Searching iTunes 11 is abysmally slow if you have a large library (mine has 65,000 tracks). So slow that it’s astounding. I made a screencast showing how slow it is. Note that, on my Mac, the cursor changes to a beachball; I couldn’t capture the beachball on video, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
The video below is in real time. Honest. Note that at the beginning, when I say “I just typed “Shake,” that’s when I typed the letters; it takes 30 seconds for them to show up…
I’m running these searches on a late 2010 Mac mini, with a 2.7 GHz Core i7 Processor, 16 GB RAM and an SSD (which is holding the iTunes library files, not the media files).
Update: Following a suggestion from a commenter (see below), I checked in another library I have for another user account. It has about 37,000 tracks, and the same search I tried in this video – “Shake” – took about 8 seconds in that library. So there’s clearly a scaling issue. 8 seconds is still too long; anything that beachballs is too long in my opinion, but it’s something I could live with.
Update 2: The iTunes 11.0.1 update fixes the search speed problem described above.
Posted: 12/4/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 27 Comments »
Update: I’ve reposted this article because with the release of iTunes 11, the Gapless Album tag is no longer available in the program. However, many people don’t understand this, and think that the removal of this tag means that iTunes no longer plays music without gaps. This is incorrect. Read on and understand what this tag was for.
Following a comment from a Twitter friend, asking how to find which of a number of albums require gapless playback, I pointed him to an old article on this website. (I won’t link to it, as it was written in 2006, and addressed the problem of gapless playback on the iPod.) I realized that many people don’t understand what that Gapless Album tag is, so here’s a brief explanation.
If you select a number of tracks in iTunes, then choose Get Info, and click on the Options tab, you see this:
And if you choose a single track, you see this:
That tag at the bottom of the first screenshot, Gapless Album, or at the bottom of the second, Part of a Gapless Album (thanks for being consistent, Apple), has one, and only one usage. This tag only matters if you have Crossfade Song turned on in iTunes (Preferences > Playback), and it only affects playback from iTunes. All gapless albums are automatically detected and played as such on iPods and other iOS devices. You may even see iTunes “Determining Gapless Playback Information” when you add new files to your iTunes library; this is simply to find whether the music ends at the end of the file or not. (Not actually at the end, in fact; there’s a brief bit of silence no matter what, but it’s a set length, so if the silence is that length, iTunes knows to ignore it.)
So, unless you use Crossfade Songs, you never need to worry about this tag.
See Apple’s technical note about gapless playback.
Posted: 12/3/2012 by kirk | Filed under: iPod & iTunes Tags: iOS, iPod, iTunes, music | 20 Comments »
I’ve gotten a number of emails and tweets about the fact that iTunes 11 no longer displays album art at the bottom-left of the program’s window, and that there’s no way to easily add album art to multiple tracks. Well, this is incorrect; there has always been another way.
Select the tracks you want to add album art to: multiple tracks or an entire album. Press Command-I (or Control-I on Windows), and you’ll see the Multiple Item Information window. Drag your artwork to the Artwork well, or if you’ve copied it, click in that well and paste it. Click OK, and the artwork is applied to all the tracks.
Posted: 12/3/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 9 Comments »
One of the most useful keyboard shortcuts in iTunes, Command-L (or Control-L for Windows users) is broken, at least in the Mac version of iTunes 11. This shortcut takes you to the currently playing song. So if you’re fiddling with files in your library, and want to go back to the song you’re listening to, pressing Command-L would transport you instantly.
Except with iTunes 11, it doesn’t work correctly. If the song you’re playing is in a playlist, pressing Command-L only takes you to that playlist, but does not highlight the currently playing song. If you are in other views, it seems to work correctly.
This is somewhat annoying to those who listen to music and add or edit files in their iTunes library at the same time. One could argue that with the new Up Next feature, zapping to the current song might not be an issue, but I still find it practical to be able to do so.
Update: I found what’s going on. If you have the sidebar displayed, then Command-L only selects the playlist. If you don’t display it, then iTunes goes to the currently playing track. I’m seeing a number of similar inconsistencies with iTunes 11 according to how the interface is displayed.
Posted: 12/3/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 23 Comments »
Apple finally released iTunes 11 on Thursday, and a number of readers have written asking what I think about it. I’ve been very busy looking into the nooks and crannies of the program for an extensive review which will be published on Macworld on Monday or Tuesday, so I haven’t had time to write anything here. My first impressions are mixed: while I applaud many of the interface changes, I’m unhappy about some of them which remove display options. Many users will need to get used to a lot to manage or organize their media libraries.
I’ll have much more to say in my review, and in future articles here, as well as in the update to my Take Control of iTunes, which I’ll be working on as soon as I’ve finished my review. So stay tuned for more about iTunes 11.
Posted: 12/1/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: Apple, iTunes | 3 Comments »
Apple introduced iTunes Match one year ago today. To mark the anniversary, I’ve written an article for Macworld, iTunes Match: One year in, where I discuss some of the problems with Apple’s cloud service, and offer some suggestions for improvement.
I also joined Macworld’s Chris Breen and Dan Moren on this week’s Macworld podcast, to discuss iTunes Match, iTunes and the iTunes Store.
So if you’re interested in iTunes Match, check out the article and podcast.
Posted: 11/14/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes, iTunes Match | 1 Comment »
As the one year anniversary of iTunes Match approaches, many users are currently wondering if they are going to renew the $25 a year service. For some users iTunes Match works fine; for others it’s a disaster. I recently did some research for a Macworld article that will be published on November 14, the date that iTunes Match was introduced last year, and found that many users suffered from a number of problems. These involve poor matching, incorrect matching (often “clean” versions of songs instead of “explicit,” or live versions instead of studio versions), problems with tags disappearing, and especially problems with playlists not syncing correctly or getting mixed up.
So, if you’ve decided to throw in the towel on iTunes Match, you had better prepare. If you don’t have local copies of all your music, start downloading it now. Because if you don’t, when iTunes Match turns off for you, you won’t have access to any of that music, and you can’t get it back.
Posted: 11/8/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: Apple, digital music, iTunes | 15 Comments »
A few months ago, I pondered why there are so few albums with digital booklets on the iTunes Store. I had discovered at the time that Apple imposes their own page format, which is not that of CD booklets, adding an extra step in the production process for record labels.
Well I found out something else recently: why record labels don’t add digital booklets to older releases. The answer is interesting; it’s because they can’t. Apple won’t let them. If a label has uploaded an album to the iTunes Store and wants to add a digital booklet later, the only way they can do this is to delete the original, and create a new album listing with a new SKU. And if they do this, then purchasers will no longer be able to re-download music listed under the old SKU.
It’s kind of foolish; it should be drop-dead simple to add something to an album on the iTunes Store, but Apple’s system is so rigid that it’s impossible. So if you wonder why your favorite label hasn’t added digital booklets to older releases, you now know why.
Posted: 10/25/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes, music Tags: classical music, digital music, iTunes, iTunes Store, music | 6 Comments »