Archive for the ‘iTunes’ Category

Apple TV, Home Sharing, and Missing Movies

I rented Hunt for the Wilderpeople last week, while it was the $0.99 featured rental. I’ve heard good things about this Kiwi movie (I’m a bit of a kiwiholic) and couldn’t wait to watch it.


So today, with a draft of Swift Style pushed up to Pragmatic, I thought I’d set it up for a nice family watch tonight. I opened the Computers > Rentals section on Apple TV and saw this:


I wasted about 20 minutes googling things like “why doesn’t my rental show up on my Apple TV” and checking my iTunes accounts and home sharing setup, when I suddenly remembered this had happened to me before.

With that spark of inspiration lingering in my mind, I went to iTunes on my computer (where I had rented it) and sure enough, it was still up in the cloud. I clicked the download button and got it down to my computer:


About 1.41 Gigabytes later (and several pause/resumes when the download speed got slow — seriously, at one point the ETA jumped from over 40 minutes to under 3), I returned to Apple TV and hopped into my home-sharing library.



So if you’re looking for a lost movie, or you can’t find your rental on Apple TV, make sure that if you rented it on your home computer, that you’ve downloaded it from the cloud before attempting to play it from ATV.

Solving Mathieu’s Phone: The mystery of disappearing gigs

The other day, Mathieu’s 16 GB phone suddenly had no space. Even after rebooting, even after reformatting (and not restoring from backup), all his spare bytes were being sucked into a black hole.

He had no songs, few apps, a modest number of photos, and under a gigabyte of space available, making him unable to compile, load, and tests his apps.


Each time he deleted one of his apps, the space would mysteriously fill up within a few minutes, adding to the ever increasing “other” bar in iTunes:


This delete-then-lose-space behavior made me think that iCloud was trying to store files locally on his phone to reduce cloud access. I suggested that he disable iCloud and sync just the bare essentials like contacts, calendars, and notes. (Mathieu has a paid 300GB iCloud plan.) Sure enough once he logged out and rebooted, over 7GB of space was freed up and he was able to use his phone again.

I’m not super-familiar with iCloud so if anyone can further explain how this works, and how to set up the phone to limit it from glomming space, I’d sure appreciate being able to pass that along. Thanks!

Dear Erica: Your book killed iBooks. Just kidding.

Ever since Apple introduced iBooks to the Mac, it has been an ongoing source of both frustration and utility. It offers an essential way for keeping on top of the Swift language both during beta periods and outside of them.

The Problem

Every now and then, however, this happens:

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.45.39 AM

You get stuck into a situation of endless “cannot downloads” in the Mac-based iBooks. (Everything seems to work right on iOS.) And it’s just a pain in the neck.

Searching for Solutions

At first I thought it was the iTunes Connect system, with content status updates. So I contacted iTC and they responded with this helpful email:

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 8.40.47 AM

I then contacted iTunes Store Customer Support and they responded with this helpful email:

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 8.42.24 AM

And that was about, oh say, a week or so ago. Nothing since then.

So I set out to search. I found any number of complaints about the problem, a few “solutions” but none of them worked for me. In the end, I had to merge together a few approaches to get iBooks to reset for me.

Steps to Take

Now, here’s the bad part. I’m going by memory. I didn’t take good notes because I just wanted the damned thing to work. So going from my imperfect memory, here’s more or less the steps I took. You may have to try re-ordering these because I’m not sure which sequence finally finally took after hours and hours of this stuff.

  • In iBooks, sign out. Store > Sign Out.
  • Quit out from iBooks.
  • In Terminal, ps -ax | grep -i BKAgentService, and kill -9 the process it finds.
  • Navigate to ~/Library/Containers and completely delete You might note that the so call “books that cannot download” actually appear in Data/Documents/iBooks/Books in some form. Deleting them here is pointless. (iBooks has a strange form of memory that will keep accessing the current state even after you delete this container, which is the biggest pain.)
  • Finally, (and I do know this is the final step), reboot. Do not log out/in or anything like that. Do the full reboot cycle.

When you log back in hopefully, you’ll be able to re-enter your credentials and not get the error that says “Library not found”. If you get that error, you’re usually farked. You can try to recreate the library, quit iBooks, and relaunch, but you’re usually back at the original state of “oh crap, it’s not working”.

Let me know

Please if you’re fixing things, keep notes because this was clearly not a one-time thing, and let me know the sequence that worked for you.

iOS App Store analytics now open to all devs

Apple’s new beta analytics program is no longer invite-only.

Now available to all developers, App Analytics gives you detailed insight into your app’s performance. There’s no need for additional code or app updates, and it’s available at no extra cost.

With App Analytics, you’ll be able to:

  • See how many customers visit your app’s page on the App Store
  • Learn how often your users open your app over time
  • Create custom campaign links and watch the success of your marketing campaigns
  • Find out which websites refer the most users

Still iOS only. Apps only (no iBooks).

Free on iTunes: Singles Gone Wild

For many years, Apple had an iTunes “Single of the Week” program. It primarily promoted new albums around the world, with a rare PR effort that would push the same track in multiple countries.

In the US market, there were actually three programs. One for mainstream artists, another for the Spanish-speaking market, and a “Discovery” program for new artists.

A few weeks back, the “Free on iTunes” section seemed to disappear for a while. When it came back, it seems as if the FoiT program had fundamentally changed. Every week, you can now download numerous free tracks. This morning, I believe there were 10 singles available to try.

As always, some of these tracks are pretty good. Many of them are forgettable. Some of them are awful.

It’s interesting though how much closer this new system matches Amazon’s Free Song system. It feels a little less curated than it used to be. Surprisingly, even with expanded content though, the iTunes free music continues to have far less bad material than you might expect.

Over the years, I’ve discovered some reasonable artists and high quality music. Just be prepared to accept the high quantity of chaff that surrounds the wheat.