5 Useful iTunes Store Features You May Not Know

Are you using iTunes Store to its fullest potential?

iTunes gift cards

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The iTunes Store is packed full of goodies, from music and movies to apps and eBooks. However, with the tens of millions of items for sale there, it's easy to overlook some of the store's lesser-known and infrequently used features.

Did you know that the iTunes Store offers special bonus content for some albums, or that you can get free digital copies of movies you buy on DVD or Blu-ray?

Check out these five cool hidden features of the iTunes Store and make your digital entertainment experience richer.

All of the features and directions mentioned below should be used with the most recent iTunes version (you can download it here). All modern iOS versions are supported, including iOS 10 and newer.

Complete My Album

Complete My Album options in iTunes

Complete My Album is a feature that lets iTunes Store users buy full albums at a discounted price if they've already bought one or more songs from that album.

This feature of the iTunes Store eliminates a situation that many purchasers of individual songs encounter: buying a single song for $0.99 and then wanting to purchase the full album.

Normally, you'd have to either buy all the individual songs that make up the album, usually for a final price higher than the standard album price, or re-purchase the song that you've already bought.

Either way, you're being penalized with higher prices for having originally purchased a single song. Complete My Album lets users who have purchased a single song from an album buy the full album for a lower price based on the number of songs they've already purchased from the album.

Use this Complete My Album link to see all the albums available to you.

iTunes LP

Do you ever miss the good old days when CDs came with extensive booklets full of notes, photos, and other bonus content? iTunes LP aims to bring back that experience in a modern, expanded format available through the iTunes Store. 

iTunes LP takes the traditional iTunes Store offering — a collection of songs priced lower when bought as an album than when bought separately — and adds substantial additional content to the package. This might include bonus tracks, videos, PDFs, and more. Different iTunes LP packages contain different content — there isn't a standard of bonus content.

The same basic features used to create iTunes LPs are also used to create iTunes Extras, additional bonus content available with some movies sold at the iTunes Store. 

The iTunes LP format was launched with a handful of albums from artists such as Bob Dylan, The Doors, and the Grateful Dead, but has since expanded to include hundreds of new and classic albums from across all genres.

Prices for iTunes LPs range broadly, from $7.99 USD to $24.99 USD. It requires iTunes 9 and higher.

iTunes Pass

This is a slightly tricky one, since Apple has used the name iTunes Pass to refer to two separate features.

The first, which is no longer used, was a way of providing fans of particular musicians and bands early access to bonus content about upcoming albums.

Despite the very similar name, an iTunes Pass was not the same thing as a Season Pass; it was for music only, while a Season Pass is a current feature for TV shows. The original iTunes Pass feature was introduced in 2009 and quietly ended some time later.

The current iTunes Pass feature has to do with how you add money to your Apple ID for use at the iTunes Store and employs Apple's Wallet app.

Wallet (originally called Passbook) is an app that debuted in iOS 7 that lets you store tickets, gift cards, and other transactional content from compatible apps in files called "cards." One card you can include in Wallet is an iTunes Gift Card-style file where you can add money to your iTunes account.

Follow these steps to add money to your account via Wallet and iTunes Pass:

  1. From the iTunes Store app, choose Music, Movies, or TV Shows from the bottom menu.

  2. Scroll to the very bottom of that page and tap your Apple ID.

  3. Choose View Apple ID, and then if prompted to, either scan your fingerprint or enter your Apple ID password.

    iTunes Store Music screen and Apple ID prompt on iPhone
  4. Scroll down and tap Add iTunes Pass to Wallet.

    If you see a button called View iTunes Pass in Wallet, then you've already completed this step once before and can open Wallet to find iTunes Pass.

  5. Select Add when the iTunes card opens.

    Account Settings and iTunes Pass screens on iPhone

If you go to the Wallet app, you'll now have an iTunes card that displays your current balance. You can show iTunes Pass to a cashier at a participating retail store to add money to your account.

This might not seem that useful — after all, you've probably already got a credit card on file in your account, so why do you need money — but it becomes very useful if someone else is giving you money.

For instance, if you're a kid and your parents are giving you a gift of money to spend at iTunes, they can bring your phone to an Apple Store and add money via Wallet.

iTunes Pass works in the United States, Japan, Spain, Germany, Australia, Sweden, and other countries, including various regions in Italy and Hong Kong. However, it's not available everywhere.

It's also possible to share your iTunes Pass card via AirDrop with other people who can then give you money whenever they want (assuming they're in an Apple Store, of course. That's key). Tap the share button at the bottom left of the card (it looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it) to give someone else the opportunity to fund your iTunes purchases.

Music: Albums Mastered for iTunes

iTunes music store page for All of it by cole swindell

Just like how different stereos and speakers can make the same songs sound slightly different, the software you use to listen to a digital song can influence what you hear. The Mastered for iTunes designation aims to highlight albums that have been produced to sound best when listened to using Apple products.

This improved sound is accomplished when musicians and audio engineers use Apple-provided tools when recording new music or remastering old albums. The aim of these tools is to make music purchased from and listened to in iTunes "as the artists and sound engineers intend it to be heard," according to Apple, and thereby provide the best quality listening experience for users.

While this may not be a selling point for all iTunes Store customers, if you're an audiophile, or want to really hear an artist's vision for their work, you may really enjoy albums Mastered for iTunes.

Movies and TV: iTunes Digital Copy

iTunes Digital Copy is the name for an offering that lets customers who buy certain DVDs/Blu-rays receive an iPhone/iPad-compatible version of the movie that they're authorized to copy to their computer and iOS device.

There are two ways that customers get iTunes Digital Copies:

  • Originally, compatible DVDs would automatically copy the iTunes Digital Copy version of the movie into iTunes when the DVD was inserted into a computer and the code that came with the DVD was entered. The Digital Copy can be played on a computer or Apple TV, or synced to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Movies purchased on Blu-ray, which isn't a Mac-compatible format, that offer a Digital Copy generally included a DVD with the Digital Copy on it.
  • As bandwidth has increased and people have become more comfortable downloading large files like movies, the Digital Copy has migrated to a download. In this case, DVDs/Blu-rays that include a Digital Copy simply give the user a redemption code. When the redemption code is entered at the iTunes Store, the movie is added to their iTunes/iCloud account as if it were a new purchase.

To redeem and download your iTunes Digital Copy from iTunes, use this link to open iTunes, log in to your Apple ID, and enter the redemption code that came with the movie.

iTunes Redeem Code page

The offering is designed to sidestep concerns about digital rights management and ripping DVDs, while not charging consumers twice for the same movie (a DVD version and an iTunes version).

Some participating studios include 20th Century Fox (the first studio to use this practice), Columbia Pictures, Disney, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros.

Digital Copy Limitations

Each iTunes Digital Copy-compatible DVD can copy the movie to a computer only once, and only after the redemption code is entered. Digital Copies available on DVD can usually be copied multiple times.

You must have an iTunes account for the country in which the Digital Copy is designed to be used (e.g., if the Digital Copy is for use in the United States, you need to have a US iTunes account).