Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!
  • Did you order new AirTags? We've opened a dedicated AirTags forum.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,446
14,144
https://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png

After Apple issued the iTunes 6.0.2 update last week, which introduced a feature called the MiniStore, complaints surfaced that Apple had added the equivalent of spyware, by having iTunes transmit and react to the songs you click on whenever the MiniStore is open.

Apple has now changed the MiniStore so that iTunes users see an explanation and are asked to confirm use of the MiniStore before it is first used.

In the MiniStore pane, iTunes now displays a message:

The iTunes MiniStore allows you to discover new music and videos right from your iTunes Library. As you select items in your Library, information about that item is sent to Apple and the MiniStore will show you related songs or videos. Apple does not keep any information related to the contents of your music Library.

Would you like to turn on the MiniStore now?
It is not necessary to update iTunes to activate this feature.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,586
5,103
Los Angeles
The new screen:
 

Attachments

  • ministore-warning.png
    ministore-warning.png
    24.4 KB · Views: 734
Comment

Sunrunner

macrumors 6502a
Nov 27, 2003
599
2
Lacero said:
The MiniStore was never spyware, but this should have been put in place from the beginning. Can't give ammunition to people who cry the sky's falling. But of course, my iTunes library is my private oasis, and Apple did invade this digital barrier, so shame on Apple.


I agree. THeir little foray into agressive salesmanship leaves much to be desired...
 
Comment

baleensavage

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2005
622
0
On an island in Maine
I'm glad to see that they have offered this fix. They should have offered more documentation or instruction from the start. I for one don't like it at all and the way to turn it off was not readily apparent. It's way too "Amazon.com" for me. Any of this targeted shopping stuff really comes too close to Big Brother. I'm sure Apple isn't stroring that info now, but the capability to do so is there to be exploited. It also takes up too much of the real estate on the iTunes window and makes it difficult to scroll through the library.
 
Comment

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
I quick summary to cleanse away the FUD:

* The Mini Store never scanned your library or your playing habits. It only registered when you manually double-clicked a particular song you wanted to hear.

* That song's information is indeed your personal data, of a sort, but was never stored or tracked by Apple.

* It was however send to the music store servers like a search, to retrieve recommendations. That much is obvious without a warning, but not everyone would stop and think about how the recommendations get there.

* So Apple should have had a note on-screen telling people that's what happens and how to turn it off.

* Now they do have that note.

* But it was always easy to turn it off before too--from the menu or from a button right on the iTunes windows.

* That button isn't new, it was always there. Only the explanatory note is new, and the fact that the Mini Store is turned off by default now.

* And when the Mini Store is turned off, it does no searching and thus sends no data to or from the music store servers. This too was true all along.

* The Mini Store is annoying, wastes screen space, is commercially-motivated (and probably successful), and lacks class. Most people probably turned it off even without an explanation of the recommendation process. It's good that it's off by default now.

* The Mini Store should always have worked this way, showing an explanation before it is used. Apple was wrong not to do that. Even if it was harmless in this case, Apple crossed a line I don't want crossed.

* People complaining to Apple were effective in changing this for the better. I give them credit, not just Apple.

* This was never comparable to Windows spyware which runs all the time and intrudes on your privacy in deep ways and then stores/tracks your behavior over time, with no obvious way to turn it off.

* The fact that Apple could add the note of explanation without using Software Update does not indicate Apple intruding on your machine or changing executable somehow without an admin password. The note is simply called up by the Mini Store, which obviously is delivered remotely. Many other store messages have always been triggered remotely--it's the only way an online store can work.

* In short, your library was never scanned, your music habits were never stored, the annoying Mini Store was always optional, and Apple screwed up by not asking you first--but they've fixed that.
 
Comment

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,586
5,103
Los Angeles
I notice that you are asked "Would you like to turn on the MiniStore now?" but given only one button to click, namely the "Turn on MiniStore" button.

I'm sure most people will figure out to click the open/close button (following the arrow) if their answer is "No", but if I had designed this panel I would have had two buttons, such as "Turn on MiniStore" or "Leave MiniStore Off".
 
Comment

rendezvouscp

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2003
1,526
0
Long Beach, California
I don't use the MiniStore, so it has been off since day one. I'm really glad that they've made theses additions. It's much more user friendly now. Thanks for the graphic Doctor Q!
-Chasen
 
Comment

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,384
643
NY
honestly who cares.... so they see what music i listen too..... its not that bad... (my music collection) :rolleyes: ;)
It doesn't matter any way they see what music i buy from itms anyway...
 
Comment

BlizzardBomb

macrumors 68030
Jun 15, 2005
2,537
0
England
If you think it's spyware you must be paranoid. I actually think it's an improvement on "Just For You". Didn't look right on the front page to me.
 
Comment

azzurri000

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2005
307
0
I didn't even know my itunes had this feature! Wow, where have I been?!

