iTunes, with all its niggles and annoyances, has emerged as an indispensable media player for all iPod and iPhone owners. Although iTunes slightly redefined the way we download and listen to podcasts on the internet and changed a few other things, there are still many things iTunes doesn’t do.
Here are six iTunes features iTunes lacks and six programs that can help you fix them:
#1. Fix ID3 metatags and album cover art
Your big music collection’s metadata isn’t perfect. Missing track details, cover data, song information and what not? iTunes can only fetch the album artwork and CD track names for you automatically (and that too requires you to have an Apple account). Fixing all this manually is going to take you a lot of time.
TidySongs (formerly, FixTunes) comes to the rescue though. With its music database with containing information on over 4 million songs, it can automatically fix track information and even cover art. What’s more, you can also use it to automatically rename and organize your music files in the format that you specify (eg: Artist – Song Name – (Track Number)).
The catch: You can use the free version to fill up information for up to 50 songs. For more, you have to shell out around 25 dollars.
#2. Fix iTunes media library updates
Perhaps the biggest gripe of iTunes users is that it doesn’t update its library automatically to add new songs in your folders. If you added a song to your music folder, you need to manually tell iTunes to update its media library.
That’s when iTunes Folder Watch comes as a godsend. It runs on the system tray and watches the folders that you tell it to monitor and can add new songs from those folders to the iTunes library fully or just selectively.
iTunes Folder Watch has plenty of configuration options. But to use some of them, you will have to pay.
Download iTunes Folder Watch
#3. Fix the lack of universal keyboard shortcuts
Power users always like controlling their programs with keystrokes. But think about it: iTunes doesn’t give you any global shortcut keys to control the app.
Install iTunesKeys and voila! You can then control playback of songs, even rate them using keyboard shortcuts and assign shortcut keys to almost all iTunes actions and use them from any application.
The program can display track info on track change. It’s a pretty cool app, and it’s being continuously developed.
#4. Fix the inability to transfer files from iPod to iTunes
iTunes lets you do it one way: You can transfer music from your computer to your iPod but not the other way round.
SharePod delivers in this area by allowing you to backup tracks from your iPod to your computer and then later import them into your iTunes library. The interface makes it very easy to use, and gives you drag and drop functions. It can be run from your iPod and lets you even to tag and edit track information.
SharePod is a must have for all you iPod junkies out there. Check it out here.
#5. Make it work with non-iPod MP3 players
iTunes was made to work exclusively with Apple products but what if you use a Creative MP3 player but still use iTunes to manage all your music? iTunes won’t even recognize that player and you’re in a deadlock.
iTunes Sync can aid iTunes here by making it synchronize with â€œany MP3 player that shows up as a drive letter in Windowsâ€ according to their site. You can use it with as many non-iPod MP3 players as you like and have a different playlist synchronizing with each player.
For a list of MP3 players that have been tested to work with iTunes Sync, refer this page.
Download iTunes Sync
#6. Notify track info along with cover art in the system tray
iTunes does nothing to display information about the current playing track in the system notification area. You can fix that using this app called CD Art Display.
CD Art Display works with iTunes and has over 60 skins that you can choose from. With lovely transparency effects, it can display track information and song ratings along with album cover art on your desktop.
Very customisable, this tool also gives you hotkeys to assign ratings to any song that’s being played.
Download CD Art Display
What are your biggest complaints about iTunes? Have you ever tried and fixed them yourself? Are there any third party tools that you’re using now to add functionalities to the player. Tell us in the comments section â€“ they’re open for all!