In the beginning, there was iTunes. At one point in time, it was the only media player Mac OS users had available to them. Finding a suitable replacement was nigh impossible. Thankfully, those days are long gone and Mac OS users can rejoice (and have) in the fact that there is now, such a large selection from which to choose. So if you’re one of those who are still using iTunes but are looking for something a bit more feature-packed, this article has got a few different choices for you.
During its original release, iTunes was a game changer. The whole music management game was turned upside down and brokered in a new era for your digital music collection. If you weren’t using iTunes, you weren’t keeping up with the times (sorry Zune). However, fast forward to present day and iTunes is no longer carrying the Music Management Championship Belt, so to speak. It is no longer the ground-breaking software that it was during its tenured honeymoon phase. Today it’s more like an overly bloated piece of software that lacks a few quality of life features found standard in most of the newer applications. Although Apple’s recently released update trimmed the fat, removing some of the bloat in an attempt to make iTunes more attractive, it’s still a bit lackluster in comparison to other programs available. This is rather unfortunate for Apple but comes as a boon for those who are looking to move on.
“If not now, then when?”
For the many current Apple fans in search of a replacement, this is the article for you. To ring in the new year, I’ve gone ahead and provided what I feel are the top alternatives to iTunes for your Mac OS. Those in the list below are only a small sample size of the continuously growing number of music players becoming available daily. Each was chosen for their ease of use and those with features deemed most useful or unique. Through much work and research, I am able to provide you with this list of 9 Top Alternatives To iTunes For Mac OS Users.
Let’s start with…
A multi-platform music player inspired by Amarok 1.4, focused on a fast and easy-to-use UI.
Searching for a media player that offers an extensive variety of propelled highlights and features right out of the box? Clementine is the media player for you.
Though, not likely the most alluring media player out there, it makes up for that by providing a full list of impressive features that never distract from or tarnish your music listening experience. Clementine focuses solely on the music and it shows in its simplicity, speed, and accessibility.
Set up Clementine to search and play music from your local library or any of your uploaded cloud content from the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box. Clementine is a feature-rich, open source music application which supports Spotify, SoundCloud, Grooveshark as well as a number of other internet radio streaming services.
A powerhouse of a music player offering a robust collection of features such as tagging tools, album cover artwork, an equalizer, visualizations, lyrics, and podcast support. Create and curate your media playlists to your specifications with folder, file, and internet streaming options. Easily trans-code (MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Speex, FLAC, or AAC formats) and transfer music files for use with Clementine on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, and other mass-storage devices.
Some may find the feel of Clementine to be a bit awkward and annoying as it doesn’t resemble a native Mac application. It also doesn’t offer access to a built-in music store or play video. If you can get around these shallow issues, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with all that Clementine offers for your music enjoyment.
Your favorite artists in high-resolution. Music as it was meant to be heard: without fear of audio loss and just clean, clear sound.
COST: FREE w/ Optional Cloud Storage at $4.99/mo
Touted as the #1 music player for iPhone and Mac, VOX finds its way onto many lists similar to this one, and rightfully so. Its minimalist interface and powerful features make it a great alternative to iTunes. Navigate your library using an intuitive UI that emphasizes practicality and ease-of-use while providing a wide selection of audio formats. The app not only supports most of the more popular media formats (MP3, MP4) but also supports many others (FLAC, CUE, APE, M4A, and more). You’d be hard pressed to find a song that VOX won’t be able to play.
VOX allows you to enjoy the integration of SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube as well as the ability to import your iTunes and personal library to the Apple device of your choice. These features, along with gapless playback, enhanced stereo sound, bass audio engine, Airplay support, and the option to download playback control extensions for use with Apple Earbuds and Apple TV Remote, makes VOX one of the more appealing media players on the market.
VOX is free to download and use but does offer a few in-app purchases, one of which is the option to drop $10 to gain access to over 30,000 various internet radio stations. It also tends to remind you frequently to try its LOOP Music Cloud Storage at a $4.99 per month price point. Both of these are really great offers as the latter provides you with unlimited storage for your uploads, so that you can listen to as many files as you’d like while on the go.
A feature-packed, no-nonsense music player, so named for its Old English meaning, “To make a (pleasing) sound, make melody or music.”
Swinsian is a deceptively powerful, lightweight iTunes replacement. Though it’s set behind a paywall, Swinsian offers users who may be hesitant to dive-in head first, a 30-day free trial to test out its features prior to purchase.
Control music playback using Swinsian’s provided mini window or widget with a highly-customizable UI that changes according to your needs. If you’re looking for that classic iTunes feel where the focus is on cataloguing and organization without all of the bloat, you can’t go wrong with Swinsian.
Some of what makes Swinsian so appealing is its music library organization skills. This includes powerful features such as a duplicate file finder, auto dead file deletion, wide format support, folder watching, advanced tag editing, smart playlist support, and so much more. You can add watched folders for automatic importing of new tracks, which includes cover art, and subscribe to all of your favorite podcasts. Easily import your iTunes library into a UI that includes multiple views, such as art grid, columns, track inspector, and a separate playlist window. The customization is amazing!
