Things I Hate: iTunes

‘Tis a tale of technology and woe.  Though I have been a lifelong user of Apple’s products, I still find myself confounded and frustrated by their shortcomings.  For this rant, I isolate iTunes, in particular, for scorn.

A upgraded my iPad a couple months ago and have enjoyed using a faster and more powerful device.  I often use it for note taking or other writing, so I have magnetic cover that doubles as a Bluetooth keyboard.  I bought one for the previous iPad and it worked marvelously, so equipping the new tablet with a similar accessory was an easy decision.

Since I started using it, however, I’ve had chronic connectivity issues.  The keyboard and iPad would unpair while I was typing—sometimes, in the middle of a word.  Annoying, yes?  So, I scoured the Internet looking for complaints by other users to see if anyone had tracked down a cause and/or possible solution.  In a recent forum post, one user pointed out that he’d upgraded his iPad to iOS 9 (which is all of two weeks old) and it fixed the problem for him.  (There are suspicions of a bug in iOS 8 code that controls the Bluetooth 4 connectivity.)

Happy to have found a potential solution, I opened my iPad last night and tapped on the “upgrade” button.

Here’s what followed:

  1. iOS 9 installed, the iPad rebooted, then roughly 25% of my apps (including the drawing app I use to design my games) were greyed out and unusable.
  2. Rebooting the iPad did not correct the problem.  I ended up having to delete and re-install the apps.
  3. I discovered to my horror that reinstalling iDraw erased my fonts and shape libraries (I had assumed they were stored in iCloud like the art files themselves).
  4. I plugged the iPad in to my MacBook to see if I had a recent backup for it.  I did not.  I could restore the device from a backup from the previous iPad, but it would be missing everything I’ve added since then.
  5. (Explanation: I rarely sync my devices with iTunes because it often re-installs things I’ve deleted.  I had to turn off wireless syncing because it would start doing it automatically even though I turned off auto-sync.)
  6. In the end, I decided to simply transfer some eBooks and PDFs to the iPad.  Syncing, of course, resulted in deleted apps reappearing.
  7. I deleted the apps and, while I was trying to unmount the device, iTunes tried to sync again.
  8. I decided I’ll just re-install the missing fonts and rebuild my shape libraries because I don’t want iTunes to touch my devices anymore.  It’s gone insane.

When it came out alongside the original iPod in 2001, iTunes was a swift, light little media player.  It’s grown into a cancer-ridden monstrosity: a crufty piece of bloatware that’s trying to play your music, manage your playlists, sell you more music, play/sell/rent videos, sync your mobile devices, stream, make you omelets, babysit the kids … just kill it already, Apple!  Cut iTunes into its constituent parts and start over, because the poor application just doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing anymore.

And I hate it.

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