It kind of reminds me of the yahoo launch online personal radio, as it recommends other music one might enjoy, and I discovered a lot of music that I really enjoy this way.

edit :just noticed that I don't have the right update
 
Comment

LimeiBook86

macrumors 604
May 4, 2002
7,995
13
Go Vegan
Well I don't mind it really, it actually helped me find an album I didn't have. I turned it off for now though, seems to slow down my poor little PowerBook. If I want to see what things are similar I can always turn it on, and if I feel like I don't need it anymore I can turn it off. It's simple, no uninstalling or anything, so I don't think it's really spyware since it's telling you that it's going to transfer information, plus it's very simple to turn off so it's alright in my book. :D
 
Comment

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
I'm glad they made the fix, just to appease people who were bothered by it or were concerned they were collecting info on you.
Personally, I can see the mini store being of use now and again. I don't always make time to keep up with new music, and this expands on the "just for you" idea by referencing the music I listen to, and not just the music I have purchased from iTMS(which is usually one hit wonders or songs I remember from younger days, and is not completely aligned with my typical musical tastes).

Now, if there were no easy way to toggle this feature on/off.....
 
Comment

ipacmm

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2003
1,304
0
Cincinnati, OH
rendezvouscp said:
I don't use the MiniStore, so it has been off since day one. I'm really glad that they've made theses additions. It's much more user friendly now. Thanks for the graphic Doctor Q!
-Chasen

Same with me, I was never into the MiniStore because I really don't buy that much off of the itms so I really could care less about this feature, but I am glad to hear Apple changing it around so the users will be happy.
 
Comment

Superdrive

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2003
763
28
Dallas, Tx
See, the thing that got me with the ministore was the waste of screen real estate. Why would I want the bottom third of my library taken away? If I want to shop for music based on what is in my library, I'll click the arrow that they put next to everything in my library.

Regarding the spyware issue, anything that sends your information is spyware in the Windows world. If AIM remembers your password, it is spyware (well, not that serious, but you get what I mean). I figure that Apple is already tracking what I listen to and have in my library/playlists. If they wanted to track that info for whatever reason, they'd be more covert about it.

Now if they were browsing another library I had on the computer, then there would be issues...
 
Comment

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,240
5
its a nice feature if its a new artist that i'm lookin into and what not. but ill leave it off all the time because it is a waste of space, i don't need a cluttered iTunes. :)
 
Comment

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Just to be clear, Apple does NOT already track your library and playlists. They have no idea what's in your iTunes collection unless you bought it from them, in which case of course they have a record of your purchase.
 
Comment

emaja

macrumors 68000
May 3, 2005
1,706
11
Chicago, IL
azzurri000 said:
It kind of reminds me of the yahoo launch online personal radio, as it recommends other music one might enjoy, and I discovered a lot of music that I really enjoy this way.

I completely agree. I thought it was great. I love the recommendations and found some things that I would not have discovered without their suggestions. I saw that it requested permission to launch today and gladly said "yes."
 
Comment

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,416
235
Purcellville, VA
nagromme said:
Just to be clear, Apple does NOT already track your library and playlists. They have no idea what's in your iTunes collection unless you bought it from them, in which case of course they have a record of your purchase.
It would be interesting to compare the set of people demanding absolute privacy and anonymity with those demanding that Apple give them the ability to re-download purchased songs. I would be very amused (but not surprised) to find significant overlap between these groups :D
 
Comment

zim

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2002
1,332
0
i like how it shows me music related to the artist i have selected in my own library... i do wish that instead of showing me the top artist etc.. that i could customize it so that it show me things that i am interested in.
 
Comment

bankshot

macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2003
1,293
108
Southern California
LimeiBook86 said:
Now if that were the case.....whoa-ho...things would have gotten ugly. ;)

Heh. If you'd read the discussion over at Slashdot, you'd think iTunes was sending your hard drive's entire contents to Apple for analysis. Talk about paranoid hyperventilating! The title of the article there is even heavily accusatory: iTunes is Malware? Boy did that set off the tin foil hat freaks... :rolleyes:

Apple should have put in this message from the start, but honestly. Who cares if song info from a portion of your music collection is sent? What's the worst somebody could do with it? Make fun of your musical tastes? Ooooh. :p The Slashdot posters made it out to sound like it would destroy your life and half your family too. Kind of amusing. :D
 
Comment

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,586
5,103
Los Angeles
shamino said:
It would be interesting to compare the set of people demanding absolute privacy and anonymity with those demanding that Apple give them the ability to re-download purchased songs. I would be very amused (but not surprised) to find significant overlap between these groups :D
I'm in both groups. I'm not really demanding privacy, as much as wanting to know what privacy I have and having control over it, the same way I am with other companies I do business with.

And if I show proof that I bought a song and it didn't download properly, I'd want to get it replaced, like taking defective merchandise back to a store with a receipt. Knowing that it costs Apple very little for the bandwidth, I'd also find it helpful if Apple let me redownload a song (for free or for a few cents) even if I erased it due to my own carelessness, not because of anything they did.

But I agree that some people are much more extreme about the two sides of the issue.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.