What's Really Going On With Apple's iTunes Shutdown?

On Monday (June 3), Apple announced that it was splitting the iTunes app into three distinct programs: Apple Music, Podcasts and TV. But there’s still quite a bit of confusion around how existing music libraries will work, how devices will be synced and the status of the iTunes Store. Billboard hopped on the phone with Apple to clarify all of the burning questions around iTunes, Apple Music and the future of the digital music store.

The big takeaway: Apple is not shutting down the iTunes Store -- the company says it never considered it -- nor removing any features that users have come to love.

On macOS Catalina, the iTunes Store will continue to exist in the sidebar of the new Apple Music app, and the store will also continue to be available on iOS, Windows and Apple TV. Apple says users’ music libraries, including music that has been imported into iTunes, will be fully intact and available in the new Apple Music app, whether or not they subscribe to Apple Music. iTunes gift cards and credits will still work in the new apps, so there’s no need to rush to use up gift cards before the next version of macOS arrives.

For users concerned about iTunes Match, Apple says that feature will continue to exist and will not be changed. The new Apple Music app will also retain all of the iTunes features like smart playlists, as well as the ability to burn CDs. The company also noted that the new Apple Music, Podcasts and TV apps will only be available on macOS Catalina, and not on older versions of the operating system.

Device management for iPhones, iPads and iPods has moved to the Finder in Mac, which means iTunes won’t open every time an iOS device is plugged into a Mac, a long-overdue feature. Audiobooks will move to the Apple Books app in macOS Catalina, mirroring its placement in iOS. All of the videos purchased or uploaded to iTunes will be available in the TV app and podcasts will live in the Podcasts app.

For Windows users, Apple says iTunes will continue to work in its current state, with no changes to the experience. Despite the doom and gloom around the demise of iTunes, all of the features that currently exist in iTunes will still be around on macOS Catalina -- it just may take a few more clicks to find them all.