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Carving Your Way Around Apples’ iTunes Changes

by Keith Gatling | 10 months ago

Bloatware is a term people use to describe software that they think is bloated with too many features...too many useless features...too many features that are useless to them...at the moment. They don't stop to think that the 80 features they never use are features that a lot of advanced users use on a regular basis.

What they're calling bloatware, I would call a Swiss Army Knife. It's something that has a lot of tools that I can use when I need them.

Apple broke my Swiss Army Knife.

How did they do that? Recently in the new Catalina operating system, they decided that the old iTunes app was trying to do too many things, and was bloated with too many features. It did music, podcasts, movies, TV shows, eBooks, audiobooks, and synced your iPod, iPhone, or iPad. That was just too much for some people.

They demanded that Apple strip it down into separate apps to do different things, just like in their iOS and iPadOS apps; so that things would be simpler. And when they did it, they took away my Swiss Army Knife and gave me a plastic fork, knife, and spoon.

Have you ever tried cutting a steak with a plastic knife?

While they may have made life easier for people who just wanted to do simple things, they totally abandoned those of us who had been using the sophisticated tools in iTunes for some more advanced purposes.

For example...changing podcasts into music files.

Now I know...some of you are wondering why anyone would want to do that? Especially since you can listen to podcasts in their own Podcasts app. The reason is because sometimes that's not where you want to listen to them.

My family goes on a lot of road trips...at least we used to before we were all asked to stay at home. And I like to make playlists on my laptop for these road trips that are roughly 45 minutes of music, followed by a podcast, 45 more minutes of music, followed by a podcast, repeat, repeat, repeat. In old iTunes podcast files couldn't be put into a music playlist. But...you could easily convert a podcast file to a music file, and then put it in your playlist to be transferred to your iPhone. It was wonderful.

But then Apple went and broke my Swiss Army Knife and gave me a plastic fork, knife, and spoon; and it’s very hard to cut a steak with a plastic knife. And there was no easy way to convert a podcast to a regular music file. I tried a number of things, and then just gave up, deciding to just download the episodes from the websites of those podcasts, as regular mp3 files that I could put into iTunes. It wasn't perfect, but it worked.

But just last week, I discovered that there is a way to move podcasts into Apple's Music app. You drag the episode to the Finder and then into Music, where you can then edit the metadata. Don't try dragging it directly into Music. It'll look like it worked, but will only be a pointer to a stream, and not an mp3 file that's actually sitting there to be moved to your device when you sync it.

This method is much better than the plastic knife I thought they had given me.

But I still want my Swiss Army Knife back.