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For those who rely on iTunes for syncing or backing up their iPhone or iPad, streaming their Apple Music library, or viewing content on Apple TV, Apple has introduced alternative applications that could replace iTunes. However, there might be reasons to continue using iTunes despite these new options.
On February 2024, Apple launched three new apps for Windows users, marking a significant step towards phasing out iTunes. These apps are Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Devices. This strategy mirrors the approach Apple took with macOS in 2019, when it replaced iTunes with dedicated apps.
Apple Music for Windows 11
If you’ve traditionally relied on iTunes for your Apple Music experience, the transition to the Apple Music app will be essential. This specialized app not only facilitates streaming from Apple Music but also grants access to your entire iCloud Music Library. It allows you to add songs stored on your local device to iCloud, ensuring all your music is accessible in one place.
With the Apple Music app, you gain unlimited access to a vast library of songs and your personal music collection, all without ads. This service is available across all your devices, enhancing your listening experience. You’re invited to try Apple Music with a one-month free trial.
Please note that the availability of features and the app itself may differ based on your country or region. An active Apple Music subscription is necessary, which will auto-renew post-trial unless cancelled. For syncing media to Apple devices, the Apple Devices app is required.
Apple TV for Windows 11
For those with an Apple TV+ subscription or who have previously purchased or rented movies via Apple TV, the Apple TV app for Windows PC is indispensable. This app also supports importing your media, offering a comprehensive viewing platform.
The Apple TV app consolidates all your preferred television content in a single location. Enjoy critically acclaimed Apple Original series and films, including live Major League Baseball (MLB) games with Friday Night Baseball and every live Major League Soccer (MLS) match through the MLS Season Pass, directly on Apple TV+. The app allows you to purchase or rent new and popular movies, providing a personalized and curated viewing experience.
Apple TV+ is home to Apple Originals, featuring award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, children’s programming, comedies, and more, with new content added monthly.
Key features of the Apple TV app include:
- Exclusive access to Apple Originals on Apple TV+, including hits like "The Morning Show," "Foundation," "Ted Lasso," "Severance," "CODA," "Finch," and others.
- The ability to resume watching movies and shows from where you left off with "Up Next."
- A subscription option for MLS Season Pass, offering every live MLS regular season match, the complete playoffs, and the Leagues Cup without blackouts.
- The opportunity to buy or rent newly-released movies, along with access to a vast catalog of over 100,000 movies and shows.
- The option to download favorites for offline viewing.
Please be aware that the availability of features, channels, and content in the Apple TV app may differ by country or region. Syncing media to Apple devices necessitates the use of the Apple Devices app.
Apple Devices for Windows 11
The Apple Devices app is what you’ll use if you want to back up an iPhone or iPad to your PC or perform system restores for iDevices in recovery mode. It can also be useful when trying to install updates on devices without enough free space to download and install updates themselves. This app doesn’t exist in macOS, but it’s broadly similar to a bunch of features that landed in the Finder when Apple initially discontinued iTunes for macOS back in 2019.
The Apple Devices app is the designated tool for backing up an iPhone or iPad to your PC, as well as for executing system restores on iDevices that are in recovery mode. This app proves invaluable for installing updates on devices that lack the necessary free space to download and install the updates on their own. While this app is not available on macOS, its functionalities closely mirror those integrated into Finder after Apple phased out iTunes for macOS in 2019. This transition marked a shift towards more integrated and streamlined device management solutions within the Apple ecosystem.
Keep iTunes on Windows 11 before Fully Switch Out
The introduction of standalone Apple applications for Windows does not render iTunes entirely obsolete. iTunes remains necessary for those wishing to access audiobooks on their PC or enjoy free podcasts, given that Apple has not yet launched a separate Apple Podcasts app for Windows, similar to what’s available on macOS.
Upon launching iTunes on a Windows PC, users are encouraged to transition to Apple’s dedicated apps, leading to the removal of all features except for podcasts and audiobooks. This streamlined version of iTunes appears to be the case for users who downloaded the application directly from Apple’s website, contrasting with the experience of those who acquired iTunes through the Microsoft Store, where such changes may not apply.
Consequently, Windows users should carefully consider whether to uninstall iTunes. If you’ve never utilized iTunes for podcasts or audiobooks, transitioning fully to Apple’s new apps is a viable option. For Apple Music subscribers, the shift towards a more modern and user-friendly desktop app provides a welcome enhancement to their music listening experience, aligning with competitors like Spotify.
To fully embrace the standalone app experience offered by Apple, including Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Devices, users must be running Windows 10 or a later version. All three of these applications need to be installed on your PC to effectively move away from iTunes. Following their installation, iTunes becomes relegated to serving only for accessing podcasts and audiobooks. It’s crucial to retain your iTunes library; this library is integral to the functioning of both the Apple Music and Apple TV apps, ensuring a seamless transition of your media content to the new platforms.
For PC users who are unable to upgrade to Windows 10, iTunes remains available and fully functional. However, the new standalone apps present a significantly updated and simplified user interface that aligns more closely with the experience offered on Macs, heralding a modernized approach to managing and enjoying media content on Apple’s ecosystem from a Windows platform.