Apple iTunes 9.2.1 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Apple iTunes

CNET Editors' review

As one of the most popular programs for managing music and video content on a personal computer, Apple's iTunes software has become an indispensable part of our digital life. Version 9 of iTunes brings a handful of enhancements to Apple's ubiquitous media software, including an improved storefront, tools for sharing media between multiple computers, a new Genius Mixes music experience, and a more flexible system for syncing media to the iPod or iPhone.

Design
The look of iTunes 9 is a little more polished than that of iTunes 8, but the layout is basically identical. A source menu runs as a column down the left side, offering quick access to your media library, the iTunes Store, Genius features, and playlists. Once a selection is chosen in the source menu, all the relevant content spills out into the large main window, where it can be organized and sorted using an arsenal of sophisticated, spreadsheet-like options or switched into a cover-flow view that hearkens back to the days of flipping through record crates.

One feature that received a substantial overhaul is the iTunes store. Store navigation links now run horizontally across the top of the window and include drop-down menus to quickly drill down into specific sections, such as Jazz. Front page content is more attractively arranged and allows you to launch music and video previews directly, without jumping in and out of specific album and video listings. Another welcome design change seen throughout the iTunes store is an option menu next to every purchase button, allowing you to copy the item's URL, add to your Wish List, gift the purchase, or share the link on Facebook or Twitter.

Features
What started out as a basic jukebox program for ripping and burning CDs and transferring music to your iPod has evolved over the years into a multimedia behemoth capable of handling everything from HD-movie rentals to syncing appointments with your iPhone. In spite of all the bells and whistles that have been tacked-on to iTunes over the years, at its core, iTunes still remains an excellent tool for managing your music and video collections.

Several new features have been introduced in iTunes 9, including a new iTunes LP media format, Home Sharing, Genius Mixes, and new device-syncing options. As a throwback to a bygone era when people purchased and revered full-length albums, the iTunes LP format treats music fans to an immersive album experience, filled with liner notes, lyrics, interactive menus, and bonus videos. Like any album or single purchased using iTunes, the songs included with an iTunes LP are delivered as DRM-free AAC music files that can be transferred to any iPod, iPhone, or AAC-compatible device. All of the extra stuff included with an iTunes LP--the special menus, photos, videos, and interactive elements--are only available to view directly on your computer. In spite of its limitations, the iTunes LP format should find a home with music fans looking for a richer album experience from their favorite bands.

Apple is taking a similar approach with video, adding the sort of bonus material and extras found on DVDs to many of the popular movies and TV shows available through iTunes. The format is called iTunes Extras, but just like iTunes LP, none of the added material or special menus can be transferred to an iPod or iPhone.

Apple's Genius feature, added in iTunes 8, harnesses Apple's vast collection of iTunes song data to give you educated recommendations when it comes to what music or videos may interest you based on the media you already have. The same data can also be used to create instant 25-song Genius Playlists, built around any song in your library. In iTunes 9, Apple adds another use for its Genius song recommendations called Genius Mixes. To minimize the amount of time it takes to launch iTunes and start listening to great music, Genius Mixes are automatic mixes of music from your library based around a common genre, such as Rock, Classical, Pop, or Jazz. The effect is similar to switching on a good radio station, surrendering song selection over to Apple's Genius technology, and trusting it not to mix your Zappa songs with Ella Fitzgerald.

Of all the new features included in iTunes 9, the most practical by far is Home Sharing. Up until now, multiple computers on a common network could use iTunes to stream content between computers, but were prevented from actually copying files back and forth. In iTunes 9, you can now bless locally networked computers with Home Sharing privileges, allowing unrestricted access to their music, videos, podcasts, apps, and playlists, which can be copied between computers directly within iTunes. It's a great feature for families or any multicomputer household, and can even be set up to transfer any new iTunes store purchases between all of your computers automatically. Of course, content added to your library using means other than the iTunes store (heaven forbid) is excluded from automatic updates, but can still be transferred manually through Home Sharing.

Finally, anyone with an iPod or iPhone will enjoy the extra syncing options available in iTunes 9. With your iPod or iPhone connected to your computer, the iTunes device summary window now includes a dedicated tab for iTunes U academic content (formerly lumped in with podcasts), and the syncing options for music, videos, photos, and podcasts, now offer more control over what media you want to transfer. For example, in the music tab, you now have options for syncing the specific artists, playlists, and genres you care about, and a check box for filling up any leftover space with random selections. iPhone and iPod Touch owners will be happy to see an improved Apps tab where you can arrange and customize the selection of apps that get synced to your device.

Worth the download?
Updating iTunes is about as inevitable as death and taxes. Try and resist, and some iPod or iPhone update will come along and twist your arm into updating anyhow. And while Apple hasn't done much to lighten the load of the iTunes installation package (or the bundled Quicktime install that comes with it), it's hard to complain when the program is free and offers such an impressive range of features. So yes, it's worth downloading--if for no other reason than the excellent new Home Sharing feature. Visit CNET's Download.com for the latest version of iTunes 9 (Mac or Windows).

iTunes 7.7:

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.9 stars

    out of 1,726 votes

    • 5 star: 442
    • 4 star: 293
    • 3 star: 198
    • 2 star: 218
    • 1 star: 574
  • Current version:

    1.9 stars

    out of 15 votes

    • 5 star: 2
    • 4 star: 0
    • 3 star: 2
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 9
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 15

  • 2.0 stars

    "OK I am fine with the version, don't think I need it."

