Some Minor Changes in iTunes 12.4

You can read my overview of iTunes 12.4 at Macworld; I discuss the major interface changes. But there are a lot of little changes I’ve spotted in the latest version of iTunes. Here are some of them:

  • There is no longer a Store menu in the iTunes toolbar. All store functions are now in the Account menu: the Wish List, quick access to your Purchased list, View My Account, etc.
  • The Song menu is new. (I mentioned this in the Macworld article.) It features all the menu items that are available in contextual menus. But this menu is itself contextual; if you’re viewing your Movies library, it changes to Movie; if you’re looking at audiobooks, it says Audiobook.
  • To update iCloud Music Library or Genius, use the File > Library menu; these options were previously in the Store menu.
  • The Repeat button is back in the iTunes LCD; it has been missing since iTunes 12 was released
  • The AirPlay button is now a real button, which contrasts with the background of the iTunes toolbar. Previously, it was just an icon. And it balances with the Up Next icon on the right side of the iTunes LCD.
  • Airplay menu

  • The iTunes MiniPlayer still shows what I call the “new” contextual menu; the one added in iTunes 12, which you have to click to view submenus.
  • As timmorrislw points out in the comments, there’s a new iCloud Status of No Longer Available. This shows tracks that you added to your Apple Music library that record labels are no longer allowing to be streamed. It’s interesting to create a smart playlist with this condition, to find how many tracks have been removed. Previously, I had, as the comments said, a smart playlist excluding all the other statuses. Out of 16,000 tracks in my Apple Music library, 843 are no longer available.
  • Previously, you could right-click on one or more apps and choose Update, to only update those apps you wanted to. (You may not want to update all available apps if you have limited bandwidth.) Now, you can either click the Update All Apps button at the bottom right of the iTunes window, or click an app to expand its update notes, and click the Update button. Fixed in iTunes 12.4.1.
  • When you click the icon for an iOS device to sync it, there’s no way to get back to your iTunes library other than using the Back button, or clicking the Done button. You can’t access, say, your Music by choosing View > Media Kind > Music, so you can’t back out easily to scan your music library when, for example, trying to decide what you want to sync.
  • The Convert ID3 Tags function, that was previously in the contextual menu when you right-clicked on a track, is gone. Personally, I’ve never used that function, but apparently some people do. I still don’t know why they would. Fixed in iTunes 12.4.1.
  • The Create New Version menu item is no longer in the contextual menu when you click on a track. It’s now in File > Create New Version. I think this is a good thing, because this, and other menu items removed from the contextual menu, have greatly simplified that menu.
  • Also removed from the contextual menu is the Get Track Names function, that looks up your tracks on Gracenote to get metadata. This only works with tracks you’ve ripped from CDs, and it’s something that a lot of people never use.
  • You can no longer reset play counts from the contextual menu. I’ll see if Doug Adams can whip up an AppleScript for this. Fixed in iTunes 12.4.1.
  • Above your playlists in the sidebar is a small header saying, for example, Music Playlists. Click this to choose to display All Playlists. This will show playlists with other content, such as podcasts, videos, audiobooks, etc. If you’re viewing another media kind, Music Playlists will read Movie Playlists, Podcast Playlists, etc.
  • There is an interesting and confounding labelling used in the sidebar. If you have Apple Music turned on, you’ll see a header saying My Music Playlists (which you can click to toggle to show All Playlists). If you don’t have Apple Music turned on, this header reads Music Playlists.
  • There’s a small change with smart playlists. Previously, the header let you choose to match Any or All of the following rules. Now, there is an additional option, which lets you choose a specific media kind, or all media.
  • Recently played playlist

  • There are a number of other changes in the sidebar. I’ve written an article explaining How to Work with the Sidebar in iTunes 12.4.
  • Crossfade Songs does not work. Fixed in iTunes 12.4.1.
  • When viewing a playlist, you could previously change views by clicking the View Options button at the top right of the iTunes window. This button is gone; to change views in a playlist, you can click View > View As, and choose a view.
  • Related to the above, the full View Options window has returned; you can display it by pressing Command-J. You can change playlist views here, but also choose whether to view artwork in list views, choose which columns to display, and more.
  • The Recent Updates list for podcasts is gone. If you selected My Podcasts, at the top of the podcasts column was a Recent Updates item. Clicking this led to a list of updates This Week, This Month, etc.
  • The Get Album Artwork menu item that was in the contextual item when you clicked on a track in your iTunes library is gone. Here is how you get album artwork now.

