Why the New iTunes Info Window Is Poorly Designed

Earlier today, I noted that iTunes 12.1 has changed the display of the Info window, the window that displays when you select one or more tracks and press Command-I. You use this window to tag files; to edit the metadata, such as the track name, artist, album name, and more.

But this window is poorly designed, for several reasons. And there’s a bug in the way text displays.

First, take a minute to think about how you tag files in iTunes. For most users, the tags you want to edit are the Name (song or track name), Artist, Album, Genre, and perhaps a couple of others. In the previous iTunes Info window, these tags were all grouped in the same area at the top of the window.

Info single
But the new Info window separates these tags. The Name field has become Song Name, which is perhaps clear. The Artist field comes next. But then comes Composer, which you mostly use if you’re tagging jazz or classical music. The Album tag is near the bottom of the window, followed by Album Artist.

Itunes new info single

This means that, for most users, tagging will no longer involve typing and pressing the Tab key a few times, but looking closely at the window to find where the fields are, and manually clicking in different locations.

Why would Apple decide to put the Album tag near the bottom of the window? This is one of the most important tags for music. And why would they promote the Composer, and even the BPM tags? This design was clearly made by people who don’t tag music in iTunes.

In addition, they’ve stacked some of the shorter tags vertically, using up a lot of space, rather than combining some of them on one line.

Here’s a mock-up of what would be a much better layout for this window.

Info window copy

It not only puts the tags in a more logical order, but it is more economic. It’s perhaps a bit dense, but it’s a lot more useful.

As an aside, I’ve spotted a bug – pretty quickly – when clicking in text fields. If the text is longer than the field, the text displays outside the field.

Screen Shot 2015 01 30 at 7 12 51 PM

I’m sure this bug will be fixed in the next update, but I hope Apple fixes the layout in the Info window too. They could actually allow users to choose the layout they want, and which tags they display. This could be in the iTunes preferences, and iTunes power users would certainly welcome such an option.

20 thoughts on “Why the New iTunes Info Window Is Poorly Designed

  1. Kirk – I noticed right off too how the album tag was at the bottom where you have to scroll down to see it. What an example of someone who doesn’t love or even use iTunes – making the new layout. Your mockup is much better – hope someone who cares see it and fixes it.

  2. Kirk – I noticed right off too how the album tag was at the bottom where you have to scroll down to see it. What an example of someone who doesn’t love or even use iTunes – making the new layout. Your mockup is much better – hope someone who cares see it and fixes it.

  3. As someone who retags all my music, both music I import from cd’s and that which I purchase as downloads, I agree with you about the layout. The present info window is very cumbersome and illogical. I believe that whoever designed the new window never has to actually use it. I still much prefer the old window and am disappointed that it is no available for access. I’ve yet to check on the ability to sync my iOS devices. I hope you have sent your suggestion for the info window to Apple. Thanks. Kirk.

  4. As someone who retags all my music, both music I import from cd’s and that which I purchase as downloads, I agree with you about the layout. The present info window is very cumbersome and illogical. I believe that whoever designed the new window never has to actually use it. I still much prefer the old window and am disappointed that it is no available for access. I’ve yet to check on the ability to sync my iOS devices. I hope you have sent your suggestion for the info window to Apple. Thanks. Kirk.

  5. On another note, I did just notice a good thing. You can now right click on present artwork and delete it. I often need to change to a single’s cover or better resolution one and before you could not delete the old one – just add a new one and then they were both there.

  6. On another note, I did just notice a good thing. You can now right click on present artwork and delete it. I often need to change to a single’s cover or better resolution one and before you could not delete the old one – just add a new one and then they were both there.

  7. I hope the art work now consistently shows up in Remote when playing using AirPlay. Shows up when using my iPad, not when using my iPhone 6.

  8. I hope the art work now consistently shows up in Remote when playing using AirPlay. Shows up when using my iPad, not when using my iPhone 6.

  9. What happened to the art work Gallery? I have more than 3 jpegs embedded in most music files and the previous iTunes 12 version allowed me to slide thru the images. I wish they would restore the Gallery and allow me to resize the images or the gallery as a whole so that the jpegs are readable….2-1-15

  10. What happened to the art work Gallery? I have more than 3 jpegs embedded in most music files and the previous iTunes 12 version allowed me to slide thru the images. I wish they would restore the Gallery and allow me to resize the images or the gallery as a whole so that the jpegs are readable….2-1-15

  11. There are also several annoying peculiarities about text entry: one click (or tap) in a field selects the field, with the text cursor placed at the point where you clicked. One would think that a triple-click on a field not currently selected would highlight the field with all text in that field selected, but instead you must first single-click to select the field, *then* triple-click to select all text. This is… not consistent.

