The Ultimate List Of iTunes 11 Tips, Tricks And Changes [Roundup]


iTunes 11 tips and tricks

iTunes 11 is a huge upgrade from its predecessor, and it has received lots of positive feedback since it became available for download on Thursday, November 29th.

Apple has baked iCloud into the core of iTunes, and the app’s interface has been decluttered and enhanced with new features like the MiniPlayer. We’ve been combing through the innards of iTunes 11 to find all of the little changes and additions. Here’s our updating list of iTunes 11 tips and tricks:

  • Apple has hidden the left sidebar of old in iTunes 11. Now you are supposed to navigate through different sections of your library with the drop down menu on the top left. The iTunes Store and connected devices can be accessed any time from the top right. If you want the static sidebar back, use the Option + Command + S shortcut or the “Show Sidebar” option under the View menu.
  • You can quickly jump between different sections of your library with CMD + 1-7 shortcuts. The order goes as follows: Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, iTunes U, Books, Apps.

  • The Command + / keyboard shortcut will toggle the iTunes status bar, a small text line at the bottom of the main window that displays how many items are showing and their total file size. This option can also be toggled under the “View” menu.

  • Apple has put AirPlay front and center in the new iTunes. Not only can you view all AirPlay devices on the same network next to the volume control, but you can control the audio output of each device. Select the “Multiple” tab to view the volume controls, including a master fader.

  • Not only does search in iTunes 11 index your whole library in one view (music, movies, podcasts, etc.), but it will offer to take you to the iTunes Store if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
  • You can add any track to your Up Next queue by selecting the little arrow next to the title, but did you know that there’s an even easier way? When a song is selected, simply hold down the Option key and a “+” button will appear to the left of the title. Hit it and that song will be instantly added to the top of your Up Next queue.

  • The option to get missing album artwork appears to be gone or hidden away, but Apple has added an interesting dialog box that asks you to “share details about your library.” This suggests that iTunes 11 is supposed to automatically fetch missing artwork and such for you. The check box is located under Store in Preferences. Update: Many of you have pointed out that “Get Album Artwork” is still present under the File menu:


  • Apple has removed the Downloads section that was previously under the iTunes Store in the left sidebar. Instead, active downloads can be viewed by selecting the Safari-like download button that appears next to Search. From there you can view a standalone Downloads window.

  • The “Burn to Disc” option is elusive in iTunes 11. It’s technically located under the File menu, but you won’t see it unless you’re viewing a playlist that can actually be burned to a disc. Apple hides the option when it can’t be used. Another subtle hint that Apple is abandoning physical media.

  • When an iOS device is connected via USB to your Mac, its exact battery percentage is displayed on its device summary page.

  • When you have devices connected to iTunes 11, selecting the device button will show you a quick overview of what you have connected with appropriate icons.

  • You can quickly resume playback in your Up Next queue if you switch from, say, a song to a movie.

  • You can now generate and manage Genius playlists in the top middle section of iTunes. Tap the arrow icon next to the track name as it plays and start a new Genius playlist. Up Next will display the created Genius playlist for you.
  • The Command + Option + M keyboard shortcut toggles normal iTunes view and the new MiniPlayer. Command + Option + 3 will bring up the MiniPlayer and also keep the full view open.

  • The magnifying glass next to the Up Next button in the MiniPlayer is for search. You can also use the Command + F shortcut to trigger search in the MiniPlayer. Use the arrow keys to navigate through your music. From the MiniPlayer, use the Option + Enter shortcut to add a selected song to your Up Next queue.

  • You can access your Up Next queue by selecting the list icon next to the magnifying glass in the MiniPlayer.

  • Under the Advanced section of Preferences, you can choose to have the MiniPlayer always float on top of all windows.
  • Here’s a nifty tip for using iTunes 11 in multiple Spaces or monitors: right click the iTunes icon in your dock and select Options > Assign To > All Desktops. Now when you use iTunes in full screen mode, you can also open the MiniPlayer separately and have it run in a different space or monitor. So you could have iTunes running full screen on your big external monitor while the MiniPlayer is on your laptop screen.

  • Apple has added two navigational arrows on the right of the top HUD display. When multiple actions are happening at once (like downloading music, syncing a device, and playing a song), you can use these up and down arrows to view the status of each activity.
  • It’s now way easier to add media to playlists anywhere in your library. Simply select and start dragging a song. A right sidebar will instantly appear with all of your created playlists. Let go of the track you’re dragging and the sidebar will disappear again. Unfortunately, you can’t actually create new playlists from this sidebar. Drag one or more tracks into the empty area of your sidebar and you can create a new playlist!

