Design Evolution of iTunes

Apple's iTunes started off as a simple music player and grew into so much more, becoming a platform for consumption of television, movies, apps, and podcasts. See what iTunes used to look like as we explore this app over the years.

iTunes Logo History

The iTunes logo has always been focused on music, even as the ambitions of the application grew beyond the original scope. The CD was a prominent part of the logo until 2010, when it went away in iTunes version 10.

iTunes logo history (2001-2015)

iTunes logo history (2001-2015)
Source: Apple Explained

iTunes 1 (2001)

The history of iTunes began with Apple's acquisition of a company that created an mp3 player called SoundJam MP in the year 2000. SoundJam's creators worked on iTunes' first version and produced a simple yet reliable music player app for Mac computers. The music visualizer brought audio to life and was a popular feature at the time.

iTunes 1 First Run (2001)

iTunes 1 First Run (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 1 Playing Songs (2001)

iTunes 1 Playing Songs (2001)
Source: arstechnica.com

iTunes 1 Music Library (2001)

iTunes 1 Music Library (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 1 Audio Levels Display (2001)

iTunes 1 Audio Levels Display (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 1 Music Visualizer (2001)

iTunes 1 Music Visualizer (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 1 Setup Assistant (2001)

iTunes 1 Setup Assistant (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 2 (2001)

The second iteration in the iTunes evolution brought iPod support and an equalizer (EQ) module.

iTunes 2 Music Library (2001)

iTunes 2 Music Library (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 2 Equalizer (2001)

iTunes 2 Equalizer (2001)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 3 (2002)

iTunes 3 brought Audible.com audiobook support and smart playlists.

iTunes 3 Music Library (2002)

iTunes 3 Music Library (2002)
Source: arstechnica.com

iTunes 4 - Music Store, Windows Support, and Podcasts (2003-2005)

Of all the iTunes early versions, 4 lasted the longest and had the most varied updates of the iTunes timeline. Existing about 2.5 years, it brought the music store, a Windows version, DVD burning, and podcasts. Podcasting was a novel concept at the time, and there's no queston that iTunes' embracing of the format accelerated adoption. Here's Steve Jobs announcing the feature at Apple's WWDC in 2005.

iTunes 4 Music Library (2003)

iTunes 4 Music Library (2003)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 4 Music Store (2003)

iTunes 4 Music Store (2003)
Source: macworld.com

iTunes 4 Music Store Artist Detail (2003)

iTunes 4 Music Store Artist Detail (2003)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 4 CD Player (2003)

iTunes 4 CD Player (2003)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 4 Mini-Player (2003)

iTunes 4 Mini-Player (2003)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

Steve Jobs Announces Podcast Feature (2005)

Steve Jobs Announces Podcast Feature (2005)
Source: 9to5mac.com

iTunes 4.9 Podcast Catalog (2005)

iTunes 4.9 Podcast Catalog (2005)
Source: reinventedsoftware.com

iTunes 4.9 Podcast Detail (2005)

iTunes 4.9 Podcast Detail (2005)
Source: reinventedsoftware.com

iTunes 5 (2005)

Strangely, version 5 was only live for about a month before version 6 hit. It was by far the shortest lived version in iTunes update history.

iTunes 5 Music Store (2003)

iTunes 5 Music Store (2003)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 5 Music Visualizer (2005)

iTunes 5 Music Visualizer (2005)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 5 Podcast Popup (2005)

iTunes 5 Podcast Popup (2005)
Source: guidebookgallery.org

iTunes 6 - TV Shows For Sale (2005)

iTunes expanded its store to include TV shows for sale.

iTunes 6 Store Home(2005)

iTunes 6 Store Home(2005)
Source: everythingapple.blogspot.com

iTunes 6 Video Player (2005)

iTunes 6 Video Player (2005)
Source: everythingapple.blogspot.com

iTunes 6 Video List (2005)

iTunes 6 Video List (2005)
Source: macriot.com

iTunes 6 Video Player (2005)

iTunes 6 Video Player (2005)
Source: alphr.com

iTunes 7 - Movies For Sale (2006)

A year after TV shows were introduced to iTunes, movies from major studios followed suit. The "cover flow" media viewing option was also introduced in this version.

iTunes 7 Store with Movies (2006)

iTunes 7 Store with Movies (2006)
Source: itzinios.blogspot.com

iTunes 7.7 Store Showing Cover Flow (2008)

iTunes 7.7 Store Showing Cover Flow (2008)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 7.7 - App Store Launch (2008)

With the release of iPhone OS 2, iTunes became the home for apps on Apple mobile devices. This point release was notable enough to get its own section in our writeup. Apple's App Store wasn't a huge change in the iTunes design history, but it marked a huge shift in the computing landscape.

iTunes 7.7 App Store (2008)

iTunes 7.7 App Store (2008)
Source: applegazette.com

iTunes 7.7 App Store All Applications (2008)

iTunes 7.7 App Store All Applications (2008)
Source: imore.com

iTunes 7.7 Super Monkey Ball App Detail (2008)

iTunes 7.7 Super Monkey Ball App Detail (2008)
Source: imore.com

iTunes 8 (2008)

