iTunes Keyboard Navigation Insanity

I don’t really like using a mouse. I vastly prefer to use a keyboard to navigate when using a computer. I use things like LaunchBar and vim because they’re really good at accelerating things with keyboard shortcuts.

The current ire of my keyboard-loving life is iTunes. iTunes basically breaks all conventions when it comes to the keyboard, especially for nagivating your library. The best short cut to know for iTunes keyboard navigation is Cmd-L (take me to the currently playing track in my library and select it). And then Cmd-Left Arrow and Cmd-Right Arrow to skip backwards and forward a track. The rest…well…give up now because it’s a fucking nightmare.

Don’t believe me? Check this out…

Here we are listening to a track 6 from disc 1 in this multi-disc album. We’d like to listen to track 8, but not immediately. So we’d just like to highlight track 8 and get ready to make it the currently playing track.

Track 6, Disc 1

We press the down arrow to go to highlight the next track, track 7, and cool…that works:

Track 7, Disc 1

Cool. Cool. So one more down arrow press and we’re at track 8, right? RIGHT????

We expect Track 8 right?

NO! Because why? Because FUCK YOU, that’s why! It goes to track 1, disc 1 in ANOTHER ALBUM! Of course!

Track 1, Disc 1 in another album altogether

There was no combination of up, down, left, right arrow keys that I could press that would let me move to track 8 on that disc 1 in the album I was listening to. My only option was to Cmd-Right Arrow to advance to the next track until I got to where I wanted to be.

How can iTunes get it so utterly wrong like this? It boggles the mind really. Apple, the supposed to bastion of UI design, has this epic turd in their wheel house called iTunes and man, the more time I spend with it the close I get to abandoning it.

Maybe I’ll replace it with Swinsian or…I don’t know what. There aren’t a lot of great alternatives out there I’m afraid. I need something that’ll sync star ratings and metadata changes on tracks to iTunes (so I have them in my iCloud Music Library when I use my library via iOS or on my work laptop). Ideally, the replacement would be just be a bit of usability veener over an iTunes engine – keeping iTunes invisible to me, and giving me a nice UI without breaking the “iTunes ecosystem” I depend upon for portability in my library.

One can dream, right?

Written on August 5, 2015