Apple Details iTunes Changes Coming in macOS Catalina

macOS Catalina does away with the iTunes app, a longtime staple of the Mac operating system, which, unsurprisingly, has left many with questions on just how that's going to work.

To answer questions about the imminent sunsetting of iTunes, Apple has created a support document that explains all of the upcoming changes.


Apple is planning to split iTunes into three apps in ‌macOS Catalina‌: Music, Podcasts, and TV, which, when combined, will replicate much of the functionality that's currently available through iTunes in macOS Mojave and earlier versions of macOS.

One of the most frequent questions concerns device management and syncing, which is currently done through iTunes. In Catalina, Apple is transitioning device management functionality to the Finder app, and when you plug an iOS device into your Mac, it will be listed as an available device on the left side of the window, with all of the same controls and information.


The Music app is going to feature all of the music that you've imported or purchased, and the iTunes Store is still going to be available in the Music app for making music purchases. Apple Music will also be available in the Music app right alongside your purchased music or music ripped from CDs and other sources. iTunes Music purchases will also continue to be available on iOS.

Likewise, TV shows and Movies that you've purchased or rented from iTunes will be listed in the upcoming Apple TV app, and it will also be used for future purchases and rentals.


All of your subscribed podcasts will be transitioned over to the Podcasts app, while audiobooks can be purchased and accessed in the Apple Books app for Mac.

iTunes Gift Cards and iTunes credits will be usable in the new TV and Music apps and in the App Store, so there's no significant change there.

Though iTunes is gone in ‌macOS Catalina‌, all of the iTunes functionality is available through the Music, Podcasts, Books, and upcoming TV apps, so in practice, there are few changes for end users. In many ways, the split makes a lot more sense than having all of those features in one spot, and most users should be able to adjust to the changes quickly.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

Top Rated Comments

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24 weeks ago
The press has made it sound like the end of iTunes is the end of music on the Mac. I've had a half dozen of my friends asking me where their music would go, what will happen to my playlists, and how do I play music on my computer. Really overblown. I just tell people to remain calm. The world isn't ending...you'll still have music!!!
Rating: 20 Votes
24 weeks ago

Here's what it says about movies and tv shows:
Movies and TV shows that you purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app.
Use the Apple TV app for Mac for future movie and TV purchases or rentals.


Currently, I have my movies ripped to a hard drive on my Mac. The movie files are added to my iTunes library. I like to play them on my networked Apple TV. It works very well as it currently is. I hope they are not removing from the new Apple TV app for Mac the ability to add one's own home movies or movie rips. If so, then I will have to use Plex or Infuse on the Apple TV. However, I like how well the "Computer" app works on the Apple TV for playing my video files.


No, your video rips etc are all still there. Home Sharing is switched on in the System Preferences in the Sharing tab now.
Rating: 14 Votes
24 weeks ago
One thing conspicuous by its absence in the support document is any mention of how home sharing is going to work once the iTunes split happens - I’ve got a lot of imported movies, tv shows and home video in my iTunes library and I use home sharing to stream these to my iPad and Apple TV... I’m going to be very unhappy if this functionality goes away in Catalina!
Rating: 13 Votes
24 weeks ago
I still see no actual advantage to any of this, other than to calm the complaints of people who have moaned about it for years. I do see disadvantages.

"Audiobooks that you purchased from iTunes will now be in the updated Apple Books app."

And the Audiobooks you haven't purchased from iTunes? Where do they go?
Rating: 12 Votes
24 weeks ago

Will you still be able to import CDs?

Yes, and you can still burn playlists to discs.

Music is basically iTunes with all the other stuff torn out - it even has the modal preferences window!
Rating: 11 Votes
24 weeks ago
Here's what it says about movies and tv shows:
Movies and TV shows that you purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app.
Use the Apple TV app for Mac for future movie and TV purchases or rentals.


Currently, I have my movies ripped to a hard drive on my Mac. The movie files are added to my iTunes library. I like to play them on my networked Apple TV. It works very well as it currently is. I hope they are not removing from the new Apple TV app for Mac the ability to add one's own home movies or movie rips. If so, then I will have to use Plex or Infuse on the Apple TV. However, I like how well the "Computer" app works on the Apple TV for playing my video files.
Rating: 11 Votes
24 weeks ago

Because since 2011, Apple has slapped onto what was originally just a music player:

* a music store front
* a video player
* a video store front
* an app store front (by now already removed)
* a podcast player
* an audio book player
* an audio book store front
* an ebook store front (by now already removed)
* a device manager
* and two failed music themed social networks.


That's why it is a bloated mess.


No, that is wrong. Doing multiple things does not make it a bloated mess.
Your iPhone can do about a billion more things than this, but you wouldn't refer to your iPhone as a bloated mess, would you?
Or would you prefer to carry around an iPod to play your music, a phone to make phone-calls, a pager to receive messages, a laptop to browse the web, etc.

iTunes is great at doing multiple different things. It may have started out as a one-trick pony, but there's no reason why it should ever have stayed that way, or go back to being that way. As new user requirements came along, iTunes incorporated them well.

We have already seen that the decision to split eBooks out into a standalone separate app has failed miserably... duplicated files with non-sensical names, no ability to edit metadata, sync/transfer issues...

THAT is why people are hesitant about Apple's decision to split iTunes up even further.
Rating: 10 Votes
24 weeks ago

Here's what it says about movies and tv shows:
Movies and TV shows that you purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app.
Use the Apple TV app for Mac for future movie and TV purchases or rentals.


Currently, I have my movies ripped to a hard drive on my Mac. The movie files are added to my iTunes library. I like to play them on my networked Apple TV. It works very well as it currently is. I hope they are not removing from the new Apple TV app for Mac the ability to add one's own home movies or movie rips. If so, then I will have to use Plex or Infuse on the Apple TV. However, I like how well the "Computer" app works on the Apple TV for playing my video files.


This was my concern as well... they haven't said anything about imported video, just audio.
Rating: 9 Votes
24 weeks ago
I'm a little surprised that they didn't resurrect iSync into a modern form for the device management/syncing.
I would think we want Finder nice and Lean :)
but this likely does provide a simpler, more user friendly approach for end users than having another extra app.
Rating: 7 Votes
24 weeks ago
A couple of questions. I have my iTunes library on an external drive. Will that still work the same way?

Also, they seem to be vague with videos. I have a bunch of movies that I've ripped from DVD's over the years to make my library entirely digital. Are these still going to work with the Movies app and will I be able to stream them to the Apple TV like I do now?

Side note: I'm still confused as to why Apple is doing this. To me its like they are doing it for the sake of doing it and not to make things easier on the user. I don't see how having to sync with 3 separate apps is supposed to be better than just syncing with iTunes.
Rating: 7 Votes

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