Apple Updated iTunes – Here’s What They Changed and How It Impacts Your iPhone & iPad

Apple Updated iTunes – Here’s What They Changed and How It Impacts Your iPhone & iPad

I’m recording this video on September, 13, 2017, one day after Apple made some mega announcements about the

  • Apple Watch
  • Apple TV
  • iPhone 8 & 8+
  • And the drool-worthy iPhone X ( pronounced “10”)

And even though there was not one mention of the Mac yesterday, or of macOS, Apple quietly released an update to their iTunes software for both Windows and macOS. The newest version is now 12.7.

When iTunes was first launched in 2001, it really only worked for music. Over the years, the iTunes software became the home base for all kinds of entertainment and media like

  • Music
  • Movies
  • Music Videos
  • TV shows
  • Podcasts
  • Ringtones
  • iTunes U
  • Apps
  • Audiobooks
  • Radio (now Apple music)
  • They even tried a social media sharing service called Ping (which didn’t work out all that well)

But with the new version yesterday, Apple has pulled iTunes back a little to its roots and cut out a few things such as iTunes U, Ringtones, and Apps. You can still get access to all this content, but you can’t get it from the iTunes software on your computer.

One of the functions of the iTunes software was to allow you to play music on your computer, but it also acted as a method for copying songs and videos to the original iPod. The original iPod couldn’t connect to the Internet so the only way to get music and media on to the iPod was to connect it to a computer and copy music from the computer over to the iPod.

But once the iPhone and iPad came along, they could connect to the Internet via cellular or wi-fi and you could just buy music, movies, and apps directly to the device. It was no longer necessary to connect the iPhone or iPad to a computer or use the iTunes software.

But there are still two reasons why using the iTunes software makes sense:

  1. To create local backups of your iPhone or iPad (you can NEVER have enough backups!)
  2. For the “File Sharing” capability to copy files from your computer to your iPhone or iPad (and back the other way)

For years now, the iPhone & iPad have been able to make backups to iCloud usually overnight when the iOS device is 1) plugged in, 2) connected to a wi-fi network, and 3) it’s asleep and locked (i.e. requires a passcode to unlock).

This is FANTASTIC and I absolutely recommend that everyone allow your iPhone and iPad backup to iCloud every night if possible.

But when you connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer via a USB cable, you can create a LOCAL backup of your device on to your computer.

I liked using local backups because 1) it gave me peace of mind in case iCloud imploded and 2) restoring a backup to an iPhone or iPad was MUCH quicker using a local backup rather then connecting to iCloud.

With the new version of iTunes (12.7), you can still back up your devices just fine, but I’m not sure now if it will be any quicker to restore your device from a local backup since iTunes doesn’t directly manage your apps as before. Having a local backup is still an EXCELLENT practice, but maybe only now for the general comfort of having an extra backup.

File Sharing:
The iTunes software will allow you to copy files from your computer to your iOS device, but this is not the method I usually recommend for getting files on to your iPad – a cloud-based storage service such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, or Google Drive works much better.

If you want to know more about getting files on to your iPad and managing them once they’re there, then you should absolutely check on my iPractice on an iPad course covering “File Management & PDF Annotation.”

In fact, I’ve opened up a couple of videos on the course that you can preview COMPLETELY FREE so you can be confident that the course will make you more productive with your iPad. One of the videos that you can preview is where I cover four methods for copying files from your computer over to your iPad. Visit for more information.

One of the methods I cover in detail is using the iTunes software which makes a lot of sense when you need to transfer a large collection of files, or very large video or audio files.

The problem is that Apple stripped out the “Apps” section from iTunes which is where we found the “File Sharing” feature. But fear not, the “File Sharing” section is still there now standing on its own.

The remainder of this video shows how files were copied in the old version of iTunes (12.6) and then the difference in the new version of iTunes (12.7).

Please let me know if you have any questions – you can reach me directly at

Thanks for watching! And don’t forget to visit to learn much more about integrating the iPad into your practice.


  1. Claude Lacasse - October 13, 2017 8:03 am

    Itunes 12.7 is for me and probably others a VERY BAD backward step. Imagine this scenario. Currently i own an ipnone 5, an ipad mini 1 (64 gb.), a new iphone 6s (128 Gb.) and an ipad mini 4 (128 Gb.). If i my iphone 6S or my ipad mini 4 crash t will i have to do a full restore, i will almost be impossible for me to do since i have a not so fast internet connection. Apple should have though about this. To support ios 11, we need a software (itunes or others) that can manage all ios activities including APPS BCKUP AND RESTORE. i bought my ipad mini 4 and my new iphone 6s less than a year ago and i already regret it.

    • Brett Burney - October 13, 2017 3:02 pm

      Thanks for the comment Claude and sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with iTunes 12.7 – you’re definitely not alone.

      The good news is that Apple quietly posted the older version of iTunes (12.6.3) that you can download to get all the features back. Here’s the story from 9to5Mac:

      Let us know if the older version of iTunes works for you!