I’ll update this list as I find more little tweaks to iTunes 12.4. If you’ve found anything, please post a comment.

168 thoughts on “Some Minor Changes in iTunes 12.4

  1. Hi Kirk – just upgraded to iTunes 12.4 and I’ve noticed what appears to be a bug. In Miniplayer view, the time countdown in the bottom right hand corner for the track currently playing now counts up rather than down i.e. it’s exactly the same as the bottom left hand corner countdown. In normal (i.e. non-Miniplayer view), the corresponding countdown in the progress bar at the top of the window still works as it should (or has always done) – it counts down towards the end of the track. Do you see this in the Miniplayer view too?

    Simon

      • I’m seeing the same thing as Simon – the righthand and lefthand counters in the miniplayer are both counting up. iTunes version is 12.4.0.119

        • Actually, clicking on the righthand counter toggles it between counting up, counting down or showing the total song time. But to start, it was counting up.

          • Yes, you’re right. So that option was probably there all the time without me knowing about it, and the default was changed in this update. Not the most sensible of the three options to have as default, as it duplicates the lefthand counter. Nothing happens if you click on that, by the way, but you probably know that anyway now. Thanks, Steve.

          • The three-mode toggle only works in the large miniplayer version, and of course that display disappears to display the album cover when you move your cursor away from the window. In the compact minelayer view (and the main iTunes window) the right-hand counter only toggles between total time and count down times; the elapsed time is MIA in these views (!?!?).

            Lacking an always visible elapsed time is problematic for me since I’m often taking notes about and/or transcribing podcasts on the fly and find it useful to insert time markers in the transcription. It’s nice to be able to simply glance up from note taking to see an elapsed time rather than go thru the gyrations to disclose it by whatever method. The only work around I’ve found is to leave the main iTunes window open, but it takes up way more screen real estate, even when sized to as small as possible. OK, not a huge deal… it could be easier, though.

            BTW: As I was composing this and testing in iTunes, I also notice apple’s math is off by a second. For example, 10 seconds into a a track 37:41 long shows the following:
            Total Duration – 37:41
            Elapsed Time – 0:10
            Remaining Time – (-37:30)

            0:10 + 37:30 =? 37:41

            not extensively tested, but three out of three tests using different tracks were the same

            • My guess is that they’re rounding. Check the Options tab of the Info window to see the exact duration of a track.

            • Update to my post – In the compact miniplayer view the right-hand counter now toggles thru total, elapsed, and remaining times ala iTunes 12.4.1 (woo hoo)

  2. Hi Kirk – just upgraded to iTunes 12.4 and I’ve noticed what appears to be a bug. In Miniplayer view, the time countdown in the bottom right hand corner for the track currently playing now counts up rather than down i.e. it’s exactly the same as the bottom left hand corner countdown. In normal (i.e. non-Miniplayer view), the corresponding countdown in the progress bar at the top of the window still works as it should (or has always done) – it counts down towards the end of the track. Do you see this in the Miniplayer view too?

    Simon

      • I’m seeing the same thing as Simon – the righthand and lefthand counters in the miniplayer are both counting up. iTunes version is 12.4.0.119

        • Actually, clicking on the righthand counter toggles it between counting up, counting down or showing the total song time. But to start, it was counting up.

          • Yes, you’re right. So that option was probably there all the time without me knowing about it, and the default was changed in this update. Not the most sensible of the three options to have as default, as it duplicates the lefthand counter. Nothing happens if you click on that, by the way, but you probably know that anyway now. Thanks, Steve.

          • The three-mode toggle only works in the large miniplayer version, and of course that display disappears to display the album cover when you move your cursor away from the window. In the compact minelayer view (and the main iTunes window) the right-hand counter only toggles between total time and count down times; the elapsed time is MIA in these views (!?!?).

            Lacking an always visible elapsed time is problematic for me since I’m often taking notes about and/or transcribing podcasts on the fly and find it useful to insert time markers in the transcription. It’s nice to be able to simply glance up from note taking to see an elapsed time rather than go thru the gyrations to disclose it by whatever method. The only work around I’ve found is to leave the main iTunes window open, but it takes up way more screen real estate, even when sized to as small as possible. OK, not a huge deal… it could be easier, though.

