Has iTunes been discontinued?

iTunes is a media player, media library, Internet radio broadcaster, and mobile device management utility developed by Apple. It was first released in January 2001 as a simple music player and has since expanded to include many more features over the years.

In June 2019, Apple announced that iTunes would be discontinued and many of its features would be split into three separate apps for macOS Catalina: Music, TV, and Podcasts. This led many to wonder if iTunes is being discontinued entirely.

Brief History of iTunes

Here is a brief timeline of major events and releases for iTunes:

January 2001 First version of iTunes released for Mac OS
October 2001 iTunes 2 released with support for Windows 2000 and Windows XP
April 2003 iTunes Music Store launched, allowing online music purchases
May 2005 iTunes Music Store renamed iTunes Store, began offering TV shows and short films
September 2006 Movies, iPod games, and podcasts added to iTunes Store
January 2007 Apple TV introduced, allowing media playback on televisions
July 2008 App Store introduced through iTunes, offering iPhone/iPod Touch apps
September 2010 iTunes 10 introduced Ping social network for music
October 2011 iTunes Match launched, allowing cloud storage and streaming
November 2012 iTunes 11 released with redesigned interface
September 2014 Apple Pay introduced in iTunes to enable mobile payments
June 2019 Apple announces iTunes will be discontinued on Mac, features split into new Music, TV, and Podcasts apps

As this timeline shows, iTunes has steadily expanded far beyond just music over nearly 20 years, offering a variety of multimedia content and services.

Transition to Separate Apps on Mac

At its 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced that iTunes would be discontinued on the Mac with the release of macOS Catalina later that year.

Instead of iTunes, macOS Catalina features separate new apps for:

  • Apple Music – For streaming music and accessing music library
  • Apple TV – For accessing movies, TV shows, and Apple TV channels
  • Apple Podcasts – For discovering, subscribing to, and playing podcasts

Device management and synchronization features previously in iTunes are now handled by the Finder app in Catalina.

So iTunes as a single app has been discontinued on the Mac. But its key features live on in Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts.

iTunes Still Exists on Windows

It’s important to note that iTunes still exists and remains available to download for Windows.

Only the Mac version of iTunes was discontinued. On Windows, iTunes continues to offer music management and playback, device syncing, purchases from the iTunes Store, and all the other usual iTunes features.

Apple has not announced any timeline for discontinuing iTunes on Windows. It remains the main way for Windows users to manage iOS devices and make media purchases from Apple.

The new Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps that replace iTunes on the Mac have not been made available for Windows.

iTunes Remains on iOS and Apple TV

iTunes also remains present and actively developed on other platforms, namely iOS and Apple TV.

On iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, the iTunes app lets users browse and play music from their personal libraries. iOS and iPadOS devices also access Apple services like Apple Music through the iTunes app.

The iTunes app on Apple TV platforms serves a similar role, providing access to users’ music libraries, Apple Music streaming, and other media purchase and playback features.

There are currently no signs that the iTunes app is going away on iOS or Apple TV anytime soon. It continues to be the hub for digital music on these platforms.

iTunes Features Now Spread Across Apps

With iTunes being split up on Mac, its myriad features are now found scattered across several apps:

iTunes Feature New Mac App
Stream Apple Music and access music library Apple Music
Buy songs, albums, movies, TV shows Apple Music, Apple TV
Sync iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Finder
Listen to podcasts Apple Podcasts
Rent, buy, or watch Apple TV+ content Apple TV
Watch purchased or rented movies and TV shows Apple TV
Manage iOS backups and device storage Finder

As you can see, iTunes’ media playing, purchasing, syncing, device management, and other core features are now divided between Apple Music, Apple TV, Apple Podcasts, and Finder on the Mac.

Should Windows Users Keep Using iTunes?

On Windows, iTunes remains the main way to interact with Apple’s content and services ecosystem. Windows users don’t have access to Apple Music, Apple TV, or Apple Podcasts apps.

