When Apple took the covers off its new version of macOS earlier this week, it also quietly closed the book on iTunes. When macOS Catalina hits this fall, the iconic but now-ancient music management software will be no more. Instead of iTunes, you’ll just have a Music app instead. But what happens to your music?
According to Apple, your library will remain intact even though the way you get to it will change. As the company lays out in a press release: “[U]sers will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD.”
While Apple Music is a subscription service that costs $10 a month much like Spotify, the Music app on iOS won’t require a subscription and will inherit the duties that iTunes had before it, including syncing. If, by chance, you still plug your iPhone into a computer to put media on it, Apple says the Music, TV, and Podcasts apps will still let you do that, much in the same way that iTunes did. The iTunes Music Store will also live on inside the Music app, giving you the option to purchase your music instead of subscribing to a streaming service.
Despite Apple’s assurances, now is a great time to manually back up your iTunes library. Apple has instructions on exactly how to do it, but key detail is that you’ll first need to download all the purchased content that you want to back up. If you back up your entire Mac via the Time Machine feature, this will include your iTunes library (at least the section of it that you currently have downloaded) as long as you’ve never opted to exclude it in order to make your backups smaller.
While iTunes is dying in the new version of macOS it will still live on elsewhere. iTunes will continue to work on older versions of macOS and, according to the BBC, Apple says the Windows version will remain untouched. Still, it’s the end of an era (and maybe a welcome one), and if you want to be absolutely sure your library survives, take action while you still can.