iTunes is Apple’s media management software for organizing and playing music, videos, audiobooks and more on devices like iPhones, iPads and computers (https://support.apple.com/guide/itunes/what-is-itunes-itns5ecc4f3c/windows). It allows you to purchase and download content from the iTunes Store, sync media and data to iOS devices, and back up your data. iTunes connects the various devices in the Apple ecosystem. But what happens if you decide to delete the iTunes app from your computer? This article will examine the potential impacts.
iTunes provides a central way to manage your music library across devices. It allows you to add songs, albums, playlists, etc. to your library. iTunes then syncs this music library to your iOS devices like iPhone and iPad so you can access it on the go (Source).
Within iTunes you can view, organize and edit all aspects of your music library – change metadata, album art, ratings, etc. (Source). iTunes also handles syncing any changes you make back to your iOS devices.
If you delete the iTunes app, you would lose this centralized management of your music library. Your music and playlists may remain for a time on your iOS devices, but any changes made would not sync back to a central library. Over time your music collection could become disorganized across devices.
App Store Access
One of the main functions of iTunes is providing access to the App Store for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. The App Store is Apple’s marketplace for downloading and installing apps on iOS devices. When you connect an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to a computer through iTunes, it gives you the ability to browse, search for, purchase and download apps from the App Store directly to that device (1). If you delete iTunes off your computer, you will lose this convenient access point and will have to download apps directly on the iOS device instead through the App Store app.
The App Store provides over 1.8 million apps as of early 2020 and is the largest app marketplace in the world (2). Having iTunes makes it easier to search for and install apps on your computer screen rather than your iPhone or iPad’s smaller screen. It also provides a way to install apps on devices that have app downloading restrictions applied through parental controls. Overall, losing App Store access is one of the biggest downsides of deleting iTunes from your computer.
iOS Device Syncing
iTunes plays a pivotal role in syncing content and data between your computer and iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. When you connect an iOS device to your computer, iTunes will automatically recognize it and allow you to sync various types of media and data. This includes syncing music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and more from your iTunes library to your device. iTunes also handles syncing photos, contacts, calendars, bookmarks and other data. Any apps, ebooks, or other content purchased through the App Store on your iOS device can also be synced back to your iTunes library and computer.
If you delete iTunes, this syncing process would no longer be available. You would lose the ability to automatically transfer media, apps and data between your computer and iOS devices. Managing and organizing your iOS device’s content would become much more challenging without iTunes facilitating and automating syncing. You would have to rely on manual transfers through the cloud or third party apps. Critical functions like device backups and restores would also be impacted if you no longer had iTunes on your computer. Overall, deleting iTunes significantly disrupts the seamless integration between your computer and iOS devices.
iTunes provides robust media playback capabilities for content purchased or downloaded from the iTunes Store. This includes the ability to play music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks and more across Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac computers (Source). The iTunes app integrates everything into one place with advanced features like bookmarking for videos, AirPlay streaming, and offline downloads for playback without an internet connection.
If iTunes is deleted, media playback on iOS devices will still be possible using the built-in Music, TV, and Video apps. However, the content management and synchronization features of iTunes would no longer be available. Users would need to manually transfer media files using the Finder on Mac or File Explorer on Windows. This makes managing a large media library more complex. Alternatively, users could rely on streaming services like Apple Music and Apple TV+ for music and videos.
iTunes can back up iOS device data like contacts, messages, photos, videos, and more either locally to your computer or to iCloud. Connecting your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to iTunes allows you to create regular local backups that store a snapshot of your iOS device data. These backups can be encrypted for security and restored in the future if needed. One of the main downsides of deleting the iTunes app is losing this integrated local backup option that comes with syncing to iTunes. However, there are some alternative backup solutions.
Third-party iOS backup software like iMazing allows you to create encrypted local backups without iTunes. You can also use cloud storage services like iCloud or Google Photos to backup your iOS photos and videos online rather than locally through iTunes. Just be aware that cloud backups may have capacity limits and you could lose access if you ever cancel the subscription. For local backups comparable to iTunes, standalone iOS data extraction software is recommended if you delete iTunes and no longer have access to its integrated backup features.
Downsides of Deleting
Deleting the iTunes app can disrupt several key functions and potentially result in data loss. Some of the main downsides include:
You will lose access to the iOS App Store. The App Store is integrated into the iTunes app, so removing it takes away your ability to browse, download, and update iOS apps from your computer (source). You would need to re-download iTunes or use your iOS device to access the App Store.
It can break syncing between your computer and iOS device. iTunes facilitates syncing music, photos, videos, contacts, calendars, and more across devices. Removing it removes this sync functionality, which can lead to data loss if not properly backed up (source).
Media playback can become disrupted. The iTunes app integrates with media libraries for music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and more. Deleting it can make accessing or playing that media more difficult without the central iTunes access point.
Backups may no longer happen automatically. iTunes can back up an iOS device automatically when connected to a computer. Removing iTunes removes this backup capability.
Upsides of Deleting
There are a few potential upsides to deleting the iTunes app from your iOS device or Mac. One benefit is that it can free up storage space, since the iTunes app and related services take up a considerable amount of storage on your device (1). Removing iTunes will clear out the app itself as well as any device backups or cached media files it may have stored locally. This can be especially beneficial if you are running low on storage.
Another upside is that deleting iTunes could speed up your device’s performance, since you’ll no longer have background processes and syncing using up CPU cycles and memory. Some users have reported improved general snappiness after removing iTunes (2). By eliminating iTunes services running in the background, you may see a boost in available system resources.
In summary, the main potential upsides of deleting the iTunes app relate to freeing up local storage and improving device performance by removing iTunes-related background processes.
Whether you are looking for alternatives to iTunes for music, app management, iOS device syncing, or backing up data, there are a variety of software options that provide similar features. Some popular alternatives to the iTunes app include
5 Best Apple iTunes alternatives
For music playback and library management, apps like MusicBee, Winamp, and MediaMonkey allow you to play, organize, and sync music files across devices. Many also provide access to online music services and internet radio.
As far as iOS app management, Apple provides the App Store app for installing and updating iOS apps without needing iTunes. For Android device users, the Google Play Store offers the same app management capabilities.
For syncing media and backing up your iOS device, Apple provides iCloud as an alternative to handle contacts, calendars, photos, files and more across devices. Other cross-platform apps like Dropbox can also sync files.
While no single alternative app provides all the exact capabilities of iTunes in one place, exploring options like MusicBee, the App Store, iCloud, and Dropbox can allow you to find suitable replacements for specific features you need.
In summary, deleting the iTunes app can have both positives and negatives. On the plus side, it can free up storage space and reduce clutter on your device. However, deleting iTunes means losing access to your music library, the App Store, iOS device syncing, media playback, and data backups. Users would need to find alternative apps to handle these functions.
In most cases, it’s recommended to keep iTunes installed for full access to your media content and to manage iOS devices properly. The benefits of extra storage space or a cleaner interface likely don’t outweigh losing core features and data that iTunes provides. Only advanced users who have carefully migrated libraries and backups to other platforms should consider uninstalling iTunes.
For those set on deleting iTunes, it’s crucial to have backups and alternative apps ready to go before uninstalling. Carefully research options to replace the music library, App Store, syncing, playback, and backup features to avoid major disruptions. With the proper precautions, deleting iTunes is possible but rarely advisable for most users. The best option for most is to keep iTunes installed and selectively manage content as needed.