Apple's iTunes defined how an entire generation listened to music. From collecting your favorite songs, to creating playlists, to uploading music to your MP3 player, iTunes has several useful features. However, Apple has started phasing out iTunes with MacOS Catalina, replacing iTunes with dedicated media apps for music, television and podcasts to keep up with modern trends in content consumption.
If you don't want to use iTunes or the other media apps that Apple offers, you should consider alternatives. We tested various apps and music players that you can use on the Mac as an alternative to iTunes or to the new media apps that come with the latest Apple devices.
At a glance
Overall the best: VOX MP3 and FLAC Music Player
Vox Music Player for Mac / Coppertino inc
The Vox MP3 and FLAC Music Player app is our “Best Overall” alternative to iTunes, as the free basic version of the app offers an elegant user interface and the ability to play a variety of audio formats (MP3, FLAC, M4A, APE) , WAV, etc.) and offers high-resolution audio (with 192 kHz sound resolution). In addition, the Vox player allows users to play music from a variety of sources, not just your old iTunes library. In fact, the Vox player also supports audio from the following sources: Last.FM scrobbling, SoundCloud, YouTube, and even online radio (for Vox Premium subscribers).
Speaking of Vox Premium Player service, users can access a wide range of Premium Vox Player features when they sign up for a monthly or annual subscription. These features include support for Sonos wireless speaker systems, access to over 30,000 radio stations, advanced audio settings, and unlimited music cloud storage. The subscription price is currently $ 5 per month or $ 50 per year.
Best free option: VLC media player
VLC for Mac OS X / VideoLAN Organization
VLC Media Player is an open source multimedia player that is free to download and use. And while it has a less than pretty, useful user interface for its Windows version, the Mac version of this player actually doesn't. On Apple's systems, the VLC media player has a minimalist design and goes well with Apple's aesthetic – none of the sad gray menus on its Windows counterpart.
It's also easy to use and supports laundry list of video and audio formats. For those who are concerned about privacy and security, the developers of VLC Media Player also claim that their media players do not contain spyware, advertisements or user tracking.
Best premium audio player: Fidelia
While Fidelia does offer a free trial option, it is primarily an audio player app that you need to purchase in order to download and use it. But it might be worth the $ 30. Known as an app for “discerning music lovers”, Fidelia offers a highly customizable music player experience. The app includes features such as high-resolution audio, a distinctive interface that resembles “stereo systems from decades ago”, support for 64-bit plug-ins for audio units and AirPlay support for external speakers. Fidelia users can also download a separate iOS app that turns their iOS device into a remote control for the Fidelia Mac app. However, this iOS app is sold separately and costs $ 10 to download.
It's also worth noting that while the Fidelia app doesn't support DRM-protected AAC files, it can play a wide variety of audio formats (including FLAC).
Best for streaming media: Elmedia Player
Elmedia Video Player / Eltima Software / Electronic Team, Inc.
With Elmedia Player you have two options: either choose the free version or pay for premium access. Either way, this Mac media player app is a reliable iTunes replacement with a wide variety of features. It can do so much more than just play audio and video files. The free version of the Elmedia Player app supports a wide variety of audio and video formats including FLV, MP3, FLAC, Blu-ray, and AVI. The free version also lets you stream your files to other devices such as Apple TV, Chromecast, and Smart TV. It also works with other devices that are DLNA and AirPlay enabled. Another attractive streaming option included in Elmedia Player is the Open Online Video feature. This feature allows you to stream online videos from sites like YouTube and Dailymotion – without ads.
The paid version of the Elmedia Player app is available from the Mac App Store. In all honesty, we don't realize what the difference between the two versions is. Many of the listed features of the paid version are also included in the description of the unpaid version. Since the paid version is $ 10, we won't be able to cash out the money before trying the free version. It is best to try the free option before handing over your funds.
Best simple music player: Musique
Musique Website / Flavio Tordini
The free music player Musique app is a great choice for anyone looking for a quick and easy way to listen to music. The user interface is easy to navigate and has a clean design that lets you browse your music by different categories: genre, folder, artist photos, or even Album cover. Musique can be used in more than 20 languages and is supported in Dark Mode and Last.fm scrobbling by MacOS Catalina.
If you're using a Mac, Apple will assume you want to use the proprietary iTunes app. However, if you prefer to venture off the beaten path, these alternatives are well worth a try. In fact, you might just find an improved listening experience as well as more features in some of these other apps.