iTunes 9 mini player is ruined

iTunes mini player

I’ve been using iTunes religiously since college, right around 2001, when an art professor told me, “iTunes is the best way to play with your music.”

And he was right. I remember those awful days of WinAmp and I cringe. iTunes, despite all its flaws, remains one of my favorite pieces of Apple software. Grab a song, hit the green “zoom” button, and tuck the iTunes mini player away until you need it. It was convenient and easy to use.

Then they went and broke the damn thing.

iTunes 9 maximize

Now, with iTunes 9, when you hit the green “maximize” button in OS X, the mini player doesn’t appear. Instead, iTunes treats it like every other app treats it: as a way to mess with the size of the window.

So for eight years now, Apple takes an automatic iTunes response, one that my muscles have stored in the same place they store the tie-your-shoes instructions, and tossed it in the trash heap.

Here’s what happens when you hit the green plus button now:

iTunes 9 after

Notice anything? Of course not – it’s BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED!

Nothing except a subtle screen shift to the bottom right – a transition of a few pixels. But those few pixels have screwed the entire iTunes experience.

iTunes mini player menu option

Nope, now you have to go to the “View” menu and manually choose “Switch to Mini Player,” or – as I had to learn in an Apple Support forum – hit Option when you click the green “maximize” button.

It’s crap. Hopefully, judging from the forum responses (and the feedback link they provided) it’s simply a bug and a fixable situation.

But really – did no one at Apple click the green zoom button and try out the mini player? Does no one in One Infinite Loop actually use the damn thing?

40 comments.

  1. It’s not broken. If you want the miniplayer, Option-Click on the green button.

  2. Use Option+click on green button

  3. For 8 years now the guardians of all that is right have been complaining that minimize in iTunes does not work the way it does in all other programs. Okay. They got their wish. iTunes is the same as every other program. Pressing a keyboard shortcut is no worse than pressing a button once you get used to it. Next time tell the complainers to shut up, you like things as they are.

  4. Thank you! I’m NOT going crazy. This was one of the first things I noticed about iTunes 9 too and it is utterly annoying.

  5. I fail to see how the iTunes mini player is any better than WinAmp. It has a terrible interface and hardly any controls. If you need iTunes to go away for a while just hit H to hide it. That way you don’t even have to deal with the mini player at all!

    Quite frankly, I am glad they finally made iTunes work like the every other program, because it is a lot of trouble to resize the window if you accidentally change it. Just use option click for the mini player, and after a day or so it shouldn’t even be a problem anymore.

  6. Hold down the Alt key when you click on the green +, and it works just as it did before.

    I’m rather happy that they made itunes follow the more consistent behavior of that button.

  7. CORRECTION – it was the option key that needs to be held down – sorry, I’m writing this from my work PC.

  8. Option-Click the green button now for miniplayer. Not as good as it was, but it’s better than going to the menu.

  9. Thanks everyone – but I understand we can hit Option and the zoom button to make the mini player active. I say so in the post.

    What I have a problem with is that the previous mini player action became an automatic response. It’s pretty jarring when you hit the green button and nothing happens. You get used to something, and then that something isn’t there anymore.

    Imagine hitting your car horn and the windshield wipers turning on instead.

    @obi1kenobi1 – it’s a matter of preference. I love the mini player because it offers a simple, at-a-glance interface for what’s going on with my music (what’s playing, how long until a podcast is over, convenient controls). Some use the Dock controls, some use the entire, maximized window. I prefer the mini player. To each their own.

    But you’re probably right: I’ll adapt to this new control like everything else. It just seems like a major thing to change all of the sudden.

  10. I, too, lamented this change on my blog. The issue for me is twofold – one, it changed the behavior I’d gotten used to, and two, they took “predictable if out-of-spec behavior” and turned it into “completely asymmetric and broken if in-spec behavior.” While the use of the green button to transform to/from the MIniplayer may have been ‘out of spec,’ it did something eminently understandable. It minimized and maximized the iTunes interface (although not the *window*, which was the complaint before). Most important, though, it had predictable and symmetric behavior – click green in full window, you get MiniPlayer. Click green in MiniPlayer, you get full window.

