iTunes (z/) is a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application developed by Apple Inc. It was announced on January 9, 2001. It is used to play, download, and organize digital multimedia files, including music and video, on personal computers running the macOS and Windows operating systems. Content could be purchased through the iTunes Store, or imported from CDs, with iTunes as the software letting users manage their online and physical purchases.
The original and main focus of iTunes is music, with a library offering organization, collection, and storage of users' music collections. It can be used to rip songs from CDs, as well as play content with the use of dynamic, smart playlists. Options for sound optimizations exist, as well as ways to wirelessly share the iTunes library. In 2005, Apple expanded on the core features with video support, later also adding podcasts, e-books, and a section for managing mobile apps for Apple's iOS operating system, the last of which it discontinued in 2017.
The originaliPhonesmartphone required iTunes for activation and, until the release of iOS 5 in 2011, iTunes was required for installing software updates for the company's iOS devices. Newer iOS devices rely less on the iTunes software, though it can still be used for backup and restoration of phone contents, as well as for the transfer of files between a computer and individual iOS applications. iTunes has received significant criticism for a bloated user experience, with Apple adopting an all-encompassing feature-set in iTunes rather than sticking to its original music-based purpose.
On June 3, 2019, Apple announced that iTunes will be replaced in macOS Catalina by separate applications for Music, Podcasts, and TV. Finder will also be able to perform the device management capabilities previously contained within iTunes. This increases continuity with iOS, where they are also separate apps. This change will not affect Windows or older macOS versions.
SoundJam MP, released by Casady & Greene in 1998, was renamed "iTunes" when Apple purchased it in 2000. The primary developers of the software moved to Apple as part of the acquisition, and simplified SoundJam's user interface, added the ability to burn CDs, and removed its recording feature and skin support. The first version of iTunes, promotionally dubbed "World’s Best and Easiest To Use Jukebox Software", was announced on January 9, 2001. Subsequent releases of iTunes often coincided with new hardware devices, and gradually included support for new features, including "smart playlists," the iTunes Store, and new audio formats.
Apple released iTunes for Windows in 2003. In May 2017, Microsoft and Apple announced that they would bring iTunes to the Microsoft Store by the end of that year in order to work on Windows 10 S devices, which are limited to software available in the Microsoft Store. However, Apple told ZDNet in December that it "[needs] a little more time to get it right", and thus won't be available in 2017. Apple released the Microsoft Store version on April 26, 2018.