    August 29, 2010  |   By nitewind09

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    I like it. I haven't had any problems with any part of it, maybe because I don't have a iPod, or a MP3Player. I have no space or memory now so. I think the new biger update is not for me or my PC.

    Cons

    Well, that's easy. All the space it eats up. I had no idea that I an iPod serice running in my task manager until I opened and well, why do I need that? I don/t No one but me on this cumputer, so why is there iPod service???

    Summary

    I just wish iI WASNT SO BIG .

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Never liked I-Tunes; this killed my 160GB Classic."

    August 28, 2010  |   By topmole

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    Not much. Decent functionality 3 years ago.

    Cons

    The program has always been mystifying regarding library sources and organization of music. Why upgrade every other day? This update, used with Windows 7, has killed my IPod. Errors, no syncing, now IPod is itself screwed up and won't work.

    Reply to this review

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  • 3.0 stars

    "The program is working good for me"

    August 28, 2010  |   By RuthRoman

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    first time using this program so far so good!!

    Cons

    So far nothing

    Reply to this review

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Freezes all the time!!"

    August 22, 2010  |   By JuanaKutch

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    Convert the songs fast in order to transfer them tomy iPod.

    Cons

    Pretty much nothing. I hate this software, it is slow and it is the only program that has given me problems in every PC that I have tried it on. Horrible...

    Summary

    Freezes after 2 minutes of using it. Takes a lot of time to refresh, and always has been a hassle when trying in it on different PCs.

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    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 3.0 stars

    "The program Is O.K..."

    August 17, 2010  |   By nickcool9999

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    This program uses very old technology; hooks up to your iPod easily. Works fine on your computer.

    Cons

    Consider reading some of the reviews below/above. The current version does not have many stars because of this so-called "Update that destroys your ipods". Somehow, i think i'm glad i didn't update it. Also, updates bother you. a LOT.

    Summary

    Overall, I think this program is just too big, and it is too over-detailed. They should really consider working on their products more. I think iOS 5 would have been out by now if they did not take too much time coding the "mother base of all i's": iTunes. Although, I am happy that they considered adding every single movie/music extension. I love to use this program when I've found that windows media player can't play a file. ;)

    EDIT: Hmmm. I Guess Windows 7 has a built-in ogg player.

    I'm not too impressed anymore.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great music program for my Ipod and burning CD's!"

    August 17, 2010  |   By Rob_Presto

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    I download music from blogs. I then open the mp3's into ITunes....I've burned 300+ CD's with the help of ITunes! I'm using a Windows XP netbook and Mad Dog external DVD burner. ITunes is a must-have if you want to burn CD-R's from mp3's!

    Cons

    None. This is a great program!

    Summary

    This program is free and does alot, download this now! And keep updating it, it's worth it!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "iTunes 9.2.1 Is An Asset A Real Contender For WMP11, 12"

    August 11, 2010  |   By TriggaHappy

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    What I do know is that it is so simple to create playlists. I have an exclusive playlist, that I entitled 'Burn Mix' which I drag tracks from my other playlists to for burning only, then delete all of the entries, ready to 2-click-burn another time.

    Cons

    I've never tried with my Ericsson C905 mobile phone to synchronise, either way, with iTunes, although, I have only ever noticed synching options for the iphones & ipods, although please do not quote me on that, as I use WMP12 for any synchronisation.

    Summary

    My Bottom-line summary is mainly covered in the Pro's section of this review. iTunes is a real asset to have as a media player & the video viewing is in High Definition, if you have the graphics capabilities & supporting monitor.

    The Visualisations that have been installed are a true bonus & I have mine set for Apples own offering. I am running Windows 7, the graphical display is quite excellent & the 'Sound to Light' actually shines to beautiful arrays of patterns, that are busting with colour, vibrance & an actual shining light display.

    If you select the shuffle mode on any given playlist, then iTunes never plays the complete listing of tracks in the same order twice, so that it is always a fresh sounding order to your ears.

    I have been using this excellent all round contender for a media player since before version 6 & each time that I update my system iTunes is one of the very first applications that I install.

    Well done Apple for this App!!

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Destroyed iPod Mini"

    August 9, 2010  |   By DoggieDaddi

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    Haven't found a Pro yet.

    Cons

    Destroyed my iPod the first time I tried syncing it using 9.2.1

    Summary

    The first time I tried to sync my old iPod Mini using 9.2.1, it froze and wouldn't turn off causing it to over-heat. I had to put in freezer to shut it down. This has happened repeatedly and I haven't been able to use the iPod since. Perhaps this old iPod needs to be recycled, but never had a problem until downloading the new version 9.2.1.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "How much does Apple pay you?"

    August 2, 2010  |   By corpsegenie

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    *It plays music sometimes.

    Cons

    *Bloated resource hog.
    *Quicktime sucks.

    Summary

    You give the Zune review a 3(deserves a 5), and the iTunes review gets a 5(community gives it a 3). Who employs these editors? Apple?

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Stay away Bloatware"

    August 2, 2010  |   By hitman7112

    Version: Apple iTunes 9.2.1

    Pros

    Well there really aren't any....if you compare it to winamp

    Cons

    Its bloatware up the a@%, so if your comfortable using bloatware go for it.

    Summary

    I keep it of my machine by using alternatives like Winamp that are less bloated.

    Reply to this review

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