Do you have iTunes installed in your computer? If yes, the following pointers would come in handy for making the best use of this hugely popular online music and app store.
Close to 600 million people worldwide have active accounts at the Apple iTunes store. Apart from being the one-stop virtual destination for music, iTunes has nearly 1.3 million mobile applications – with the number rising steadily over time. Surprisingly though, many users are not aware of the little tidbits that can enable them to enjoy iTunes services in the best possible manner. Over here, we will update readers in that context. If you have an account in iTunes, or are planning to open one, read along:
- Adjust the EQ setting – EQ stands for equalizer, and for that great quality music, you need to adjust it – ideally, for each separate song. You will find the EQ option under ‘View’ – and setting up the different sound parameters (for instance, bass) is easy, since sliders and a drop-down menu are present. Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘universally optimal equalizer’ setting – but you can definitely enrich your listening experience by tweaking it a bit.
- Know the value of ‘Command-L’ – Shortcuts are the name of the game when you are using iTunes, and this one is probably the most important (and often overlooked). When you are hearing a song while browsing along the different sections of the Apple app store, you can directly toggle back to the currently playing song by using this shortcut. In case the Sidebar View option is active, ‘Command-L’ will take you to the playlist of the currently playing number.
- Turn on Sound Check – Not the most reliable of iTunes controls, but very useful nonetheless. You might have songs of high notes and low notes in your playlist – and turning on Sound Check (look for it under Edit → Preferences) will reduce the difference between two differently pitched songs. To put it in another way, Sound Check brings more uniformity in iTunes music.
- Get the ‘Remote’ app – If you feel you need to sit in front of your iMac to avail iTunes services, kindly move out of the Stone Age! There is a ‘Remote’ app in the store, which you can download and install in your iPhone/iPad – and manage all your iTunes activities while on the move. Since this app is activated by a secure passcode, most iOS app developers feel that it is one of the best mediums to pair iTunes with your mobile device.
- Music-sharing is a great option – Okay, let’s start off cautiously on this one. If you violate music copyright regulations while sharing media files – you will be: a) harming the music industry as a whole, and b) probably be facing legal hassles pretty soon. Don’t be too discouraged though – for you can share playlists with your buddies, with the help of approved iPhone applications. You can check out what others are listening, and ask permissions to share music from their playlists too – completely legally!
- Use the iTunes DJ feature – Yes, yes, we all know that iTunes 11 (for reasons best known to those at Apple) no longer has this functionality, but you can make your own makeshift DJ easily. All that you have to do is select your playlist library, and turn on ‘Shuffle’ (under ‘Controls’) – and your in-store DJ will be ready. There’s no knowing whether iTunes DJ will ever make a comeback or not, but there’s no need for you to miss it too much.
- Organize videos the way you wish – iTunes stores ‘Movies’ and ‘TV Shows’ separately, but you can work your way around such demarcations. The trick lies in sorting your downloaded movies/video files as custom TV shows – and selecting personalized names for each them. Next, when you are under the TV Show section, turn on the ‘Album View’ option. Since iTunes displays files according to their names, you will be able to view your videos (for instance, home movies) under the TV shows section.
- Look out for free downloads – Many Apple software and iPhone app development experts feel that account-holders on iTunes, more often than not, miss out on the wealth of free stuff that the store has on offer. In addition to the ‘Free Single Of The Week’, you can download three other songs, without spending a single penny. Log on to your iTunes account and navigate to the ‘Free On iTunes’ section. Click on the link, and you’ll be delighted. And no, there are no hidden charges or other catch involved!
- Get familiar with AppleScript – If you are relatively tech-savvy, regularly use iTunes on your Mac system, and would love to enjoy a richer song experience – you need to invest some time to learn the AppleScript tweaks. The default programming language for Apple can be modified to alter the sound effects of iTunes, the interval between consecutive songs, and a whole lot of other features. A word of caution here though – do not play around with AppleScript unless you have thorough knowledge about it. Erroneous changes in the script can lead to system crashes.
- Check out the multitasking status reports – Listening to a song, burning a disc, and converting the format of an audio/video file in iTunes? Not only can you perform such multiple tasks seamlessly, you have the option to track the status of each of them as well. In the ‘Player’ window, you will find two small (up and down) arrows, which would help you to see the progress bar of any task that you are performing in iTunes.
- Clean Up Tracks & Get Rid Of Duplicates – If your iTunes music library is fairly large, you must be experiencing a teeny-weeny problem. There would probably be several unnamed songs in your collection, along with quite a few duplicate items. That, in turn, makes the task of searching for your most favorite songs unduly time-consuming. Under ‘File’, you will find a ‘Display Duplicates’ option – which facilitates quick deletion of such duplicate files. With the help of certain free iTunes applications, you can clean up your tracklist and update album images as well. When you are using iTunes, you need to be organized!
- Are you using the latest version of iTunes? – Plenty of people feel that using an older version of iTunes does not really make a difference – and they are sadly mistaken. Apple keeps adding new software, better navigation options, and other handy features in each of their major iTunes updates. The latest version is iTunes 11.3.1 – and if you are planning to buy a new iMac, make sure that the computer has this version pre-installed.
- Sync photos with Apple TV – A new feature of iTunes 11 that you may or may not be aware of. Provided that you have Apple TV set up as a part of the framework, you can select entire photo albums (from iPhoto) and share them on the former. The option to do this is available under File → Home Sharing. Additional convenience and personalization, that’s what this feature is all about.
- Learn to use Sizzling Keys and/or iRemote – Listening to music on iTunes while working is all very fine – but you might need to pause a song quickly at any time. Hotkeys like Sizzling Keys (for Mac OS) and iRemote (for Windows systems) come in useful in such cases. You can toggle between different tracks, manage your playlist from a minimized iTunes window (instead of the original screen), and pause/play songs with these remote function hotkeys. Particularly helpful if you are listening to music at your workplace on the sly!
You should regularly upgrade your iTunes archive as well, to filter out outdated stuff. The ‘Alpha Navigation’ feature can also be instrumental in enriching your iTunes experience. The mobile apps at the store are, of course, quality assured – thanks to the rigorous screening procedure of Apple. Don’t be just another registered iTunes member – implement these tips, and make your music and app-downloading activities smarter than ever before!