Why is iTunes Slow?

The iTunes application has been the focal point for music lovers using Mac and Apple products for quite a long time. Since its launch in 2001, iTunes has seen its capabilities expanded tremendously and now users can rely on the application not only to store and group their music libraries in playlists but to access, buy, or rent a large variety of media products in several different formats. 

Unfortunately, with the application becoming more and more sophisticated and the increased size of the music and movie files that were brought by their improved quality, iTunes can run into issues while executing. One of the most commonly encountered problems is the application starting to operate slowly. The exact reasons for this particular issue may vary and could include internal glitches, a large library saved on the Mac, cache interference or not enough hardware resources.

Update iTunes

It is recommended to update iTunes whenever a new version is released. New updates oftentimes address known issues that might have emerged in the current previous iTunes version. One such example is the bug in version 12.7 that caused a massive increase (sometimes over 450%) in the traffic between the application and its media library. Nowadays, iTunes comes packaged with macOS updates, so to check if you have the latest one installed, follow the steps:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Open 'System Preferences.'
  3. Select 'Software Update.'
  4. See if any updates are available and install them. 

Use the Cloud to Store Your iTunes Libary

To reduce the strain on both the application and your Mac's hard drive, users can take advantage of the option to all of the media files they own in the cloud. If you already have files stored on your computer, you can remove them while making them accessible via the cloud. To do so, right-click the chose file and select 'Remove Download' from the available options. 

Delete the iTunes Cache

In the normal operation of the iTunes application, it creates numerous cache files related to the visited pages, the songs you have listened to, or if any started previews watched within the application. Over a prolonged time, these files may start to pile up and cause issues. To clear the iTunes cache follow these steps:

  1. Open the 'Go' menu.
  2. Select 'Go to Folder...'
  3. In the new window, type or paste ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.itunes and click 'Go.'
  4. Once inside the iTunes folder, delete both fsCachedData and SubscriptionPlayCache.

Users may also wish to clear the iTunes Store cache while we are at it. 

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Go to 'Preferences.'
  3. Pick 'Advanced.'
  4. Locate 'Reset Cache' and click it.

Free More RAM

Having insufficient available RAM can cause iTunes to slow down, freeze or even begin to crash. If you prioritize it's smooth running over some other applications that might be using currently, you might want to close them to free up hardware resources. The first step in the process is to see how is your RAM allocated between the active applications. 

  1. Go to your Applications folder, locate Activity Monitor and launch it. 
  2. Select the 'Memory' tab. 
  3. Sort the list of active processes and look at the ones towards the top, they are using the most RAM.
  4. Quit any that you deem unnecessary.

Sometimes it may be easier to simply restart the system and start fresh with only the applications that you need to use currently.