the mini player. One of these days I gonna beat my laziness and take a trip into the Keyboard preference pane.

    Overall I like iTunes 12, but that, and iTunes’ confusion with the Appearance choice creeps me out (switch to Graphite if you haven’t noticed that one…).

  2. Did you notice that they switched the two keyboard shortcuts? Since upgrading to iTunes I’m wrong every single time… Command-option-M is hard wired in my fingers to hide the main window and show the mini player. One of these days I gonna beat my laziness and take a trip into the Keyboard preference pane.

    Overall I like iTunes 12, but that, and iTunes’ confusion with the Appearance choice creeps me out (switch to Graphite if you haven’t noticed that one…).

  3. Does anyone know how to get the Mini Player to show above full screen apps? Regardless of the “show above all windows” setting, the only way I can see to show the currently playing song is to swipe in the notification center in from the right (or use another app, but Bowtie, my favorite, is AWOL since early 2012).

    • This option is in the “Preferences” (in the “iTunes” menu on Mac, or the “Edit” menu on Windows). Go to the “Advanced” pane and tick “Keep Mini Player on top of all other windows”.

      • Yes, I mentioned that setting in my comment. It still, as of macOS Sierra/iTunes 12.5, doesn’t display on top of full screen apps.

        • Oh sorry I missed the point of your question. That’s tricky since in iOS 10.11 (I think) full screen apps aren’t just full screen. They actually exist on an entirely different virtual desktop! So I guess Apple would have to implement an option to make iTunes display on all virtual desktops. Best work-around is either just 3 finger swipe back to the original desktop, or what I do a lot is use BetterSnapTool to make the window fill the current desktop instead of going full-screen (more like the old style maximise). Actually I think the old style of maximise is still possible if you double click on the title bar.

          In short I doubt we’all ever see an option for it to appear on top of a full screen app.

  4. Does anyone know how to get the Mini Player to show above full screen apps? Regardless of the “show above all windows” setting, the only way I can see to show the currently playing song is to swipe in the notification center in from the right (or use another app, but Bowtie, my favorite, is AWOL since early 2012).

    • This option is in the “Preferences” (in the “iTunes” menu on Mac, or the “Edit” menu on Windows). Go to the “Advanced” pane and tick “Keep Mini Player on top of all other windows”.

      • Yes, I mentioned that setting in my comment. It still, as of macOS Sierra/iTunes 12.5, doesn’t display on top of full screen apps.

        • Oh sorry I missed the point of your question. That’s tricky since in iOS 10.11 (I think) full screen apps aren’t just full screen. They actually exist on an entirely different virtual desktop! So I guess Apple would have to implement an option to make iTunes display on all virtual desktops. Best work-around is either just 3 finger swipe back to the original desktop, or what I do a lot is use BetterSnapTool to make the window fill the current desktop instead of going full-screen (more like the old style maximise). Actually I think the old style of maximise is still possible if you double click on the title bar.

          In short I doubt we’all ever see an option for it to appear on top of a full screen app.

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