Apple Is Sending iTunes to the Great Trash Bin in the Sky

Photo: THOMAS TRUTSCHEL/Photothek via Getty Images

Look, buddy, I don’t know quite how to say this, but according to a report in Bloomberg, iTunes is going away. It’s okay to be sad, just know this happens to all apps eventually. We had iTunes for 18 years, which is a very long time for an app to be around. It’s longer than most apps ever stick around, actually. And on Monday, when Apple is reportedly announcing this at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, we’re gonna find out about all the great new apps we’ll have to replace it! There’ll be a separate app for Music, one just for Movies, and of course, a special place for Podcasts. But iTunes? iTunes can’t stay with us anymore. It’s time for iTunes to go join its friends, Zune and Beats Music, in a big server upstate with lots of room for them to run and play.

So what does all this mean for you, person who has probably made at least one embarrassing iTunes purchase in their lifetime (or pirated your whole library, ya rebel)? As Apple announced on Monday, iTunes won’t just evaporate into thin air overnight, but give you some time to grieve by being gradually phased out. With Apple’s next Mac operating system update, macOS Catalina (available “this fall”), iTunes will be dissolved and replaced with three apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. (Music being the exact same as Apple Music on mobile.)

Per Billboard, your library won’t just get chucked in the trash bin, but will now exist on Apple Music (whether you subscribe or not); that includes songs you imported in iTunes, not just purchases. (Pro tip: Back up your library before updating.) The iTunes store will also still be there, sort of, but now as an Apple Music sidebar (for as long as downloads remain a Thing, anyway.) You will also no longer have to sync your Apple device via iTunes; it’ll sync automatically when you plug it in now and can be managed via Finder –– no more iTunes pop up!

With macOS Catalina, you’ll also still have access to certain iTunes features, like iTunes Match, smart playlists, and the ability to burn CDs. It’ll just take a bit more work to find without the iTunes interface. But if you absolutely cannot live without the iTunes you know and love (??), there is a workaround: Windows users will still have access to the same old iTunes, like every other ancient piece of technology. Or you could just keep clicking “remind me later” on all the OS update prompts like you’ve been doing for years. (Admit it!) Older OS’ will not be affected.

This post has been updated throughout.

Apple Is Sending iTunes to the Great Trash Bin in the Sky