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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.

4. 'Pushing' of other programs by iTunes installer

Earlier this year, Apple hopped aboard the crapware train by adding its new-for-Windows Safari browser to its Software Update tool, which tends to appear whenever there's a new version of iTunes. Anyone accustomed to clicking okay without looking too closely would end up installing Safari, which was selected for download by default.

At least now the browser is relegated to a 'New Software' category but it's still automatically queued up for download unless you clear the checkbox.

Meanwhile, any Windows user who installed iTunes 7.7 (the version that introduced the App Store) will find a surprise in Windows' Control Panel: a MobileMe service Preferences icon. It lands there whether you're a MobileMe subscriber or not, and whether you want it or not.

5. No subscription service - still

If you're going to keep clinging to DRM, Apple, how about giving us a music-subscription service to go with it? You know, the kind offered by Napster and Rhapsody. It's an unbeatable way to discover new music and the more music we discover, the more music we're likely to purchase.

6. 'Neglected' podcasts stop downloading

iTunes is like a strict nanny: if you don't listen to your subscribed podcasts on a frequent and regular basis, the program stops downloading new episodes. Say, shouldn't that be our decision?

Does Apple think we're low on hard-drive space or something? We've got gigs to spare, so keep the podcasts coming.

That's why we subscribed to them, after all. Unfortunately, iTunes has no setting that can override this dictatorial action.

7. The mystery check box

Next to every single item in your library (songs, TV shows, podcasts, and so on) there's a little checkbox. It's been there as long as we can remember, but if the iTunes help function explains its purpose, that entry is really hard to find.

Do you uncheck items to stop them from synching? Check items that you want in a playlist? What's up with the box?!

Actually, it's pretty simple: unchecked items don't get played when you're listening to your library or a playlist. Likewise, unchecked items don't get synched to your iPod if you enable the 'Sync only checked songs and videos' option in the device's Summary menu.

Handy options, right? So why all the secrecy?

NEXT PAGE: More things we hate about iTunes

  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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