(Pocket-lint) - In 2019, Apple announced iTunes was being replaced on the Mac by three apps: Apple Music, Podcasts and Apple TV. This happened with the advent of macOS Catalina and the arrangement is the same in the newer macOS Big Sur.
Replaced is the operative word. None of the features went in the bin, so you can still sync music to your iPod. Or, indeed, your iPhone and iPad. You're able to buy music and movies outright - or rent movies.
Apple clearly wanted to create apps that identify withApple MusicandApple TV+. The iTunes brand was always a bit of an odd fit for movies and TV shows for obvious reasons, so they split them up on macOS.
On Windows, things aren't changing. So iTunes is still available as a download from the Windows Store.
The iTunes Store remains on iOS, while you'll still be able to buy music in the Apple Music app on Mac and the iTunes app on Windows. You're still able to buy, give and redeem iTunes gift vouchers.
How to sync your iPod, iPhone or iPad to a Mac without iTunes
If you sync media to your Mac using a cable, the separate apps don't change that.
When you connect a device to your Mac, it now shows up in the sidebar of Finder so you can backup, update or restore your device in the same way you could before. Of course, a lot of people back up their iOS devices using iCloud, but this isn't an option with older devices.
What was wrong with iTunes?
Everything. OK, we're being facetious, but it had become very clunky on all platforms. While the experience improved hugely, it was once the worst piece of big-name software available for Windows with constant crashes.
iTunes had a classic case of feature creep - it was an app that started simply as a sync tool but in trying to do everything it became too sprawling and, frankly, confusing to use.
We're amazed it wasn't replaced before and surely it will also be replaced on Windows in due course as well.
The Apple Music app is the main iTunes replacement
As you'd expect really. While the app still wants you to have an Apple Music streaming subscription, you will still have access to your entire music library whether you downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD.
The iTunes Music Store is accessible through this app.
The Apple Podcasts app is the place for podcasts
Very much like the iOS equivalent, the Podcasts app offers more than 700,000 shows and it'll notify you of new episodes as soon as they become available.
The Apple TV app is the place for iTunes movies and, of course, Apple TV+
The video-based elements of iTunes- the store for buying and renting - moved into the Apple TV app. It's much more like the Apple TV app on iOS, so there are personalised recommendations and Up Next, where you can keep track of what you're currently watching and resume on any screen.
And, of course, it's the home of the Apple TV+ subscription service, too.