A list of the top 5 free alternatives to rescue you from Apple’s iTunes software.
Apple usually excels at producing products that have are well-designed, simple to use, and high quality. iTunes is black sheep of the family, with its clunky functions and difficult navigation. Although it’s the default software used with Mac computers and iDevices, there are other software packages that organize your music, enable you to download podcasts, and transfer data to an MP3 player or tablet. Here’s a list of free alternatives to iTunes that will save you time, frustration, and make organizing your audio files an enjoyable experience again.
CopyTrans Manager is a user-friendly alternative to iTunes specifically for Apple devices. After installing the software on your iPhone, iPod or iPad, you can add music, apps and videos to your device, customize tags and artworks for albums, tracks and other files, and create device playlists. Rather than iTunes’ complicated ‘sync’ feature, you can drag and drop files from folders on your computer straight onto your device. The major drawback of CopyTrans Manager is that it is only compatible with PCs, so Mac users will have to look elsewhere.
Media Monkey is desktop software that provides a comprehensive way of storing and organizing your music and video files. It has similar features to the iTunes desktop software, including the ability to import and export music, and download movies, podcasts and music tracks. Convert files to a number of formats, including MP3, OGG, M4A, FLAC and WMA, and create playlists using the software’s “Auto-DJ” and “Party” modes. Media Monkey supports most MP3 players and, if it comes across an unsupported file format, it will convert the file automatically.
SharePod music management software enables you to share files between your iPod and PC (more apologies Mac users). As well as loading music onto your player, you can also transfer files from your iPod to your computer. The software has all the standard features of a player, including the ability to create playlists and tags. You can export or import music with iTunes, and drag and drop files from your computer onto your device, and vice versa. SharePod’s drawbacks include the fact it doesn’t work with the iPhone 4 or the iPad, and it doesn’t have some of the more advanced features that other programs provide.
DoubleTwist looks like iTunes, but without the clutter. Its interface is simple, and it provides all the features of Apple’s maligned entertainment software without the lengthy loading times and over-complex interface. Using DoubleTwist, you can organize music, videos, podcasts and photos. The software does have drawbacks – the mobile software only works with Android cells or tablets – however, it also has a lot of user-friendly features, including the ability to sync wirelessly using AirSync. As well as transferring music from your computer, you can also sync music and podcasts you download from the Android marketplace to your desktop.
Songbird is an application for desktop, Facebook and Android (sorry Apple folks, the developers don’t currently support iPods, iPhones or iPads). The software provides an interactive listening experience, and, as well as storing and playing music, provides information about each track from the web, including concert dates, videos and biographies. Songbird is integrated with 7digital so you can also purchase music directly through the application from your desktop. The Android and Facebook applications enable you to share music suggestions with friends, and create what it calls “personal music connections”.