iTunes Lag

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by BoogieTrain, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. BoogieTrain macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Hello. My itunes lags with most operations. The most annoying is when i click a track in my library, it lags for like 3 seconds, i get a pinwheel, then the track plays. Sometimes the seek bar lags a lot. Opening the "info" for a track is very slow and invokes the pinwheel to peek its head out. Editing the info and having to write it to the tag is even worse. Adding new music is very slow, as the gapless, and album art, and other info that itunes collects each are very slow, and make the rest of iTunes almost impossible to use. Tracks don't skip or anything once they start playing, and theres no lag if i just let the tracks play through. Ive disabled because i know that causes lag problems with the "fingerprinting" it does. When I added 3500 songs it took hours for all the scans to complete.
  2. ungraphic macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    There are some things that apple does right. There also many things apple does WRONG.

    A few things with what your experiencing:

    1) It has absolutely nothing to do with a 500gb hard drive. I have a library of over 10,000 mp3s loaded in iTunes and it runs fine off of a secondary (internal) hard drive. Either that or your hard drive has a serious problem (being really slow), which I really doubt is even possible, as I've never heard of such a thing. Or, it could be that you're running on USB 1.0, which, even then is impossible because the XML library file is loaded from your internal hard drive, and simply accessing a small 3-5mb mp3 file does not lag, even on USB 1.0.

    2) When you load any track into iTunes, it automatically gets checked for album art and gapless playback/being part of a compilation. There is no way to turn off this feature. While this happens, it slows down every process in iTunes significantly. Now, since you loaded 3,500 mp3s, these could still be getting the album art/gapless check running in the background AFTER theyve been added to the library. This takes significantly longer than just having the tracks get added to the library. Some people dont care about album art or gapless, therefor apple needs to implement a feature to turn this OFF.

    3) You may have noticed that with each new version of iTunes, its become more and more bloated with crap most of us don't use (iTunes Music Store, Apps store, TV shows, podcasts, genius, ipod/iphone support, etc). iTunes is not exactly a processor/memory friendly application, so don't be too bummed if it runs slow, its a poor application nowadays, which should be renamed to iMedia for having all the excess crap thrown onto it.

    As always, I'd suggest using an alternative application. For now, there really isnt anything (sad, because the mac is so highly regarded as a media computer) however, the next release of 'Vox' will have a fully working library for adding mp3s. When this is released, I am never returning to iTunes. Check it out:

  3. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    oh cool, ill deff check out Vox, and if it supports syncing to iPods im in!

    As of now ive moved all my music to my internal hdd and ima change the media folder to the default and re-add everything and give it a shot.

    I was thinking that the problem was not the 500GB, but the fact that it was formatted as FAT32, ive read that FAT32 partitions should not be so large, and this is why windows does not format such large drives as FAT32.
  4. ungraphic macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    I doubt it'll get iPod support to be honest. I dont own an ipod so theres no need for me to load a heavy weight app like itunes just to playback mp3s and have a good display of a library.

    I have my 10,000 track library in FAT32 as well, it really doesnt make any difference if its on a HFS or FAT32 drive. However, itunes DOES notice and find mp3s when they are moved around from folder to folder on an HFS drive, on a FAT32, once you move the file, iTunes won't be able to play the file as it cant find its location.

    FAT32s only real world consumer limitation is the lack of supporting files being 4gb or larger.
  5. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    hmm interesting.

    Well, ive moved it all to my internal hdd, but before i ran any lag tests, i updated to 9.1 because my roommate told me it came out. Its not lagging anymore! Though, i dont know if its due to the update or the drive. The only difference between the "new library" and the old is that i canceled the gapless and genuis scan and all.

    Ill move it back to the FAT32 drive and see again. The update included like 3 points regarding unresponsiveness and freezing so i have hope that the new iTunes will be fine to use. *fingers crossed*.
  6. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Okay, moved everything back to the FAT32 drive, the problem is back.