So on this platform, iTunes should be used to:

  • Buy music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books from the iTunes Store
  • Manage iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch syncing and backups
  • Play purchased iTunes media and access Apple Music streaming
  • Listen to Beats1 radio and Apple Podcast subscriptions
  • Update iOS device software

There are no signs of iTunes on Windows going away anytime soon. It’s the only official Apple app on the platform. So Windows users should continue using iTunes as normal.

What About iTunes Features Not in New Apps?

With iTunes being dismantled, there are some stray features that have no clear replacement in the new Mac apps:

  • iTunes U: The educational media section of iTunes. Apple has not stated the future of this platform.
  • Internet Radio: iTunes provided access to Internet radio streams. This feature appears gone on the Mac.
  • Ping: iTunes’ old social network centering on music. It shut down many years ago.
  • iMixes: User-shared playlists. Not present in Apple Music.
  • Library XML File: Export of music library metadata. Not available in Music app.

For these minor iTunes features, there are no direct replacements in the new Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps on Catalina. Some may be resurrected in future app updates. But most appear to be going away permanently.

What About iTunes on Older Macs?

On Macs running versions of macOS before Catalina, such as Mojave and High Sierra, iTunes remains installed and operational.

The Music, TV, Podcasts, and syncing features live on in iTunes on these older operating systems. And they aren’t going away.

Apple has not said when iTunes on remaining older macOS versions will be deprecated. It will likely stick around for a few more years.

But for the newest Apple media features, you need to upgrade to Catalina and adopt the new Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps.

Should You Keep iTunes on an Older Mac?

Even on older Macs that retain iTunes, you may want to upgrade to Catalina in order to access Apple’s latest apps and services.

But if you choose to remain on Mojave or High Sierra for app compatibility reasons, iTunes will continue to work fine for now. You can keep using it to:

  • Buy and play music, movies, TV shows, and other media
  • Manage iOS device backups and syncing
  • Stream Apple Music tracks
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Update iOS device software

Staying on an older macOS will not immediately impact your ability to use iTunes. But Apple will eventually stop supporting iTunes on older OS versions.

Should You Update from iTunes to Catalina?

Here are some pros and cons of updating to Catalina from an older macOS to migrate from iTunes to the new apps:


  • Access new Apple music, TV, and podcasting features
  • Use newer apps tailored for specific media types
  • Take advantage of future Apple media innovations
  • Ensure compatibility with latest Apple services and formats


  • Lose all-in-one iTunes convenience
  • Apps you rely on may not be Catalina compatible
  • Some old iTunes features disappear
  • Adjusting to new separated apps has a learning curve

Overall, transitioning from iTunes to dedicated new media apps is recommended to stay up to date with Apple’s ecosystem. But you can continue using iTunes on Mojave or High Sierra for a while longer if needed.

What About iTunes Features Still in Catalina Music App?

While iTunes is going away on Mac, the new Music app on Catalina retains some of its key media features:

  • Full access to your music library and playlists
  • Ability to buy songs, albums, and music videos from iTunes Store
  • Streaming of Apple Music tracks and self-created radio stations
  • Syncing music to iOS devices

If you rely on iTunes for music management and playback, upgrading to Catalina will provide a familiar transition. Much of that functionality has simply moved to the Music app.

Your existing iTunes music library seamlessly transfers over. So the Music app will cover your needs if iTunes mainly meant music to you.


While the iTunes application is going away on Mac, its core features live on in Catalina’s Music, TV, and Podcasts apps. For Windows users, iTunes remains largely business as usual for now.

Upgrading from iTunes to the newer media apps provides a more fragmented but ultimately better user experience in keeping with Apple’s current services. Make sure your critical iTunes needs like iOS device management are covered in Catalina before upgrading.

Overall, the discontinuation of iTunes represents Apple moving forward with separate but integrated media services. iTunes forever changed how we acquire and listen to music. Much of its spirit and functionality will continue in Apple Music.