    Now, however, it’s totally b0rked. If you click Green in full window, you no longer get Miniplayer, you get a frobbed windowsize – okay, that’s what the specs say. But *if you click green in miniplayer*, you *do* get the full interface! But if you click *again*, you don’t get MIniplayer back, you just flip between frobbed window and ‘maximized’ window, or whatever the pointless use of that stupid control is. It no longer even ‘maximizes’ the window properly, so I have no no idea what it’s supposed to do.

  11. Dave,

    I know what you mean — frankly, window resizing on the Mac has been brain dead for years. At least that green button did something USEFUL in iTunes — now it’s as lobotomized as the rest.

    I imagine there will be a haxie or other hack to “fix” this behavior soon enough. ;-)

    ‘Nuff said.

  12. While I agree, I think the current behavior is better because it jibes with all the other applications.

    I can’t tell you how many time I’ve wanted to make my iTunes screen bigger, so I hit the expand button, only to have my entire screen shrink into this little tiny thing. Again, as you say, it’s an automatic response that pressing the little green button will show you all the contents that will fit on your screen.

    Remember, one of the hallmarks of the Macintosh experience is consistency. Pressing a standard button should have a standard behavior. In iTunes’ case, the behavior was not the standard behavior. It is now, and this is a good thing.

    If anything, I’d blame Apple for leaving it broken for so long that people got used to it’s non-standard behavior.

  13. Count me in with those happy with this! I have a 23″ LCD on my desk and a MacBook Pro and iTunes doesn’t play well when you reboot to just the note book. ITunes window would be off the lower screen rendering it useless for a lot of things such as Applying iPhone settings etc., because the button was off screen and no way to resize. I had to write an AppleScript to do it! That’s just wrong! The UI should be consistent and not adopt a different behavior. Get used to the key combo there are more important things to worry about.

  14. Oh come on. For some time I’ve been annoyed at iTunes because (unlike every other OS X program) when you hit the green button, it goes to this stupid miniplayer thing which I never use. What I want it to do is zoom to the full screen size. And IMHO, if the fraction of macs sold to first time mac buyers is as high as has been reported, moving towards interface consistency is the right decision.

  15. I understand frustration when Apple changes things, but this happens frequently and we all just have to adjust. It takes a lot longer to mouse up to the little green button and click on it (for any purpose) than it does to hit M plus Command plus Shift.

    Hopefully everyone who used the green button will eventually prefer the keyboard shortcut and be happy that Apple’s making the minimize behavior finally match that of most other applications. Best wishes to all in making the shift!

  16. I understand how you feel (and I agree with you). But then again, I was one of the dozen or so folks that really liked (and used) ‘snap back’ in Safari/

  17. JB Zimmerman needs to learn how Macs work. The green button has nothing to do with “maximize”. It’s the ZOOM button, and it switches between the current window size and the zoomed size, which is the smallest size needed to display all the window contents.

  18. i’m also a frequent user of the Mini Player, no point in opening a full window when the music that it plays becomes a background task.

    some articles i’ve read was this may have to do with a window resizing bug. I just dont get it why would one break a feature to fix a bug.

    my solution is SizzlingKeys, it has more functions than the Miniplayer and its free.

  19. Puh-leeze…get a grip people. This is hardly a “major change” or a broken app. It’s a minor correction to bring the behavior of the green button on iTunes into line with all the other mac apps. Consistency is a good thing. Shfit-command-m is what I use. It took me all of about 5-minutes to make the mental adjustment.

  20. “Ruined” is a little harsh.

    Ruined would be if it replaced all of your real music with rap.

    Ruined would be if it replaced all of your explicit lyrics with the sound of kittens purring.

    Ruined would be if, when you pressed the green button, it sent a shock through your chair.

    Ruined would be if it took a picture of you touching yourself whenever Britteny Spears plays and sent that picture to your girlfriend.

  21. I agree: They ruined it. iTunes was the only Apple app I used the damn green button. Now it’s practically useless.

  22. I have written a tool that replicates the old functionality of the green button. You can take a look at http://www.bradtrotter.com. It’s not the most elegant solution, and it has not had much testing, but it works for me.

  23. I agree “ruined” is overstating it, but I also think it’s a bad decision on Apple’s part. It boils down to: instead of a one-hand, single click operation, now I need both hands to do something I do many, many times a day. It’s annoying for me, it must be infuriating for a one-handed user who has to use a modal process.

