How to Turn Off iTunes Genius and Genius Sidebar

Turn off iTunes Genius
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iTunes Genius is a pretty neat addition to iTunes—not only does it create great-sounding playlists for you automatically, but it also helps you discover and buy (from the iTunes Store, of course. Apple didn't create it out of the goodness of their hearts!) new music you'll like based on the music you already own.

And that's great, but the iTunes Genius interface also takes up valuable real estate in your iTunes library, and if you don't use the feature you may want to turn off Genius or the Genius sidebar. Luckily, it's as easy as a couple of clicks. Here's how.

How to Turn off iTunes Genius

How you disable Genius depends on what version of iTunes you're using and whether you use iCloud Music Library.

In iTunes 12:

The location of the option has moved compared to earlier versions of iTunes, but turning off Genius is still a matter of a few clicks:

  1. Click the File menu

  2. Click Library

  3. Click Turn Off Genius.

In Older iTunes Versions:

If you have an older version of iTunes and haven't subscribed to iTunes Match or Apple Music, you can completely turn off the Genius features by going to the Store menu in iTunes and choose Turn off Genius. If you do that and want to get it back, you'll need to turn Genius on again.

If You Use iCloud Music Library:

The iCloud Music Library feature is used by iTunes Match and Apple Music to store your music in the cloud and to make sure that all your devices have access to the same music. It's great, but it also changes how you disable Genius if that's what you want to do.

In this situation, iTunes Genius iTunes to iCloud Music Library. As a result, you sometimes won't see an option to turn iTunes Genius off. In those cases, follow these steps:

  1. First, you have to turn off iCloud Music Library. On recent versions of iTunes, do that in File -> Library. In older versions, go to Store -> Turn Off iTunes Match.

  2. With this done, the Turn Off Genius menu will appear (either in File -> Library or Store, depending on your version)

  3. Select that to disable Genius.

Some users report that when they turn iTunes Match or iCloud Music Library back on they're forced to entirely re-match their iTunes libraries, and that this process is sometimes extremely time-consuming.

The iTunes Genius Sidebar

When Genius was first introduced, it brought with it the Genius Sidebar, which was the way that Apple delivered its "if-you-like-that-you'll-like-this" purchase recommendations. If you were looking to discover new music, it was a great addition. If you just wanted to focus on your own music, though, it was annoying—which led to wanting to hide it.

The End of The Genius Sidebar

If you're using iTunes 11 or higher, this article doesn't apply to you: the Genius Sidebar no longer exists in these versions of iTunes. Nothing for you to worry about here!

Hiding the iTunes Genius Sidebar in iTunes 10 and Earlier

The Sidebar does still display in iTunes 10 and earlier, though. To get rid of it, follow these steps:

  1. Once you've got iTunes Genius enabled, you'll notice two small buttons at the bottom right-hand corner of your iTunes window.

  2. One, the Genius button, is used to make genius create playlists or suggest music. The other, which looks like an arrow pointing right, is the one we care about it. 

  3. If the Genius sidebar is visible, click that arrow button to hide it.

  4. When you want the sidebar back, click the arrow button again and Genius will re-appear.