Apple Quietly Killed Off The Ability To Back Up Your Music To Disc In iTunes 10.4

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When Apple finally rolls out the iCloud this fall, you’ll be able to backup all of your music on Apple’s own iTunes servers through iTunes Match. If iTunes Match recognizes your tracks, it’ll automatically mirror them in the cloud; otherwise, you’ll be able to manually upload them. If you ever have a devastating system crash, you’ll be able to just slurp them all down again.

But what if you’ve got a massive media collection too big to mirror on Apple’s iCloud servers? What if your Internet connection can’t handle uploading and downloading multiple gigabytes at a time. Well, at least you have iTunes “Back Up To Disc” functionality to fall back on, right?

Wrong. It’s been removed in iTunes 10.4.

The feature — which allows you to back up your entire iTunes library to optical media such as CDs or DVDs while preserving the library metadata like playlists, play counts and ratings — was quietly axed in the latest version of iTunes, according to this Apple Support Article.

So what are you supposed to do if you want to back up your media locally? Apple recommends backing up your iTunes library manually to an external hard drive, or to reply upon Time Machine.

Obviously, this is just another step Apple is taking towards killing off Macs’ reliance upon optical media and replacing it with digital delivery and the cloud. First, Apple created the Mac App Store, then started exclusively selling their in-house software digitally. Then they announced iCloud and iTunes Match. Then they started shipping the Mac mini without an optical drive. The writing’s on the wall, and while we’re not entirely sure why Apple couldn’t have kept the “Backup to Disc” functionality in iTunes as a fallback option, you can’t say Cuperino isn’t consistent.

What about you? Will you miss iTunes’ “Back Up To Disc” functionality? Have you been burned by Apple removing it? Let us know in the comments.