If you’re an iTunes user, then you may have recently been prompted to download iTunes 11. But what’s the big deal about Apple’s latest upgrade to one of its most popular software programs? Is it worth taking a few minutes to download?
Here are all the new features Apple has included with iTunes 11:
No more sidebar
We probably didn’t have to tell you about this change because it’s immediately noticeable as soon as you sign into iTunes 11. Apple has waved goodbye to its trademark sidebar and has adopted an edge-to-edge design. That means you can no longer choose playlists, movies, apps, or any other information from that sidebar.
So what’s Apple’s alternative? Well, you can access all of the sidebar items using the dropdown menu at the top of the screen. A button at the top right corner of iTunes will also take you directly to the iTunes store.
How to get the old sidebar back
As always happens when a decades-old program undergoes a series change, many iTunes users will want to switch back to the old design. To do this, go to View > Show Sidebar. That’s it. Oh, and if you do choose to re-enable the sidebar, you’ll notice that it’s more colorful than it used to be. Apple has reintroduced color to its sidebar icons after briefly adopting a grayscale approach in iTunes 10.
No more status bar
The iTunes status bar used to be located at the bottom of the program’s screen. It displayed relevant information like total song count, total memory, playtime, and other data. Well, thanks to the new “edge to edge” design approach, iTunes no longer has a bottom status bar by default.
How to get the old status bar back
Fortunately, Apple has made it easy for users to access the old status bar. Just like re-enabling the old sidebar, simply go to View > Show Status Bar.
Up Next shows which songs are coming ‘up next’
If you’ve ever felt distraught that you didn’t know which songs were coming up next in shuffle, then you’ll appreciate the Up Next feature. Simply click the icon next to the iTunes header to see a list of songs that will be playing next in your queue. You can manually add and remove tracks from this list and do all sorts of other neat tricks to customize your upcoming playlist. Great for parties and weddings!
Improved album view
I like what iTunes has done with album view. Instead of featuring a bland background for every album cover, iTunes has adapted its cover system to each unique cover. The best way to describe this feature is with a picture:
The new album background adopts the color and style of whichever album it’s showing. Neat!
One of the biggest improvements in iTunes 11 involves the miniplayer. Instead of just being included as an afterthought, the miniplayer is a multi-functional app that allows users to easily play, pause, and stop their music as well as search for new songs, activate AirPlay, and perform other tasks.
Improved TV and movie streaming via iCloud
If you use iCloud to watch movies and TV shows, then iTunes 11 makes it easier than ever to access your legally purchased content. You can stream movies, music, and TV shows that you have purchased but not yet downloaded, and you can do this from anywhere in the house.