Go Retro and Install the Original Mac OS X iTunes widget

Are you a music fan who wants to go old-school with some iTunes fun? Check out this desktop widget for Mac that brings you back to the early days of iTunes.

If you’re a Mac user who once liked to listen to your favorite tunes using the original Mac OS X iTunes widget, you’re in luck. A free third-party solution brings the widget back to life. Better still, it will cost you absolutely nothing.

First reported by The Verge, developer Mario Guzman’s new widget is a replica of the iTunes widget that was part of Mac OS X Tiger. Widgets were stored on the Mac Dashboard at the time. Guzman’s solution, an “early beta version,” isn’t actually a widget like the ones in macOS Big Sur. Instead, it’s a full-featured app that you download and place in your Applications folder.

iTunes Widget: Retro

Once installed, the replica iTunes media player works just like the original. To get started, make sure your Music app is installed on a macOS Big Sur (or macOS Monterey beta) machine. From there, you can perform basic tasks on the player, including playback and volume controls. There are also controls for shuffling and repeating. Additionally, when listening to content from a radio station or Apple Music 1, the Music widget’s UI adapts to match what’s happening on the Apple Music app. It also supports dark mode.

Guzman used UI elements inside the code to create the retro player, not images, which would not have looked nearly as awesome on the Retina display found on late-generation Mac models.

iTunes widget

Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger was first released in April 2005 and successor to Mac OS X Panther. The now-discontinued Dashboard served as a secondary desktop for hosting mini-applications called widgets. Apple offered 14 native widgets on the first of Dashboard. Besides the iTunes player, other widgets included a stock ticker, weather report, calculator, notepad, and others. Each took on a skeuomorph design that was very popular and often used by Apple on Mac and later on iPhone.

Apple permanently removed the Mac Dashboard from machines with macOS Catalina in 2019, although Dashboard hadn’t received an update since 2011.

You can download the free retro iTunes widget on Guzman’s website.

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