How To Downgrade iTunes 10 to iTunes 9.2.1

Several users who are dissatisfied with the new iTunes interface or other enhancements, or are experiencing problems with third-party add-ons or other issues may seek to downgrade to iTunes 9.2.1. Here’s the procedure:

Mac: If you have a Time Machine backup, simply use it to restore your iTunes 9.2.1. Otherwise, follow these instructions:

First, delete the following files

  • The iTunes application in /Applications
  • com.apple.iTunes.plist, which is located in ~/Library/Preferences (this is the library folder inside your user folder)
  • iTunes.pkg, which is located in /Library/Receipts (this is the library folder at the root level of your startup drive)
  • iTunesX.pkg, which is located in /Library/Receipts

Next, download iTunes 9.2.1 for Mac OS X and run the installer.

You may then need to recreate your iTunes library.

Windows

  1. Go to C:\My Documents\My Music. Backup the entire “iTunes” folder to a safe location.
  2. Using the Control Panel to uninstall the following: Apple Application Support, iPhone Configuration, iTunes 10, Apple Mobile Device Support, Apple Software Update and QuickTime.
  3. Reboot your computer
  4. Go back to C:My Documents\My Music\iTunes
  5. Rename the file iTunes Library.itl to something like iTunes Library.itl.backup.
  6. In the same folder, open “Previous iTunes Libraries” and find the most recent library backup, which should be named something like “iTunes Library 2010-09-1.itl” Copy this file, then paste it in C:My Documents\My Music\iTunes and rename it iTunes Library.itl
  7. Download either iTunes 9.2.1 for 32-bit or iTunes 9.2.1 for 64-bit (depending on your system configuration) and install the software.
  8. You may then need to recreate your iTunes library.

Comments

  1. says

    omg, thx a lot!!! its a lifesaver

    f the new itunes. people who designed the new icon with the whole new design deserve to have their hands to be chopped off, and that Ping is in a very embryonic stage, i see no point to upgrade in future, 9.2.1 satisfies me in all ways, next time ill check out the screenshots before upgarde

  2. says

    Too bad iTunes 10 is required for the new line of iPods… Since I’m gonna buy the new touch (upgrading from 2G to 4), I’m eventually gonna need iTunes 10, but for now, thanks! So happy I’ve set up TM :)

  3. says

    “Simply restoring” from Time Machine doesn’t work. You navigate to iTunes in Time Machine and restore it, launch it, and it says it can’t launch because your library was created with a newer version of iTunes. Thought that might happen. Is there another way of restoring apps from Time Machine?!

  4. says

    OK, just followed the full directions and currently restoring the library. The instructions for that linked to were a little out of date. I didn’t have an .itl file in my iTunes folder.

    Is there any possibility of not having to restore the library? It seems to me this is always necessary downgrading from iTunes 10 to 9. If so, you should really say that in the article and explain what it entails.

  5. says

    ROSS: restoring from time machine would work for most apps, but with iTunes there are some lower level things that get installed that could be a problem, and you would also have to restore the iTunes library file to the one just before you updated (and you would have to manually add any new files you may have purchased/ripped after going to iTunes 10, if there were any)

    This iTunes library file would be in your user folder, then into Music, then into the iTunes folder. There are several files that would likely have to be removed, and restored from the Time Machine backup. (iTunes Library, the Extras.itdb, Genius.itdb, and the Library.xml I think are the 4 important ones)

  6. says

    Running into problems… I downgraded all right using the non-Time Machine method. But when I try to manually manage my podcasts, it’s giving me the “This iPhone is synced with another iTunes library, do you want to erase” message. I’d really prefer not to transfer gigabytes of audio off and then back on again… :-/

  7. says

    This was great. Thank you. I didn’t realize what software update was doing and before I knew it I have a [ugly] new icon for itunes! This is so much better.

  8. says

    thanks for this. itunes 10 is constantly sucking up 50% processing power doing NOTHING. if i watch even just a simple youtube clip with itunes doing nothing in the background, the fans kick in. itunes 10 is NOT ready for prime time.

  9. says

    Thank you sooooo much !!!!
    iTunes 10 sucks, but i’ll have to update when iOS 4.1 will be released, too bad.
    For now, iTunes 9 is way better

  10. says

    iTunes sucks ass. Not only does the new icon look like a crap, but all of the color from the GUI has disappeared making it extremely difficult to use. Thanks for posting this info; sometimes I wonder about Jobs’ sanity. iTunes 10 is utter crap. Hopefully Jobs will hear us and make the necessary changes fast.

  11. says

    I am following your instructions. but I did not have the itunes.pkg nor the itunesx.pkg in my macintosh HD/library/receipts folder. ??
    Luckily I backed up my entire iTunes folder (non Time Machine backup) the day before itunes 10 came out. So after following your steps (minus the itunes.pkg files since I didn’t have those), I reinstalled 9.2.1. I did not have the installer find any music. I opened itunes once, then just closed it. Opened my itunes folder in the finder. Opened my backup of the itunes folder on my external drive. Replaced the library itunes folder with the backup. Opened itunes again. Voila. Back to normal.

  12. says

    The instructions for the Mac work, EXCEPT:
    Here are the files that need to be deleted and replaced by the older versions, in ~/Music/iTunes:
    iTunes Library
    iTunes Library Extras.itdb
    iTunes Library Genius.itdb
    Before you delete these, make sure you have the older versions from your previous version of iTunes. Otherwise, when you open iTunes 9.2.1, all of your playlists and songs will be gone.

