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7 cool tips and tricks for Apple’s new iTunes 10

7 cool tips and tricks for Apple's new iTunes 10

At this point, iTunes is so much a part of our daily lives that it’s a major event every time Apple touches it. While iTunes 10 is very similar to its predecessors, it still brings some new things to the table.

Most of the attention paid to iTunes 10 centers around its (generic) new icon, as well as its Ping social network. So let’s take a different approach and completely ignore those, instead focusing on 7 smaller and, in many cases, more practical iTunes 10 tips and tricks.

1. Get the horizontal traffic lights back

Although it was an admirable attempt at better utilizing the available space, Apple’s decision to vertically stack the close, minimize, and zoom buttons is just too radical a change for many people to accept. The argument is that it’s completely inconsistent with the user interface guidelines Apple themselves created. So, if you’d like the horizontal traffic lights to return, simply run this command in Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and restart iTunes:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -1

To go back to the vertical traffic lights, replace the -1 with -0 and run the command again.

Vertical traffic lights in iTunes 10 Horizontal traffic lights in iTunes 10

2. Play media from any iPod, iPhone, or iPad

Let’s say a friend came over and you wanted to listen to his iPod’s music on your computer. When it was connected you used to have to disable automatic syncing. Even then, an iPhone or iPad wouldn’t play its content when plugged into iTunes. iTunes 10 opens this feature up to all iDevices and doesn’t require turning off syncing. It just works – with movies, TV shows, & podcasts too!

Play media from any iPod, iPhone, or iPad in iTunes 10

3. Artwork music player

You know how you can click on an album’s cover art in the lower-left corner of iTunes to enlarge it? In iTunes 10, it’s not just for show – they’ve built playback controls into it. You can even close the main iTunes window and use the artwork viewer as a mini player.

Artwork music player in iTunes 10

4. Get the old Album view back

One of the features highlighted by Steve Jobs when he introduced iTunes 10 was the new Album view, which only shows cover art when an album has 5 or more songs. If the album has less songs, it doesn’t waste the space with extra vertical rows. Don’t worry, though! If you’re longing for the old Album view, you can still get it back. Go to View > Always show artwork and it’ll be like nothing ever changed.

Always show artwork in iTunes 10 Album view

Always show artwork in iTunes 10 Album view

5. Sync specific albums and genres

iTunes 10 offers more advanced music syncing choices, allowing users to sync selected albums and genres in addition to the existing artist and playlist options.

Selected albums and genres in iTunes 10

6. Remove checkboxes

If you’re one of those people who never utilized the checkboxes in your iTunes library, you now have the option to remove them. It’s a nice way of taking back horizontal space. Just go to iTunes > Preferences in the menu bar and uncheck “Show list checkboxes” under the General tab.

Disable show list checkboxes in iTunes 10 Disable show list checkboxes in iTunes 10

7. Remove source icons

Do you hate the monochrome icons in iTunes 10’s sidebar? While some have resorted to hacking the old colored icons back into the software, there is another option. Under the General tab in iTunes Preferences, you can uncheck “Show source icons” and get rid of them entirely.

Remove source icons in iTunes 10
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7 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

With iTunes 10 I have lost my connection with my (old) Apple TV.
It does not show up in preferences anymore, like in 9.2.1
Is there any workaround here?
Can one actually have both versions (9.2 and 10) reside at the same time on the same Mac, in the applications folder?

You ought to be able to have both app versions but since each use different versions of their library (IIRC), you’d have to have one of them set up to run under a different user. The problem is the pref file is pointing to the library in use and you’d have to set up each copy to point to different libraries in different locations which you can do. The problem is the pref.

I keep reading about cool trick #2, but I haven’t been able to get it to work with my iPod Classic. My iPhone will play on my Macbook’s iTunes just fine, but with the iPod everything’s grayed out and not playable.

Is it really any iDevice, or just any iOS device? And if the former, I wonder what I’m doing wrong.

Andrew,
It’s my understanding that any iPod, iPhone, and iPad can take advantage of this feature. Unfortunately, I don’t have a non-iOS device to test it with, so you may be right about regular iPods not working.

You missed a big one, Remove App Store arrows.

defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE

my friend was fixing a different problem with my computer and decided to “upgrade” to itunes 10 for me. I was furious because he totally lost all my playlists. He told me that it isn’t possible to upgrade, and yet to keep the playlists. Stupid friend, but a much more stupid app that doesn’t let us save something like that!

Maenad,
Sorry to say your friend is wrong. Playlists are indeed saved when you upgrade to iTunes 10, so something else must have been done to lose yours.

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