Downgrade iTunes 11 to iTunes 10

If you've decided that you really don't like Apple's iTunes 11 software, and would much rather go back to Apple iTunes 10 it is possible (albeit a bit complicated). This step-by-step guide to downgrading iTunes 11 to iTunes 10 has everything you need to know.

This article is for Mac OS X users only, PC-users should take a look at How to go back to iTunes 10 in Windows.

Note: Please backup Mac OS X first. This is a fairly complex procedure and alters a lot of Mac OS X files.

The process of taking iTunes 11 to iTunes 10 isn't as simple as you'd imagine. iTunes is baked pretty deep into Mac OS X, and you can't just re-install the old version. You have to remove iTunes 11 completely and do a fresh re-install using a custom process.

Step 1: Download iTunes 10.7, Pacifist and App Zapper

There are two programs you'll need to download for this installation and the original file.

Download iTunes 10.7 DMG

The first thing you need to do is to get hold of a copy of iTunes 10.7. Apple still has iTunes 10.7 available for download from Apple Support. Click here to access iTunes 10.7 (and click on the blue download button). If Apple removes this file then please let us know (Twitter: @macworlduk).

Step 1 Downgrade iTunes 11

Download Pacifist

Pacifist is a Shareware program that is used to inspect DMG files. It can also be used to do a custom installation, which can replace all files (which is what we will be using it for). Click here to download Pacifist for Mac OS X.

Download App Zapper

App Zapper is a paid-for application that wipes a program and any associated files. We will use this to remove iTunes 11. Click here to download App Zapper for Mac OS X.

Step 2: Back up The iTunes Media Folder

We're assuming that you want to keep your iTunes Media (music, videos, and so on). There are two options here:

Time Machine. Oh you backed up your computer using Time Machine (or another backup program). Well done, have a gold star. You can use this to return the iTunes folder to a previous state (the one where it is was working with iTunes 10).

Manual backup. If you don't have a back-up then you'll need to move your iTunes Media files and re-insert them into iTunes (you may lose some iTunes Library information, album artwork, and suchlike).

Locate the Music > iTunes > iTunes Media folder and Control-drag it to another location on your computer. This will copy the whole folder.

Note: If you don't have enough space on your hard drive to duplicate the iTunes Media folder then you can just move the Media Folder to the desktop just before deleting the iTunes Folder in Step 4.

Step 3: Remove iTunes 11

The easiest way to uninstall an App with all its associated files is to use the program App Zapper (

App Zapper protects Apple products by default, so choose App Zapper > Preferences and untick the checkbox next to 'Keep Apple applications safe'.

Close iTunes and open the Applications folder. Now drag the iTunes 11 icon to App Zapper and click Zap. You will need to enter your password. App Zapper will show you all the files it is going to remove.

Note: The App Zapper application demonstration allows you five free 'App Zaps' so it'll probably be okay for this procedure, but it's a great program and we advise Mac tinkerers to purchase a copy.

Step 4: Delete the iTunes folder

Open a New Finder window and click Music in the sidebar (or Choose Go > Go To Folder in the Mac OS X Menu and enter '~/Music' and click OK). If you made a backup of your iTunes Media folder in Step 2 then drag the whole iTunes folder to the Trash. (If you don't have space to backup iTunes Media then drag the iTunes Media folder to the Desktop then movie iTunes to the Trash).

Step 5: Install iTunes 10.7

Open Pacifist and drag the iTunes 10.7 DMG file to the main Pacifist Application Window. Now click the Install icon in the Menu bar. Check the Use Administrator Privileges box and click Install. Now enter your administrator password and click OK.

Step 5 Downgrade iTunes 11

As Pacifist installs the application it will ask you if you want to overwrite any current files spread around Mac OS X. Click Replace to all dialog boxes. There are many dialog boxes, so tick the check box marked 'Don't ask again for this installation' and click Replace on all dialog boxes that Pacifist brings up.

This performs a more thorough installation of iTunes 10.7 that replaces all the files that iTunes 11 has scattered around Mac OS X.

Step 5_2 Downgrade iTunes 11

Note: If you do not use Pacifist to install iTunes 10.7 then you will get an error message each time you try to launch iTunes.

Step 6: Restore the iTunes Media

Congratulations you now (hopefully) have a working copy of iTunes 10.7 running on your Mac. You'll want to get your music back though. There are two ways to do this:

Use your Time Machine Backup. Now you need to replace the iTunes folder in your User folder with the original. If you have a Time Machine backup you can replace the whole iTunes folder with the one used at an earlier point in time (ideally the first available time before you upgraded to iTunes 11).

Drag and drop music. First go to iTunes > Preferences and click Advanced. Ensure that there is a checkbox next to 'Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to the Library' Now choose File > Add To Library and choose the iTunes Media folder, and click Open. (Or just drag the iTunes Media folder to the iTunes sidebar.)

Step 6 Downgrade iTunes 11

Step 6: Use iTunes 10.7

That's it. You should now be able to run and use iTunes 10.7 as before. Igore Software Update when it asks you to install iTunes 11 and carry on enjoying your software, you old-fashioned Luddite.

iTunes 10

In the meantime perhaps you could read our iTunes 11 review and iTunes 11 Guide to tips, tricks, and secrets to see what you're missing out on.