Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Things that are annoying me about iTunes

Hey Apple, if you ever release iTunes 4.8 or 5.0 for Windows, here’s some ideas for what needs improving:

  • CPU usage. iTunes is about the only application I have that consistently uses up to 3% of my CPU. No other media player I have used has ever needed that. Why? It’s not like I have a slow machine either – surely a 2.2Ghz Mobile Celeron should be enough.
  • Memory usage – iTunes is using 50 MB of memory right now. Again, a bit extreme, don’t you think?
  • Why does it take iTunes up to 30 seconds to read a CD, especially when skipping tracks? No other CD playing program on this machine does that, and those scratching noises that the drive makes during the time don’t sound healthy.
  • Faster startup times. Again, iTunes loads up slower than Winamp, Media Player, VLC and pretty much every other equivalent program.
  • Just because I play a song, it doesn’t mean I want it in my library.

I want to love iTunes because of its nice interface and iPod support, but these things have been bugging me for some time now. I’m really wondering whether Winamp with its ml_ipod plugin might be a better bet.


  1. I never use iTunes for anything apart from the occasional syncing with my iPod Mini to change an album or two. I’m stuck with Winamp. It’s fast, simple and just works good enough for me.
    3% of the processor. Woah. That’s like, HUGE… or not. What’s the point of a 2.2GHz processor if you’re only going to use 800MHz of it.
    Again, I don’t get these people who count processor and RAM usage…
    OK, programmers are slacker with RAM and processor usage now, but the speed in which computer speed is increasing, who cares! I certainly don’t.

  2. Sure it’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things but running lots of CPU-intensive applications, particularly on laptops like mine, does reduce the life expectancy of the components, especially the cooling system.
    …unless this is an Apple conspiracy to make our PCs die earlier so that we’ll all go and buy Macs. Hmmm…

  3. I would like to add:
    * Allow And/Or in the Smart Playlist editor per item. Having to create a Smart Playlist just so that I can use it in another playlist so that I can get what I want is annoying.
    * Allow me to open up a window with my library in it while in the iTMS so that I can verify whether or not I already have a track.
    trovster: Normally I don’t worry about CPU usage. However, when I am playing a game like GTA: VC and don’t want the frame rate to suffer, I typically dump iTunes and pull out my iPod to play tunes while playing the game. Also, unlike you, I have many tracks that I purchased via iTMS, and don’t have a way of playing the tracks in a player other than iTunes.

  4. That’s a reason not to buy from iTMS! Heh. Playing a game is a different matter. It’s absurd to have Photoshop, Firefox, iTunes and loads else open if you’re not using them and require a lot of your spec on the game. That’s not the point.

  5. Well iTunes is sure annoying to use on Windows but it just rocks on MacOS X. If you ever have the chance, give it a try. I used to hate iTunes but since I got my first PowerBook I actually love it. Winamp is still my preferred player on Windows though ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. The main reason I stick with iTunes is the interface and Sound Check (Winamp has nothing like it that works when you burn a CD or use an iPod), but Sound Check isn’t perfect as you can tell from my trackback.
    I’d use Foobar2000 (ReplayGain rocks and Foobar plays every format imaginable), but every time I attempt to customize it to fit my vision of a music player I just get frusterated and give up. Plus I have to break the DRM on iTunes files in order to get them play.

  7. So, where do you suggest I buy single tracks from, if not from iTMS? Is there an online music store out there that offers tracks without DRM? I own an iPod and use it every day to listen to audiobooks on the way to and from work, and to listen to music while at work.
    I get a lot of music from iTMS because I don’t care for a lot of the music that is coming out these days, but there are a few tracks I do like. I think I have bought about 10 albums from iTMS, while I have purchased over 1700 tracks. Mostly stuff from the 60’s to 80’s.

  8. One advantage of iTunes over Winamp is that it stores its music library information in XML, instead of a binary format. Another is that iTunes has new versions more often.

  9. I fell in love with winamp some time ago, and have never looked back. The ipod plugin gives me all the ipod functionalty I need…. I suppose I never gave itunes much of a chance really!

  10. I’ve been using Winamp for quite a while, and I’ve tried iTunes. I honestly can’t see why anyone would use it – it’s horrible.
    The fact that, until recently, it didn’t seem to have a ‘winshade’ option was one of the most annoying things about it. The startup time is also one of the annoying things about it, as you mentioned Neil.
    As for the interface, I don’t find brushed chrome and ‘aqua’ buttons appealing, really. I guess it’s why I’m not a Mac user ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. I wouldn’t use iTunes when i had 512MB, it just felt like i was permanent crippling my PC. But since 1GB, the percentage of waste is now comfortably small.
    I wouldn’t have a go at iTunes for processor usage, sure compared to iTunes winamp’s usage is a miracle but compare iTunes to Media Player. WMP uses criminal amounts of CPU, in fact i’ve quite often had ppl ask for help because of it using upwards of 40% on an average PC. Yikes!
    As for iTunes aways adding played music to the library, this is my biggest gripe. I quite often test tracks i’ve downmixed and i always have to remove the track after trying it. Very annoying. I try to do “open with”->winamp instead but i don’t always remember to.
    Quite a minority activity this, but has anyone else had problems playing .wav’s in iTunes? It seems to struggle, as if it can’t prebuffer fast enough, and it’s not as if my HD is particularly slow.

  12. “Just because I play a song, it doesnโ€™t mean I want it in my library.”
    I don’t know about Windows, but on a Mac do the following:
    Open Preferences.
    Go to Advanced.
    Uncheck the “Keep iTunes Music organized” box.
    Uncheck the “Cope files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library”.

  13. “Is there an online music store out there that offers tracks without DRM?”
    eMusic is one. Everything is MP3 format, no DRM.

  14. OK, maybe I should have phrased that question better…
    Is there an online store out there that offers mainstream, current, and popular music out there without DRM?
    Sure, there are a few places that offer music in MP3 format with no DRM, that Russian site is one, but do I trust that the music I am buying from them is safe and legal? Not a chance.
    I absolutly love WinAMP! I have had a version of that software since they first came out! The 5.x version has a lot of the features that iTunes has. However, until they are able to play iTMS’s protected tracks, I’m out of luck with that software.
    I agree with Jane and others about playing a track and it getting stuck in the library. However, adding tracks by drag-n-drop of audio tracks is still the easiest way to get music into the library. I actually find it more annoying when I click on a link on a website and iTunes comes up and adds the URL to the library. Like I really want to have a track that I don’t even have on my computer in my library. Sheesh!
    Now if someone writes a program that fully rips the DRM out of my iTMS tracks, I would be all over WinAMP and drop iTunes like a rock.

  15. I moved to Foobar a while back because of the processor usage. It used to annoy me loads, I know 3% or whatever only seems like a little but on my laptop it does have an effect!

  16. Wow, make a wish and it comes true! Thanks Neil, for the heads up on JHymn. I’m happily converting my tracks as I type! It’s not the speediest tool, but I only need to run it once!
    Goodbye iTunes, hello WinAMP!

  17. iTunes 4.8 Due This Week

    According to AppleInsider, Apple will possibly release iTunes 4.8 this week. This new version will contain maintenance and security updates, as well as support for the new international music stores.
    Another thing that is reported to be in this upda…

  18. The problem with Winamp is that it does not have unicode support and it has a patheticly small set of fields. You know some people in this world actually listen to classical music which requires a composer field at the very least. And some people are interested in the name of the recording company. But otherwise, Winamps is better than iTunes.