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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Rdio is pretty darn similar to Spotify, but it’s built for the web from the ground up, so it works great on Chromebook.
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.
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 is built for the web, so it works great as a replacement for iTunes radio functions and potentially parts of your music library.
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.