Apple is known for offering trendy, cutting-edge technology. Their following is almost cult-like, with consumers willing to wait in long lines and shell out thousands of dollars to get their hands on new products. And yet, there’s iTunes.
Known for running slow, especially on Windows computers, this software consumes RAM and makes it frustrating to manage files. Even those with small music libraries will find the software to be lacking. So it’s no surprise users began looking for a more convenient alternative to meet their needs.
After 18 years, Apple took the hint and announced the retirement of the software. While the iTunes store will still be around — including any music you already bought — the desktop app will no longer advertise itself as the ultimate media manager it once claimed to be. Instead, the tech giant plans to release a new music app more in line with its music streaming service. A smart move, considering 75 percent of the music industry’s revenue came from streaming in 2018.
But that still leaves audiophiles without a way to download, manage and transfer music files. If you’re ready to say goodbye to iTunes forever and find an alternative worthy of your music collection, look no further than the eight software recommendations below.
MusicBee is a free software program with an interface similar to iTunes. One edge it has is a customizable main screen, with users able to move items and add additional panels for information like artist bios, track information, lyrics and more. MusicBee also allows you to automatically sync your music files to your phone or any other non-iOS device. Combine the software with popular plug-ins to experience features like Spotify and Skype integration.
Available for Windows, macOS and Linux, the Clementine music player offers useful features like search and play, advanced tagging, smart playlists and support for mobile devices. Users can customize features for extensive music library management and take advantage of tools like ripping, syncing to supported devices and streaming through the cloud. You can also integrate your favorite streaming apps like Spotify and Soundcloud.
MusicMonkey is perfect for those who have a very large music collection, able to organize and manage more than 100,000 music and video files with ease. Automatically search and tag music files, lyrics and album art with the extensive tag editor. Convert and level tracks on-the-go while syncing to an Andriod, iPhone, iPad or another smart device. Or download additional add-ons for features like Music Discovery, where you can discover new music outside of your library.
4. WALTR 2
WALTR 2 is a powerful tool that supports any type of file transfer, from music and videos to audiobooks and PDFs. Fast connectivity allows you to automatically drop files to any smart device, even large files like movies. This software uses Smart Adaptive Conversion to adapt files for any device while ensuring original quality is not lost. The Automatic Content Recognition feature is able to detect and recognize music, movies and TV shows, automatically listing information like title, genre, episode synopsis and cast information.
Tomahawk is a software that combines the option to organize your music library with the ability to stream through supported plug-ins like Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music, Google Play Music and much more. Use social tools like Jabber and Hatchet to connect with friends and browse their libraries and playlists. And download music chart add-ons like Billboard and Metacritic to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
This iTunes alternative does more than its Apple counterpart, able to seamlessly transfer any type of file across computers, mobile devices and cloud drives without restriction. Beyond music, AnyTrans can easily manage files for videos, photos, ringtones, messaging apps and more. This all-in-one file manager gives you instant access to your data and files, no matter where they are. Add, delete and export music from your playlist with automatic sync to freely transfer data across devices.
7. Foobar 2000
If you want total control over your music player software, look no further than foobar2000. This iTunes alternative can manage any file format, from MP3 to WAV. When you start the program for the first time, you’ll be given a light interface layout with plenty of space for customization. You can add and organize panels, change colors and download plug-ins as needed, creating your ideal set-up. Add keyboard shortcuts for faster tagging and playback.
8. WinX MediaTrans
If you’re ready to leave iTunes in the dust, try out the WinX MediaTrans player. This alternative makes is easier than ever to transfer music, video and photo files between your computer and smart devices. Files are automatically backed up, making it easy to restore music to its original quality. You can also turn any audio file into a unique ringtone for your phone. Using the software is as easy as downloading to your computer and connecting your phone. Check out our review here.
The Best iTunes Alternatives
No one is pining for iTunes. But if you’re still searching for the ideal media manager, you can’t go wrong with one of the eight alternatives above. With options to automatically sync files to your smart devices and the ability to add streaming and sharing plug-ins like Spotify, Billboard and Jabber, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner.
Lastly, if you’re really into music and audio, you may want to check out the music app, BestTechie founder, Jeff Weisbein uses called Roon, which he reviewed here.