            BTW: As I was composing this and testing in iTunes, I also notice apple’s math is off by a second. For example, 10 seconds into a a track 37:41 long shows the following:
            Total Duration – 37:41
            Elapsed Time – 0:10
            Remaining Time – (-37:30)

            0:10 + 37:30 =? 37:41

            not extensively tested, but three out of three tests using different tracks were the same

            • My guess is that they’re rounding. Check the Options tab of the Info window to see the exact duration of a track.

            • Update to my post – In the compact miniplayer view the right-hand counter now toggles thru total, elapsed, and remaining times ala iTunes 12.4.1 (woo hoo)

  3. Nice to see AirPlay as a button, but still confounds me that you can’t use it to AirPlay Beats1.

    You can AirPlay it from your iPhone, and play it on an AppleTV (though the interface is pretty awful), but for some reason you can’t use AirPlay with it on your Mac. Starting Beats1 will cause that button to completely disappear.

    • Yes, it’s been that way since the launch of Apple Music. There must be some odd rights issue around it.

      • There are ways to record audio on the Mac that are essentially impossible to activate on iOS. I don’t understand the logic at the moment, but I strongly suspect DRM issues. Unless it’s another bug.

  4. Nice to see AirPlay as a button, but still confounds me that you can’t use it to AirPlay Beats1.

    You can AirPlay it from your iPhone, and play it on an AppleTV (though the interface is pretty awful), but for some reason you can’t use AirPlay with it on your Mac. Starting Beats1 will cause that button to completely disappear.

    • Yes, it’s been that way since the launch of Apple Music. There must be some odd rights issue around it.

      • There are ways to record audio on the Mac that are essentially impossible to activate on iOS. I don’t understand the logic at the moment, but I strongly suspect DRM issues. Unless it’s another bug.

  5. Another minor addition: There is now a iCloud Status option for ‘No Longer Available” in Smart Playlists, previously you had to add every other iCloud state set to “Is Not” to pick up Apple Music tracks listed as No Longer Available.

  6. Another minor addition: There is now a iCloud Status option for ‘No Longer Available” in Smart Playlists, previously you had to add every other iCloud state set to “Is Not” to pick up Apple Music tracks listed as No Longer Available.

  7. Major bug: “add to play next” places the songs in the reverse order. So if you add an album, it starts to play with the last song.

      • When I’m in My Music -> Artists. When I use “Play Next” instead of “Add to Up Next” (typo in my original post!), the order is correct.

        • I experience the same issue consistently. When you add a whole album to “Play Next” (by right-clicking on the album), the songs are added in the right order. But if you select a couple of songs, right-click, Play Next, they are added in reverse order.

  8. Major bug: “add to play next” places the songs in the reverse order. So if you add an album, it starts to play with the last song.

      • When I’m in My Music -> Artists. When I use “Play Next” instead of “Add to Up Next” (typo in my original post!), the order is correct.

        • I experience the same issue consistently. When you add a whole album to “Play Next” (by right-clicking on the album), the songs are added in the right order. But if you select a couple of songs, right-click, Play Next, they are added in reverse order.

  9. Small clarification for this article, Kirk: The “No Longer Available” iCloud Status was already in the previous version of iTunes too. (I saw that status in the column for a handful of tracks.) It’s just that iTunes 12.4 has also made this a selectable option for Smart Playlists now, too.

    • When did you start seeing it? I know that I had to create a smart playlist with exclusions a few months ago to get those tracks.

      • To be clear: I saw “No Longer Available” show up in the iCloud Status column, a few months ago, for a handful of tracks. It’s just that that this same status didn’t show up as a selectable option for Smart Playlists. So the workaround was to create one with those exclusions, as you say. What’s new with 12.4 is that it’s now a selectable option for Smart Playlists. No exclusions required anymore.

  10. Small clarification for this article, Kirk: The “No Longer Available” iCloud Status was already in the previous version of iTunes too. (I saw that status in the column for a handful of tracks.) It’s just that iTunes 12.4 has also made this a selectable option for Smart Playlists now, too.

    • When did you start seeing it? I know that I had to create a smart playlist with exclusions a few months ago to get those tracks.

      • To be clear: I saw “No Longer Available” show up in the iCloud Status column, a few months ago, for a handful of tracks. It’s just that that this same status didn’t show up as a selectable option for Smart Playlists. So the workaround was to create one with those exclusions, as you say. What’s new with 12.4 is that it’s now a selectable option for Smart Playlists. No exclusions required anymore.

