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Do You Have to Use iTunes With an iPhone or iPod?

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By Sam Costello. iPhone/iPod Expert

Sam Costello has been writing about technology since 2000. He has published articles with, PC World, InfoWorld, and Computerworld, among others. For those magazines and websites, he covered digital copyright, the rise and fall of Napster, mobile devices, and computer and network security. He has written about PDAs, monitors, and printers for Samsung's consumer websites.

Author of My iPad for Kids (2012), published by Que Publishing.

Alternatives to iTunes Software

Most people use iTunes to manage the music, movies, and other content on their Apple devices because it’s the easiest thing to do and takes advantage of the software that they already have on their computers. After all, setting up your iPhone or iPod requires installing iTunes. And since Apple combines the iPhone, iPod, and iTunes into a well-integrated of an ecosystem, most people are just going to stick with that.

But, just because most people do that doesn't mean you have to.

There are many programs that are provide similar functionality  to iTunes—managing your music, syncing it to your iPhone, etc.—but they all have some limitations:

  • In many cases the alternatives are paid, whereas iTunes is free
  • They don't have built-in access to the iTunes Store for buying music, movies, and other content
  • They lack some of the more-advanced features of iTunes such as podcast subscription, renting and playing movies, or

    streaming radio

  • They aren’t supported by Apple and so you won't be able to get support from Apple for using your device with them.

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Still, if you’re frustrated by iTunes or just curious to see what else is out there, you may want to consider some of these iTunes alternatives .

Alternatives to iTunes Store

While the desktop iTunes software is what people usually want to replace in this case, there's another component of iTunes to consider: the iTunes Store. Luckily, there are more, and better, alternatives to it than there are to the desktop program. If you don't want to buy music, movies, or ebooks via the iTunes Store. your options are bountiful, including:

While there's no reason to tie yourself exclusively to the iTunes Store, it's worth remembering that the iTunes/iPhone/iPod ecosystem is tightly joined and it's the easiest way to get content to your device. Many of the other options require installing additional desktop software or iOS apps or require multiple services to replace what iTunes offers in a single place.

That said, the alternatives to iTunes offer things that it doesn't, including different kinds of sales, exclusive content, and greater flexibility in some cases. Unless you're fully satisfied with iTunes, it's worth trying some of the other stores and services to discover what best fits your needs.

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