Apple yesterday released iTunes 12.4, an update that introduces a few user interface tweaks that should help you get around it a little better. I’ve kicked it around a little and found the following improvements for you:
Have you been using the Heart button to tell iTunes which tracks you like best so you receive better music recommendations? Probably not as it only appeared when you hovered your cursor above the track name. Now it’s an ever apparent heart shape beside the now playing section.
There are two ways to sort a current view, one way is in the iTunes Menu Bar, View>Sort By drop down menu, or you can have them always available on-screen using View>Show View Options(or Hide View Options).
Up Next is easier
The Up Next and AirPlay speakers commands are now much easier to find with their own dedicated buttons on the iTunes toolbar, to the right of the media description.
At last: Better playback controls
It’s now much easier to set shuffle or loop commands on tracks and you can see small icons denoting the status are visible in the media description/playback in the iTunes menu bar.
The Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and other media items section at the top left of iTunes has been changed. Now you don’t see the most popular items lined up beside each other, but you get a pop-up menu to help you navigate between media types. You can also edit these so you only see the fields you most frequently use.
To and fro
The Forward and Back buttons in iTunes will now help you jump directly between pages you’ve been browsing, just like a proper browser. This also means you can shift between Apple Music, your music, Movies and so on.
Those More Options commands are still hidden though, you only see them (denoted as a circle with three dots to the right of a track name) when you select a track.
New Song controls
Slide across to Song in the iTunes Menu bar, look swiftly down the items in the drop down list and you’ll find a new Go to command. Tap this and you can
- Go to Current Song
- Go to Artist
- Go to Album
- Show in iTunes Store
If you missed the Sidebar in iTunes the good news is it’s kind of back in the form of a new persistent bar on the left side of the iTunes browser. Here you’ll find views to artists, songs, albums, devices and so on. You can also edit the Sidebar so it only shows the views you use.
Where are the Playlists?
Don’t worry, your Playlists remain, they’ve just been shuffled to the bottom of the new toolbar. You now create them in File>New menu, where you’ll also find what’s left of Genius.
Returning to the iTunes Menu bar’s View item and you will find a new View As item. Use this to view albums as a grid of album cover art or as a list.
You can now access up to five size of album artwork in non-list views.
So, is this the huge user interface update we thought we were expecting? Probably not, I think it seems more likely to be in future seen as a maintenance release pending the future introduction of a new version of OS X in a few months time. I anticipate we’ll hear more news on this at WWDC in a few weeks time.
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