iTunes

iTunes for Chromebook

Many folk on both Mac and PC use iTunes to manage a music collection, sync with your iPhone or iPad, and rent / download movies and TV shows. You can do most of these things on Chromebook, but you cannot use Chromebook to sync your iPhone / iPad / iPod or use Airplay to connect to an Apple TV (without installing a different OS, which isn’t a great idea for most people.)

Don’t panic though – let’s look at the best ways to deal with this situation.

Just use your iPhone / iPad on its own

You can use iTunes on your iPhone / iPad no problem without plugging it into a computer at all. Buy music, sync contacts, calendars, photos, books and iOS apps directly to Apple iCloud – all without syncing to iTunes on a Mac or PC. The downside is that your music and books won’t be available on your Chromebook (you’ll need to plug your headphones into your phone instead), and movies won’t sync at all. Mail / contacts / calendar / notes / reminders are available online at icloud.com:

iCloud

iCloud

Migrate over to Google Music

If you still have access to your Mac, you can use the Google Music Manager to migrate all your tracks to Google Music. (If you don’t have access to a Mac or PC any more, you can try the Music Alpha app to upload tracks directly from your Chromebook.) It’ll take a while to upload if you have a large collection, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. You’ll get free storage online for up to 20,000 tracks, and once it’s up there you can play everything on your Chromebook.

It’s a bit tricky ongoing though – if you continue to buy music from iTunes, it won’t show up in Google Music, and if you buy music from Google Play, it won’t show up in iTunes on your Mac. If you go with Google, you can still access your new purchases on iOS using an app like GoMusic, it just won’t sync using the usual Music app.

GoTunes

GoTunes on iPhone

Amazon Cloud Player

If you buy MP3s from Amazon for download, you may have vaguely registered that it also saves everything you purchase to Amazon Cloud Player. Check it out – you might find a lot of your music is already available for you to listen to on your Chromebook.

Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon Cloud Player

Chrome OS itself

Chrome OS has a basic music player built into it. Really basic. It will read MP4 movies, MP3 and OGG audio files (full list here), but if you have AAC, FLAC, WMA or any other file format you’re outta luck.

The built in music player

The built in music player

The built in movie player

The built in movie player

Rockbox

If you have an iPod and you really need it to work with Chromebook, Rockbox is a radical solution – it’s a replacement firmware for your music player that will make it pop up as a drive in the Files app. In fact, you’ll no longer need iTunes to manage your music on any computer. The downside is that it only works with much older devices (up to the 1st gen iPod Nano or the iPod Video).

Drivetunes

If you snagged the 100GB free space on Google Drive, this is your chance to use it. Upload your music to Google Drive, then install DriveTunes to get a music player in Drive and access to to your tunes from wherever you are.

Drivetunes

Drivetunes

Spotify

You’ll need to install this app from the Chrome store, which bumps you into the beta streaming site so you can access your subscription – but when that’s done, you should be able to access your Spotify no problem.

Spotify

Spotify

Rdio

Rdio is pretty darn similar to Spotify, but it’s built for the web from the ground up, so it works great on Chromebook.

Rdio on Chromebook

Rdio on Chromebook

Deezer

Deezer is French, but besides that it’s pretty similar to Rdio – built for the web, access to major label music, and not free. There is one major bonus with Deezer on Chromebooks – it works offline with the Chrome Web Store app.

Deezer

Deezer

Netflix

If you’re used to using iTunes to get access to movies and TV shows, Netflix can stream movies in the same way over the web (although it does not work with ARM models, i.e. the Samsung Series 3). YouTube, Amazon Instant and Hulu also offer movie rental, and they all work great on Chromebook.

Grooveshark

Grooveshark is built for the web, so it works great as a replacement for iTunes radio functions and potentially parts of your music library.

Grooveshark

Grooveshark

InstaDJ

If you’re after that major label music and you don’t want to go subscription, InstaDJ is a great option. You can find a lot of what you’re after on YouTube, and this site will help you build a playlist so you can leave it playing in a tab and get on with your day.

InstaDJ

InstaDJ

38 thoughts on “iTunes for Chromebook”

    1. You can definitely add music to your Chromebook, same as you would with any laptop – download it from somewhere like eMusic or Amazon, pop it onto a USB key and plug that in, and so on. You can sync your collection with Google Music and use an app like this one to access it on your iPod, or use the Google Music app on Android. Hope this helps!

  1. So there is no way to sync iPod to iTunes through a chromebook and if there isn’t does it look likely that it ever will?

