iTunes 11 is a total failure

ITunes 11

I just accepted the upgrade to iTunes 11 this morning, and am so incredibly disappointed. Can I downgrade back to iTunes 10.7? Thankfully, the iPhone wiki has an excellent list of Apple’s direct download links for past versions! Later, I’ll figure out how to uninstall this abomination and downgrade.

Removal of iTunes DJ is a huge mistake: it was the only feature of iTunes that actually kept me using it as a media player instead of using a non-Apple one. The “Up Next” functionality that Apple replaced it with is NOT a suitable replacement for iTunes DJ. The beauty of the iTunes DJ implementation was that it acted like a special Smart Playlist, which you could see both currently queued and previously played songs in one view, and easily drag-and-drop songs in the queue to rearrange their play order along with dragging new songs into the queue to play them in the order you want. While you can click-and-drag to reorder in “Up Next”, it’s far less configurable – matter of fact, I couldn’t find any settings in Preference that control the Up Next functionality.

Up Next? More like Up Yours, Apple.

“Up Next”? More like “Up Yours”, right Apple?

Changing the keyboard shortcut for MiniPlayer (e.g. Command-Shift-M to Command-Option-M) – why would Apple do something stupid like this? Do you not understand and value muscle memory in consistent User Interface design? The MiniPlayer was one of iTunes’s killer features, and part of its utility was its hotkey which a MacWorld article even included in its 10 essential iTunes keyboard shortcuts last year.

iTunes 10 MiniPlayer

Also, why hide the currently playing track information in the MiniPlayer?! Upgrades should be improvements that add or at least refine features, not remove useful features that existed in previous versions! Now, in order to see what track is playing or how long it is or to seek around in the song, I have to click on the cover art icon in the MiniPlayer, first?

iTunes 11 MiniPlayer

I mean, look at this. What is this garbage?

I know Apple recently fired Scott Forstall. I do hope Apple fires whoever the Product Manager is in charge of this iTunes 11 release. It looks like they were more concerned with the redesign of the application icon and overall visual design of the application and totally ignored the ridiculously stupid changes that were being made to its functionality.

iTunes 10 to 11 icon WTF?

Wait, someone thought this was an improvement?

Shame on you, Apple. It’s a good thing Steve Jobs is dead, because this kind of embarrassing change would have KILLED him.


  1. Oh, how right you are!
    Please, please, Dossy, give some howto if you figure out how to downgrade.
    Especially, as my Mac (OSX Lion) tells me that I can neither delete this abomination to install an 10.7 I found on, nor restore the good old 10.7 via Time Machine. Seriously annoying! Do you have a workaround?

    • I was able to downgrade by *manually* extracting the files from the iTunes 10.7 installer package using — not a simple process, unfortunately. But, it CAN be done …

      • Indeed, I managed it now, too, and am happy with my clean and simple iTunes 10.7 again.
        For anyone interested, here is how I did it:
        1. I removed iTurd 11 (‘scuse my French) with the help of this tutorial:
        2. Then I installed Pacifist and opened the iTunes 10.7.dmg with that, clicked on the .pkg and installed only this one. Each time Pacifist asked me if some file should be replaced, I allowed it to do that. This is a bit of a PITA as there are loads of files, but what has to be done…
        3. To avoid the 42408 error, I opened iTunes by clicking the icon while holding the Option key. (the one with the bath tub ;)) Then I chose the latest of my previous libraries.
        4. Yay, it works!

  2. Hello Dossy!
    Thank you for saying it out loud, is there anyway you can put up a tutorial article talking about downgrading it in your way? tried everything, uninstall, reinstall, nothing works… there is a 42408 error haunting like a ghost…
    I am pissed with iTunes 11, Apple has done some terrible upgrading recently, new safari is rubbish, mail as well…

    • Adam,

      I might try to put together a tutorial or a script to do the downgrade if I have time. I also got the “unknown error -42408” error, which has to do with authenticating to the iTunes Store after downgrading. I believe I “fixed” that by also reverting the stuff in /System/Library to the 10.7 versions.

      • Thanks Dossy,
        Inspired by your pacifist thing, I am now back to 10.7 without any error.
        What I did was to uninstall 11 using AppZapper, then run the 10.7 package file in Pacifist and click replace to everything it asks during the installation, and now works fine!

        • Excellent! I didn’t want to endorse that approach as it could (in theory) break stuff badly and I didn’t want to be responsible for totally ruining someone’s system, but clearly it’s one option in a very “at your own risk” kind of way.

