iTunes for PC and Mac is putting the emphasis back on being an app for music. It’s no longer a place for you to get iOS apps, but it’s still got movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and podcasts. Today, Apple quietly released iTunes version 12.7 for both Windows and macOS, and the most immediate change is that it no longer contains any options for syncing apps or ringtones to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
“If you previously used iTunes to sync apps or ringtones on your iOS device, use the new App Store or Sounds Settings on iOS to redownload them without your Mac,” Apple tells users in the update prompt. Apple says that even after this update, apps and ringtones that “are no longer available for redownload” can still be synced by plugging in your iOS device, so I’m guessing (read: I hope) this remains a way of transferring over custom ringtones.
Additionally, the duplicate of the iOS App Store that was previously part of iTunes has been removed completely. It’s just gone.
In recent years, Apple has constantly taken criticism over the bloated, jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none piece of software that iTunes has become. This appears to be at least one significant step in streamlining iTunes and bringing it back around to the app’s original purpose.
Apple has also simplified things elsewhere, noting that iTunes U content is now included in the Podcasts section of the app, and internet radio stations are in the music library sidebar. All of the changes are detailed on this help page.
This move accomplishes two things for Apple. For one, it directs users to the completely redesigned App Store coming in iOS 11 that has a much bigger editorial focus. Second, cutting out the App Store should make bringing iTunes to the Windows Store a much easier task. Who knows if it’ll actually make the iTunes app itself any better or faster, but at least it’s getting more efficient.
You can update to iTunes 12.7 via the Mac App Store and through this link on Windows.