Category: iTunes

How to Enable iCloud Music Library on Mac & Windows PC

Go to OSX Daily to read How to Enable iCloud Music Library on Mac & Windows PC

Do you use iTunes to play your favorite songs on your PC or Mac? You might be interested in taking a look at the iCloud Music Library nifty feature that could potentially add a lot of convenience, especially if you’re using iPhone or iPad. Dubbed iCloud Music Library, this feature essentially stores your music library in the cloud, so that you can access it from any of your Apple devices.

Considering how we don’t always rely on a single device to listen to music, iCloud Music Library comes in handy when we’re constantly switching between devices, whether…

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How to View Apple Music Listening History on iPhone & iPad

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Keen on finding out what your Apple Music playback history looks like? In this article, we’ll be discussing exactly how you can view your Apple Music listening history on your iPhone and iPad.

If you’re an avid iPhone or iPad user, there’s a decent chance you’ve subscribed to the Apple Music service. The music streaming service is baked into the stock Music app alongside your local iTunes library and offers a ton of features, including the ability to display live lyrics. However, the app’s implementation of its “Recently Played” section had been…

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How to Sync Music to iPhone with MacOS Catalina via Finder

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Apple completely changed the way that we sync data to our iPhones and iPads with the arrival of macOS 10.15 Catalina and later versions of MacOS. The removal of iTunes is something that has been a long time coming, but now that it’s here a ton of people are left wondering – just how do I sync music from Mac to my iPhone or iPad now?

The short answer is that you use the macOS Finder, just as you would if you were moving files to an external SSD or memory stick, and much like when backing up iPhone or iPad to Mac Finder.

But things do differ slightly with…

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How to Cancel Subscriptions on iPhone & iPad

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Have you ever wondered how to cancel subscriptions from an iPhone or iPad? It’s pretty easy once you learn how. If you use an iPhone or iPad, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve subscribed to some services that require you to pay on a monthly or annual basis. These may include streaming music and video services, cloud storage services, and a lot more like Netflix, Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Arcade, and Disney+ to name a few.

Often these various subscription services give the user an incentive to subscribe by offering a free trial period. Several…

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How to Automatically Download Apple Music Songs on iPhone & iPad

Go to OSX Daily to read How to Automatically Download Apple Music Songs on iPhone & iPad

How would you like to automatically download songs from Apple Music to your iPhone or iPad? That’s an option if you have subscribed to Apple Music.

In addition to streaming music while you’re on the go, Apple Music also allows you to download songs for offline listening. This means you don’t have to stay connected to the internet in order to listen to your favorite songs, which comes in handy especially when you’re travelling. That being said, if you listen to a lot songs, you’ll need to download each album in your music library individually, which is…

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How to Backup iPhone or iPad to Mac in MacOS Catalina with Finder

Go to OSX Daily to read How to Backup iPhone or iPad to Mac in MacOS Catalina with Finder

Wondering how to backup your iPhone or iPad in macOS Catalina? Since iTunes is gone, even the most experienced of iPhone and iPad users can be thrown for a loop when they come to back up their devices after updating a Mac to macOS Catalina. With the loss of iTunes, everything has changed, and now managing your iPhone and iPad is done via Finder. Don’t worry it still works fine, but it is different. We’re going to tell you how to use the Finder in macOS Catalina (or later) to backup an iOS or iPadOS device.

As you may already know, when Apple released macOS…

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How to Get the Highest Resolution When Watching Movies in iTunes

Screenshot: David Murphy

I’m ever-hopeful that Apple will take a look at its Windows iTunes client someday. I realize Apple probably prioritizes this somewhere between “wipe bugs off the windows at Apple Park” and “design a new box for pizzas,” but that doesn’t mean that we Windows fans can’t dream.

Right now, iTunes is a mess. It’s unpleasant to use, its UI feels pedestrian, and its settings are confusing. And nowhere is this more apparent than when you’re trying to watch a simple movie. Here’s what I mean.

By default—at least, I believe this is default, as it’s what popped up on my iTunes when I first installed it via the Microsoft Store—iTunes on Windows plays back movies at a maximum resolution of 1080p. You can check this yourself within its settings (Edit > Preferences > Playback).

When I stream any movie in my library, right-click on the window, and set the movie to play at its “actual size,” it does not look like it’s playing in 1080p. Here’s a quick picture of what the streaming version of Dredd actually looks like on my 3440-by-1440 monitor:

1080p, eh?
Photo: David Murphy

When I download the movie—again, using iTunes’ default settings—I get the same-sized player when I set it to “actual size.” Again, this doesn’t feel very 1080p.

