What's New on the Latest Version of iTunes?

By Jack SteinLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 7:19:22 PM ET
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Apple released iTunes version 12.10.5 on March 24, 2020, with updates that resolved several performance and security issues. For example, this release addressed multiple issues with libxml2 (an XML C parser), including buffer overflows, arbitrary code executions, logic issues and memory corruption.

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Version 12.10.5 also resolved several issues with the browser engine known as WebKit, including memory corruption, confusion issues, logic issues and malicious code executions. All of these updates are available for iTunes for the Windows operating system version 7 and later. In June 2019, Apple announced that macOS Catalina no longer included iTunes, but support will continue for older versions of the macOS and the Windows OS.

How to Update iTunes on an Older macOS

Updates to iTunes on older versions of the macOS often coordinate with updates released for the operating system itself. Installing available operating system updates when they become available ensures that all the apps on your computer remain stable, perform efficiently and remain secure.

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To check separately for updates for iTunes on macOS Mojave version and later, go to System Preferences on the Apple menu and click on "Software Updates." If updates are available, you can either click on "Update Now" to update all apps or "More Info" to select the updates that you want to install. You will need to update apps that were downloaded separately from the App Store via the App Store app.

For operating systems older than Mojave, open the App Store and then click on "Updates" on the App Store toolbar. The next page will show you available updates for the apps. Click on "Update" for any or all of the apps. If the page doesn’t show any apps, it means that all the apps on your computer are already up-to-date.

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How to Update iTunes on a Windows OS

Windows OS users who downloaded iTunes from the Microsoft Store usually don't have to regularly check for updates. In most cases, the Microsoft Store updates the iTunes app automatically with each new release. However, you can still check for yourself to see if any updates are available by running the Downloads and Updates option on the Microsoft Store app.

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PC users who downloaded their version of iTunes from Apple's Website can start the update process for the app by launching it. Navigate to the Menu bar at the top of the iTunes window. Select "Help" and then "Check for Updates." Available updates should appear on the next page, and you will receive a prompt to install them. If nothing appears, it means that the app is up-to-date.

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iTunes: The Last Major Change

Apple launched iTunes in January 2001, calling it a "jukebox software." Its main focus at the time was to provide access to digital music with features that made it easier for users to organize, collect and store digital music files. By 2005, the app's features expanded to support video files, e-books and podcasts, and it managed all your app purchases from the App Store. Mobile apps that were downloaded to devices prior to the release of iOS 5 required iTunes for their updates.

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Photo Courtesy: Chesnot/Getty Images

Apple introduced the last major overhaul to iTunes in September 2017. Version 12.7 saw the company doing away with the App Store feature that used to come packaged with iTunes. With the removal of the built-in App Store, the iTunes revamp shifted the app's focus back to music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and audiobooks.

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The 2017 iTunes version also came with features that supported the syncing of iOS 11 devices. For Apple Music, version 12.7 introduced user music profiles that allowed friends to follow each other to view their favorite music files and playlists. Then iTunes U became part of the Apple Podcast family.

What Replaced iTunes?

From its early beginnings as a "jukebox software," iTunes evolved into a multifunction app that served as an invaluable component on iOS and Mac devices. However, many users and tech experts complained about the unwarranted "bloat" that accumulated over the years, particularly when it came to iTunes’ features. Many insisted the app had strayed too far from its original purpose.

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The growing trend of streaming music and videos over the internet has rendered some of the functions of iTunes outdated. As iTunes continued to dip in popularity, Apple decided to break the once-mighty app’s functions down into smaller apps. Since the June 2019 announcement that iTunes would not be included with Catalina, the functions of the app have been replaced with individual apps for Music, Podcasts, TV and Finder.