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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior Apps
Yesterday's iTunes update brought a new feature -- a small arrow next to the song, artist, and album entries in the Library and playlists, as seen at left. When clicked, this arrow takes you to the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), and displays the relevant matching information. While this is potentially quite useful, it's also odd -- I know I wasn't expecting to jump to the iTMS when I clicked the arrow! Thankfully, there are already two workarounds, one temporary and one permanent:
  1. Temporary fix: Just hold down the Option key prior to clicking the arrow; you'll jump to the matching info in your Library instead of the iTMS. For instance, Option-click next to an artist's name, and you'll see all of that artist's entries in your library.

  2. Permanent fix: If, like me, you think the Option-click method should be the standard, quit iTunes, open a Terminal window, and type:
    defaults write com.apple.iTunes invertStoreLinks -bool YES
    
    When you re-launch iTunes, you'll find that clicking the arrow now takes you to your Library, and an Option-click takes you to the store. If, for some reason, you find that you'd like the old method back, just repeat the above command with NO at the end, instead of YES.
Thanks to Macintouch for the pointer to Derek Powazek's page, where he in turn thanks Sven-S. Porst for finding this solution. Ah, the power of the hyperlink!
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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior | 44 comments | Create New Account
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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: seven5 on Apr 29, '04 01:03:16PM

NICEEE!! I was too lazy to check the pref file to see if this was possible. Its nice that they put that in there to let the powerusers change it up!!

Thanks for not waiting till monday to post this Rob!



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: restiffbard on Apr 29, '04 01:20:28PM

You know, I figured someone would find a way around this soon but this is pretty quick. I was guessing it would be at least a week. This is less than 24 hours.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: chabig on Apr 29, '04 01:26:22PM

I've always wondered how people figure out that this is possible. In my default iTunes plist I don't have that element. So how do you know it exists?



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: gschueler on Apr 29, '04 02:48:45PM

if you go to terminal and type this:
strings /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/MacOS/iTunes | more

you will see all of the text strings embedded in the compiled application. it also shows a lot of random junk which is just chunks of the binary data which look like possible strings to the 'strings' program. I guess people must just hunt for strings that look like possible preference settings names?



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: StarManta on Apr 30, '04 08:55:23AM

A few of the more interesting lines I got when I did this:

boing
copyright (c) Apple Computer, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Nomad MuVo [I've used my Muvo on this computer.... I wasn't expecting it to by stored in the program's package however.]
A few long strings that look like serial numbers, possibly a DRM key or something?
WOAFWOAFWAF
WOARWOARWAR
WOASWOASWAS
`myTestString
Encoder too old! Aborting...
iTunesStoreDemoMode [...eh?]
a loooooong series of 0's and 1's

....and then I got bored and went to do something else.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: derrickbass on Apr 29, '04 03:02:13PM

The link to the original discoverer discusses it without much detail. Basically you type
strings /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/MacOS/iTunes
and look for interesting things. You need to guess which strings are preferences and what values they can take (sometimes the values appear near the strings).



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: allanmarcus on May 03, '04 01:50:48PM

Usually you can enter in the terminal:

defaults read com.apple.itunes

but since iTunes it a port of an old Mac OS 9 app, the strings are all binary in there (probably old resources). You can try it with safari:

defaults read con.apple.safari

and see what I mean.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: mrfoxxman on Apr 29, '04 01:44:23PM

That is a way to change the behavior of the links, or you could just turn them off as I did using the iTunes preferences under General.



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Great!!!
Authored by: tj2001 on Apr 29, '04 02:45:58PM

I love your find that is awesome! I too was perplexed at how it jumped me into the iTMS; I thought it was for my library navigation. Only thing I'd like to see is the small "Back" & "Forward" arrows.

---
--- Just Me ---
:: Super Me I am ::



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Bug in this feature
Authored by: sjonke on Apr 29, '04 03:53:22PM

Nifty. I did find a bug in this feature in that if you click the arrow next to a "composer" name it doesn't do anything. artist, track and album all work.

---
--- What?



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Bug in this feature
Authored by: aranor on Apr 30, '04 03:12:07AM

What would you expect it to do? Artist/album can be browsed for with the Browse pane, and song brings you to the album with the song selected. But what would composer do? There's no way to browse by composer.



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Bug in this feature
Authored by: diamondsw on Apr 30, '04 09:09:49AM

Of course, some would say it should be. As it stands, composer isn't very useful for that exact reason.



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Bug in this feature
Authored by: sjonke on Apr 30, '04 09:56:21AM

So why is there an arrow there? If it doesn't do anything it shouldn't appear. To be fair, Apple isn't making this arrow-function-switching feature mainstream (no GUI preference for it), and perhaps this is one reason.

---
--- What?



