Android, Apple, and iTunes 12

When it comes to cell phones, Android and iPhone are like capitalism and communism or democracy and dictatorship. The iPhone is a great product that delivers a reliable user experience. On the other hand, iPhone innovation is unbearably handicapped and stifled by Apple’s authoritarian control over developers. Yes, this does ensure a reliable user experience, but it also prevents good (but imperfect) ideas from reaching users where consumption will give rise to free-market improvement. But for all of Apple’s focus on user experience, it really fucked up on iTunes 12.10.x.

I really loathe change in technology. I’m all for evolution, but when I’ve settled into a particular interface, I don’t want changed forced upon me. Improve things yes, but let me choose to keep my legacy interface until I decide to adopt the changes. If a package does everything I need right now, why should I suffer slowdown accommodating a new interface at an inconvenient moment? I would much rather postpone accommodation until a more leisurely and convenient time. In fact, I did this with iTunes for roughly seven years.

I had been using iTunes 10.7 (Windows) since some time in 2012 because the next few releases of iTunes sucked! At some point earlier in 2019 Apple tried to force upgrades by blocking account updates from older versions of iTunes. It didn’t matter until I got a new card….which I could no longer update without upgrading. And then there was a music video that I really wanted to buy this week and it wasn’t available elsewhere. So I had no choice but to upgrade to iTunes 12.10 and that’s when it hit the fan. All my playlists disappeared, all my play counts were gone, all my play stats were gone, all my ratings were gone. My music files were still there, but the 13 years of history that kept me wedded to iTunes vanished.

A web search reported other such occurrences with the upgrade. Users reported that Apple’s stated solutions failed and they failed for me as well. I tried uninstalling version 12 and re-installing version 10 (I still had the installation exe from seven years ago). But iTunes had fatal errors following reinstall. System Restore was no more successful.

Eventually, I found the solution to be uninstalling iTunes, Bonjour, QuickTime, and Mobile device helper. I deleted all Apple and iTunes directories in “c:\Program Files” and “c:\Program Files (x86)” as well as “c:\ProgramData” and anything in the “c:\Users[username]\AppData”. I rebooted, installed iTunes 10.7 and ¡voilà! everything was as it had been before. I then installed iTunes 12.1 from Apple’s website, installed iTunes 12.4 from Apple’s website, and finally iTunes 12.10 from Apple’s website. Each install required unchecking the software’s automatic update option. After each version install, iTunes had to be run to allow updating of the library data file(s). Now its finally working and I have all my libraries and metadata. And I’m relieved to see that Apple abandoned its wretched interface (that was far too imitative of Microsoft’s Windows 8 start screen).

But here’s the thing Apple: how could you have dropped the ball like that? For a company that holds itself out there as a paragon of excellence, why couldn’t you have kept the logical routines in place that would upgrade legacy libraries? What about users out there with old machiens but will be getting new computers for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa? Those users will want to import their old libraries. So really, Apple, you knew there were tons of us still using old versions of iTunes (you know how many blocked our sign-ins there are). So why would you risk alienating those of us who hated your interface enough to cling to the old software? Why couldn’t you have sent us an email explaining that you remediated its wretchedness? And why couldn’t you have instructed us to upgrade to a specific intermediate version before foisting 12.10 upon us? I dare say few users would still have an install file from seven years ago and you sure don’t have it on your website.

This is why dictatorial approaches don’t work.

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