Still not feeling very 1080p
Photo: David Murphy

Contrast the size of that player with this one, a regular 1080p test movie (technically, 1920-by-800 pixels) that I played using good ol’ VLC:

Quite a bit bigger
Photo: David Murphy

Here’s where things get interesting. If you’re streaming your movie in iTunes, this smaller-sized player is as big as the movie gets if you’re too quick to pick the “actual size” option. You have to wait for the movie to play for a bit before you pick “actual size,” which will then allow you to watch it in a 1080p-sized window.

This isn’t really a problem if you enlarge the player or full-screen it as soon as you start watching, but it’s a quirky sizing issue worth highlighting for those watching in a window. Unlike other streaming services, which give you a full-sized player at a lesser quality, Apple’s implementation gives you a smaller player (if you’re too trigger-happy with “actual size”) until your stream switches over to 1080p.

That’s not too confusing, but we’re not done yet. There’s another setting within iTunes’ that actually controls the quality of movies you download—and it’s not the setting in “Playback.” Under the Downloads section of your settings (naturally), you’ll want to uncheck “Download high-quality SD videos” and check “Download full-size HD videos” if you want to download and view 1080p versions of your movies.

When you set up iTunes like that and watch an HD movie, and then right-click and select “actual size” for the player, you get the larger version:

Photo: David Murphy

This solves the confusing quality issue—something you can always check by right-clicking on the movie, selecting “Movie Info,” selecting “File,” and looking for the movie’s “video quality” line.

How easy is it to tell 720p from 1080p?

If you didn’t realize iTunes’ quirks, and you’re watching your film in full screen mode, you might not even notice that the movie you downloaded has a resolution of 720p instead of 1080p.

I looked at the files iTunes was downloading with and without the “Download full-size HD videos” option checked. They were named differently—“04 Dredd (HD).m4v” in one case and “04 Dredd (1080p HD).m4v” in another. While, true, a 720p movie is still “HD,” someone glancing at the file name might not know that “HD,” in this case, does not mean “1080p HD” per se.

Nor is the file size a dead giveaway. The 720p version of Dredd clocked in at 3.19GB to the 1080p version’s 3.53GB. Both were also listed as having the same dimensions (640-by-266) in Windows’ File Explorer, which couldn’t be correct. The videos’ frame rates were also incorrectly listed at 0.10 frames per second, which would look like molasses if it was true.

When I watched both versions of the video, I was a little surprised at how tricky it was to see the quality differences. I was sitting about a foot and a half away from my monitor—a 3,440-by-1,440 display—which should have made it easy to see the difference between a stretched 720p from a 1080p picture. It’s there if you look closely, but I’m not sure this is the kind of thing I’d pay much attention to if I wasn’t comparing one image against another. Or, to put it another way, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you the picture was 720p unless I looked at the settings.

“Download full-size HD videos” unchecked (1080p), streaming video:

Screenshot: David Murphy

“Download full-size HD videos” unchecked (720p), downloaded video:

Photo: David Murphy

“Download full-size HD videos” checked (1080p), downloaded video: 

Photo: David Murphy

To keep me honest, there’s (obviously) a very large quality difference between a full-sized version of this “HD” video and what you get when you set iTunes’ Maximum Resolution to something like “Standard Definition.” The quality loss is very apparent:

“Standard Definition” setting for Maximum Resolution
Photo: David Murphy

It’s a little annoying that Apple’s implementation of streaming and downloading in iTunes is confusing. Changing these settings is easy, sure, but I can see a lot of people looking at the “Maximum Resolution” setting and going, “Well, that’s set to 1080p, so this tiny video I downloaded must be 1080p.” Not quite true.

Video playback settings are easier to decipher on macOS Catalina’s Apple TV app—one of the three that Apple split out from iTunes—as you have only two settings to pick from and they’re both located in the same place:

Here’s a fun annoyance, though: If you’ve previously set your Mac to download lower-quality videos (or if that was the default and you didn’t know it), switching to “Download full-size HD videos” or “best available” isn’t going to automatically update all of your 720p files to 1080p. You’ll have to manually delete and re-download them, which will be annoying if you already downloaded your entire library.

Let’s recap

To watch the highest-quality movies in iTunes:

  1. Make sure your Playback and Downloads settings (if applicable) are all set correctly in iTunes’ settings—1080p or “Best Available,” depending on your operating system.
  2. Check movies you’ve previously downloaded (via “Movie Info”) to see if they’re 720p, not 1080p.
  3. Watch streaming movies maximized or full-screen, if possible; if you pick “actual size” too soon in your player, you might (incorrectly) assume your streaming movie must remain tiny (and 720p) forever.