Swinsian is lightning fast, scoffs at the mention of library lag, and supports audio file formats like MP3, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, and WMA to name a few. Yes, I said WMA. Since Perian’s demise, it’s been a major pain playing WMA files natively on a Mac. Swinsian makes this possible again. Connect your music playing device and quickly transcode and transfer files effortlessly for use no matter where you are in the world.
An old school vibe for the sophisticated music lover. Take control of your listening experience.
Powered by iZotope’s DSP technology, Fidelia delivers high quality audio that even the most passionate audiophile will love. When it comes to quality of sound, Fidelia has it in spades. The UI is designed to resemble the classic stereo amplifiers of old, decked out with audio wave forms and stereo levels on display. It even includes a giant volume knob.
Fidelia was created exclusively for Mac OS X and offers listeners a rich high-fidelity feedback that they can control. Optimize the music your way with no proprietary clutter. Create multiple playlists inside the playlist window. Fidelia will even auto-detect any external DAC and swap when ever a new one is plugged in.
You can amplify the audio feedback by applying up to three different effects: Equalizers, compressors, filters, reverb, support for 64-bit audio unit plug-ins, something called CanOpener headphone modeler, and more.
Expect support for all contemporary audio file formats including MP3, AIFF, WAV, AAC, Apple Lossless, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC. Feel free to convert any of your MP3 files into anyone of these formats as well. Although it is a stand alone app, Fidelia allows you to import your iTunes library including any user-generated playlists right there in the playlist window.
If you are willing to drop a few extra bucks for a quality of life addition, for $10 you can make an in-app purchase to turn your iPhone or iPod touch into a full-featured remote control. Browse your digital music library, adjust playback volume, and navigate through tracks from anywhere WiFi is available.
PodTrans Pro is a peculiar addition to my list because it’s less of an iTunes alternative as opposed to a solid transfer option for your iPod. PodTrans Pro is a far superior option to quickly and easily transfer files between your computer and your iPod. Swapping large music libraries from your iPod to your computer or vice versa is effortless. You can even sync on multiple devices at once.
The UI is extremely basic but you shouldn’t really expect too many bells and whistles from a simple iPod management tool. You don’t even need iTunes installed on your Mac to transfer and organize your Apple library from your iPod. With the newer, fancier iPods, PodTrans Pro supports the management of other media files including videos, TV Shows, movies, iTunes U, and more.
PodTrans Pro works with USB 3.0 and can chieve up to 20MB per second during transfers. By applying multi-core and hyper-threading, media analyzing is optimized and the with the latest hardware, conversions are accelerated to lightning quick speeds. Practically all formats are easily converted allowing you to rest easy knowing that none of your data will suffer loss. PodTrans Pro will also skip over duplicated tracks in order to keep your library clean and organized.
No matter which iPod you currently have, PodTrans Pro will work for them all inlcuding any new models that roll out of Apple Inc. Sadly, because the use of this program is exclusive to iPods, iPhones and iPads are left wanting. However, there are plenty of other alternatives for you on this list.
From art to technology, every modification is a step towards perfection.
COST: Free Trial, $39.95
Far from the cheapest choice on this list, Waltr 2 is yet another incredibly useful, solid alternative to the ever so popular iTunes. File sharing is handled beautifully with this tool as it offers both WiFi and USB cable connection capabilities. If you need to be on the move while USB connected, just disconnect and Waltr2 will pick up where it left off using your WiFi because of its advanced connection stitching feature. On top of this convenience, while transferring files, the format types are easily recognized and the WiFi speed is especially fast. Expect no delays regardless of format as Waltr2 can handle them all, including native Apple Music files and WMA.
Sticking with the conversion process, even sending newer files to older models proves no obstacle for Waltr2. All lossy files are supported in lossy format regardless of the Apple device you choose to use. It even supports 4K Ultra HD videos and preserves every bit of their quality.
Of course, not everything is rainbows and kittens with Waltr2 but unless you’re incredibly OCD, the issue may not affect you. Waltr2’s Automatic Content Recognition has its problems from time to time. A good portion of the traffic passing files from your device onto Waltr2 may omit cover art, artist information, synopsis, lyrics, etc. Personally, the native file transfer is worth the price tag alone but to some this could be seen as a deal breaker.
Oh, I mentioned all files transfer regardless of format, but I neglected to mention that this also includes epub, ibook, and PDF files as well. They’ll also be transferred to their correct app on your device meaning all videos moved over head directly to your Videos app. All ePub and audio book files go right into your iBooks app.
This could very well become your favorite app should you choose to accept the awesome power behind such incredible software. Cast out that devilish iTunes from your life and declare Waltr2 as your media storage lord and savior. The price is a whopping $35 but be on the lookout for a sale. The price drops to $19 from time to time which is a relative steal and totally worth the purchase.