    For the sake of consistency, they have sacrificed utility. And even that’s not completely true, as no other apps I can think of have an option-click-on-the-green-button behavior.

    Sizzling Keys will not work, you can’t control the minimization. I’m looking forward to an aftermarket fix, not looking forward to having to implement it on every Mac I have, every build/upgrade.

  24. I don’t understand what the green button does… The new shortcut is ok… it’s not as quick to use. I think they should have made this ‘new’ function the shortcut, this would have been more practical I don’t see why you need 2 size settings to view your itunes library.

    It isn’t a hard adjustment to make just an irritating one.

  25. Shift Cmd M is an unergonomic combination,I expected Apple to have chosen a better shortcut being a company known for good UI design.

    SizzlingKeys’ window can be resized in its preferences (Text size and Width)

  26. Absolutely right davelawrence! This was one of the my most used things in itunes and this was an incredibly stupid and annoying decision by Apple. It has ruined itunes and should be fixed immediately. This is so stupid that it didn’t even occur to me that it was anything other than a bug until I read posts that it was deliberate.
    For the folks who claim to like this, unless you were previously complaining about the green button activating the mini player, then you don’t really have anything to be talking about now. And don’t waste your breath telling us how we can use keyboard short cuts instead – the whole point was doing it with a single mouse click.

    More discussion here:
    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2150845

  27. [...] was modified September 15, 2009 – the same day my giant discussion on the broken-ness of the iTunes 9 mini player and OS X’s zoom button inconsistencies [...]

  28. My complete sympathy with you. In my opinion the green button resize the window in all other apps, becouse they doesn’t have miniplayer!

    When you have YEARS using a single and simple action, you get to used too…
    If you only are using iTunes you can remember to press option before the green dot. But when your’re working, using many applications and your mind is at your job, you forget about the “New Issue” and it becomes frustrating.

    I’ve just downgraded to iTunes 8.2.1 again… now I can work and enjoy my music as I used to be.

  29. I hate this function change too, I keep hitting the button and going “F it!” every time, and probably will not get used to it for ages.
    Like a previous person said, Its like getting your car back from a service and finding that the indicators now sound the horn and you have to ask what the hell? You are then told that if you want to indicate you need to hold the clutch in and press the heater button!
    iTunes is the only window that I have ever used that button with and I used it very often, I have never seen the point in its resizing behavior in most windows, they should have changed all other windows to do something functional and match iTunes.
    I hope they will do something about this very soon, adding a fourth button to the main window for the mini player switching would be ok.

  30. I completely agree with you. I have grown custom to clicking the green button to view my mini player. It is so annoying to click the green button because it resizes my iTunes. That means I have to size it back to normal and then enter my mini player. It is a whole unnecessary step. I will turn back to iTunes 8.2 if this issue is not fixed. Who cares if it doesn’t operate like every other OSX program. How many times do you really need to resize iTunes? Every time I open iTunes, it is fully viewable.

  31. yep its annoying and crap.

  32. [...] giretto su Google e ho trovato riscontro su macosxhints, e una discussione su Newton Poetry che ha causato l’aggiornamento della pagina di supporto [...]

  33. As Oscar Rogers would say… “Fix it!”

  34. the green button functionality shift bugs me, but what REALLY bugs me is that they changed the short cut.

    it was so great to hit command+option+z. did anyone else use this?

  35. iTunes is fixed the Mini Player issue! To all of you who didn’t use the Mini Player and preferred the stupid windows maximizing of iTunes 9.0, FUCK YOU!

  36. Insanely Great news! Yes, as of today Apple “fixed” it. Just download the newest version of iTunes (9.0.1) and you will have the green button working as before. Awesome.

  37. Sweet – thanks for the heads-up gang!

  38. [...] to PC World and some great commentors at my original iTunes 9 mini player post: As of iTunes 9.0.1, the pre-iTunes 9 behavior has returned–clicking the green button [...]

  39. We’ve a nice useless green button now.

    Crap

  40. Yes, and now when you boot up on a new screen, and the window is too large for the screen, there is NO obvious way to resize. OK, after struggling for several days I discovered from this blog you can option-click the green zoom button to resize the window to your screen, but how ambiguous is that?????? I’ve used Macs since ’95, but iTunes has always seemed like the most un-Mac of apps.

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