iTunes started out as a smart, simple music player, but over the years, it’s evolved into one of Apple’s most important applications. Although it’s still used for managing and playing your music collection, iTunes now also stores apps, films, TV shows, podcasts, ringtones, and books--maybe “iStuff” would be a better name?--and of course, it’s the sole Apple-approved method for syncing content with iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs.
But that doesn’t mean you should take it at face value. Like many of Apple’s applications, iTunes is multilayered. Underneath its simple, straightforward hood, it’s surprisingly feature-rich, offering many powerful configuration options. And it’s time to make that power work for you with our guide to tapping into iTunes’ lesser-known but highly useful features. We also delve into the add-ons that expand the iTunes experience, including the very best third-party applications and highly useful scripts. So fire up iTunes 9.1 or later (it’s currently at 9.2), and get ready to rock!
Since the early days of the Mac OS, most users have avoided the Services menu, largely because of what used to be found there: a bewildering, ever-growing mess of options, submenus, and shortcuts. But with Snow Leopard, the Services menu got a major revamp, making it contextual to the application you’re using, as well as configurable. Once you know how to take advantage of its useful actions, you’ll save yourself lots of time.
I added a second display to my Mac mini setup, and I use it to keep the windows for iTunes, Adium, and Mail. I usually use keyboard shortcuts to access the menu items for those apps, but on the occasions I do need to use a menu, it’s so weird to have to go to the other display, which has the menubar. Is there any way to have the menubar show up on both displays?
On my iMac at home, I use the Cisco VPN Client to remotely connect to my office’s server. But when I upgraded to Snow Leopard, my Cisco VPN Client stopped working. In fact, it won’t even launch anymore! I went to Cisco’s website to see if there was a new version to download, but they haven’t updated their VPN Client since February 2009. Are they planning on ever supporting Snow Leopard?
The hard drive on my MacBook Pro is too small, so I keep almost all my files on a 1TB Western Digital MyBook World Edition network hard drive, which allows me to access my files from anywhere. But Time Machine only backs up my laptop’s hard drive to a USB hard drive, so how can I also automatically back up what is on my network drive?
I use iChat all day long to chat with my coworkers on my Bonjour local network at the office, but the people I really care about chatting with are my friends on Facebook and Gmail. For that, I have to keep Facebook and Gmail open all day, but that doesn’t look too professional. Is there an app that lets me combine these into one window?
I’ve used Outlook for years and decided to try to use Apple’s Address Book instead. It’s user-friendly, but at times, it’s too limited in what it can do. One of the things I liked about Outlook was its ability to print what you see on the screen onto paper. Address Book prints as if it’s a list and never saves those items you would use every time. Is there a better way?
I have a MacBook Pro that I accidently picked up one day with my thumb on the screen, cracking the LCD. Is there a reliable company who can fix this, or do you folks know a solution? I heard that the Apple Store charges $800 to fix the screen. I might as well go out and buy a new computer if it costs that much.
Reporting a bug for a third-party iPhone is easy to do via the App Store app on my iPhone, but where do I go when there’s a bug or conflict with the first-party apps from Apple? How do we let Apple know that something is wonky?