  11. Hi Kirk, is it me or is this a Bug, i cannot update my iOS Apps by Selecting Multiple items and Updating them with one click as before. I can only Update them 1 @ a time or Update All at once. I am not able to find that Menu like before.

  12. Hi Kirk, is it me or is this a Bug, i cannot update my iOS Apps by Selecting Multiple items and Updating them with one click as before. I can only Update them 1 @ a time or Update All at once. I am not able to find that Menu like before.

  13. Kirk, You no longer have to option-click on an app to update it individually, just click on it once (at least on my Mac running EpCap).

    • For me, if you click an app, its update notes expand. You can then click an Update button, but a single click doesn’t update it.

      • Hi Guys, (The Select Multiple Apps Update) is back. but not that straight forward.
        When u select Multiple Apps and Right Click on them u will be able to update just the selected Apps.
        Just Right Click on the Selected Apps and u will be allowed to Update just those Apps.

        (The Main Menu Still only shows Update All so Just Right Click).

    • Previously we could CONTROL-click one (or multiple) selected apps, and choose “Update” from the contextual menu. That contextual menu item is no longer there. Instead now you can only “Update all,” or click each app and then click the “Update” button, to update each one manually and individually.

        • My comment is in response to Norman Ferguson who said “you no longer have to option-click on an app to update it individually.”

          It was never “option-click,” it was “control-click” (or right-click.) And with the loss of this contextual menu item, we now can’t manually update multiple apps at once. Our only options now are one-at-a-time, or all at once.

  14. Kirk, You no longer have to option-click on an app to update it individually, just click on it once (at least on my Mac running EpCap).

    • For me, if you click an app, its update notes expand. You can then click an Update button, but a single click doesn’t update it.

      • Hi Guys, (The Select Multiple Apps Update) is back. but not that straight forward.
        When u select Multiple Apps and Right Click on them u will be able to update just the selected Apps.
        Just Right Click on the Selected Apps and u will be allowed to Update just those Apps.

        (The Main Menu Still only shows Update All so Just Right Click).

    • Previously we could CONTROL-click one (or multiple) selected apps, and choose “Update” from the contextual menu. That contextual menu item is no longer there. Instead now you can only “Update all,” or click each app and then click the “Update” button, to update each one manually and individually.

        • My comment is in response to Norman Ferguson who said “you no longer have to option-click on an app to update it individually.”

          It was never “option-click,” it was “control-click” (or right-click.) And with the loss of this contextual menu item, we now can’t manually update multiple apps at once. Our only options now are one-at-a-time, or all at once.

  15. Compilations (which to me are just albums by Various Artists) are a separate library group from albums, and you don’t seem to be able to show them in grid view any longer.

  16. Compilations (which to me are just albums by Various Artists) are a separate library group from albums, and you don’t seem to be able to show them in grid view any longer.

  17. Some other apparent minor changes:

    – is now impossible to drag-out any song (album) cover art just from the main windows LCD. If you try to, the whole App window is dragged around.

    – the “convert ID3 tags” contextual command is seriously missing this time around?

  18. Some other apparent minor changes:

    – is now impossible to drag-out any song (album) cover art just from the main windows LCD. If you try to, the whole App window is dragged around.

    – the “convert ID3 tags” contextual command is seriously missing this time around?

  19. Also, the way to go back to your library from any of your iDevice, other than clicking on the ‘back’ browsing button, is to just push the ‘Done’ button on the side of the ‘Sync’ button.

  20. Also, the way to go back to your library from any of your iDevice, other than clicking on the ‘back’ browsing button, is to just push the ‘Done’ button on the side of the ‘Sync’ button.

  21. The right-click menu is now different. There is no longer the option to 1) Convert to AAC and 2) Get Album Artwork.

  22. The right-click menu is now different. There is no longer the option to 1) Convert to AAC and 2) Get Album Artwork.

  23. I clicked the back button a couple of times to get out of the iOS device screen. Then I noticed the Done button next to the Sync button. I still prefer the previous way. I also don’t understand how a click-scroll-click is better than a click to change media screens.

    • I totally get how that would be frustrating for those people who regularly and rapidly switch between media types. For myself, though – and selfishly – I rarely rapidly or regularly switch modes, so the extra click isn’t too onerous, and the dropdown is a bit tidier and clearer than the previous design.
      Mostly I’m in one mode for an extended period, then another. So I rarely switch from Music to TV Shows to Movies, back to Music. I usually move and stay for… well at least the duration of an album or a tv show or a movie!

