Your Guide To The Awesome New Features Of iTunes 11

Bakari Chavanu 12-12-2012

features of itunes 11Apple recently released the 11th version of its popular media player iTunes, and its re-design and new features have gained lots of praises from critics of the older versions of iTunes who found the player bloated with features, and difficult to browse.


The new version is still a cross-platform Mac and PC player, and it contains nearly all the features of the previous version of iTunes. But the new re-design puts focus on the most used features of iTunes, while tucking other secondary features out of the way. You can now browse their iTunes library as well as parts of the iTunes Store at the same time, and a new MiniPlayer enables you to navigate iTunes using the same features found in the larger main window.

This guide will take you through the new features of iTunes 11, as well as the new Remote iOS app for the player.

From iTunes 10 To 11

After you download iTunes 11, it opens in the Albums view, presenting the contents of your entire music library. This view is not that different from the album, grid view of iTunes 10, except now the old, but once novel, cover flow feature has been removed.

features of itunes 11

The new user interface is one of the ways Apple is suggesting you navigate the new iTunes. However, if you want to get back to the old iTunes, you can do so by simply clicking on View > Show Sidebar, and you will discover that all your playlists and the old door to the iTunes Store and your mobile devices are still there.


itunes 11 new features

But let’s get back to the new interface of iTunes (which requires you to hide the old sidebar to fully use the new interface). Notice alongside the Albums view of the new iTunes, you can view your iTunes library content from one of five other views – Songs, Artists, Genres, Videos and Playlists. The latter will reveal the traditional playlist sidebar that you’re familiar with. More about that later.

itunes 11 new features

Notice also to the right of these views are two other buttons, one for accessing your supporting iDevices, such as the iPhone; and clicking the other one takes you out of your music library and opens the iTunes Store.


itunes 11 new features

The New Interface

You can control all the main features of iTunes from this new interface. So now when you click on an album in your library, it reveals all the songs in that album. Notice also that the background color for the expanded album view matches the colors of the selected album itself.

itunes 11 new features

You can play, shuffle, and rate songs in the expanded view, and if you want to view other songs and albums by a selected artist or group, you can click on the “In the Store” button and that content will open without taking you outside of your music library.


itunes 11 new features

There’s also a pop-up menu that you can access by clicking on the arrow button in the expanded album view. This menu includes features for creating a genius playlist using a selected song, adding a song to the “Play Next” list (more about that later), locating the song in the iTunes Store, or linking to the selected song in Artist view.

itunes 11 new features

Up Next

Another new handy feature in iTunes 11 is Up Next. When you’re playing a song in a playlist or album, clicking the Up Next button next to the player controls will show you just that, the songs or other iTunes items that are coming up next. There is also a little clock icon which shows a list of the most recent songs, podcasts, or TV shows, etc, that you have played. It looks as if that list continues to grow until you clear it.


Up Next iTunes

Up Next is useful for say skipping to a different song in the list, but you can also select and re-arrange tracks in Up Next or delete a track from from the list.

Your Guide To The Awesome New Features Of iTunes 11 Up Next Edit

Viewing & Creating Playlists

If you have created a lot of playlists in iTunes, you probably will want to browse and navigate your library in that view. Selecting the Playlist view will reveal its contents of a currently selected playlist, but it will also reveal a sidebar list of all your playlists, similar to how it was setup in iTunes 10. But this sidebar will not include your iOS devices or the link to iTunes Store – just your playlists.

ITunes playlists

In the Playlist view, you can use the View button on the upper-right to browse a selected playlist in the List, Grid, or Artist view. You can also click the Edit button to add songs to a playlist. Just drag the songs to the playlist. This new interface also makes it easier to edit your current Smart Playlists. When you select one of your Smart playlists, the Edit button will replace the Add To button in the upper-right.

ITunes 11 Playlist View

When you want to create a new playlist or smart playlist, just click on the plus button at the bottom-left of the interface. You must be in the Playlist view to access this feature.

New playlist

Notice also under the gear button, Apple also has resurrected the ability to burn a playlist to a CD, as well export the data of selected tracks.

ITunes burn playlist

When you’re in the expanded view of a selected album, you can also drag one or more songs to the right side of the iTunes interface, and add that content to an existing playlist or to one of your iDevices. The right sidebar will only appear when you drag a track to the right side of the interface.