COST: Free Trial, $59.95/yearly upgrades or $67.95/lifetime
When it comes to media and music file management on your iOS device, DearMob dropkicks the competition in the teeth. If your life is spent on your iPhone and music management has become a pain, you may have found your saving grace. DearMob iPhone Manager has true on-the-go access meaning no matter if you have access to the internet or not, DearMob has your files readily available to you.
DearMob iPhone Manager is an all-in-one tool transfer files between your computer and iOS devices, create automatic backups, and encrypt your data for total protection. Anything you can do with iTunes, DearMob likely does it better. As are most of the options on this list, DearMobs interface is extremely user-friendly and still remains quite feature-rich. Navigation is never a struggle and during your initial launch of the app, it will guide you to manage your files by category.
An interesting feature is the ability to manage all of your photos within the app itself. Not only transfer them between devices but also delete them, manage albums, and both preview and convert photos in the HEIC format. The amount of storage is only limited by the amount you have on your device. DearMob is lightning fast with processing and transfers all while providing top-notch file security. When copying data from your mobile device to your computer, DearMob will automatically overwrite the original data with encryption. And because transferring files is actually just creating copies as far as DearMob is concerned, all of your data is backed up and secure just in case you ever need to restore it. On top of this, the offline feature easily keeps all of your files and information safe from hacks and phishing scams.
You can catch DearMob iPhone Manager on sale, dropping the sky high price of $59.95 down to a somewhat more manageable $39.95. This will give you the latest full version license, which includes all the bells and whistles as well as necessary patches and updates.
Unclutter your music listening experience with a clean and innovative interface.
Musique is a completely straightforward, easy to use music library organizer for those who are focused completely on the music and little else. The interface looks like that of older iTunes, before the clutter and confusion took over. It’s incredibly clean and simple and navigation is a breeze. The buttons are clear and there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts for use to accomplish any task. It also comes with a lyrics finder feature to help you discover just how bad you’ve been butchering your favorite songs all these years.
Installation of Musique is relatively painless. At launch, you’ll need to direct it toward you music folder for a scan and wait for your library to fill up. Musique uses Last.fm to catalog your music library, produce album covers, artist info, and what not. When it’s all set up and ready to go, your digital collection is displayed in a pretty tile setting that you can view by artists, folders, or albums. You’ll find your playlist section off to the right-side of the screen where you can drag and drop the tiles to create them. If you have an extensive library and can’t be bothered to wade through the sea of music, you can use the search feature to find the specific songs that you’re looking for. In the playlist, songs are automatically separated by album and artist title for easy recognition. While any song is playing, Musique allows you to pull up an info screen detailing the artist’s information, photos, album covers, and lyrics.
All common audio formats are supported. So long as the file format can be played on VLC Media Player, it will work with Musique. If you find that this is not the case, contact support as this this a bug and not working as intended. Musique does have its faults, the most prominent one is the lack of a File Open function. You’re unable to open other files aside from the one scanned at startup which means any new music will have to be added to that folder in order to see it in Musique. So if you scanned a Music folder but currently have audio files in the Downloads folder, you’ll need to swap them over to the Music folder for use with Musique.
If you’re in need of a simple but powerful music player that keeps your music organized exactly the way you set it up, there’s no reason to not give Musique a try.
Get MediaMonkey and get organized.
COST: FREE, Gold Version Upgrade $24.95
MediaMonkey is an amazing digital media management program alternative to iTunes. The kicker here is that currently, with the newest version of MediaMonkey, a Mac OS compatible version is yet to made available. According to the website, they are making sure to iron out any kinks with the PC software prior to rolling out a working Mac alternative.
So why is it on the list? Even if a Mac OS version is a little while off, it is coming, and to not add a digital media management system as great as MediaMonkey to the list would be a crime. You can use it on PC and it will still sync with your iOS devices like iPhone, iPod, and iPad.
MediaMonkey can be used for mass storage of varying digital media collection sizes on a hard drive, cloud network, or even burned to CDs. You can organize your entire library (100,000+ audio and video files), tag song files, lookup and add album art, throw it into party mode (shuffle), auto sort music and movies by genre, among many other things. You also have the option to share music files via the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).
MediaMonkey converts audio and video files into any format you want, such as MP3, FLAC, WAV, CDA, ALAC, AAC (M4A), M3U, WMA, OGG, AVI, OGV, MPEG, WMV, MPC, PLS, MP4, etc. This is true for either the free version or the upgraded MediaMonkey Gold. The Gold version does everything that the free version does and more. It supports customized genre collections, on-the-fly audio/video conversions, advanced searches and AutoPlaylists, unlimited MP3 encoding, a virtual CD previewer, a sleep timer, automatic library organizer that works in the background, and a higher speed for your conversions through its use of multi-core systems. The cost sits at $24.95 and you can get lifetime upgrades by purchasing a lifetime license for $49.95.