iTunes is saying goodbye 18 years after its debut

Gelo Gonzales
iTunes is saying goodbye 18 years after its debut
The iconic music app is expected to be phased out


MANILA, Philippines – Just as Apple surprised us with an iPod refresh  that not a lot of people seemed to have asked for, the company’s enduring iTunes app may not be so lucky.

Bloomberg reported Sunday, June 2, the iconic music and content store-slash-music library and organizer is about to be phased out. It will be replaced by several specific apps for music and video content.

iTunes was released 18 years ago on January 9, 2001, first as a music library organizer much like Winamp had been for non-Mac users. It wouldn’t be until 2011 when Winamp would finally land on a Mac. In 2003, Apple opened the iTunes Store, letting people purchase music digitally at a time when peer-to-peer file-sharing networks allowed people to download music for free online, later also offering TV shows, movies, and perhaps more famously, apps and podcasts.

It would go on to become the biggest music vendor in the world before eventually being superseded in 2016 by streaming services spearheaded, of course, by Spotify.

As it declined, Apple began preparing medium-specific platforms. Currently, the most famous is Apple Music, which is second to Spotify in terms of user numbers. Back in March, Apple has also made public their plans for their Netflix-like TV platform, and a platform for magazines and other publications, and reportedly, one for podcasts. Given these trends, iTunes being deprecated was not completely unexpected. (READ: Everything Apple announced at its March 25 event)

Apple is expected to make their plans clear for iTunes on Tuesday, June 4, 12:30 am (Manila time) at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). (READ: What we expect to be announced at Apple’s WWDC 2019

Perhaps the most pressing question in consumers’ minds is this: What happens to stuff we’ve purchased on iTunes? Most likely, they will be migrated to the apps specific for each medium – music to the Music app, shows to the TV app, and so forth. That’s the most logical direction for this move to take lest Apple wants an army of irate customers bombarding their online accounts. Apple’s too savvy.

“If you’ve got content purchased through Apple, it’ll still be on record with them and should be accessible on compatible devices,” technology editor at Finder, Alex Kidman, told

The sentiment is that Apple will not be careless with these users, and will migrate them properly to the corresponding app. The iTunes name may be disappearing but the core service appears like it would remain the same, that is to make content purchases online, only this time it’s in several apps. These apps will reportedly be Music, TV, and Podcasts.

What would be a bigger question is what app would users who don’t use Apple’s cloud service, and use iTunes instead to directly sync content, backup their phones, and restore data to a new device? For the remaining users who still use iTunes as a direct syncing tool, it will be interesting to see how Apple will try to take care of these legacy device users – whether they’ll have a different tool or force newer compatible devices to just sync via iCloud.

Whatever Apple does, the iconic app’s disappearance triggers a nostalgic tear for many who grew up with it in the early aughts, for everyone who religiously organized their playlists and whatever video files on, for those who synced their iPods on it until eventually the iPhones took over. Apple has already cleared out the Facebook and Instagram pages for the app. Some took to Twitter to expressed their emotions for the reported impending shutdown: 

Tune in here at Rappler as Apple makes their announcements regarding this and more. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.