The iTunes app has taken on more and more roles since it started life as a simple jukebox. It's now responsible for syncing iOS devices, downloading and storing movies and TV shows as well as music, and even matching your music collection with iCloud.
iTunes had started to get a little bogged down with all these tasks so Apple has given it a major overhaul.
iTunes 11 has all sorts of new features as well as a fresh new look and feel, which makes managing your media easier than ever.
The system requirements are a little higher than before and you'll need OS X 10.6.8 as a minimum, and an Intel processor in your Mac. Users of OS X 10.7 or 10.8 will find it in Software Update, and anyone still on Snow Leopard can grab it from
The interface is a little different but don't let that fool you: it's faster, smarter and easier to use. There's the Up Next feature for example, which shows you previous and upcoming tracks and lets you jump to them easily.
And a great new Mini Player that has search and multiple AirPlay volume controls built right in. We think it's a big improvement on the last version of iTunes and we know you'll love it too. Read on to find out all you need to know about iTunes 11…

1. Media type chooser

The complete guide to iTunes 11
Select the kind of media you want to view to simplify browsing
In the new default view you can choose to see only the media type you want, instead of all your libraries at once, which is often useful. Click on the Library chooser and toggle between music, movies, TV shows, books, apps and ringtones. If you use the Show Sidebar command to return to a more traditional view, you can see all the media libraries in a list, just like in previous versions of iTunes.

2. AirPlay volume settings

The complete guide to iTunes 11
The Airplay volume control lets you set different levels for different devices
As well as setting iTunes' master volume with the main volume slider, you can send audio over AirPlay in different ways. If you choose Single, your audio plays on your Mac. If you have any AirPlay-compatible devices like an Apple TV or Airport Express you are able to choose Multiple, and send the audio to those devices too. What's really great is that you can set the volume of each audio stream independently.

3. Up Next and Previous

The complete guide to iTunes 11
Right-clicking tracks adds them to your Up Next queue
This new feature lets you see what's queued to play next and if you click on the clock icon, what has been played previously. You can play any track by clicking on it as well as re-ordering them, so you're not limited to a specific play order. Right-click on tracks in the library to add them to Up Next, making you a DJ. This new feature is supported in the latest Apple TV software as well as the latest iOS Remote apps.

4. Advanced search

The complete guide to iTunes 11
Advanced Search scours all your libraries for relevent tags
Searching your media libraries just got a whole lot better in iTunes 11. When you start typing in the search field, the program immediately scours even the largest libraries for relevant tags. Results are displayed by Artist, Album, Song and Playlist, and movies and TV shows are included too. If there are lots of results returned for your libraries, the Search window simply shows the top hits and gives you the option to view more results within any given category, meaning that everything stays nice and tidy.


The complete guide to iTunes 11
You can now manage downloads easily within the main interface
iTunes 11 works well with iCloud, and now has a Downloads button and window. The button becomes visible whenever you download content, be it from iTunes Match, a new purchase or a re-download of previously purchased material. Click the button to reveal the Downloads window, where you can disallow simultaneous downloads.

6. Movies and TV shows

The complete guide to iTunes 11
iTunes will sort series and keep track of what you've watched
If you choose to view movies or TV shows, iTunes is now pretty good at picking up their metadata and choosing background colours automatically based on artwork, which it also does for albums. If media are properly tagged, it's able to sort them into seasons for you, and again there are links to the Store if you want, for example, to complete any series you may not already have. There's an Unwatched tab too, to quickly show you stuff you haven't yet viewed.

7. Mini Player

The complete guide to iTunes 11
Mini Player gives you maximum control in minimum screen space
One of the best new features is the iTunes Mini Player. Click this button and you get a small, sleek and unobtrusive window that controls playback. Better still, it has some integrated controls like full library search, Up Next and Previous and full volume and AirPlay controls available from its small window. It puts the most important playback features of iTunes right at your fingertips and takes up very little screen space, which is especially useful for laptops.

8. iTunes Store

The complete guide to iTunes
Right-click on an artist, band or series to jump to their catalogue
Click on the Store button to be taken to the newly redesigned iTunes Store to preview, buy or rent content as well as managing your Apple ID settings, billing information and so on. In this view the Search field changes to search the Store rather than your library. Music and videos in your library also have a new option to jump directly to that artist, band or series on the Store, which you can access by right-clicking on content.

