Speed Up iTunes January 27th, 2010
Love it or hate it, iTunes has become the de facto application for music handling on my machine; so much so that it has become one of those applications which I would say I couldn’t live without (OK, so perhaps that takes it a little too far but you see where I am going with this).
The problem is that iTunes is an application that Apple never intended to make for Windows; I guess you could say they became a victim of their own success and found themselves having to recode a Windows version as its popularity (and the popularity of the iPod range) grew. It works much faster in Mac OS X, which translated could be written as saying iTunes for Windows is a complete bloat ware that takes up far too much RAM and runs slower than it should, certainly this has become more and more apparent as iTunes has been updated and updated. The cynic in me would start to question whether Apple isn’t too serious about Windows and want to demonstrate to people that iTunes works much faster on Mac OS X because it is a better OS (thereby attempting to increase their sales of Mac hardware and OS X), but with a few simple steps it’s easy to speed things up a little and make iTunes for Windows a little more bearable:
Remove Smart Playlists
A lot of people will love the Smart Playlist feature, if you are one of them then you can skip this, otherwise removing them can make the application start-up speed up to 3 times quicker. If you like me would give up almost anything for speed, then simply remove all the Smart Playlists (the ones with the purple icon) and restart iTunes to feel the improved performance. If you don’t want to remove Smart Playlists altogether then editing them and disabling Live Updating will make a slight difference.
Disable Automatic Syncing
When a device is connected to a machine running iTunes, iTunes automatically starts syncing which I find quite annoying. It can result in your iTunes getting frozen for up to 30 seconds or more. Users don’t always connect devices such as iPods or iPhones for transferring songs; what if you only want to charge your device? In such cases automatic launching of iTunes and syncing doesn’t make sense and isn’t needed. To disable automatic syncing, simply select your connected device from the left sidebar and uncheck the Automatic Sync option.
Disable Options That Are Not Needed
A little bit of common sense if required here as there are various different options that you will come across in the Preferences menu and some may be needed depending on your individual setups, however a couple I would recommend would be to disable Crossfade Songs and Sound Enhancer under the Playback tab and Look for Remote Speakers Connected to AirTunes and Look for iPhone and iPod Touch Remotes under the devices tab. You can also disable Look for Apple TV under the Apple TV tab unless of course you have one! Most users will not need any of these options enabled and yet by default they are enabled adding to the burden, surely it would have made sense to ship iTunes in a more ‘lean’ configuration for the majority and allow the minority who own all these other devices (and let’s face it the kind of person who does is more than technically savvy enough to do this) to configure iTunes to their needs?
While browsing your playlists, you will notice that unnecessary columns are displayed by default (yes, I know it’s a Pop song thanks). Who wants to scroll all the way to the right and then back to the left to view all the columns? It is better to reduce this clutter by hiding those columns that are not needed. This can be done by right-clicking the column bar on top and then unchecking not-needed columns. Not sure if this makes a huge difference to speed or not but it means that you can customise your view to exactly how you want to see it.
Finally, although I haven’t tried this myself I read somewhere that by keeping the Preferences window open whilst songs are converting, the whole process will be quicker! Now there is logic to this; when you are converting a large collection of songs to ACC format, you will notice that after a few conversions the whole process slows down. This is because after each change the iTunes User Interface gets updated (which takes forever when converting large collections). So, how to speed up the conversion and disable the iTunes User Interface from getting updated? Go to Edit and select Preferences; now let it remain open until all conversions are complete!
I’m sure there are other ways to speed things up too, if you know of any leave a comment below and share your thoughts.