  2. Why would anyone in their right mind buy this if you can’t sync up your iPhone/iPod/iTunes on it?!? WHAT A WASTE. Why not just provide this support, allowing users to access the library via an external hard drive, or access via the iTunes cloud??? Does Google really expect people to switch to Google Music from iTunes?

    1. You certainly can’t sync your iPhone or iPod directly. You can sync up though, by using the Music Manager on the computer that’s currently running iTunes. As for the external hard drive though – that should work just fine. If you have your iTunes library laid out fairly sensibly on an external HD, you should be able to plug that into your Chromebook no problem. (Caveat – I haven’t tried this myself).

  3. Is there any way to convert all of my music from itunes on a different computer to this computer? Can you download music from, say, pirate bay onto this computer? And using these alternative options, can it sync music from them onto an ipod? Also is the computer able to keep up with the speed of online games and not lag? thanks

    1. Wow, lots of questions!

      • You can upload music from iTunes on another computer to Google Music, which works great on a Chromebook – that’s exactly what Google Music Manager is for.
      • Check out the uTorrent page on this site. Alternatively, downloading from places like Amazon, BandCamp or eMusic works great.
      • You can’t sync directly with an iPod, but there are some Google Music players on iOS around – see the note about it in this article.
      • Playing games smoothly – generally yes, but it depends on the game.
    1. Videos probably not – I think (but I haven’t checked) that they’ll be wrapped with DRM which means you can only view them in iTunes or iOS devices. Photos yes, but you can’t do it directly – you’ll need to grab the photo files from your Mac or PC and copy them either into the cloud or just pop them onto a USB stick, which your Chromebook should be able to read no problem.

  4. SO I JUST BOUGHT A CHROMEBOOK AND AM FEELING A BIT MISLEAD AT THIS POINT. I WANT TO UPLOAD PHOTOS FROM MY IPHONE TO MY CHROMEBOOK? THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE? BECAUSE I CANNOT SYNC ON THE CHROMEBOOK? I APOLOGIZE IF I SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT, I AM DEFINITELY NOT TECH SAVVY. BUT I DO NOT WANT TO LOSE MY PICTURES OF MY CHILD THAT I ONLY HAVE ON MY IPHONE AND I WOULD LIKE TO DO PHOTO EDITING, MY EDITING PROGRAMS ARE ALREADY ON MY CHROMEBOOK. SOUNDS LIKE I SHOULD HAVE STUCK WITH A REGULAR LAPTOP FOR CONVENIENCE. THANKS IN ADVANCE!

    1. You could download the “Google Drive” app on your iphone — sign in using the same gmail account that you use on your chromebook.
      From there, open up “Google Drive” on your iphone and in the top right corner there is a + — click that.
      It will then give you the option to “Upload photo or video” and from there you can click and choose which photos/videos you want.

      Any of the photos you upload will now be in your “files” folder on your chromebook under “drive”

  5. no!! i was excited to get a chrmoebook because ireally liked google, but this completely threw me off. i really thoughtit’d be awesome if i could sync my ipod on my laptop, and it was really economic, but this made me sad. thanks for the moments of happiness.

    1. Yeah, totally understandable – if you have an iPhone (or a iPod Touch on wifi) you can handle it, but a regular iPod is a tough one.

    1. You’ll need a mac or a PC to upload music from the iPod into the cloud. I’m not aware of any other way to do it.

  6. can i use an ipod touch for anything on this chrome book?

    i bought this for my 9 year old son and he can not seem to do much other than surf the internet… he would like to watch films or programs that have been downloaded from iplayer, watch films from love film, but can not do either of these.

    please help a very disappointed mother and son..

    1. To the best of my knowledge you can’t plug an iPod touch in directly, iPlayer downloads and Lovefilm aren’t supported. However you can upload music from the iPod touch to Google Music and play those online (or switch to a service like Spotify), and you can watch iPlayer streaming without any issues.

  7. I am trying to download the music manager app for my chromebook and it says to pick between these links
    32 bit .deb (For Debian/Ubuntu)
    64 bit .deb (For Debian/Ubuntu)
    32 bit .rpm (For Fedora/openSUSE)
    64 bit .rpm (For Fedora/openSUSE)
    BUT, it says that none of them are supported by my chromebook. HELP

    1. Sounds like you’re trying to download the versions for Linux – these won’t work. Currently the Music Manager (for uploading into Drive) isn’t supported on Chrome OS.

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