          Make sure to go into iTunes’s Preferences and uncheck the “Check for new software updates automatically” … and be careful when the system’s Software Update runs and tries to update iTunes again …

  3. Anonnymooose says

    Maybe try Amarok 2? Recent versions have this feature: , and earlier ones have a random playlist generated buried in the Automatic Playlist Generator function.

    The claim is that if you’re okay with messing with Macports, it’s not too hard to get Amarok running on a Mac. I just use it on Linux and Windows.

  4. With the “upgrade”, if I select some tracks with a search criteria or manually, how in the world can I see the number of tracks selected and total duration? This useful information is gone from the bottom bar.

  5. Well – I just figured that out thanks to my techie kid. You press Alt to display the menu, View+Show Status Bar. How that’s an improvement vs the previous version is anybody’s guess.

  6. I was totally hacked off within a few minutes of “upgrading,” to 11.

    There’s a lot of griping going on on the Apple discussion forums regarding the loss of D.J. which I always used to throw up random songs from my pretty vast library, which I then manually transferred to dedicated Playlists for use on my iPod through my home stereo, or in the car.

    However, when I tried to un-install 11 and re-install 10.7 I kept getting error messages whenever I tried to open it about “the library belonging to a newer version,”..and for a moment thought I was destined to fail.

    Nevertheless a few people on the discussion thread on Apple came up with a solution which involved making sure you remove the “newer,” version of the i-Tunes Library from the “i-Tunes Libraries,” which are listed in the i-Tunes Folder, leaving the one which you previously had for 10.7 in place, which would then be recognized by the re-installed 10.7 when you try to open it.

    “You have to replace the current libary.itl file with one of the older backups in the “Previous iTunes Libraries” folder.”

    Worked a treat for me and I now have my beloved D.J. back and plan to refuse all further updates, till this thing is fixed, or a replacement in place and I’ve learned my lesson to check any reviews of new updates online before I agree to the update.

    If that means keeping 10.7 for keeps, then so be it!


  7. Rafael Gonzalez says

    I installed iTunes 11 in my PC Windows 7 (64 bits). But I have a problem with iWork apps.
    I can´t add content to iTunes (Keynote, Pages, Numbers) for my presentations with my new iPad (iPad 3). Can anybody help me ? Thx

  8. I Tunes is the worst thing I come across for a long time, I have read the ‘work-arounds’ to get back to an earlier version but they are mostly too complex for me to follow, (is that what Apple want?, keep you as a prisoner?) I did try one technique but obviously ’11’ doesn’t uninstall completely, it wouldn’t allow an earlier version reinstall to work for me. I’m thinking that here is another Apple product that is going in the bin, I have already given an I Pad away, my I Pod Touch is likely to follow it!

  9. “The beauty of the iTunes DJ implementation was that it acted like a special Smart Playlist, which you could see both currently queued and previously played songs in one view, and easily drag-and-drop songs in the queue to rearrange their play order along with dragging new songs into the queue to play them in the order you want.”

    Other than seeing both at the same time, this is exactly the same way it still works. You can still drag songs to add them, you can still rearrange them, you can still drag the previously listened songs to queue them. Also if you click the arrow next to every song or album you can click “play next” or “add to up next” so it’s easy to add to the beginning or the end.

    • not true; dj has the following settings in preferences:
      display x recently played songs
      display x upcoming songs
      play higher rated songs more often
      allows guests to request songs via Remote

      all of these great features are gone.

  10. Totally annoyed with those Appholes.

  11. This is not what we have come to expect from Apple. Has a Gates troll finally infiltrated the upper echelons? Even the simple “last played” action doesn’t update now. Which sucks hard as I was going thru my PL in name order, which has been great as I usually shuffle. Able to weed out some horrors and hear songs I haven’t heard for years. After 1/12/12 I’m lost and was only up L!!
    The line about Steve was a little harsh. I think if he were alive things like this, maps, etc would never have seen release as they stand. Damn, he will be missed.

  12. Itunes 11 will not allow me to add sound files from a digital recorder (Zoom H2n.)

    It crashes when time I try to search the artist category.

    It will not allow my wife to update her school iPads.

    It does not recognize or play sound files even if i copy and paste them directly into the proper file inside I tunes.

    It tells me that files do not exist when they exist.

    I have to use the Spotlight to find sound files that are in the iTunes library.

    As a music and technology teacher and a performer, I used to brag about my mac and how great it was for managing my music files. No longer.

    If you are thinking about updating to Itunes 11 take a look around the internet and see what others are saying. It’s just a buggy, frustrating waste of time.

  13. iTunes is so bad and I am so sad to begin thinking that it is time to move away from apple.