  • Checking and unchecking individual tracks still works like before, but unchecked songs will look grayed out in the expanded album view.
  • There’s a new “Home Videos” section in the Movies category. It looks like nothing more than a place to collect all of the movies you manually add outside of the iTunes Store.
  • Cover Flow is gone in iTunes 11. Give up trying to find it.

  • If you’re not digging the new iTunes icon, former iTunes designer Louie Mantia has shared a purple one. You can download it for free on his website and use CandyBar to easily install it.
  • For some reason, Apple has kept the iTunes Visualizer. I guess it’s good for whenever you need to just zone out and be put in a trace while listening to your favorite jams.
  • You can use OS X’s two-finger swipe gesture to navigate back and forward between pages in the iTunes Store, like Safari. The action is delayed in a weird way, but it works.

Make sure to check out our full review of iTunes 11.

We want to keep this post updated with the latest iTunes 11 tips and tricks. If you come across something interesting you didn’t see here, leave a comment or tweet @cultofmac. We’ll add the best tips to keep this roundup fresh!

  • 1Jayan

    The album artwork is under the ‘library’ tab.

  • nxtlukas

    You can in fact still fetch album artwork with File > Library > Get album artwork…

  • bdkennedy

    There’s no way to resize the album or movie artwork anymore.

  • kavok

    Has anyone figured out a way to return Grid View to light instead of dark? The option is missing in Preferences and I can’t read half of the text on my albums/artists/etc.

  • Cgs101

    Still can’t believe cover flow is gone… Whoever made that decision needs to go find Forstall!

  • kriswm

    controlling the volume of airplay speakers isn’t a new feature. it’s been active and available on both the desktop and remote app for the last year…maybe longer. it’s something i use religiously and therefor know it’s been there a while.

  • GooseG

    Angels & Airwaves all the way!

  • ubernaut

    anyone know of a way to scrub in the mini player? pulling the play bar out of the mini player was a bad move IMO

  • sammiepieg

    Is there a way to convert the time format for a playlist from the 1.5 hours to 92mins? I use a PC

  • CrustODoyle

    Angels & Airwaves FTW!!!!

  • CharilaosMulder

    New one: volume slider works but doesn’t mute when turned all the way down. That’s a pretty neat feature.

  • robraden

    I can’t believe there’s no way to view the order of a SHUFFLED playlist other than going into the stupid pop-up up next window. And that window only shows you what’s coming up or what already played, but it doesn’t show a full list of both, like the old playlists used to. And it provides no easy way to edit anything other than a song’s rating. Want to add a comment to the song that just played? You now have to do a frigging search for the song that, previously, was listed right before the current song in the playlist. Hate That. And there’s no way to tell which playlist you’re listening to, other than by typing Command-L. That’s really poor design. iTunes 11 is riddled with poor design, and it’s intentionally poor design. Apple is turning iTunes into a For Dummies app.

  • DJay

    How about search for an Artist via the Search field? It only shows Album Artist. So the Artist in a Compilation is not shown. A Bug? What am I doing wrong? Thx.

  • greatburns

    Hi! I would like to know how to make a research into my ipod touch through the new iTunes 11. When I do a research, iTunes will only look into my iTunes Library. So how I add a device into the iTunes search engine? Thanks in advance.

  • ericschultheiss

    “When an iOS device is connected via USB to your Mac, its exact battery percentage is displayed on its device summary page.” are you sure about that?

    Also, you’re wrong about not being able to manually get album art, because you still can.

  • duncanfurg13

    I recently found and LOVE the iTunes Visualizer. It is pretty epic. And I never used cover flow, so I really don’t care that it’s gone, but there are others that probably would disagree with me.

  • hwaism90

    You forgot the new download icon when you downloading apps, songs, or etc.

  • munale

    i still love the visualizer. i dont know what i would do without it

  • bayard111

    Visualizer is a nice screen saver when I am on the couch listening to music and I don’t want to mess up my plasma…
    In general, they made this version into a giant game of hide and seek. A great deal of the features available will never be found by a regular person without the help of articles like this one, how is that a good, smart or wise thing? I have long been under the impression that I am adult enough to be able to handle an interface that makes using functionality easy and direct. The wisdom of this design direction will most likely remain a mystery to me forever, I mean, it requires real dedication to remembering what it does and where you are and how to get anywhere (unless you go and unhide as much as you can) but i use a lot of different devices and software, and the task of dedicating myself to learning this mess is so far down the list of things I want to do that it would be as hard to find as 78% of the iTunes features are. Sheesh, it’s just a freaking utility to play music.
    Also, did they fix anything like its ability to import a large library? Make better codecs for playback, you know. Real stuff. I’m not going to find out, but iTunes has never been able to actually import my whole library before, and when I got some of it in there, it was a mess regarding volume during playback. I had to export a subset of my library to wave files and then re-encode it with iTunes just so I could put some stuff on my phone and iPad. Craptastic..

