iTunes Frustration (Yet Again)

I long loved iTunes as a music player. But everything else makes it bloatware in my opinion and that bloat causes problems to come and go. They came in the form of iTunes freezes the last couple of days.

Back in the day when I got my first first iPod I didn’t use it much. I was on Windows and that was when the iPods were sold as OS specific and iTunes wasn’t an option. Then I was able to use iTunes and it was like having a new music player. Since then it’s been my favorite music player. The smart playlists and organization abilities sold me. But as iTunes got more features there wasn’t much I liked (pretty much just podcasts and audiobooks) and it just became bloatware.

And that bloat caused occasional but severe frustrations over the years. The last two days were no exception.

I’d recently changed my settings back to start iTunes automatically and sync when my devices were connected. I turned this back on recently because it’s now a rare event for me to connect via the USB cable and my primary reason to connect is usually to do a sync. The most recent update broke that feature. Not a huge deal since I had only recently started using it again.

Then, two days ago I rebooted my Mac Mini (which runs iTunes on it). The auto start & sync magically started working again. But then things got worse. iTunes would freeze shortly after starting. Even without a connected device iTunes would freeze. I went as far as to put my devices in airplane mode to make sure iTunes didn’t find them when it started. No joy. I get a few seconds between starting a freezing and during that time (during several force quits and restarts) I was able to get all the devices out of iTunes memory so they wouldn’t show when iTunes started. I guess you could say there was progress, as the time between starting and freezing could be counted in minutes with no devices in the device list. But the freeze was inevitable.

I left iTunes “running” for about two hours but did a force quit before going to bed for the night. I didn’t want to leave it running to avoid open files that wouldn’t be backed up. I figured my next step would be to revert to a backup but wanted a current copy to go back to when that didn’t work.

The next morning I started iTunes, watched the pinwheel appear, and headed off to work. I connected in from work about 6 hours later and iTunes was happy and responsive. Not sure how long it took, somewhere between 5 minutes and 6 hours. Tonight all is fine. Stops, starts, syncs, plays.

What changed to cause the problem? No idea. What changed to fix the problem? Nothing except my patience to let the pinwheel spin. I rebooted my Mini because I was moving cables and it would lose power. No software changes. There’s always content changing on the i-devices, but nothing out of the ordinary. No completely new apps. I do have my iTunes library on my Windows Home Server so the problem could have been there. And the one thing I did change was I applied the monthly Microsoft patches to the WHS shortly before the iTunes problem happened. I did reboot the server during the issue and that didn’t help the problem and since I didn’t change anything on the server to resolve the problem I don’t really think that was the issue.

I guess iTunes just had some issues that it needed to work through.