Add to playlist

The Mini Player

The other major new feature of iTunes 11 is the Mini Player. It mirrors the features of the main user interface of iTunes. You can switch to the MiniPlayer by clicking on Window > MiniPlayer, by using the keyboard shortcut, Option+Command+3; or you can click the MiniPlayer button on the top-right of the main interface.

Your Guide To The Awesome New Features Of iTunes 11 iTunes miniplayer

When you hover your cursor over the MiniPlayer, it will reveal controls for playing, pausing, and skipping forward and backwards between tracks and other items.

ITunes Mini Player

You can also do searches using MiniPlayer, as well access the Up Next feature. The little arrow to the right of the currently playing track reveals the same menu items described above.

ITunes menu

You can also access AirPlay in the MiniPlayer as well. To get back to the main iTunes interface, you need to click on the little square button on the left side of the MiniPlayer (see screenshot above).


Following the release of iTunes 11, Apple also released version 3.0 of its free iOS Remote app. The newest features in Remote provide expanded ways to browse and control all the shared iTunes libraries on your network.

features of itunes 11

It nearly mirrors all the new features of iTunes 11, including player controls, Up Next lists, and the ability to browse playlists, albums, genres and other content. As with the old Remote you can also use it to control your Apple TV. One significant difference between the iPad and the iPhone version of Remote is that you can’t rate songs in the iPhone version of Remote, which is kind of a bummer.

Overall, the new re-design and features of iTunes 11 feel cleaner and more user friendly. However, if you’re new to iTunes, or you have always found it bloated with too many features to wrap your head around, the update may not make such a huge difference to you.

But let us know what you think of iTunes 11.

Related topics: iTunes, Media Player.

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  1. Gert
    January 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    No thanks! I'll stick with Version 10. Version 11 does'nt work for me.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 20, 2013 at 7:13 am

      Gert, sorry to hear that.

  2. Lauren
    December 28, 2012 at 3:53 am

    When I first opened itunes after the update it didn't show the sidebar and I thought they did away with it altogether. I desperately missed the side bar view and I fumbled around totally hating new itunes until I read your instructions. A million times thank you!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 20, 2013 at 7:13 am

      You're welcome, Lauren.

  3. Michael Golrick
    December 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for the very useful article. Once again a software maker has given me "upgrades" and "enhancements" that make it harder to do what I want, and which take up more real estate on my screen.

    Your hints on where to find the standard features that are no longer the default or are hidden was the most useful part of the article.

    In my profession we talk about the "user experience" and trying to improve it. Why don't software companies? They continue to give me things not only that I did not know I want, but often knew that I did not want.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 20, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Michael, thanks for the feedback.

  4. anna
    December 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I use to download books and sometimes both parts 1,2 don't arrive at the same time into my book. Can a more seamless integration be accomplished? thanks.

  5. anna
    December 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

    can you do a make use of on using the apple cloud? thanks.

  6. Jorge
    December 15, 2012 at 3:41 am

    How do you drag album artwork into this version of Itunes? Where did the genius reommended songs go?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      You an add album art either through the selecting a song(s), right-clicking and selecting "Get Info". Then select the Artwork button. Or you can just drag artwork to the thumbnail icon in the iTunes player.

      • keith
        December 19, 2012 at 12:40 am

        Usually the Add Artwork or Get Artwork features don't work at all or provide completely wrong, irrelevant artwork for completely different albums from totally different genres and eras. WHen I attempt to add artwork iTunes either tries to add the selected artwork to EVERY album on iTUnes or none.
        I found this out after selecting songs from one album to include artwork I scanned myself because iTunes was totally wrong. It then proceeded to change the artwork for every album in that genre. No undo possible.
        ANy attempt to select an album and redo artwork means that the new artwork now replaces all album covers. THe only work around is to do each song individually which will be fun for 85 blues albums.
        I despise the new unhelpful and utterly user unfriendly, unresponsive, ad-laden, app heavy piece of crap that iTunes has become as it continually subverts my choices and tries to impose its latest sales on me and prevent me from using iTunes the way I used to.

  7. Bakari Chavanu
    December 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks, Alexander. Appreciate the feedback.

  8. Daniel
    December 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    On the old version of iTunes, when I downloaded a large number of songs at the same time, and I wanted to transfer them to my phone, it was very simple. I just clicked on the "Recently Added" folder and dragged each song on the list over to my iPhone. In iTunes 11, this doesn't seem to be possible.

