Apple starts cutting the bloat from iTunes by removing iOS App Store

iTunes for PC and Mac is putting the emphasis back on being an app for music. It’s no longer a place for you to get iOS apps, but it’s still got movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and podcasts. Today, Apple quietly released iTunes version 12.7 for both Windows and macOS, and the most immediate change is that it no longer contains any options for syncing apps or ringtones to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

“If you previously used iTunes to sync apps or ringtones on your iOS device, use the new App Store or Sounds Settings on iOS to redownload them without your Mac,” Apple tells users in the update prompt. Apple says that even after this update, apps and ringtones that “are no longer available for redownload” can still be synced by plugging in your iOS device, so I’m guessing (read: I hope) this remains a way of transferring over custom ringtones.

Additionally, the duplicate of the iOS App Store that was previously part of iTunes has been removed completely. It’s just gone.

Goodbye to all this.

In recent years, Apple has constantly taken criticism over the bloated, jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none piece of software that iTunes has become. This appears to be at least one significant step in streamlining iTunes and bringing it back around to the app’s original purpose.

Apple has also simplified things elsewhere, noting that iTunes U content is now included in the Podcasts section of the app, and internet radio stations are in the music library sidebar. All of the changes are detailed on this help page.

This move accomplishes two things for Apple. For one, it directs users to the completely redesigned App Store coming in iOS 11 that has a much bigger editorial focus. Second, cutting out the App Store should make bringing iTunes to the Windows Store a much easier task. Who knows if it’ll actually make the iTunes app itself any better or faster, but at least it’s getting more efficient.

You can update to iTunes 12.7 via the Mac App Store and through this link on Windows.


I would bet another motivation for removing the app store part would be that iTunes wouldn’t be allowed on the Windows Store with that included. Remember iTunes is coming to the Store.

I’m usually suspect of logic like this, but now, with them trying to cut bloat and entering the Windows Store that could be a reason.

Lol as if Apple just did that to bow on Microsoft rules bc they badly needs to be on Windows as if it’s a significant market for their content

Lol I know right? Apple dances to their own drum beat if that hasn’t been obvious the past couple decades.

Very odd statement, all of these tech companies know and value the importance of marketshare. I could see them concede the app store (as it’s not really negatively impactful to Apple) to be in the Windows store.

@princekickster @beaneaththesound – have to agree with BeneathTheSound.

Moving forward, like it or not, windows 10 is "windows", unless you’re a tech and take steps, every new PC comes with .. windows .. apple wanted the bite with the Iphone so they managed to push themselves onto many pc’s by doing this monolithic behemoth called "Itunes" Many people don’t use iphones, so what’s the inroad then? Music, Movies, etc.

What has never made sense is that if someone wanted to use itunes they were forced to also accept ipod/ipad/iphone sync garbage, again unless they took special steps or were extreme in their install or uninstall processes and lets face it .. not many are. I’ve never had an iphone (doubt I ever will) never had an ipod, but I’ve had plenty of decent generic mp3 players (none that were ever supported by itunes), don’t have the apple tv, nor do I care to have bonjour, and lets not forget the massive mistakes they’ve made by default intalling safari .. jesus I lit apple on a cross for that crap…. lastly I’ve never had the real desire to have or use a mac… so what in all of itunes was in it for me?

Music. I’ve purchased music through them for years. Less so now that I stream with spotify, and even there I hate both programs with a passion reserved for the worst of the sexual deviants .. but still I did purchase music through itunes. I don’t even listen to music through the damned thing, preferring instead to save it, or burn-it, then rip-it anew to MP3 or now save as MP3 (when they finally got their heads out of their asses) ..

Still there is one area where itunes has shined … podcast collections.

sure I can go to many different websites and play podcasts from those sites, but itunes did most of what I needed effortlessly. Not so my beloved MP3 player (WinAmp 4 ever mahn!)

Apple’s only game is to get to all of us … and since 90+% are windows based pc’s, or 70+% android phone/device …. they needed to adapt their core or lose. That’s why they do streaming, that’s why they try (like every other BMC Music Club deal ever) lock artists into contracts and the like..

Apple must do this, or it misses the biggest potential revenue stream to their media.

Yep, good point! Was about to hit publish on that bit and steering all customers in general towards the redesigned App Store that’s part of iOS 11.

My girlfriend won’t be pleased: she still uses iTunes on our iMac for all things iPhone. And, how will I now sync homemade ringtones to my iPhone? Garage Band has a ringtone creator, with the option to send the tone to iTunes. What is the process now?

Will it let you airdrop through the sharing option? I’m away from my Mac at the moment, so I can’t check for myself.

That’s the first thing I wondered. I have a number of custom ringtones I use. I can understand removing the App Store. But why remove ringtones? Aside from forcing us to buy ringtones…

You can do it via iOS according to Apple’s support page

While mostly not a big deal, if you have apps that have been pulled from the app store for whatever reason, now you won’t be able to load them on new devices. It’s a minor issue, but could be a hassle. There are a few board games like this. I had always kept a "backup" of apps on my desktop just in case. I guess that won’t work in the future. Is there any benefit to updating to 12.7 if you’re not getting a new device?

Without the App Store I suspect iTunes is going to feel a little faster. Maybe.

Don’t hold your breath. Without the App Store iTunes is still a mess.

Well, in my experience iTunes has never felt slow or complicated. I almost never use other features other than music playback and syncing over the air. I run it on a 2010 macbook pro 13 with an SSD..

It feels plenty fast to me anyway. Spotify feels muuuuch more bloated and slow to load and stuff.

These can still be manually synced, according to Apple’s help page. Added a line to clarify this + ringtones.

Reading the support page, I’m inferring that iTunes still DOES sync (normally?) with iPhones…but only via wire. Is that your interpretation?

I wonder how "syncing" is accomplished now… What is the software mechanic? And how can I have a backup for my phone? Does hand off do something here? Is there something special coming w/ High Sierra and APFS that enables that stuff?

Throwing my initial questions out there!

This was exactly my question. I hope it isn’t a "sorry, buy more iCloud storage space" kind of situation.

Well, as someone who exclusively uses iTunes to manage my singular iOS device – I haven’t used it for music in about half a decade at this point – uh, lame, I guess.

Seconded. I rarely use it for music, because I don’t listen to much music. Podcasts I just do on-phone. Ringtones, encrypted backup and app management…that’s what I use iTunes for!

I just use it for file transfers and app management, honestly. I do listen to quite a bit of music, but that’s all managed through Google Play Music – the free cloud sync of my entire library’s too good to pass up – and, well, the only iOS device I have is an iPad, so I don’t really feel the need to go through Apple’s whole ridiculously convoluted ringtone process. Podcasts are handled through Pocketcasts.

I desperately wish Apple would just let you mount iOS devices as storage, like you can with Android stuff. File transfers to my iPad are so much more of a pain in the arse than file transfers to my phone.

What about backing up to your Mac and restoring all the apps?

Does this force you to back up to iCloud to restore the apps??

What’s the point of having binaries of your iOS apps backed up? If you back up to iCloud, it just backs up a list of which apps you have, which takes no space at all, and then checks that list for what to re-download when you restore your phone.

Some people have and want to keep apps that have been removed from the App Store.

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