  24. I clicked the back button a couple of times to get out of the iOS device screen. Then I noticed the Done button next to the Sync button. I still prefer the previous way. I also don’t understand how a click-scroll-click is better than a click to change media screens.

    • I totally get how that would be frustrating for those people who regularly and rapidly switch between media types. For myself, though – and selfishly – I rarely rapidly or regularly switch modes, so the extra click isn’t too onerous, and the dropdown is a bit tidier and clearer than the previous design.
      Mostly I’m in one mode for an extended period, then another. So I rarely switch from Music to TV Shows to Movies, back to Music. I usually move and stay for… well at least the duration of an album or a tv show or a movie!

  25. Ctrl-click a podcast track no longer allows for deletion of the file. Frustrating. Now must do “show in finder” delete the file and then uncheck the track. Used to be a one-stop shop with ctrl-click. Typical.

    • Nope. If I’m looking at podcasts, I can delete from either Unplayed or Feed by pressing Option-Delete. I can delete from Unplayed by right clicking and choosing Delete.

  26. Ctrl-click a podcast track no longer allows for deletion of the file. Frustrating. Now must do “show in finder” delete the file and then uncheck the track. Used to be a one-stop shop with ctrl-click. Typical.

    • Nope. If I’m looking at podcasts, I can delete from either Unplayed or Feed by pressing Option-Delete. I can delete from Unplayed by right clicking and choosing Delete.

  27. I can delete podcast tracks just by selecting them and tapping the Delete key. A confirmation dialog appears. I’m noticing no change in behavior here.

  28. I can delete podcast tracks just by selecting them and tapping the Delete key. A confirmation dialog appears. I’m noticing no change in behavior here.

  29. @Stefano:

    that contextual menu command is no longer available.

    To operate the said format conversion:

    https://support.apple.com/en-in/HT204310

    Convert songs that are already in your iTunes library

    Open iTunes Preferences.
    Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences.
    Mac: Choose iTunes > Preferences.
    Click the General button, then click the Import Settings button in the lower section of the window.
    From the Import Using pop-up menu, choose the encoding format that you want to convert the song to. To save the settings, click OK.
    Select one or more songs in your library that you want to convert.
    Choose File > Create New Version, then Create [format] Version. The format shown is the one that you chose in step 3. For example, if you chose Apple Lossless Encoder, select Create Apple Lossless Version.

    New song files appear in your library next to the original files.

    • This is bullshit. There is no option to convert at all in 12.4.1 There is NO File>Create New Version option at all. I can’t convert anything and I use this option often. ABSOLUTE FAIL iTunes. Stop changing things we actually use for the sake of making a new useless update.

  30. @Stefano:

    that contextual menu command is no longer available.

    To operate the said format conversion:

    https://support.apple.com/en-in/HT204310

    Convert songs that are already in your iTunes library

    Open iTunes Preferences.
    Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences.
    Mac: Choose iTunes > Preferences.
    Click the General button, then click the Import Settings button in the lower section of the window.
    From the Import Using pop-up menu, choose the encoding format that you want to convert the song to. To save the settings, click OK.
    Select one or more songs in your library that you want to convert.
    Choose File > Create New Version, then Create [format] Version. The format shown is the one that you chose in step 3. For example, if you chose Apple Lossless Encoder, select Create Apple Lossless Version.

    New song files appear in your library next to the original files.

    • This is bullshit. There is no option to convert at all in 12.4.1 There is NO File>Create New Version option at all. I can’t convert anything and I use this option often. ABSOLUTE FAIL iTunes. Stop changing things we actually use for the sake of making a new useless update.

  31. Some of these changes really are quite Microsoftian. Not able to get back to my Music library from the Device screen? Give me a break. Scrolling all over the place to create a new playlist instead of clicking the ‘+’ button. Geez! How about working on some REAL improvements instead of moving the deck chairs?

  32. Some of these changes really are quite Microsoftian. Not able to get back to my Music library from the Device screen? Give me a break. Scrolling all over the place to create a new playlist instead of clicking the ‘+’ button. Geez! How about working on some REAL improvements instead of moving the deck chairs?

  33. My car stereo can only recognize ID3 2.2 so I always used the converter to change the version from 2.3 to 2.2. Very sad this is gone. It means not track data will display on my car radio.

  34. My car stereo can only recognize ID3 2.2 so I always used the converter to change the version from 2.3 to 2.2. Very sad this is gone. It means not track data will display on my car radio.

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