    For some reason, the software won't let me export songs from the "Recently Added" folder. I can only export from the much larger window that lists every single song I've got stored in iTunes. So in order to transfer a song to my phone, I have to search for it first, on a list of several thousand songs. If I've just downloaded five different songs by five different artists, the search can be very time-consuming. Is there a way around this problem that I've missed? Because I'm finding the new version of iTunes very frustrating.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Daniel, can you create a smart album that could assist you in what you need?

  9. William Fish
    December 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    But how can you print the contents of a play list? This used to be very easy and useful when giving gifts of cds with playlists.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      You can still print playlist by going to File>Print.

      • William Fish
        December 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

        Thanks but I am afraid I still don't see how. Where do I see file, print on the itunes screen. I would really appreciate specific instructions. Thank you.

  10. Thomas Petrucha
    December 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Ok the design is much better the the old one ... after a little confusion time ^^

    ... I think it´s much faster than the old version ... it seems to me, because I´ve all my Files on a Server and my iTunes connects from my Desktop or Macbook ...

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Thomas.

  11. Chew Jian Yue
    December 13, 2012 at 6:11 am

    I really like its new design!

  12. Junil Maharjan
    December 13, 2012 at 4:54 am

    looks great but i rarely use itunes. Actually i only use itunes to restore iphone of my friends.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      So Junil, what do you primarily use for your music playing?

      • Junil Maharjan
        December 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

        I occasionally listen to music and when i do listen to music, its either on my mobile and if i am working on pc then its either wmplayer or winamp. I am more of a movie person than a song.

  13. Robert LoBiondo
    December 13, 2012 at 4:10 am

    While these do sound great, I don't like that making the music gapless is gone for future albums/downloads (aka Gapless Playback Editor).

    I have a lot of live music and hate where there's a 2 second pause/interruption. And can you imagine how annoying it would be for an album like SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Robert, I agree. I bet there are several features that Apple will have to consider bringing back to iTunes.

  14. pp potana
    December 13, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I like the user interface a lot more than the previous one.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Yeah, it does seem easier to navigate. I like can in and out of the iTunes Store without having to scroll the sidebar.

  15. Shirley Lim
    December 13, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Hm ... makes me tempted to try it out. Thanks for the article :)

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      You're welcome, Shirley.

  16. Robb Thompson
    December 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I haven't "bit" on the update yet, although I do like what the new iOS for my iPod touch did with Podcasts.

    I'm probably different than a lot of iTunes users, in that I don't use it for music, I use it for books on CD. A feature that I would truly love to see in some new version would be an option to "dupe next" when loading those CD's. Books commonly take more than 10 and often up to 18 CD's, and the "get info from Internet" for these CD's is usually either non-existent or wrong. In a perfect world I could load all of the info once, then hit the aforementioned "dupe next" button, and all of the information would be copied into the next CD and the CD "sequence of" would be incremented by 1.

    I'm not sure that what I see in your article will treat my audio book library very well.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Rob, I wonder if iTunes is best for what you need. Have you looked into Delicious 2 for organizing books and CDs?

  17. Félix S. De Jesús
    December 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I love when every album have a color of letters and background ;)

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Yep, that's some cool little eye candy.

  18. Will5herman
    December 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Aside from the Music part, I use iTunes for managing the Apps on my Devices. Under v10, when I am looking at the available apps to update, and I click on one of the icons, after reading about the changes, I could, right from that screen, choose to Update the app. Under v11, it only says downloaded, and I have to go back to the list of all the available apps to find it and click the update button. If I am lucky then the app is updated, sometimes it is a differnt app that gets updated instead because of how the screen is redrawn on my XP machine. I click on the screen where the button should be, but in the background iTunes contacts the store again, and redraws the screen, and then processes the click, which may not always be the same icon, if other apps have been clicked on, or the list changes.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Wow, it sounds like Apple made things worse in this regard. Thanks for pointing out this problem.

  19. Kristopher Hesson
    December 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Has anyone else noticed that "Add Folder To Library" is gone? Now you have to select all individual songs.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Oh okay, I hadn't noticed that. I usually just select all and drag items into iTunes, which copies those items to the library.

  20. Kimberly Noh
    December 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Now it they would just make it easier to get rid of unwanted apps forever it would be wonderful.

    • Austin Halsell
      December 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      That was one of my first thoughts too! I despise constantly seeing those! There are probably about twice the amount of apps in my iTunes as there are actually on my phone.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      December 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      You can right- or Control-click on apps and delete them. I have so many in there that it would take at least 30 minutes to go through them all.