iTunes, on it’s day, can be a great piece of software. It keeps your entire music collection tagged, monitored and art-worked – with a little help from you of course – and it also places a music store right on your computer that integrates with your library seamlessly when you download a track. You can manage playlists, create smart playlists and even get recommended songs, but do you need all of this functionality?
On a bad day, iTunes can be buggy and slow your computer down to a crawl if you aren’t running the latest hardware. With a few simple changes, though, you can have it running in the background without worrying about your CPU cycles too much!
1. Remove unneeded sources
The more sources you have in your library, the more CPU cycles are required to keep them all checked and in place. If you don’t watch TV shows in iTunes, remove the TV shows option. Don’t use Ping? Disable it! It can all be done in the preferences.
To get to preferences in Windows, go to Edit > Preferences. In OS X, you can select iTunes > Preferences to get to the same window. Here, there are a list of sources in the first tab. Uncheck all of the things that you don’t need to stop them from being monitored.
2. Stop sharing!
Home sharing in iTunes constantly broadcasts your library across your network to all of the other computers connected. This is bound to eat up some of your resources in the background, so if you don’t use it then turn it off! You’ll find home sharing options in the ‘Sharing’ tab of your preferences.
3. Lose some smart playlists
Smart playlists are a great feature in iTunes, as they constantly monitor your library for changes and add any songs that meet the correct criteria in to certain playlists. The only problem with this is that in monitoring your library it is using up system resources when iTunes is running. All the time.
If you’re finding that iTunes is slightly sluggish, then you may want to consider getting rid of some of your smart playlists, but if you don’t want to lose them entirely then you can simply stop them from automatically refreshing and changing their track lists by right clicking on the smart playlist, and editing it so that live updating is left unchecked. You may be surprised at how much of a difference it will make.
4. Stop relying on Genius
I’m not a big Genius user myself, but I was surprised to see that it was still enabled on my iTunes. If you don’t need Genius to recommend music to you or whip up some playlists on the fly, then turn it off. Your other applications will thank you, and iTunes may become a bit more bearable.
Although the features listed here are the main culprits for iTunes slowing down your computer, they aren’t the only ones. Remember to keep iTunes updated to the latest version to take advantage of any bug fixes, and start turning off the features that you don’t use. You may be surprised at how lightweight iTunes can actually be.