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Bug in this feature
Authored by: tribalogical on May 03, '04 12:29:14AM

well, they do let you browse by composer on the iTMS, or so it seems... mostly what I get when I do that is the song itself highlighted, and the album it was released on. Not exactly a "show me everything by that composer" result is it....!

That said, it does seem a bug to me as well. If I have Composer in my view list, I can "sort" by composer, so it seems just as with the other items, I should be able to create a 'common list' of songs by the same composer simply by clicking the button...

I mean, isn't this just a database after all, and these buttons "filtered queries"?

I agree with the original poster. Although you can't sort in the Browse Mode by composer, clicking the arrow button next to Composer in the view list should result in a filtered list by that composer....

my 2-cents ;)

peace,
tribalogical



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: dfbills on Apr 29, '04 03:53:35PM

You da man!



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: dborod on Apr 29, '04 04:10:58PM

This is very cool, but can someone please describe the behaviour that iTunes exhibits when you click the arrows in the 'Song Title' column?



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: wibs on Apr 29, '04 05:08:53PM

clicking the arrow next to song title takes you to the album its on in the library.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: pediddle on May 06, '04 12:03:51AM

Apparently the only difference when clicking the "Song" arrow from the "Album" arrow is it highlights the selected song when it lists the album.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: coolsoldier on Apr 29, '04 06:25:28PM
I'm always amazed at how many hidden preferences there are in various programs. If they went to the trouble of including that feature, why didn't they add a checkbox to the preferences window? It would take apple all of about two minutes to make this a point-and-click feature.

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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: maddys_daddy on Apr 29, '04 06:44:19PM

I'm guessing it's just a marketing thing--it helps funnel people to the iTMS, and they know that if it was configureable in prefs, everyone would change it right away. Just my guess.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: cclifton on Apr 29, '04 07:46:46PM

My theory is that the programmers do development with many things changable via preferences. Before final releases usability testing (or usability experts) determine what preferences would be of use to enough people to justify leaving them in the public interface. Too many options can obscure the more commonly useful options and confuse novice users.

It would be nice to have an expert pane in the preferences dialog that exposed all the hidden preferences.

---
--
Curt



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: theRegent on May 03, '04 02:54:48PM

It's also a matter of testing and stability. While it hardly seems likely in this particular instance, in some cases there isn't sufficient time before a launch date (or perhaps money in the budget) to test a feature to ensure that it both functions properly and doesn't endanger the application's stability.

The dysfunction of the arrow in the composer field might even indicate that this is why there isn't a preference to modify this feature. Except...

If you don't have the ITMS visible/active (which I, for one, would really rather not) you don't see the arrows at all.

---
It's a little more starry eyed than thin-lipped.
http://regency.newarcadia.com/



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: danbolling on Apr 29, '04 08:13:30PM

Great hint!

Isn't anyone going to ask (to me) the obvious? Is there a way to do this in Windows? I have a PC at work with iTunes so I'd like to get that "fixed" too. Anyone know how? Thanks!

---
Dan Bolling
danb4@bollingfamily.com



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: robg on Apr 29, '04 10:22:10PM

I'm guessing the solution will require RegEdit or some other registry editing tool :)

-rob.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: danbolling on Apr 29, '04 10:56:40PM

Yeah, I was thinking that, but I couldn't find any preferences in the registry. Doesn't anyone know where these are kept? And can they be editted? If I could at least get to them, I probably could take some guesses as to how this option would need to be added.

---
Dan Bolling (danb4@bollingfamily.com)



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: lstewart on Apr 30, '04 11:00:07AM

Well, I don't know how to actually change the preferences on iTunes for Windows yet, but I did find where they are stored. They're not in the registry.

It looks like user preferences are stored in a ".pref" file at this location:

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunes.pref

("Machine preferences", whatever those are, are stored in a different file:
C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunes.pref)

These .pref files are just plain text files, similar to Windows INI files, but the problem is they contain only one section, with a single "setting":

[User Preferences]
Preferences:129=0200000007900000032000... etc. for 183 KBytes on my machine.

Someone would need to decode the stream of hex digits (should be elementary) and then see what format this chunk of "preferences" are actually in. There certainly are a lot of zeros, so I'm suspecting it's some binary data structure that contains the preferences... so it may not be very easy to modify directly. Oh well.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: MacMuse26 on Apr 30, '04 11:20:32AM

For PC iTunes, ctrl-shift-click little gray arrow takes you to your matching library entries instead of the Music Store.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: nomaded on May 03, '04 01:03:26AM

It's actually just shift.

Shift-click on those arrows in iTunes for Windows.

Now, I'd definitely love to see a way to make it just click.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: ebteksystems on Apr 30, '04 01:58:13AM

Does anyone know if its possible to remove the Arrow links only for Tracks? It seems like a useless feature, since it really just acts like the Album link.



