Introduction to iTunes

iTunes, a product from Apple, is comprehensive multimedia software that allows you to listen to and burn CDs, listen to thousands of radio stations, browse and subscribe to over 50,000 podcasts, and purchase audio books, TV shows and movies. iTunes is also useful for purchasing, managing and authorizing applications for Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

First you download the software, install it, and agree to the terms of service. Then you are ready to begin enjoying a wealth of multimedia. iTunes also comes bundled with software called Quicktime. This is also installed and is used for playing movies. Purchasing items is very easy once you have set up an account. While this can be done from within iTunes, many people find it easier to create their account at Your account email address and password will be used for all Apple purchases, and when subscribing to podcasts.

iTunes has many keyboard shortcuts. We suggest you look through the menus to learn the features, and their associated hotkeys. One very useful hotkey is F6. This moves you between the navigation panes. Used in combination with the Tab Key, you can learn the options for each media type that interests you. Just choose the category; music, podcasts, TV shows, etc., then tab to the search box and type in what you are looking for. Press Enter, and tab a few times to see the list of related items.

Another thing that will make your use of iTunes easier is to turn on the sidebar. This can be done with CTRL+S. It is off by default, and this keystroke is a toggle.

If you own a device like the iPhone iPad, or one of the supported accessible iPods, simply connect the device. iTunes will automatically start running, and items will be synced between your device and the iTunes library. This means if you have purchased or added new music, or downloaded new podcast episodes, they will be transferred to your device. Likewise, if you have deleted items from your computer, you will be prompted if you also want them to be removed from your portable device. Pay very careful attention to these prompts. With System Access, iTunes buttons, dialogs and web content automatically speak.

There are a couple of things you will want to be aware of while using the iTunes store. First, when you select iTunes Store from the available options, use F6 to switch betweenthe the iTunes Store page and iTunes controls. To change account information or select a specific section, use the buttons in the tab order. That is, from the tree view, tab to the button you want, such as "View my iTunes account". If a menu appears, use up and down arrows to navigate to your desired choice, then press enter. You should then automatically be placed on the iTunes store page.

There are certain areas of the store that will require you to modify information, such as your name, address, billing information, and so on. For the most part, the controls on these forms will act like the radio buttons, edit fields, and check boxes with which you are already familiar. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with these controls in iTunes.

First, select a radio button by tabbing to it or arrowing to it, then press the space bar. Unfortunately, there is no confirmation that the correct radio button is selected, although in some cases, the page will refresh, and you'll hear the iTunes page loading sound. In that way, you'll know that you've made a selection. Note also that radio button labels may not read if you navigate them with arrow keys, so it really is best to tab through controls to get their proper labels.

To select a choice from a list box, such as the month or year of a credit card expiration date, open the list as usual with alt+down arrow. You may find that you're at the bottom of the list rather than the top. You can navigate up through the list with the up arrow key, or just press Home to jump right to the top of the list. To make a selection, use the arrow keys to find the correct choice, but instead of pressing Tab to get out of the list, press Enter first. Only by pressing the Enter key will you be certain that your choice has been correctly selected.

Last modified December 10, 2014

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