What the Tech: iTunes update removes App store

It sounds pretty funny to say, but I’m sort of old-school when it comes to computer programs. Take iTunes for example; for the past 16 years I’ve used it on my PC to shop for music and apps. Not anymore though.

Apple’s latest update to iTunes, 12.7 removed The App Store. No longer can I browse through the millions of mobile apps on my computer. No longer can I download an app I read about on a website or blog. No longer can I see all of the apps I’ve downloaded in the past and no longer can I easily sync apps, old and new, to my iPhone or iPad when I’m at my desk.

Apple is intent on making iTunes all about the tunes and putting apps only on the devices that run them.

In the new iTunes 12.7 you’ll find only music, movies, tv shows, podcasts and audiobooks. The App Store not only disappeared but any iTunes U content you’ve downloaded has been moved to the podcast section. Ringtones are gone now too and can only be managed and organized on the device.

It may not be a big deal for some people who only browse, download and install apps from the device they use them on, but it is a big deal to me and to other “old-school” Apple users.

While the new App Store app in iOS 11 is beautifully laid out, it’s cumbersome to search through the millions of apps on a small screen. I find it much easier to organize my apps in folders in iTunes on my desktop PC. When using the App Store app, I have the feeling I’m missing out on some great apps because I can only see a few at a time, no matter which category I choose.

By removing the App Store from my PC it also kills some of the old apps I’ve been holding onto. Apps that I downloaded years ago but haven’t been updated in years. Apple doesn’t want old apps working on their devices so it’s keeping apps like “Ringtone Maker” which I downloaded 6 years ago from working in iOS 11. Since I cannot connect my iPhone to iTunes and access those app files, those apps are virtually dead to me. That’s too bad.

Apple doesn’t seem to be turning back though it did release an old “update” primarily for developers so they can continue using the App Store on their computer. It’s a version that won’t be supported by Apple.

Too bad. Old-school iPhone users like me don’t always like change.

Apple has more information and step by step directions on how to manage apps left on your computer here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208075

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