The History of iTunes and Its Major Versions

Bonus: Downloads of Old Versions of iTunes

history of iTunes logos
itunes logos copyright Apple Inc.

Curious about the history of iTunes? Want to know where the program came from, who created it originally (hint: it wasn't Apple), and what each new version of the software added? Even better: do you really need a copy of iTunes 4.7? Well, you've come to the right place.

This page offers an overview of the full history of iTunes, Apple's music library, digital entertainment store, and iPhone and iPad management software.

Before it Was iTunes: SoundJam MP

The program we now know as iTunes began life as MP3 player software called SoundJam MP. It was distributed by Mac software developers Casady & Greene and was written by Jeff Robbin, Bill Kincaid, and Dave Heller. Apple made a deal with the developers and publisher in 2000 to acquire SoundJam MP. While SoundJam MP existed for a short while after the deal, it soon became the foundation Apple used to build a new program, iTunes.

The History of iTunes

Once iTunes was formally launched in January 2001, new versions packing new features and supporting new iOS devices came fast and furious. Here are the highlights of each version and what was added with each new release of the software (check out Wikipedia for a full history of every single iTunes version):

iTunes 12

Release Date: Oct. 16, 2014

Added: 

  • New Interface
  • Support for Family Sharing
  • Support for Windows 10
  • Integration of user's library and iTunes Store when browsing
  • New playlist editing features

Other notable releases:

  • 12.7 (iOS 11 support, removes App Store)
  • 12.5.1 (major interface overhaul for Apple Music, iOS 10 support)
  • 12.2 (Apple Music support, revised interface, removal of Home Sharing)
  • 12.1 (Bug fixes, Notification Center widget, native 64-bit support for Windows)
  • 12.1.2 (Support for new Mac OS Photos app)

Runs on: Mac OS X 10.7 and up; Windows XP for x86, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and up

iTunes 11

Release Date: Nov. 29, 2012

Added:

  • New user interface
  • iCloud integration
  • End of Ping

Other notable releases:

  • 11.4 (iOS 8 support)
  • 11.1 (iOS 7 support)

iTunes 10

Release Date: Sept. 1, 2010

Added:

Other notable releases:

  • 10.7 (iOS 6 support) 
  • 10.5 (iOS 5 support)
  • 10.4 (64-bit support)

Did you know that some older versions of iTunes even allowed you to sync music to MP3 players that were made by companies besides Apple? Learn all about All of the Non-Apple MP3 Players That Are Compatible with iTunes.

iTunes 9

Release Date: Sept. 2009

Added:

  • Home Sharing
  • Genius Mixes
  • iTunes LP for music, iTunes Extra for movies
  • Removal of DRM from music
  • HD movie rental at iTunes Store
  • iTunes DJ

Other notable releases:

  • 9.2 (iOS 4 support)
  • 9.1 (original iPad support)

iTunes 8

Release Date: Sept. 9, 2008

Added:

Other notable releases:

  • 8.2 (iOS 3 support)

iTunes 7

Release Date: Sept. 12, 2006

Added:

  • Gapless playback
  • CoverFlow browsing interface
  • Movies for purchase at iTunes Store

Other notable releases:

  • 7.7 (iOS 2 support)
  • 7.6 (64-bit Windows support)
  • 7.4 (1st gen. iPod touch support)
  • 7.3 (original iPhone support)

iTunes 6

Release Date: Oct. 12, 2005

Added:

  • Sales of music videos, TV shows, and short films at the iTunes Store

iTunes 5

Release Date: Sept. 7, 2005

Added:

  • Party Shuffle
  • Podcasts
  • AirTunes, which became AirPlay

iTunes 4

Release Date: April 2003

Added:

  • iTunes Store
  • Windows support
  • Authorizing computers in iTunes

iTunes 3

Release Date: July 2002

Added:

  • End of Mac OS 9 support
  • Star ratings for songs
  • Smart playlists
  • SoundCheck
  • Audible.com support

iTunes 2

Release Date: Oct. 2001

Added:

Runs on: Mac OS X

iTunes 1

Release Date: Jan. 9, 2001

Added:

  • Official conversion from SoundJam MP to iTunes
  • Mac OS 9 support only
  • Rip CDs

Runs on: Mac OS 9

iTunes Downloads

If you need to download old versions of iTunes, you can download all previous versions, for both Mac and Windows, below:

Looking for iTunes for various operating systems? Check out these options: