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How the Breakup​ of iTunes in macOS Catalina Affects You

Now that macOS Catalina is here, you’ll notice that the iTunes app (not the iTunes Store) is gone. It’s been broken up into Music, Podcasts, and TV apps, similar to the arrangement in iOS and iPadOS.

The new Music app offers access to your entire music library, whether you downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD. For those who like to own their music (like me), the iTunes Music Store is still around.

Screenshot of Catalina Music App showing Chill Mix
The New Apple Music App

The Apple Podcasts app offers more than 700,000 shows in its catalog and the option to automatically be notified of new episodes as soon as they become available. The app also features new categories, curated collections by editors around the world and advanced search tools that can find episodes by host, guest or even discussion topic.

Screenshot of Catalina Podcasts App
The New Apple Podcasts App

The Apple TV app features Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy or rent — so users can enjoy 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos-supported movies. The Watch Now section features Up Next, where viewers can keep track of what they are currently watching and resume on any screen. This fall, Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will be available in the Apple TV app.

Along with the break-up, there’ll be some changes to your various media libraries. Any music that you’ve imported or purchased will be in the new Apple Music app. Music playlists and smart playlists that you’ve created in iTunes will be in the new Apple Music app. iTunes Gift Cards and iTunes credits will be maintained and can be used with the new apps and the App Store.

Movies and TV shows that you purchased or rented from iTunes will be in the new Apple TV app. You’ll use the Apple TV app for Mac for future movie and TV purchases or rentals.

Screenshot of Catalina TV App with image of Tom Hanks
The New Apple TV App

Podcasts that you subscribed to or added to iTunes will now be in the new Apple Podcasts app.

Audiobooks that you purchased from iTunes will now be in the updated Apple Books app. And you should use the Apple Books app for Mac for future audiobook purchases.

What’s more, You’ll no longer use iTunes to back-up, restore and sync with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod. That functionality will move to the Finder. 

With all these changes, Apple recommends you consolidate your iTunes library before upgrading to macOS Catalina to ensure that files won’t be lost in the transition. Here’s how:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen or at the top of the iTunes window, choose  File > Library > Organize Library.
  3. Select “Consolidate files.”
Screenshot of Organize Library modal window
Select “Consolidate Files” to organize your music library.

When you consolidate, copies of any files that were outside of your iTunes Media folder are added to your iTunes Media folder. To save space on your hard drive, you might want to delete the original files after you make sure that the copies are in your iTunes Media Folder.

Correction 10/22/19: There was an error in step one of consolidating your iTunes library. It said, “Open Apple Music” instead of iTunes. Thanks to Bruce for pointing this out!

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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  • In the iTunes link what happened to ‘Calendar & Contact’ updates?
    I’m not using Apple Cloud instead I use a main iMac computer. Please advise.

  • I frequently listen to playlists that contain podcasts and music. I sync these to my iPod to listen to in my car. I also listen to such mixes at night when I sleep: ocean waves, language lessons, songs, podcasts… all in one playlist. I don’t see the advantage of breaking one app that functioned as I like into multiple applications. Since Steve Jobs died Apple has made a series of terrible decisions that negatively impact its customers. Anyway, will I still be able to sync playlists that contain a mix of songs and podcasts?

  • Can you comment about what may happen to iOS users with an iTunes library containing ripped CDs who upgrade the Mac housing the library to Catalina? The old iOS “Remote” App apparently doesn’t work with the new Catalina Music App. Library access with the iOS Music App is currently prohibitively slow when accessing my iTunes library (it’s unusable) and I haven’t seen any indication performance improves after upgrading to Catalina and the new Music App.

  • I have a question… All of the media I own (mostly ripped CDs, DVDs) is on an external drive connected to a 2010 Mac Mini running High Sierra; I imagine nothing will happen to that set-up, but what about internet radio in iTunes–is it still available anywhere in Catalina? I haven’t upgraded to Catalina on 2018 Mini as I read that it was bricking/breaking the HDMI out & that’s what I use to send a signal to the 43″ 4K UHDTV I use as a display. If you have any info on these two concerns (internet radio in Catalina & bricking/un-bricking, patch for HDMI out for Catalina on a 2018 Mac Mini), I’d appreciate seeing it.

    • I have a 2014 Mini 16 GB 1TB SSD, and several USB dock with about 13TB data, running Catalina. Now I don’t have to have iTunes running on my Mac while watching recorded movies on the Apple TV4K in the living room. All my movies got moved over to the Apple TV app on the Mini. I’m pleased.

      • I don’t have or want an Apple TV. Internet radio has always been my favorite part of iTunes, even though I play my own ripped music in it as well. I mostly play my ripped movies with QT player. Saw what appeared to be an advisory from Apple (in another forum), requesting people NOT to upgrade the 2018 Mac Mini to Catalina, as I explained in my original post. My 2018 Mac Mini is my daily driver & I sometimes want to listen to Jazz while I’m working, Jazz from all around the world, that I’ve been able to listen to since ’02 in iTunes. So, is internet radio still available/an option in Catalina? If so, how do I access it? And NO, I don’t wanna pay for Apple Music.

  • I prefer to own my music rather than streaming it. How do I get my HomePod to look at my OWNED music library (all in the Apple Music App) instead of depending strictly on Apple streaming library?

    • Sadly, until Apple makes a change, you can’t ask Siri on your Home Pod to play any ripped song that you have in your iTunes library on your Mac.

        • That is a wise decision. By the way, I use my Mac for audio production. All of the developers for software say to hold off on upgrading because nothing will work yet on Catalina. Apple isn’t improving things. They are forcing consumers to buy new products while simultaneously forcing developers to jump through unnecessary hoops.

  • Before installing Catalina, doesn’t step 1 above have to be, “Open iTunes” instead of, “Open Apple Music?”

  • The headline of this article should be:

    How the Breakup​ of iTunes in macOS Catalina Allows Apple to Push-Market to You Directly.