How to Bring Back the iTunes MiniPlayer

How to Bring Back the iTunes MiniPlayer
Screenshot: Jake Peterson

iTunes. A Obi-Wan would say, that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time. Apple killed the game-changing Mac application in 2019, splitting its combined services into three simplified apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. While this decision was in many ways a good one, those of us who have used Macs for years (or even decades) likely miss the old ways, at least a little. If you belong in that category, this MiniPlayer controller for Apple Music will give you a hit of sweet iTunes nostalgia.

While iTunes eventually ballooned into an app that served many purposes, it remained, at its core, a music player. As such, Apple designed it to include useful and fun features and controls like the visualizer, digital LPs and booklets, and, of course, the MiniPlayer. While the Music app has a MiniPlayer of its own, the classic iTunes MiniPlayer is, well, classic. Don’t get me wrong: the current MiniPlayer is fine. It features the album art for the track currently playing, along with hidden playback buttons that only appear when you hover over it.

But sometimes you just need a throwback. That’s where Mario Guzman’s “Music MiniPlayer for macOS” comes in. The free app lovingly recreates the original iTunes MiniPlayer down to the last detail, from the “Aqua” UI, to the vertical “stop light” window controls, to the minimalist track information. You’ll think your M1 iMac is straight out of 2010.

The MiniPlayer isn’t just a fun nostalgia trip, either: it’s perfectly useful for Apple Music playback. After booting up the app for the first time, it will immediately show what’s playing in the Music app and allow you to control playback — skip, pause, scrub, change the volume; everything you’d expect from a music controller. Click the arrow to the left of the playback bar to open expanded controls, including shuffle, repeat, and Playlist control. Dive into settings to choose whether the time label shows your song’s remaining time, or the overall duration of the track. You can also choose to keep the MiniPlayer floating above all windows, so you can access it at all times.

Guzman didn’t stop at the iTunes MiniPlayer, either: the developer also faithfully recreated the iTunes widget, that funky oval-shaped player Apple included as part of its “Dashboard” feature (including the classic “flip” to access settings). If you’re someone who’d rather live in 2005, this one’s for you.

While there are plenty of homages to classic software available for download, Guzman is doing something different: by making these utilities identical in look and feel to when Apple released them, those of us who can’t (or don’t want to) let go of the past are given an opportunity to experience it again, one track at a time.

[9to5Mac]

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