How to Turn Off iTunes Genius and Genius Sidebar

Turn off iTunes Genius
image credit: David Crockett/Moment/Getty Images

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

And that's all great, but the iTunes Genius interface also takes up valuable real estate on the iTunes screen, and if you don't use the feature you may want to turn off Genius or a related feature called the Genius sidebar. Luckily, turning off one or both of these is 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 to turn off iTunes Genius has moved in this version 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. As a result, you sometimes won't see an option to turn iTunes Genius off, at least not right away. In those cases, follow these steps:

  1. First, you have to turn off iCloud Music Library. On recent versions of iTunes, do that by going to iTunes > Preferences > unchecking the box next to iCloud Music Library. (On some older versions of iTunes, you can do this in File -> Library or 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 of iTunes)

  3. Select that to disable Genius.

The iTunes Genius Sidebar

When iTunes 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.

If you're using iTunes 11 or higher, this part of the 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 displays in iTunes 10 and earlier. To hide 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.