iTunes 11: Frequently used features

Learn about frequently used features and quick tips for iTunes 11.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

For additional iTunes 11 information on Mac and Windows, check out the iTunes Help and the iTunes Tutorials found under the Help menu.

View album art in Songs view

You can show album art in your Songs list by going to your Music library and selecting Songs.

From the menus bar, choose View > Show View Options:

Select Show Artwork and Always Show:

Note: You can change the size of the album art by moving the slider.

Show or hide the Status Bar and Sidebar

In iTunes 11 you have the option to turn the Sidebar and the Status Bar on or off; they are off by default. To do this in the menus, go to:

  • Show Sidebar - Choose View > Show Sidebar (this feature will display iTunes features on the left side of the application including Library, Store, Shared, Genius, and Playlists).

  • Show Status Bar - Choose View > Show Status Bar (this feature will conveniently display the number of items and playback time for a category, for example, music or movies).

show hide status bar and sidebar

Creating and editing playlists

You might want to create playlists to suit specific moods, to organize songs with a certain theme, or to group songs you want to burn to a CD.

Create a playlist

  1. Choose File > New > Playlist.
  2. Type a name for the playlist.
  3. To add items, drag them to the playlist on the right side of the iTunes window.
  4. When you’re finished adding items, click Done.

Edit a playlist

Select the playlist and do any of the following:

  • Add items: Drag an item into a playlist or Control-click (right click) an item. Select "Add to Playlist," and then select the playlist.
    Note: To quickly add an item to a playlist:
    1. Start dragging the item (or items) you want to add. A pane with a list of playlists appears on the right. (Note that this method is disabled if the Sidebar is in use).
    2. Drag the item to a playlist in the list.
  • Change the order of songs: Drag the songs into the order you want. If you can’t drag a song, click the column heading above the numbers.
  • Remove an item: Select the item and press the Delete key (this does not remove the item from your library or hard disk).

Album view custom colors

The custom colors feature is enabled by default for albums and movies. To have iTunes use the traditional background look, go to iTunes > Preferences > General and select the checkbox for “Use custom colors for open albums, movies, etc.”

view custom colors

Search results and finding items in iTunes


You can quickly locate items in your library or a playlist.

As you type, iTunes displays a list of items that match the criteria you entered. To see your search results in the main iTunes window, press the Return key.

Note: The search behavior has been enhanced in iTunes 11. If you simply start typing, your search results appear in a menu under the Search field, listing the songs, albums, movies, or apps that include those search terms. If you press the Return key, the then category-specific results will display in the main iTunes window.

Additional topics

Learn about playing a Genius playlist or Genius Mix.

Learn about keyboard shortcuts for the Mac and for Windows, and learn about iTunes symbols for the Mac or for Windows.

Last Modified: