I recently wrote a story about the availability of iTunes 12 for Windows, but according to your feedback, it looks like most of you hate iTunes 12 more than any other version to date. iTunes, in general, won our Worst Software Ever award, and it looks like version 12 would have no problem winning it again in a landslide victory.
Well, there’s some good news if you do use iTunes and can’t stand the latest version. It is possible to uninstall iTunes 12 and downgrade to an older version on Windows. Here’s how to do it!
Uninstall iTunes 12
Uninstalling the monstrosity is a simple task, but there are multiple parts you must uninstall. Go to PC Settings > Apps > Apps & features and find and select iTunes in the list on the right.
Click Uninstall once and then again on the small popup that displays.
If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.
You must also uninstall the following items in the order listed to completely uninstall iTunes. It’s important to uninstall these items in the order listed.
- Apple Software Update
- Apple Mobile Device Support
- Apple Application Support 32-bit
- Apple Application Support 64-bit
After uninstalling those items, there may be some clean up to do to be sure all the remnants of iTunes left behind by the uninstallation process are gone. Apple details what to check for and delete to make sure iTunes is completely removed from your computer. Follow the steps in the Make sure that iTunes and its related components are completely uninstalled section on this page.
Reboot your computer after carefully following all the steps to uninstall iTunes.
Reinstall iTunes 11 or 10.7
Now, how do you get an earlier version of iTunes? To its credit, Apple does offer the ability to download older versions of iTunes for Windows and Mac.
I wasn’t able to find iTunes 11 for my 64-bit system, so I went ahead and got iTunes 10.7 – anything is better than version 12 right?
Now just go through the steps to install the new (I mean old) version of iTunes, including giving iTunes permission to install on the User Account Control dialog box, and you should be good to go!
Make sure you uncheck the Automatically update iTunes and other Apple software box during installation.
When you’re asked if you want to download iTunes 12, click Don’t Download. If you don’t want to be asked again, uncheck the Do not ask me again box before clicking Don’t Download.
If you do get an earlier version like I had to do on my 64-bit Windows system, don’t bother trying to update it because it’s going to want you to get iTunes 12.
In fact, to stop annoying reminders about updating, go to Edit > Preferences > General and uncheck the Check for new software updates automatically box and click OK.
A lot of you will get the error message shown below saying that Library.itl can’t be read because it was created with a newer version — Click OK on that and make sure iTunes is closed.
Now head to the local music folder on your computer. For example on my system it’s located in C:\Users\Brian\Music\iTunes.
From there delete the Library.itl file and then launch iTunes again, and it should work, as it will create its own version of the Library.itl file.
This method worked successfully for me on both Windows 8.1 update 1 and the Windows 10 Technical Preview. But when I tried the same steps on a Windows 7 32-bit system with version 11.1.5, I received a different error that I will need to deal with – but that’s a separate issue.
The point is, your experience may vary so make sure you’ve backed up the important stuff or create a Restore Point before starting this.