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.


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:


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: