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iTunes on Your Mac with OS X Mountain Lion

iTunes is the Swiss Army knife of multimedia software. After all, what other program lets you play audio CDs; create (burn) your own audio or MP3 CDs; listen to MP3, AIFF, AAC, WAV, Audible.com, and several other types of files; view album cover art; enjoy pretty visual displays in time to the music; view and manage TV shows, movies, and other video files; manage iPods (or other MP3 players), Apple TVs, iPads, and/or iPhones; listen to Internet radio stations; and more?

On top of all that, it’s your interface to the iTunes Store, the world’s leading (legitimate) source of downloadable music and video content. (Whew!)

To open iTunes, click its icon in the Dock or double-click its icon in the Applications folder. The iTunes window opens.

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In a nutshell, whatever you select in the Source List on the left is reflected in the main list on the right. In the figure, the Music library is selected. At the bottom of the window, you can see that there are 12,521 songs in my Music library, which would take 36.1 days to listen to from start to finish and uses 114.10GB of space on your hard drive.

Click anything and everything you see in the main iTunes window. Experiment with the views, show and hide the iTunes browser and album art, click different items in the Source List, and see what happens.

Take note of a few other items:

  • The iTunes main window shrinks to a much more manageable size when you click its green gumdrop button. Click the green gumdrop again to expand it back to its normal size.

    To switch between the small (top left) and ultra-small (top right) windows, click the bottom-right corner of the little window and drag left to shrink it or drag right to expand it.

    The most recent versions of iTunes include two new ways to switch to the Mini Player: Choose Window→Switch to Mini Player or press Command+Shift+M. To switch back to the normal-sized iTunes window, choose Window→Switch from Mini Player, press Command+Shift+M again, or click the green gumdrop (again).

  • iTunes offers a ten-band graphic equalizer that can make your music (or video) sound significantly better. Just choose Window→Equalizer to invoke it on-screen. You can see the equalizer in the lower part of the figure.

    image1.jpg
  • Don’t miss the iTunes Visualizer, which offers a groovy light show that dances in time to the music. You turn it on by choosing View→Show Visualizer or pressing Command+T. If you like the default Visualizer, check out some of iTunes’ other built-in Visualizers such as Lathe, Jelly, or Stix, which are available in the Visualizer submenu. Search the web for “iTunes Visualizer” to find even more.

    When you get sick of the Visualizer (as you surely will), just choose View→Hide Visualizer or press Command+T again to make it disappear.

    Try this: Choose View→Full Screen or press Command+F while the Visualizer is running, and the Visualizer takes over your entire screen. Click anywhere on the screen to bring the iTunes window back.

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