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11 things we really hate about Apple iTunes

Love iPods, can't stand the software...

We may love our iPods and iPhones but there are just some aspects of iTunes, Apple's dominant media-management and -player software for the devices that drives us mad. Here’s our top 11 pet hates.

We know that when it comes to iPods and iPhones, we've got to use iTunes. It's our gateway to millions of song downloads, thousands of TV shows and movies, that killer new App Store, and a terrific selection of podcasts. Without it, our iPods and iPhones would be empty, lonely, and sad.

But, oh, does iTunes drive us crazy sometimes. It lacks obvious features, hobbles others, and does things that are just plain dumb. In some cases, Apple's decision-making is to blame, not iTunes itself, but the latter is the conduit through which those bad decisions trickle.

We've rounded up 11 of these annoyances, all of which Apple could fix in about five minutes. In the meantime, we've listed workarounds for many of them because, let's face it, much as we hate iTunes sometimes, we're stuck with it.

1. Wildly inefficient updates

Kudos to Apple for releasing frequent updates to iTunes, fixing bugs, and adding features along the way. But big-time demerits for forcing us to download and reinstall the entire program for every little update. And bundling QuickTime, too, whether it's new or not. Yo, Apple, ever heard of a patch? Some folks are still using dial-up, you know.

2. DRM (boo!)

iTunes gave us the 99p song download, thus paving the way for honest people to buy music at a fair price. So why does the iTunes Store still employ digital rights management (DRM) for the majority of songs in its library?

Blaming the record labels no longer holds water: AmazonMP3 and Rhapsody are among a growing number of services selling DRM-free MP3s from all the major labels, not just EMI. At least iTunes no longer charges extra for the latter's 'iTunes Plus' selections, but why hasn't Apple given DRM the heave-ho once and for all? At least customers have alternatives now.

3. No monitoring of music folders

Apple seems unwilling to acknowledge that people get music from sources other than iTunes. How else to explain the software's inability to monitor folders and automatically add new music to the library?

Sure, any songs ripped from CDs or purchased from the iTunes Store get added, but that's it. If you rip discs with a different program or buy music from other stores, you'll have to import them manually. Geez, even the Microsoft Zune software monitors folders.

Fortunately, solutions are available. iTunes Folder Watch, a free utility for Windows (sorry, Mac users), monitors designated folders, then automatically adds any newly discovered music to your iTunes library. And if you buy music from AmazonMP3 or the Rhapsody MP3 Store, those stores' download utilities will automatically add new purchases to your iTunes collection - no intervention required.

NEXT PAGE: 'Pushing' of other programs by the iTunes installer

  1. Inefficient updates, DRM and monitoring music folders
  2. 'Pushing' of other programs by iTunes installer, and the mystery checkbox
  3. Rotten at exporting playlists
  4. Go on then: three things we love about iTunes

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