Version 8 offered a new music visualizer, the Genius playlist creator, HD TV shows, a grid viewing option, and movie rental options.

iTunes 8 Store (2008)

iTunes 8 Store (2008)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 8 Music Library Grid (2008)

iTunes 8 Music Library Grid (2008)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 8 Music Library List (2008)

iTunes 8 Music Library List (2008)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 8 Music Visualizer (2008)

iTunes 8 Music Visualizer (2008)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 9 (2009)

The store received a refreshed user interface, and the shopping cart was replaced with a "wish list." Additionally, the new "Home Sharing" feature allowed multiple computers on the same network to easily transfer files, stream media, and sync directories. Apple's iPad tablet launched in 2010 and was supported by iTunes 9.

iTunes 9 New Store UI (2009)

iTunes 9 New Store UI (2009)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 9 New Store UI (2009)

iTunes 9 New Store UI (2009)
Source: gizmodo.com

iTunes 9 Home Sharing (2009)

iTunes 9 Home Sharing (2009)
Source: gigaom.com

iTunes 9 Library Cover Flow (2009)

iTunes 9 Library Cover Flow (2009)
Source: macworld.com

iTunes 10 - Ping Social Network (2010-2012)

iTunes 10 was launched to great fanfare at a September 2010 Apple "Special Event." During his keynote, Steve Jobs touted the new Ping Social Network, a communications and sharing platform specifically designed for music lovers. It never gained traction and was shut down only two years after launch in 2012. Notably, Steve Jobs passed away in 2011.

Steve Jobs Announces Ping Social Network (2010)

Steve Jobs Announces Ping Social Network (2010)
Source: mashable.com

iTunes 10 Ping Splash Screen (2010)

iTunes 10 Ping Splash Screen (2010)
Source: Wregan Tech

iTunes 10 Ping Timeline and Stream (2010)

iTunes 10 Ping Timeline and Stream (2010)
Source: gizmodo.com

iTunes 10 Music Library with Ping Stream (2010)

iTunes 10 Music Library with Ping Stream (2010)
Source: macworld.com

iTunes 10 Cover Flow with Ping Stream (2010)

iTunes 10 Cover Flow with Ping Stream (2010)
Source: iclarified.com

iTunes 11 - Major Redesign (2012-2014)

Version 11 was a major update in iTunes visual history. The entire user interface received a major facelift; practically everything was redesigned, including the store. The left sidebar was hidden by default, and caused some confusion at first for long-time iTunes users. A new miniplayer debuted, and the "Up Next" feature allowed users to see what songs were in the queue.

iTunes 11 Music Library Grid View (2012)

iTunes 11 Music Library Grid View (2012)
Source: arstechnica.com

iTunes 11 Music Library and Up Next Feature (2012)

iTunes 11 Music Library and Up Next Feature (2012)
Source: arstechnica.com

iTunes 11 iPhone Sync (2012)

iTunes 11 iPhone Sync (2012)
Source: arstechnica.com

iTunes 11 Store (2012)

iTunes 11 Store (2012)
Source: arstechnica.com

iTunes 11 Music Library (2012)

iTunes 11 Music Library (2012)
Source: macworld.com

iTunes 11 Album Expanded Vew (2012)

iTunes 11 Album Expanded Vew (2012)
Source: macworld.com

iTunes 12 - App Store Removed (2014-2019)

iTunes 12 is now over 5 years old, and is the longest lasting release of all iTunes versions. 12.X offered family media sharing of past purchases, Apple Music (as of its launch in 2015), and better Siri integration.

In 2017, Apple announced that iTunes 12.7 would remove the App Store from iTunes. iOS users lost the ability to download apps from their desktops, instead requiring apps to be downloaded from the iOS App Store. Thus, iTunes ended its 9-year run of hosting apps for mobile devices.

iTunes 12 Complete My Album Feature (2014)

iTunes 12 Complete My Album Feature (2014)
Source: lifewire.com

iTunes 12 Music Library (2014)

iTunes 12 Music Library (2014)
Source: intego.com

iTunes 12 Music Library with Visible Sidebar (2014)

iTunes 12 Music Library with Visible Sidebar (2014)
Source: intego.com

iTunes 12 Katy Perry Single (2016)

iTunes 12 Katy Perry Single (2016)
Source: idownloadblog.com

iTunes 12.9 Movies (2019)

iTunes 12.9 Movies (2019)
Source: Version Museum

iTunes 12.9 Music (2019)

iTunes 12.9 Music (2019)
Source: Version Museum

iTunes 12.9 Planet Money Podcast (2019)

iTunes 12.9 Planet Money Podcast (2019)
Source: Version Museum

iTunes Retirement (2019)

In a major announcement during Apple's June 2019 WWDC keynote, Apple SVP Craig Federighi declared that iTunes will be retired and replaced with three specialized applications: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV. Syncing of the iPhone with Macs will no longer handled with iTunes, but via the macOS Finder.

This marks the end of a long journey that started in 2001. And as such, it appears this iTunes gallery will no longer need updating in the future!

Craig Federighi Announces iTunes Retirement at WWDC (2019)

Craig Federighi Announces iTunes Retirement at WWDC (2019)
Source: Apple/YouTube