9. iTunes Match

The complete guide to iTunes 11
Match gets its own dedicated tab
iTunes Match is still there, but in the new view it has its own dedicated tab. In the old view, which you can still use, it lives in the list down the left-hand side. You can turn iTunes Match on or off from the Store menu in iTunes, as well as manually updating it to reflect changes you have made. Remember that the library on your Mac remains the master, and things that you change, add or delete here will be reflected across your iOS devices and other Macs signed in with the same Apple ID.

iTunes and iCloud

iCloud is Apple's online file storage, syncing and streaming system that is increasingly used to co-ordinate everything you do on your Mac and iOS devices. Every Apple ID gets 5GB of free storage space for backup and documents, and it's also used to synchronise your iTunes purchases so that they are available across every device signed in with your ID. iTunes 11 works with iCloud in a number of ways. One new feature is that your previous purchases now appear by default in iTunes 11, whereas before you had to dig into the iTunes Store to find them.
The complete guide to iTunes 11
In Match, music stored remotely on Apple's servers is displayed with a cloud next to it
You may have to authorise your Mac with Apple to enable this. If you're not using iTunes Match, you will be able to tell which albums or songs are previous purchases because they will appear with a small cloud icon in the corner of the album artwork. If you are using iTunes Match, many albums will appear with this icon.
There's a new option for Match users too: if you go to iTunes' View menu, you can now choose to show or hide music in the cloud, either viewing all your music or only the tracks you've downloaded or added locally. Everything you have ever bought with your Apple ID can be re-downloaded at any time for free, even if you have deleted the files from your devices.
There's another nice new touch: movie playback syncing. If you watch a movie on one device then pick up another, the movie will start playing from the same place you left off. This works for content bought or rented from Apple, and also for your own movies stored locally.

Got a match?

On the subject of iTunes Match, this is still present, of course, and now works more smoothly than before. For just £25 a year, Apple will effectively host your entire music collection on its servers. Go to Store > Turn on iTunes Match in iTunes and the software will analyse your music library, send the results to Apple and mirror your playlists across all your iOS devices so it's possible to access hundreds of gigabytes' worth of music wirelessly when signed in with your Apple ID.
Any music not found in the iTunes Store will be uploaded, and iTunes on your Mac remains the master list for managing playlists. Music can be downloaded in high quality to your Mac or your iOS devices.
What iTunes Match essentially does is references music that's already on Apple's servers - which is a lot of music - and when you go to play a track from your library, you play that track instead of your original copy.
iTunes periodically updates Match while running so new content that you add should be made available. It's an excellent way of accessing your music collection from any iOS device or your Apple TV, over a wireless or a cellular connection if you're away from home.

Get creative with iTunes Match

If you're crafty, there's a clever trick you can use with iTunes Match that's great for freeing up space on your Mac. Activate iTunes Match using your main iTunes library and wait for the matching to complete. Then, create a new iTunes library locally by holding down the alt key when booting, and turn on iTunes Match in this second blank library too using the same Apple ID. You get up to ten device authorisations per Apple ID.
All the music from your other library will be available to stream in the new library, but you can disconnect the original library containing gigabytes of music (or more accurately disconnect whatever drive holds the media files), since it's not being played from there.
Remember to add new music to the old library, match and then stream it from the new one and you have effectively offloaded your library into the cloud. Remember this doesn't work for movies, so consider adding movies to the new library, and storing them locally.

Automatic downloads

The complete guide to iTunes 11
Purchased items now appear in your library by default
Another way in which iTunes and iCloud integrate is when it comes to automatic downloads. First start by going into Preferences in iTunes and finding the Store section; there you can switch on automatic downloading of music, apps and books so that when you buy something on one device, it will automatically download to all other devices signed in with that Apple ID, and with auto downloads enabled.
This window also lets you set up auto downloading of pre-ordered purchases. However, remember that you won't always want everything to download to all your devices. If you download a TV series to your Mac there'll be plenty of space for it, but there won't be on an iPhone 16GB. And you might not want a 1GB game bought on your iPad to go to your iPod touch. By setting each device up separately, you can control what type of content gets automatically downloaded.