    So to recap,

    FAT32 with genius/other scans + iTunes 9.0 = lag
    HFS w/o scans +iTunes 9.1= no lag
    FAT32 w/ scans + iTunes 9.1 = lag

    So its either the drive, or the fact that it collected gapless/genius information.

    The 500GB drive that the music is stored on has ~150GB free, though it probably has 10,000 other files on it, this might be causing inefficient-ness with the FAT32 formatting.

    At this point im thinking of Creating 2 partitions on the drive, one Mac formatted, and the other FAT32. Naturally, id be editing the mac partition when i add music to my library. This setup is fine, though i'd like the FAT32 drive to "synchronize" with the HFS partion, so that the contents are the same, this way, i can connect my hdd and access my music from a windows PC also.

    So, tips on how to reduce lag/ setup the 2 partitions to sync, or other suggestions to help me out would be great! thanks everyone!
  7. ungraphic macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Maybe a defragmentation of the FAT32 drive would help?
  8. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    hmm. okay, ill clear some of the junk files and defrag it under windows and report back, thanks.
  9. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Here is a video to show what's up. Im still working on the defrag.

    <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="" /><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="">Untitled</a> from <a href="">Phil Scho</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    I don't think that embed worked so heres a link:
  10. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    okay, windows was taking FOREVER to defrag the 20 files that were fragmented.

    I decided to format the drive and copy the music back and that would be quicker.

    I formatted the drive as MS-DOS FAT and zeroed out the drive too. Copied back 27 gb of music. made an "iTunes" folder where i pointed my itunes, moved one artist, 109 tracks, into the automatically add to itunes folder, they were found and added to itunes no problem. Though, lag between changing tracks still existed. I quit itunes, re-opened it, they were scanned for album artwork and gapless. Tried again, still lag and a pinwheel if i skip to a new track, by clicking another song in the library or even clicking the next arrow. Letting the track play through, i had GUI lag before the next track played, though there were no audio lags.

    Anyway, i suspect its the external HDD im using (or rather, the FAT32 formatting on it). Im using a 500GB Buffalo drive. I think the problem lies in that its formatted to one 500GB FAT32 partition, connected through a hub. I connected it directly and it was no better.

    Im gonna try to move it all to my internal hdd and see if anything improves.
  11. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    Try formatting it as HFS+, but I don't think that's going to solve your problem. It sounds like the drive is dying (either the hard drive or the controller). Did you have any problems copying the files over to your Mac?

    I had a drive controller that started failing and the behavior in iTunes was the same as what you're experiencing. When copying large files to/from the drive it was fine, but when copying lots of smaller files the transfer problem was noticeable (a small delay before transferring each file).
  12. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    ive had the drive for 2 years and ive taken exceptional care of it. I just finished moving 27 gigs of music off and back onto the drive like 2x just now, theres no performance or for that matter, any other problems with the drive, just that iTunes refuses to play nice with it.

    ATM, im creating 2 partitions on the drive, one FAT32 and one HFS, lets see what happens.
  13. BoogieTrain thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2008
    okay so i partitioned the 500GB external drive to:

    250GB HFS+
    250GB FAT32

    I set itunes folder to the HFS partition. Imported 109 songs, no lag.

    Cleared the library, set itunes to the FAT32 partition, imported the same songs. Lag

    Both partitions were zeroed out when formatted.

    It seems that iTunes or does not play well with large FAT32 partitions.
  14. dusts macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2009
    Alamo, TX
    Fat32 IS the culprit

    I have had this problem too.

    I partition my 500GB hard drive into 2 partitions 100/400. 400 is in FAT 32 with my iTunes library and songs so my Windows 7 dual-boot can use the same partition for music.

    Though I have another thing to add to this theory of iTunes not liking large FAT32. If you play any AAC files they will load just fine. Only MP3 songs lag.

    I've decided to give up and format 400GB partition as HFS and use MacDrive on the Win7 setup.
  15. graouh macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2008

Share This Page