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Enabling the arrows without the Music Store
Authored by: jolinwarren on Apr 30, '04 03:39:40AM

This is a very useful hint, but does anyone know how to enable the arrows without having the iTunes Music Store enabled? Aside from the fact that I have no desire to buy DRM-crippled music, I live in Scotland, so the music store isn't even available here. I would like to remove it from the left panel (as I have in previous versions of iTunes), but the new arrows are useful. A bit of a quandry! Does anyone have any suggestions?



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Enabling the arrows without the Music Store
Authored by: Gabs on Apr 30, '04 05:35:08AM

I too was annoyed by the iTunes Store thing - but keep it and its a very handy way to preview music. I still prefer buying CDs and most online stores I've come across don't offer this feature.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: jwoolson on Apr 30, '04 03:41:01AM
http://www.ritebrane.com/iTunes/SwitchiTunes4.5ArrowLinking.sit

This script toggles the arrows' default behavior to look in the local library OR the online store.

Unstuff it and drop it into /Users/(your home folder)/Library/iTunes/Scripts/.
It will appear in the iTunes scripts menu.

(As the original tip notes, you can always invert the chosen behavior momentarily by holding Option while clicking an arrow.)

Copy it freely and post it anywhere you want. You can open it in Script Editor to see how it works.

---
Jonathan Q. Woolson
Louisville, CO 80027

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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: sjk on May 04, '04 05:25:43PM
Running that script caused Terminal to quit (ouch!), without changing anything. I found File Arrow Link Action which works fine without using Terminal.

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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: pediddle on May 06, '04 12:01:55AM

Look again -- it secretly deleted all your files and installed Sasser on all your friends' PCs! :-)



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: Mr Clicky on Apr 30, '04 05:47:05AM

There's an even easier workaround built in by Apple - don't live in the US! That way going to the iTunes Music Store holds no immediate intrinsic value :-/

(sideways apologies for the sarcasm but it's Friday night and I'm getting a little bored with reading about feature-sets only available to 70% of Apple's market)



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: timrand on Apr 30, '04 12:01:08PM
*** I find it bizarre that people don't see the preferences item on the General tab of Preferences which controls this behavior.

This preferences option is in the Windows version of iTurnes as well.

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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: swedentom on May 01, '04 05:17:58AM

Did you even read the hint? If so, read it again; this is not the same thing.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: tribalogical on May 03, '04 12:35:33AM

well, yes, you can turn off the arrows using iTunes Prefs/General... simple as that! :)

Turn off the store however, and the arrows go away too... meaning, we can't use this nifty hint using the arrows on the library, unless the iTMS is also showing in iTunes. Not a major deal, but well... maybe in the next rev we can have one without the other...?

peace,
tribalogical



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: hangdog on Oct 17, '05 03:10:35PM

The hint is about REVERSING the behavior, not turning it off.

So, has anyone figured out how to do this on windows yet?

The prefs appear to be in:


C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunes.pref

which unfortunately is in win.ini type format with long strings of hex digits in the various categories. Since the original hint was a boolean, presumably flipping one bit in this 73K file will do it...



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: iSierra on May 20, '05 02:56:42PM

Thank GOD this hint works in Tiger!. Apple didnĀ“t set up a preferance for using with your own library, instead with their $$$ store. Shame on you, Apple.



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Command not working
Authored by: Conlan on Jun 04, '05 05:30:55PM

I'm having trouble getting this command to run in Terminal. I keep getting the message: -bash: defaults: command not found. I have no idea what any of the Terminal stuff means, I just don't want those arrows pointing to the Music Store. Any help?



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: silentway on Oct 29, '05 05:14:15PM

I thought this had broken for me after upgrading to iT version 6.01. (I had used the above terminal command to modify a previous version of iT.) Clicking on an arrow would bring me to my library, but wouldn't filter by the artist, album etc.

Then I realized the fix: if you've turned on "Show Search Bar", turn it off. If the search bar is active, it screws up the function.

In fact, it doesn't matter if you've modified iTunes. The un-modified option-click (which normally brings you to your library) breaks when the search bar is showing. This is with v6.01.

---
Tony Brooke
OS X 10.3.9, G5/1.8 iMac, 1.5GB RAM
http://www.SilentWay.com
http://www.TastyCast.com



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NICEEEE!
Authored by: nick on Nov 18, '05 08:02:47AM

THANKS.



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Modify the iTunes 4.5 link arrows' behavior
Authored by: leoofborg on Feb 01, '06 05:29:39PM

This works fine in iTunes 6.02. I guess Apple fixed the bug.

See:
http://expat-leo.blogspot.com/2006/02/geek-modifying-itunes-link-arrow.html

---
Leo of BORG
@ some smaller .org



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