By Dan Moren
September 13, 2017 5:06 AM PT
iTunes 12.7 ditches iOS App Store, app syncing
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
iTunes has become infamous for being a bloated, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink kind of app, and many of us had resigned ourselves to it being that way forever. But Apple’s taken the first steps to slimming down the behemoth with the quiet introduction of iTunes 12.7, which removes both access to the iOS App Store and the ability to sync apps to iOS devices.
Fear not! You can still plug in an iOS device and sync media to the device, as well as transfer files into apps. But after nine years, Apple has made the right call in deciding that we’re all pretty used to installing apps from the App Store on our phones. App syncing was a good idea in the days when cell connections were pretty slow, but with LTE and prevalent Wi-Fi, there’s little reason to sync apps from a Mac. (Plus, plenty of people don’t have a Mac. And iTunes on Windows is still less than popular.)
It might make sense to have the iOS App Store still available on the Mac—perhaps integrated into the Mac App Store app? That could definitely use an overhaul, as it stands. Even if you could simply click Buy on an app to have it downloaded to your iOS device, that would be pretty handy—not to mention for Apple journalists looking to grab links to iOS apps while writing stories on their Macs. ahem
The other major casualty is the ringtone store, which Apple points out you can now access via the Sounds section of Settings on iOS. You can still copy ringtones to your iPhone or iPad via iTunes, but you do so by connecting the device and clicking on Tones item in the iTunes sidebar, and then dragging .m4r files in:
I still think that there are plenty more improvements to be made here. I continue to think device syncing should be in its own app, relegating iTunes strictly to media management, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]
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