You might think that a flagship piece of software, something that is synonymous with its parent company, would warrant enough attention to keep it reliable and functional. In most cases, this might even be true. With iTunes, from Apple, you could not be more wrong.
Here is just a selection of ways that iTunes will cheerfully set about making your life a misery.
1. Can’t Support A Network
My iTunes library started out life on a Mac Mini that came with a 160Gb HDD. When the library outgrew that space, I moved it, first to a Time Capsule … and then, when that melted, to a QNAP NAS box. All of this was done based on guidance from an Apple Genius during a Genius Bar appointment…
However, if you’re stupid enough to launch iTunes on your Mac Mini without the NAS box mounted and the iTunes library visible, what do you suppose iTunes does? Wait? Pop up a helpful hint? No. It creates a new, local iTunes database, completely disregarding your existing one. With ZERO notice. This is bad if you just want to play content, but if you want to import a new CD, say, it will cheerfully comply, while putting the imported files on the local drive, thus splitting your library into multiple parts. Good luck with that.
2. Dangerous Defaults
When you follow Apple’s recommendations and install OS/X High Sierra on a Mini that has an HDD – only to have your Mac implode and need a complete rebuild – the default configuration for iTunes is to “automatically manage your library”. Which means: putting your media files where it thinks they should go, and not where you want them. Fail to catch this in time and your iTunes library will be utterly screwed up, assuming you’re lucky enough to not lose anything.
The least of your problems will likely be the automatic truncation of any folder or file names that are more than about 26 characters in length. And if you have anything else reliant upon the location or names of your media files, ooh I don’t know, because you want to – well, you’re utterly screwed.
What, what’s that you asked? Doesn’t a Mac Computer know that it’s not safe to apply High Sierra to an HDD-based Mac? Ho ho ho. What do you think this is? A sensible operating system…
3. Cross-Platform Media Handling
If you decide to record your own multimedia – and this is specific to video content, not audio – and you want to do something utterly radical, like actually play it back via iTunes, well, you might well be screwed again. You see, iTunes works differently between OS/X and Windows: playback that works perfectly on Windows might not work on Mac – and vice versa. What you end up with is surround sound on one platform, and either no audio or stereo only on the other. No idea why Apple could not have bundled a universally consistent set of media libraries with their software. Because: iTunes.
4. iDevice Incompatibility
If you manage to fight your way past the platform-specific media players – and then have the temerity to take your carefully composed video content and want to put it on your iPad, well, tough. Because even if something runs on your computer inside of iTunes, it doesn’t mean that it can be transferred to your iDevice. Oh no, that would be too easy. Much too easy. So: you’re screwed. Have fun figuring out which file formats are actually supported universally…
5. Oh, and The Bugs…
Buy a brand new iPhone, and then have your Mac completely rebuilt from scratch after the High Sierra SNAFU. Take your shiny iPhone [or iPad] and connect it to your Mac via a Lightning/USB cable, and ask iTunes to sync your iPhone. It will, of course, fail. It will tell you it’s failed, quite cheerfully, but then give you no clue as to why. Because: this is Apple. You don’t need to worry your pretty little head about anything complicated. Just sit back and watch, while your Apple devices cheerfully screw themselves up for you.
Even more interesting, when you look at all the design limitations and failure points for Apple technology these days, you realise that the problems occur because the Apple Software designers are just so utterly conceited that they cannot even conceive that you might want to operate your technology in a flexible or non-default way. [They make it possible – like network access to your iTunes library]. Then they just screw it up anyway.
There was a time when Apple produced technology that was expensive, of premium quality, and “just worked”. You plugged stuff together and, “it just worked”. Here, in 2018, you still pay premium prices, but the quality is absolutely shit.