With macOS Catalina, iTunes is gone once and for all. Music, videos and podcasts have new apps, and Finder now handles device syncing and backup. Here's what you need to know in a post-iTunes world.
However, iTunes is not completely gone ̵1; Apple will still provide the classic iTunes application for Windows computers.
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macOS Catalina includes a new app called Music, which uses a very similar app icon as the one used by iTunes. This is where you go to stream Apple Music, access previously purchased music, manage your local music library and make new digital purchases in the iTunes Store. Here you can also find Apple's library of music videos.
The music app looks a lot like iTunes, albeit streamlined and slim to focus purely on music. If you have an Apple Music subscription, the app should automatically populate your iCloud Music Library, provided you are logged in to your Apple ID under System Preferences> Apple ID.
The Music app does not display the iTunes Store or your star rating by default. You can re-enable these features by clicking Music> Preferences and then activating "iTunes Store" and "Star Rating" on the General tab. These settings are very similar to what you would once find in iTunes, including the ability to specify local media folders under the Files tab.
Click on the quote icon in the upper right corner of the screen to see texts where available. You can also click on the list icon next to it to see which songs are played next. Open the old iTunes mini player by clicking the album discs in the Now Playing box.
If some other users have shared their library locally, you will see a small drop-down box next to "Library" in the sidebar. Click on it to reveal other libraries that you can connect to.
How to share music in macOS Catalina
If there was one thing that iTunes got right, it was library sharing – an easy way to share your music library with the rest of your local network by ticking a box. Thankfully, you can still do it; you just need to enable it from your Mac's sharing settings instead:
- Head to System Preferences> Sharing.
- Click Media Sharing and give your library a name, then select the "Share media with guests" option.  Click "Options" to set an optional password. You can also specify whether you want to share specific playlists or the entire music library.
Here you can also enable home sharing, which allows you to share your library seamlessly on other devices that are logged in with the same Apple ID. 
Other apps that share iTunes XML data
iTunes is often preferred by DJs and other media professionals for its simple music organization strategy. Many third-party applications have been designed with the iTunes library in mind, allowing DJs to use their music library in third-party apps.
Removing iTunes in favor of music has caused many problems. XML data sharing is supported in Music, but many third-party apps have not yet been updated to account for the change. Apple recommends anyone relying on apps like Traktor and Serato (who can both use iTunes XML data) to wait until developers have patched their apps.
Currently, you can still use Music's XML data in third-party apps, but you must manually export each playlist using the options under File> Library (remember to change "Format" to XML). Any changes will not be synced back to your music library, so this is really a temporary fix.
Device synchronization is now managed by Finder
 iPhone, iPad and iPod device management is now fully managed by Finder. It includes media synchronization, manually updating iOS, resetting to factory settings, and creating local backups. Apple has basically just moved the controls that were once found in iTunes to the Finder.
To manage your iOS device in macOS Catalina:
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via a Lightning cable.
- Unlock your device and press "Trust", then enter your password when prompted.
- Open a Finder window and scroll down the sidebar until you see "Tim's iPhone" (or whatever your iPhone is called).
- Click on the iPhone and click "Trust" then wait.
You should now see your iPhone displayed in the Finder window and a series of tabs to manage device settings and media. On the General tab, you can select "Show this iPhone while on Wi-Fi" to enable wireless syncing (be aware that it is much slower than using a Lightning cable).
These controls are virtually identical to those found in iTunes before retiring. You can choose to back up your iPhone manually to your computer here, perfect if you switch from an old iPhone to a new one. If you want to manage your iOS backups manually, you can still find them in the
~ / Library / Application Support / MobileSync / folder.
Click each of the tabs to manage music, movies, TV shows, and other content you may want to sync with your iOS device. The Files tab allows you to download and upload files to app directories, a feature formerly known as "iTunes File Sharing." Use drag and drop to copy files to and from your mobile device.
Note: Apple has retained backward compatibility with earlier versions of iOS so you can sync devices prior to iOS 13 with Catalina and Finder. However, if you have updated your iOS device to iOS 13, you must use Catalina to sync and manage your device (previous macOS versions will not work).
Listen to Podcasts in the New Podcasts app
A new app called Podcasts is now used for podcast management. This looks pretty much identical to the Music app, except instead of music you will find new sections of your favorite podcasts. Any podcast you want to sync to your iPhone must be managed with the Finder.
You can use the Podcasts app to browse the Apple Podcasts library, subscribe to new programs and see what's popular by clicking Top Charts. Go to podcast> Settings to set options such as how often the app searches for new content, when downloading new episodes and disables automatic deletion of played episodes.
Downloaded podcast sections are no longer displayed in the iTunes Library folder and can instead be found hidden in
~ / Library / Group Containers / 243LU875E5.groups.com.apple.podcasts / Library / Cache .
Watch video content in the TV app
The last new app is called TV, and despite the name it is a home for all video content you can buy, rent or subscribe to. It includes everything you previously purchased on iTunes, new movies to rent, and the upcoming subscription service Apple TV +.
Click the Library tab to quickly access videos you already own. The other tabs are for browsing, renting and buying new content. Click on a movie or TV show to watch the trailers and learn more about it. You can also see a list of actors and crews involved in the movie, and you can click on any of them to see more of their content.
Start TV> Settings and click Files to define your desired media folder location. . You can import movies and other content by dragging and dropping. Everything you download is stored in your regular movie folder as a MOVPKG extension that can be played by the TV app. Third-party apps will not be able to see these files properly due to the DRM used.
Removing iTunes is one of the most radical changes in macOS Catalina. Using dedicated apps for music, podcast and video makes sense. Removing iOS device management from iTunes is a move Apple probably should have made years ago. Things are so much more meaningful now.
These are not the only features we love with Apple's latest desktop OS. Check out what's new in macOS Catalina, and whether to upgrade now or not.
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