  • TriangleJuice

    “Unfortunately, you can’t actually create new playlists from this sidebar”
    Actually, you can! Try drag-n-dropping one or more files onto the “PLAYLISTS” header :-)
    You’re welcome.

  • TriangleJuice

    “Unfortunately, you can’t actually create new playlists from this sidebar”
    Actually, you can! Try drag-n-dropping one or more files onto the “PLAYLISTS” header :-)
    You’re welcome.

  • ElmerCat

    I can’t find the iTunes DJ feature. Is it gone? This “up-next” thing is not a comparable substitute.

  • Pelu

    How exactly do i get the miniplayer to another desktop when itunes runs in fullscreen?

  • vassilisv

    I can’t really see the icon for air play as described in tip #2. Do I have to do something in order to bring it to the front?

  • MeanKidneyDan

    How do i Display Duplicates and/or Exact Duplicates?

  • crazydiamond

    There are numerous inconveniences introduced with v.11, and a disturbing tendency to replace user choice with Apple defaults that is creeping into all their software. However this all pales into insignificance compared with the play delay…

    Am I the only user to have noticed this delay? However you start play, you can count to five, slowly, before you hear a not. Absolutely useless!

  • Extensor Jones

    Someone mentioned that you can no longer resize artwork & someone else complained about no scrubber. Both are present, Click on the album artwork in the mini player. A resizable cover will appear. Roll over the cover to access the scrubber, volume and music controls.

  • vvvlad

    Has anyone noticed that when downloading apps iTunes 11 steals focus every time a single app finishes downloading. Any way to disable this?

  • ReedCole1

    Love my job, since I’ve been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it online(Click on menu Home)

  • Cgs101

    How do I get rid of the cloud icons on the side bar? I’ve hidden the cloud in the “view” menu but the icons are still there.

  • bogopogo

    My biggest gripe (so far) is that everytime I import a movie/tv show – it automatically goes to the “Home Movies” section. Is there a way to avoid/diable that? I can reclassify them as movies – and not home movies – it’s just annoying that I have to do that.

    That reminds me of a Microsoft type of “feature” where it says “Oh – we know what you’re doing” and then they screw up what you were doing because what they thought you were doing wasn’t exactly what you were doing.

  • jarrodbcecil

    I’d like to find out where the duplicate finder went.

  • itasara

    Thanks for this information. I don’t know that I have the time or desire right now to muddle thru it and figure out itunes 11.. as for me it was just fine the way it was. Yesterday I plugged in an older broadway album and got the NO RESULTS sign. Finally I entered in Broadway and got a bunch of albums but not the one I wanted. So I added the title of the album next to the words broadway. Got in the next link something about are you sure you wanted this? but underneath was the Album and songs from it I wanted. So why was this so non transparent and took so much more time to get what I needed. It was so easy before. plug in a name and there it was. By progress I guess the developers think they must change things to make it more difficult for those of us who had already gotten used to and her happy with what was already there.

  • rmcm2284

    I dont like anything about iTunes 11. I spent a lot time and effort to have excellent album art. I dont like the lack of response to pointing my mouse over a icon to find out want it is. The cloud is blocked by my place of business (I dont know why any business would waste bandwidth on entertainment that distracts employees from work).

  • rbigmac

    is there a way to ‘display duplicates’ like the old versions? i seem to keep importing multiple copies and it was hard enough to keep on top of deleting them with the old version, without it doing some of the work for me, I’ll never have enough space! (not to mention, at 650 gigs, i need to move my library off my internal hard drive…how does that work? :(

  • fit4life

    Hi Alex, thanks for the tips. Appreciate your expertise on a quick question – how can I delete podcasts? The Edit / Delete option is greyed out in the podcasts view, and am unable to drag to trash. Thanks!

  • PGarrett

    I have a question about album artwork. I know that Itunes will add the artwork, IF it knows it. I am an elementary music teacher and have several CD’s that itunes does not know. In the past, I have found the artwork online and just copied and pasted in to the album box. No problem…..until a few months ago…long before the NEW updated itunes. I copy and paste without a problem. But when I click on “OK”, the artwork does not appear in the music library album box. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!
    Thank you!!!

  • PGarrett

    I have a question about album artwork. I know that Itunes will add the artwork, IF it knows it. I am an elementary music teacher and have several CD’s that itunes does not know. In the past, I have found the artwork online and just copied and pasted in to the album box. No problem…..until a few months ago…long before the NEW updated itunes. I copy and paste without a problem. But when I click on “OK”, the artwork does not appear in the music library album box. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!
    Thank you!!!