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Apple is previewing a trio of apps that will finally replace iTunes for Windows

Apple is previewing a trio of apps that will finally replace iTunes for Windows

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Zoom in / Apple’s interpretation of what a computer with iTunes looks like.

An apple

Apple discontinued its iTunes music player for macOS in 2019 when it separated the app’s functionality between four apps in macOS Catalina. But for Windows users with large local media libraries or who want to back up their iDevices or subscribe to Apple Music, iTunes has stepped in, receiving minor updates in maintenance mode to maintain compatibility with Apple devices and services.

Today, as part of a new preview version of Windows 11 for Windows InsidersMicrosoft announced that previews of new Apple Music, Apple TVand Apple devices apps are available in the Microsoft Store for download.

The Apple Music and Apple TV apps manage the music and video functionality of iTunes, just as they do in macOS, and provide access to the Apple Music and Apple TV+ subscription services. The Apple Devices app is what you’ll use to back up a local device, perform emergency software updates, sync local media, and the other things you can do with an iDevice that’s plugged into your computer (in macOS, a similar functionality was added to Finderinstead of being broken into its own application).

For now, if you install any or all of these three apps, you’ll no longer be able to use iTunes, so don’t upgrade if you’re still relying on iTunes for something specific that the apps don’t handle. You can use iTunes again if you uninstall the new apps.

iTunes handles two things on Windows that the new apps can’t: podcasts and audiobooks. We don’t know if Apple plans to make versions of Apple Podcasts or Books work on Windows, if that functionality will be added back to the Apple Music app for Windows, or if Apple will rely on the cloud versions of both apps.

The release notes for Apple Music say that podcasts and audiobooks on Windows PCs “will be unavailable until a compatible version of iTunes is released.” This suggests that Apple is working on a version of iTunes that can work alongside the new apps, and that iTunes may continue to handle some features in the absence of official Windows versions of Apple Podcasts and Books.

Microsoft has announced that versions of Apple Music and Apple TV will be coming to Windows last October, along with other new Windows 11 features and refreshed Surface devices. For now, apps require Windows 11 with the 2022 update installed to boot, although final versions may also be compatible with Windows 10 or older versions of Windows 11.


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