The bane of any iDevice user's existence is Apple's barely usable iTunes software.
Not only is iTunes slow, bloated, and generally clunky--especially on Windows PCs--but it requires constant updates and maintenance, and it regularly freezes and crashes.
(Many thanks to PCWorld's Facebook Friends, who chimed in about their frustrations with iTunes and gave us suggestions for this story.)
Let's take a look at ten reasons why iTunes is annoying.
I'm sick of opening iTunes and getting the prompt, "A new version of iTunes (184.108.40.206.4.1.5) is available. Would you like to download it now?" Normally, frequent updates are a good thing (in one sense, anyway): They show that the software maker is tweaking the software to make it the best that it can be. But each iTunes "update" requires you to download the entire program--not just a patch--and then restart everything.
For the 4,582,390th Time, I Don't Want Safari
Maybe I could get on board with the constant iTunes updates if Apple didn't try to push its Safari Web browser and its outdated MobileMe software on me with every update. It was cute the first time, but after 2000 updates? Plus--like Adobe with its free toolbar offers--Apple sneakily automatically checks the downloads, so you have to uncheck them manually if you don't want the software.
iTunes Is Clunky
iTunes is clunky and slow, especially on PCs. Opening iTunes immediately slows down all of my other processes and ramps up my CPU usage to 50 percent. Also, iTunes crashes about once every hour. And trying to do anything in iTunes--even play a song or make a playlist--while you're importing music or updating an iDevice takes forever.
You Can't Sync an iDevice With Two Libraries
Sure, I get that Apple is trying to cut down on piracy and whatnot with the whole "only sync with one library," but what if I have more than one computer? Then it's all my music, but I can put only half of it on my iPod. Unless, of course, I use Home Sharing to transfer my music from one computer to the other. The only problem with this is that...
Home Sharing Stinks
Home Sharing would be a great feature...if it worked. Home Sharing purportedly allows you to share your music with up to five computers. Let's examine this claim. I put Home Sharing on five of my computers, and it was going okay (admittedly, sometimes I couldn't see some libraries, but most of the time it was fine).
Then I got a new computer and tried to introduce it into the mix by disabling Home Sharing on one of my old computers. Suddenly none of my computers could see any of the other computers' libraries. I basically had to uninstall every single instance of iTunes and then restart everything in order to get it to work.
Syncing Is the Devil
There's no 'drag-and-drop' option on iTunes. Instead, there's a 'manually manage music and videos' option--but with it, you're still syncing (just "selectively syncing"). Syncing really becomes a problem when you have more than one iDevice to sync to one library--especially if you have an iPhone and an iPad, because there's no option to 'manually manage apps'.
You Can Add Only a Few Songs at a Time
Since Home Sharing is so clunky, I decided to save myself some time by throwing a bunch of music files on an external hard drive and then manually importing them into iTunes. Well, as it turns out, iTunes is really bad at importing non-CD music (actually, it's pretty bad at importing CD music, too). Maybe this is some way of guarding against piracy, but for some reason I can't add more than five or six songs at a time to iTunes using 'Add Song'.
You Can't Remove Songs From Your Library From Within a Playlist
Sometimes I notice duplicate songs in one of those nifty smart playlists, and I want to get rid of one them. But all I can do is delete it from the playlist, not from my iTunes library. So instead, I have to go into my library and find it--and remember, it's a duplicate song, so I have to make sure that I find the right one--and then get rid of it.
Occasionally, iTunes Forgets Where Your Library Is
This happens most often if your library is hosted on an external hard drive--but it has occasionally happened to me when my library is stored on my computer's internal hard drive. Once in a while, I'll come across a song or a video, and iTunes simply won't know where it is. So it will ask me to hunt through the depths of my hard drive to find the file. Um...isn't that your job, iTunes?
Everything Is So...Slow
In the time it took me to write this list, iTunes crashed once, tried to install Safari on my computer, and still hasn't finished backing up and updating my iPad.
iTunes Alternatives--They're Out There
The good news is that there are alternatives to iTunes--even if you're the proud owner of an iDevice. Be sure to read "Apple iTunes Alternatives: Make Managing Your Music Easy."
If you have your own complaints about iTunes, let us hear about it in the Comments.