iTunes for Mac FAQ

iTunes has grown from its roots as a program that let Mac users rip their CDs to MP3 format, manage their music libraries, and burn CDs. Today iTunes supports iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Apple’s online iTunes Store (which distributes music, podcasts, video, and software), and online video rentals.

Apple released the first version of iTunes on 2001.01.09. The program was created by the developers of SoundJam MP, one of the leading MP3 programs for the Mac at the time. Casady & Greene discontinued SoundJam MP effective 2001.06.01, as it made no sense to try to sell a commercial program when iTunes was free.

iTunes 1.0 requires Mac OS 9 (9.1 or later to burn CDs). Version 1.1 (2001.02.21) for the Classic Mac OS added support for third-party burners, and the first version for Mac OS X was released on 2001.03.24, although the OS X version didn’t support burning CDs until 2001.05.01, when version 1.1 was published. iTunes was not bundled with the Mac OS until version 1.1.2, which was bundled with OS X 10.1.

The most important change ever came with version 2.0, which was available on 2001.10.23. Apple added iPod support, making it easy for Mac users to move their sound libraries to the iPod, which was also released on that date. iTunes 2.0.x was the last version developed for both the Classic Mac OS and Mac OS X.

iTunes 3.0 (2002.07.17) added “smart playlists”, and version 4.0 (2003.04.28) added support for the iTunes Music Store and the AAC audio codec, which included digital rights management (DRM). Apple also introduced music sharing with iTunes 4.0.

With version 4.1 (2003.10.16), iTunes made the leap into the world of Windows (XP and 2000), where it replaced Musicmatch as the software used to sync iPods to the user’s music library. Version 4.5 (2004.04.28) added the “party shuffle” feature, a lossless version of AAC, and the ability to convert WMA file to AAC format (only on Windows computers). Version 4.7 added support for the iPod photo, including synching with a Mac user’s iPhoto library. iTunes 4.8 added video support, and 4.9 added support for podcasts and the Motorola ROKR mobile phone.

iTunes 5.0 (2005.09.07) added parental control and “smart shuffle”, along with interface improvements. Version 6.0 (2005.10.12) brought support for the 5G “video” iPod, and iTunes 6.0.2 (2006.01.10) was the first “universal” version with support for both PowerPC and Intel Macs.

iTunes 7.0 (2006.09.12) introduced iPod games, gapless playback, and the Cover Flow interface. Version 7.1 (2007.03.04) added support for Apple TV and fixed some issues with Windows Vista, which wasn’t fully supported until version 7.2 (2007.05.29). This version also added support for DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks, and 7.3 was the first version to support iPhone activation.

iTunes 7.6 (2008.01.15) includes support for renting movies from the iTunes Store and copying Apple TV purchases to the user’s computer.

Mac Version History

Requirements are minimums.

  • 1.0, requires Mac OS 9.0 (9.1 to burn CDs)
  • 1.1, requires Mac OS 9.1. 25 third party burners supported.
  • 2.0, requires Mac OS 9.2.1 or Mac OS X 10.1. iPod support added.
  • 3.0, requires Mac OS X 10.1.4, 400 MHz G3, 256 MB RAM. Audible content supported
  • 4.0, requires Max OS X 10.1.5 and QuickTime 6.2. AAC support, iTunes Store, and music sharing added (music sharing requires Mac OS X 10.2.4).
  • 4.1, file sharing with Windows computers added
  • 4.5, party shuffle and lossless encoder added
  • 4.6, AirTunes added (requires Mac OS X 10.3)
  • 4.8, requires Mac OS X 10.2. Video support and contact/calendar sync added
  • 5.0, parental controls added
  • 6.0, requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 to 10.4.7. iTunes Store video purchases added (requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 and QuickTime 7.0.3)
  • 7.0, requires Mac OS X 10.3
  • 7.6 (latest), requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or 10.4.9, QuickTime 6.5.2, 500 MHz G3, 256 MB RAM (16 MB video RAM, QuickTime 7.1.6, and 1 GHz G4 for video)

iPod Compatibility

1G and 2G iPods only support a FireWire connection. 3G and later iPods (except for the shuffle) use a dock connector and can be charged using FireWire even if they don’t support sync over FireWire. All 4G and later iPods charge and synchvia USB.

iPods with USB support will work with USB 1.1, but it will be very, very slow.

iPod hardware may have higher Mac OS requirements than the oldest version of iTunes that will work with them otherwise requires.

Full Sized iPods

  • 1G iPod, iTunes 2.0, Mac OS 9.0 or Mac OS X 10.1, FireWire
  • 2G iPod, iTunes 3.0, Mac OS X 10.1, FireWire
  • 3G iPod, iTunes 4.0, Mac OS X 10.1, FireWire or USB (USB for sync only)
  • 4G iPod, iTunes 4.6, Mac OS X 10.1, FireWire or USB
  • iPod photo/color, iTunes 4.7, Mac OS X 10.2, FireWire or USB
  • 5G iPod (video), iTunes 6.0, Mac OS X 10.3, USB
  • 5.5G iPod (video), iTunes 7.0, Mac OS X 10.3, USB
  • iPod classic, iTunes 7.4, Mac OS X 10.4, USB
  • iPod touch iTunes 7.4, Mac OS X 10.4, USB

Smaller iPods

  • 1G iPod mini, iTunes 4.2, Mac OS X 10.1, FireWire or USB
  • 2G Mac mini, iTunes 4.7.1, Mac OS X 10.2, FireWire or USB
  • 1G iPod nano, iTunes 5.0, Mac OS X 10.3, USB
  • 2G iPod nano, iTunes 7.0.2, Mac OS X 10.3, USB
  • 3G iPod nano, iTunes 7.4, Mac OS X 10.4, USB

iPod shuffle

  • 1G iPod shuffle, iTunes 4.7.1, Mac OS X 10.2, USB
  • 2G iPod shuffle, iTunes 7.0.2, Mac OS X 10.3, USB
  • 3G iPod shuffle, iTunes 7.0.2, Mac OS X 10.3, USB

This FAQ was written in 2008 and is in need of updates.