  14. Yes it disappoints. Shuffle has a lot of bugs now. I don;t like the loss of coverflow. It buries everything I want to do under layers. So thanks for nothing. What exactly did this improve?

  15. After 2 hours with Apple support my issue is unresolved. Damn the day i upgraded to icrap 11. im on day 5 to try to have a working version without any luck on my Windows 7.
    No files can be added, no plalists ir transfers to all my devices after that upgrade. I would get an error that windows encountered an error in iTunes and has to shut down.
    I tried wverything i could. In order to have 10.7 to open without a library (no content) i had to delete the library.itl thus having NO files at all. Nothing will import. I get the same error with 10.7
    im overly frustrated. If anyone has a solution I would be so grateful otherwise I will have to buy a software that is an alternative to iCrap.

  16. I got Apple Support to take me back to 10.

    But I had Apple Care.

    And I sorta fibbed about my problem.

    But they fibbed that 11 would be an improvement.

    So it equals out, if you ask me.

  17. Daniel Harvey says

    YES! YOU ARE SO RIGHT! iturd 11 is absolutely TERRIBLE.. whats worst is that i specifically avoided it declining every “offer” to upgrade for the last few months.. but then, on finally getting round to updating my mac firmware on restart (critical software updates) iturd 11 updated through the back door without my permission, and no listing saying it was in the “updates pending”, it just happened automatically… just like a virus… Honestly, if i was on PC or i had my mac bootcamped, id have insalled Winamp straight away.. if Apple wants to loose customers quickly, thats how ya do it. EPIC FAIL! Now stop being so sneaky and let us downgrade without it being such a hassle, esp when it wasnt our choice.. thats exactly what viruses from popups do…

  18. Thank you for this post Dossy. I have felt so stupid trying to use iTunes 11 so it is a relief to know that it’s not me! ;^]

    Sheesh! I even have trouble just trying to play a darn song. It is so picky and strange that double-clicking a song does not work in some circumstances. Talk about poor usability!


  19. I have to completely disagree with most of the comments here. I hated iTunes 11 when I first started using it. After about 3 day I find that I use iTunes feature Up Next 1000 times more than I used DJ.

    Didn’t hate CoverFlow, but it was completely useless in hunting for songs in my modest library. Clicking on Album and seeing a grid of album art works so much better. Click on the album, and see the songs. To me that works.

    And since I’m using UpNext so much, I just wish UpNext was in the cloud. That way I can be at my desk listening to UpNext and just pick up my phone and continue where I left off.

    • Whitelephant says

      John are u on crack or are u one of those apple software engineers who have been going around to negative blogsites acting like fanboys? 11 is the puss on the bacteria, on the fly, on the pile of feces from the anus of the racoon eating the leftovers from the garbage heap!

    • You’re a fricking moron. Cover Flow was an incredible program for ANY size of library. For visual people it’s a great way to “look” at your music. It makes scanning through a library a BREEZE. Whereas with grid (puke) view, album view, or library view, you have to keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. But you can slide the bar in cover flow to get to an area you want if you’re too lazy to use search, or if you don’t remember how an artist or album’s name is spelled, but remember what the album looks like.

      It’s also the best way to pour through an artist with a LOT of albums (like, say, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) while still retaining the complete track lists below. Some artists (like the BPO), have recorded certain works several times, or have had a work included on several compilations, so search isn’t going to help you. Only going through each album will find the specific version or album you’re looking for. Cover Flow makes it a breeze compared to the other views.

  20. Andrew Oram says

    To re-install iTunes 10.7 go to Ars Technica url>

    Simply follow instructions. It works. I am now using iTunes 10.7. One tip though make sure you uninstall all itunes files. I had stray files across 2 drives which App Zap missed, I found them in seconds, deleted them manually and it then worked. Deep joy. No more “up next” nonsense.

    Andy O

  21. Major fail!!! Have tried all day on all my machines (4) to update to itunes11 so that I could update my phone to iOS7…. Error messages on every machine, every time, and then “update” button becomes unresponsive… This is a lousy lousy software rollout.

  22. I’ve stayed with iTunes 10.7 ever since iTunes 11 was released, but I’ve had a nagging worry about the future. Therefore, I rewrote the old iTunes MiniPlayer! This should still work for future versions of iTunes, and the source code is now public.
    Download it here:

  23. I wonder how iTunes 12 compares with iTunes 11? Is it at least better than iTunes 11? Have they brought back any of the features so sorely missed from iTunes 10? I don’t hold out much hope. Although Apple certainly has the best products going, they have never been the most responsive corporation.

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