Why Can't I Turn Off iTunes Genius?

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While iTunes Genius provides a lot of cool features—Genius Mixes, Genius Playlists, and suggestions for music you might like based on your tastes—for some users, it can be frustrating.

Every time you sync an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your iTunes library, iTunes send Genius data to Apple. Sometimes this takes just a few seconds, but if you've got a lot of music or it's been a while sync you last synced, Genius sending that data can take time, causing syncing to take a long time, too (and I mean a long time. I've waited half an hour or more).

If you find yourself annoyed at how long Genius takes, you may want to turn it off. But what do you do when you don't see an option to turn off iTunes Genius?

Turning off Genius is usually pretty easy—unless you're using iTunes Match, Apple's service that puts a copy of your music library in your iCloud account and lets you keep music in sync across multiple devices. In that case, the process is a little more complicated.

Turning Off Genius If You Don't Use iTunes Match

If you're not an iTunes Match customer, turning off Genius is generally as simple as:

  1. Clicking the Store menu in iTunes

  2. Clicking Turn Off Genius.

The menu names used to turn off Genius are slightly different depending on what version of iTunes you have. Check out this article for more information on how versions vary.

Before you turn off Genius, though, keep in mind that disabling it will also turn off features you may want, like Genius Mixes and personalized recommendations for music you'll like, and will convert any Genius Playlists you've made into a traditional playlist. Still, that might be a small price to pay for the time you'll save when syncing.

Turning Off Genius If You Use iTunes Match

If you're an iTunes Match subscriber, things are a little bit more complicated. In that case, you may have tried the earlier directions and not seen any option to turn off Genius in the Store menu. That's because Genius has to be enabled in order to work for Match to work and as long as Match is on, you won't be able to turn off Genius.

Genius is available to any iTunes users who turns the feature on. Match, on the other hand, requires two things: a US$25/year subscription and that iTunes Genius is turned on. Because of this, if you're using iTunes Match, and want to keep doing so, you don't have an option: you have to leave iTunes Genius on no matter how long syncing takes.

You can, of course, turn Match off and then turn Genius off. This won't affect the music already added to your iTunes Match account (i.e., it won't be deleted), but you won't be able to access it again until you turn Match back on and when you do iTunes will have to spend some time re-connecting to Match and sending any new information about your library.

If you're an iTunes Match user and you still want to turn Genius off, you first have to turn Match off. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open iTunes on a computer that's connected to the Internet

  2. Click the Store menu (you won't see an option to turn off Genius yet)

  3. Click on Turn Off iTunes Match

  4. Once iTunes finishes turning off Match, click the Store menu again. Now you should see the option to Turn Off Genius

  5. Click Turn Off Genius.

Turning Genius On Again

If you later decide that you want Match or Genius back, simply go to the Store menu and turn them on. You can either enable Genius by itself or turn on Match, which activates both features at the same time.