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The bane of being an Apple user, whether on Mac or iOS, is that there is no good way to browse or search iTunes online. But Fnd.io wants to change all that.
The Google Play Store has a fantastic online interface, and there are some alternative ways to browse it too. But that’s not the case with iTunes. And it’s a pity because there is so much to find on iTunes, from apps and games for both Mac and iOS, to books, movies, music and podcasts.
Instead, all we get is the pathetic iTunes Preview, which can’t be searched or even browsed properly.
Fnd.io is a far better option as it not only offers quick search and the ability to filter charts, but it also adds a few extras – like the ability to search both Mac and iOS app stores at the same time!
Oh, and did we mention, it’s optimized for mobile browsing?
Even if you use iTunes, the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store are kept separate but Fnd.io simplifies looking for software for both platforms. Say you want to look for Tweetbot, our favourite Twitter client. Search for it in Fnd.io’s bar and the results will show it listed in “Apps” (which is for iOS apps) and “Mac” (which is for Mac apps) on the same page. It’s simple – so why don’t Apple try it?
In fact, making search simple is the cornerstone of Fnd.io. You can search for anything and it will show you results in the “All” tab, with further tabs to filter that: Apps, Music, Movies, TV, Books, Mac, Podcasts.
The result shows the name, icon, category, store rating and price. Click the price button and it will open that link in iTunes Preview. In case you’re using a mobile browser on your iPhone or iPad, you will be prompted to open the link in the App Store. If you use Chrome, you can force iTunes store links to open in the iTunes desktop app instead.
Descriptions With YouTube
You can also click on any search result to get the details that are available in iTunes, like description, screenshots, comments and more. Fnd.io adds a little to this experience by also including the top three search results from YouTube for that listing — iTunes does not currently support videos.
And here’s where it gets interesting. For apps, it’s obviously helpful to check out a trailer or watch a quick gameplay video, but it’s especially useful for music and movies. By default, iTunes has a short clip of any song you search for, but with a YouTube search result, you can actually listen to the full song (since YouTube has almost any song you would search for).
Similarly, with movies, you don’t need to turn to Apple Trailers and can instead watch a trailer from YouTube or perhaps even a quick video review or interview. After using Fnd.io, you will wish iTunes was this good!
Browsing The Charts
While iTunes Preview has the ability to browse charts, the interface is clunky, confusing and off-putting. Fnd.io, on the other hand, makes you want to browse the charts. Along with iPhone and iPad apps, you can browse charts for the various categories of media, and there are further filtering options.
For example, in iPhone Apps, you can filter by New, New & Free, New & Paid, Top, Top & Free, Top & Paid. In a third filter, you can limit it to category like Games, Food & Drink, Social Networking and so on. Similarly, for Music, you get to filter by genre and Top Songs, Top Albums, Top Artists.
Plays Well With Others
Fnd.io is undoubtedly the best way to browse or search the iTunes store, and it improves on that with a few tight integrations with third party services. There is a bookmarklet to turn any iTunes web link into a Fnd.io link, which you may prefer for sharing. There’s another bookmarklet to search Fnd.io from anywhere. The service also offers a highly useful workflow for automation app Alfred, plus it also works with Launch Center Pro – another app that belongs on your homepage.
iTunes Pet Peeves
The only thing Fnd.io is missing is the ability to directly issue a command that tells your iOS or Mac device to download that app from the store. Unfortunately, that’s something under Apple’s control so don’t expect to see it on Fnd.io or any other place any time soon. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves about the iTunes store, but at least we now have a far more pleasant way to browse and search.
What do you hate about iTunes and how would you change it? Rant, below!