Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

iTunes is one way that many people like to listen to music or podcasts when they are out running daily errands, and it is one of the first apps of its kind to allow this kind of flexibility.

Even years later, iTunes is still a relatively popular way to create, listen to, and store audio files in a convenient library that can sync up with most Apple devices, thus giving a person access to their favorites no matter where they are or what device they might be using.

However, some users wonder about the frequency or size of iTunes updates, noticing that these can seem to come faster and more often than updates to many of their similar apps.

We’ll talk about why these updates might occur, why they may take some time to complete, and whether they are strictly necessary in this article.

Depositphotos_13367972_S Time for an update

Why Does iTunes Update So Often?

There could be a few reasons why updates for iTunes seem to take so long in comparison to other apps, but we are able to make a few educated guesses into why this might happen.

While iTunes started out relatively small, the app is now filled with many different, complex features. Added complexity means that updates might come more often in order to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

While iTunes may have started out as something for digital music libraries, it has become an entire array of apps that all fall under the general heading of ‘iTunes’ in recent years.

Thanks to Apple’s expansion of the app, users now have access to music, stores on the app, books, video, and more. Because there are more facets of the program to update, things aren’t necessarily as concentrated in one place as they were before.

Consequently, it can seem like iTunes itself might need more frequent updates than some other apps a person might run regularly. However, this could partially be because of Apple needing to update particular sections within iTunes at different times as new features or security aspects become known or implemented.

Further, Apple has a large user base, and all of these people want to use at least one aspect of the features that iTunes has to offer.

In an age of increasing digital security concerns, the company has a vested interest in making sure there are no vulnerabilities in the code that it uses to get iTunes out and have it working smoothly.

Because of this, teams are searching constantly for anything that might even remotely resemble a problem. We’ll go into a bit more detail about this in the next section, but it is safe to say that Apple wants to roll out updates with fixes as soon as it finds solutions.

Why Do iTunes Updates Take So Long?

It is possible that your iTunes program might seem like it takes a long time to download. The times it takes to complete a new update could vary from one device to another, and it may depend on precisely what is in the update for each version.

However, there are some general things that tend to remain true across all iTunes updates by Apple, and we can use that information to figure out some of the most likely reasons that iTunes might take longer than other apps to complete each update that is rolled out.

One of the biggest differences in how iTunes usually updates, in contrast to some of the other apps with which users might be familiar, is in how Apple chooses to update the program each time there are fixes or additions to it.

In most cases, new apps will get small patches that are fixes to individual bugs or other problems. Sometimes, a patch will insert a new feature or two for you to use. Patches don’t need to do complete overhauls of any app, so they are not the same size as some other updates you might see.

It is worth noting that some patches can be very large, but these sorts of things are usually restricted to resource-intense games or apps that companies have released recently and may have bugs that could only be discovered after sustained use by many people.

Because Apple doesn’t really do iTunes releases for small pieces like this, the updates for this app can seem a bit longer.

For most releases of iTunes across different versions, Apple chooses to do a complete release of the program again every time it has an update.

Although users are getting updates to iTunes every time they get a new version, they are also doing a complete reinstall of iTunes itself. Because the program is overwriting itself and putting a fresh version on your device, it can take longer for the updates to complete.

Are iTunes Updates Necessary?

The proper answer to this question can vary from one individual to the next. It will depend on your outlook as a user, and how important you might view aspects of apps like functionality or security.

Companies only update apps in the hopes of either making them more functional and user-friendly, or in order to address notable security concerns that the developers have discovered since the previous version was released to the public.

Of course, not all users will appreciate the functional enhancements of every update to their apps, with some people preferring how things were before.

However, almost everyone will want their apps, and in conjunction with that, their phones or other devices, to be as secure as possible.

If you want the latest in functionality, or if you want to make sure that your iTunes is as secure as it can be with the latest knowledge that Apple has, updates may be necessary for you.

If you’re fine with how the app is running already, and if you know how to monitor your devices to look for security holes or threats, updates to iTunes may not be strictly necessary in your case.

You can also check for news from Apple periodically to see if there are any major security concerns with any of their apps or the operating system, and use your own best judgment when deciding whether to allow updates to progress.

Depositphotos_125050928_S computer phone 3d illustration

How Do I Stop iTunes From Updating? (iPhone, iPad, Mac)

Generally, iTunes should check for new updates to its version about once per week. Although many users find this convenient, some people may be annoyed if the app suggests a necessary update that interrupts things they are doing at the time.

Others may prefer to manage the updates on their own schedules. In either case, there are ways to ask iTunes not to update by itself whenever a new version comes out.

On Mac

1. To disabled auto-updates for iTunes on your computer, you can go to the program and find the ‘Edit’ menu.

2. Select this menu and navigate over to ‘Preferences’.

3. From here, you can deselect the option to ‘Check for iTunes Updates Automatically’.

4. Doing that will turn off the notifications or auto-updating. You can still go in and select this option manually when you want to check for updates to the app in your own time.

On iPhones or iPads

The settings for disabling automatic updates to iTunes on your mobile devices should be in a slightly different area than what you might see on your computer. However, most of the headings or things you need to click on should remain relatively similar.

1. From either of your mobile devices, go to the ‘Settings’ section and look for ‘App Store’. Select this.

2. From here, you should see that it opens up the App Store itself, a place where you can purchase apps or see the ones that you already own as a user with a registered Apple ID.

3. Once you are inside the App Store, you should look for a section titled ‘App Updates. From here, you can deselect it by sliding it over so that it is turned off.

4. Due to security features and other enhancements, it is still a good idea to check for updates to iTunes periodically as well.

5. Once updates are off, you can also go in and manually select which apps you’d like to update, one-by-one.

This should be all you need to know in order to turn off automatic updates on any of your major Apple devices.

Keep in mind that iTunes now represents an entire suite of programs, each of which may have their own holes in security or problems with functionality as developers discover new things.

You can read about what comes in each new update for iTunes online by searching for version notes to see if there are any major changes that you might want to apply to your own iTunes.

Bottom Line

iTunes remains a great way to listen to music, and you can take podcasts, audiobooks, and much more with you now, too. With increased functionality and smaller apps built into the larger program, there is a greater need for more frequent updates.

Because Apple essentially reinstalls the entire program each time there is an update, it could be cumbersome for some users to do it often. However, you also have ways to turn off the feature, thus allowing you to manage the updates and what goes into your iTunes as you see fit.