    If you attempt to manually select all text by clicking once at the end of the field to select the field, and then clicking and dragging from inside the box but to the right of the last of the text to select the text – nothing happens. You can only drag-select by clicking again RIGHT ON the narrow blinking cursor and dragging to the left. More often than not, you wind up with all the text except the last 1-2 letters.

    At least tabbing into a field still selects all text. Too bad that you have to tab 9 times to get to album from the song title. It used to just be Genre that was far away from everything else. And this problem was ameliorated by the ability to jump to a field with Cmd+G for Genre, Cmd+C for composer, etc. This functionality has also been removed in the new window.

    Finally, Ctrl+Return in the old window would insert a carriage return and start a new line in the Comments box. There is no way I can detect to do that in the new window, so I’m stuck with guessing how many spaces to input to start text on a new line. This is perhaps the most annoying problem of all for tagging my huge classical music collection. I keep all sorts of info in there like the conductor, soloists, opus numbers, etc. In addition, I just now discovered that comment tags with that newline already embedded from previous iTunes versions are not editable in the new window without deleting the whole comment entirely and starting over. THAT particular problem may drive me to a different music player entirely. For now, I think I’ll try to backrev to 12.0.

    When I “upgraded” to 12.1, I was really hoping to discover some sort of command line-accessible preferences setting to return to the old window style by default so I could go back to “Cmd+I” instead of the much slower “Option+Right-click+select Get Info” Instead we got shafted with complete removal of the old-style window in favor of something that looks like a Microsoft Access 2000 form, and has inexcusably quirky behavior and inexplicably reduced functionality.

  12. There are also several annoying peculiarities about text entry: one click (or tap) in a field selects the field, with the text cursor placed at the point where you clicked. One would think that a triple-click on a field not currently selected would highlight the field with all text in that field selected, but instead you must first single-click to select the field, *then* triple-click to select all text. This is… not consistent.

    If you attempt to manually select all text by clicking once at the end of the field to select the field, and then clicking and dragging from inside the box but to the right of the last of the text to select the text – nothing happens. You can only drag-select by clicking again RIGHT ON the narrow blinking cursor and dragging to the left. More often than not, you wind up with all the text except the last 1-2 letters.

    At least tabbing into a field still selects all text. Too bad that you have to tab 9 times to get to album from the song title. It used to just be Genre that was far away from everything else. And this problem was ameliorated by the ability to jump to a field with Cmd+G for Genre, Cmd+C for composer, etc. This functionality has also been removed in the new window.

    Finally, Ctrl+Return in the old window would insert a carriage return and start a new line in the Comments box. There is no way I can detect to do that in the new window, so I’m stuck with guessing how many spaces to input to start text on a new line. This is perhaps the most annoying problem of all for tagging my huge classical music collection. I keep all sorts of info in there like the conductor, soloists, opus numbers, etc. In addition, I just now discovered that comment tags with that newline already embedded from previous iTunes versions are not editable in the new window without deleting the whole comment entirely and starting over. THAT particular problem may drive me to a different music player entirely. For now, I think I’ll try to backrev to 12.0.

    When I “upgraded” to 12.1, I was really hoping to discover some sort of command line-accessible preferences setting to return to the old window style by default so I could go back to “Cmd+I” instead of the much slower “Option+Right-click+select Get Info” Instead we got shafted with complete removal of the old-style window in favor of something that looks like a Microsoft Access 2000 form, and has inexcusably quirky behavior and inexplicably reduced functionality.

  13. I didn’t see that anyone mentioned another annoying change in 12.1. Before the update, I was able to add artwork by clicking on the artwork square in the upper left hand corner of the Details tab. This feature has been eliminated in 12.1, and I now have to change tabs to edit or add artwork.

  14. I didn’t see that anyone mentioned another annoying change in 12.1. Before the update, I was able to add artwork by clicking on the artwork square in the upper left hand corner of the Details tab. This feature has been eliminated in 12.1, and I now have to change tabs to edit or add artwork.

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