iTunes is bad. Even if you've never consciously thought it, you've known it deep down inside of you, the same way you've always known that fire burns and that Josh Lucas will never make the A list. But if you're looking for the specific reasons iTunes is bad, Lifehacker lays the case out out nicely below.
I feel like every time I browse a music forum online, people are hating on iTunes. Is it just because it's fashionable to hate Apple, or is there actually something wrong with iTunes that I'm missing? It seems to work fine for me.
We aren't huge fans of iTunes here, even though many of us still use it. I'm certain that part of iTunes' reputation has to do with Apple haters just being Apple haters, with some of that mob mentality mixed in. However, if you want the actual reasons some people dislike iTunes, we'll break it down for you.
iTunes is very slow...
There's no real getting around this. Everyone has different experiences, but an awful lot of people have found that iTunes is so slow that it's just frustrating to use. The app takes awhile to start up (though this has improved in the latest version), editing metadata causes it to slow to a crawl, and syncing files to third-party iOS apps causes the entire app to just stop for 10 seconds. Overall, a lot of people just have truly awful experiences trying to use the app. I've even seen people blame their computer for being slow when it was really just that they were trying to use iTunes.
Of course, this effect is much more present on Windows than OS X. If you're a Mac user, iTunes really isn't that slow. In fact, its performance is pretty acceptable. So a lot of people that "hate" iTunes are Windows users that have to use a horrible version of the app, while those that don't hate iTunes probably run it on Macs. If you've ever run Microsoft Office on a Mac, you know exactly what this feels like.
...and doesn't have a lot of advanced features...
Furthermore, while iTunes caters to the iOS crowd very nicely, it doesn't have a lot of advanced features that power users have come to love from other apps. For example, iTunes doesn't:
- Support a large number of file formats, like the popular FLAC
- Sync with anything except iOS devices
- Allow for advanced syncing options like removing album art or converting to specific bitrates (only the ones Apple provides)
- Let you customize keyboard shortcuts
- Monitor multiple folders for changes to your library (just the "Add to iTunes" folder)
- Let you manage multiple separate media collections
- Automatically organize files according to custom rules
- Allow for very much customization of the interface (it only has a few predetermined "views")
These are just some examples (and there are many others). Now you may say "I don't want any of those!" And that's fine. Not everyone does (that's why they're called advanced features). But for those that do want them—and there are many of us—iTunes just doesn't cut it.
...but it could be worse
Honestly, in the end, iTunes isn't the worst piece of software in the world (Flash still exists, right?). If you're content with iTunes, then don't listen to the haters and do whatever you damn well please. Obviously iTunes has some good stuff going for it too—it's pretty, it has a good music store, and AirPlay is just the bee's knees.
But, for those of us who constantly curse iTunes under our breath for screeching to a halt or failing to live up to our power user expectations, there are a lot of other great music players out there, like MusicBee, foobar2000, or MediaMonkey (which actually syncs iOS devices—something no other player can do, thanks to Apple's walled garden). And, while those other programs are great, they'll take a little more work to set up than iTunes does, which "works" pretty well out of the box. It's up to you whether that's something that matters.
In the end, unless you're unhappy, keep using what you're using. But if you ever have some extra time, we highly recommend checking out what's out there. Even if you don't like other players, it'll help you affirm that iTunes really is the best choice for you.
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