  13. says

    Very nice. Thank you.
    I didn’t even have to recreate my library.

    I hope they listen to user input on iTunesX. I don’t mind the new look so much, but there are some terrible functionality changes. Note to Apple: Don’t take away things many of us like and use.

  14. says

    For those of you on Snow Leopard, there is now just a single plist called “InstallHistory” in /Library/Receipts; edit it to remove the dictionary key for iTunes 10 with PropertyList Editor or PlistEdit Pro.

    Also, to the original author – when you install a new version of iTunes, Mac automatically creates a version of your iTunes library XML file in “Previous iTunes Libraries”; if you restore this after deleting the Library, Genius, and Extras files, your entire library + playlists will still be there. No need to recreate your library.

    YMMV on Windoze; don’t use it much myself.

  15. says

    Hello, this is very helpful but i recently unstalled my itunes 9.2 to download 10 and I went to my control panel to delete everything that was listed but my apple application support will not unstall and i tried to install 9.2 again but it said the newer version of quicktime was already installed so i can’t install itunes.

  16. says

    Hi. Thanks for this. Can anyone confirm whether or not when doing this for windows (I have windows 7) you need to recreate the library or not? I really don’t want to loose my plays, ratings etc. but I also really want itunes 9 back…

  17. says

    Thanks for this I am trying it out now. iTunes 10 broke my mt-daapd install on linux somehow. I was able to see the library but not any of the music in there. They changed way to much of iTunes, it’s pretty crappy.

  18. says

    itunes 10 is terrible. i dont care about the icon, its the functions. itunes 10 rearranges my playlists and there is not burn cd short cut anymore and the gray is so boring. I want the option to colour code my files! Oh I could go on……… Bad form itunes
    Thank you for this info, I am about to downgrade to 9.2.1
    Phew!

  19. says

    Juuuust great!!!
    iTunes on Mac…
    I cant sync contacts, calendars and mail accounts any more.
    And my pics are messed up.
    GOD I’m sorry to say this… but Apple is beginning to look a little too much like Microsoft.
    Putting faulty products on the market, is not exactly what I expected, when I joined the Apple wave some years ago.
    Very disappointing and keep it up, and the loyal customers will disappear again.

  20. says

    Thanks, this really saved my bacon. Now I just have to fix my phone; upgrading to 4.1 while the iphones 10.busted is installed puts it in recovery mode. Alas.

  21. says

    Works pretty good, except that you have to resync everything, but that is the price we pay to get back to normal.
    Any idea how to get my apps back to itunes?

  22. says

    Here’s how I did it. Just 3 simple files trashed…

    If you’re on a Mac and wish to roll back to iTunes 9, here’s how.

    First thing’s first. You’ll need to track down a Mac version of 9.2.1. Apple has (from what I could tell) stripped it from the site, and many searches just turned up links to Apple’s site. While this is sill available, get it here – http://tinyurl.com/33pnveb

    Now, trash the cursed icon from your dock, and then delete the program itself from ‘Applications’. No worries, nothing important is saved in the app.

    If you have the space, you’re going to want to do a backup of your music files before anything else. Go into ‘(your hard drive)/Users/Music/’ and you’ll see an ‘iTunes’ folder. This has everything important in it. Go ahead and duplicate it either to a CD backup, or just duplicate it somewhere else on your hard drive. In the event something goes wrong, You can always put the duplicate back in place and re-download iTunes 10.

    Now, go into the iTunes folder (the original, not your backup!) and trash these 3 files-

    – iTunes Library
    – iTunes Library Extensions
    – iTunes Library Genius

    Leave everything else as-is.

    Now, install iTunes 9. When finished, put a copy of the icon back on your dock and click it. After clearing the legal agreement, you’ll be greeted with what appears to be a blank slate — no tunes, no video. This is NORMAL. The files we trashed are the glue of what ties the application to your files — files that were updated to only work with 10. What we need to do now is to rebuild those files back into the iTunes folder.

    But before we do anything with the folder, we need to make some quick adjustments in iTunes 9 to ensure everything goes smoothly. This is KEY. Pull down ‘Preferences/ Advanced’ and turn OFF the following-

    – Keep iTunes media folder organized
    – Copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library

    Click OK.

    Take the iTunes folder that we tracked down before, and drag the whole thing directly into the open white window area of iTunes. Immediately it will start processing your music, linked artwork, iPhone/Touch apps, etc. If at ANY time it asks if you want to replace item X with a new item X, click NO. It may ask you this a few dozen times. Just always click NO.

    And there you go. After 5 to 10 minutes, your iTunes will be fully restored to 9.2.1. Enjoy!

    Future tip – Watch out for Apple updates from now on, or you may inadvertently upgrade to 10 one day and have to repeat the process of rollback.

  23. says

    thank you, followed your instructions to downgrade from itunes 10 and got my IPod back! Went to Ipod help link in itunes and that was a waste of time evn in the so called “express lane” -, they don’t seem to recognise many people are having these errors in itunes 10. Upgrading was an awful waste of my time (several hours) and for many others its seems.I have now turned off automatic updates on Ipod and Itunes. thanks for this.

  24. says

    THANK YOU PAUL! Excellent explanation of how to get it done – it all worked just the way you said it will mind just one exception – in my iTunes folder there was “iTunes Library Extras” rather than “iTunes Library Extensions”. I assumed they were the same. Thanks again for your great contribution. Web needs more people like you!

  25. says

    I have windows xp, followed directions but still getting error message. I got iTunes downloaded but can’t seem to sync iphone. Can’t seem to start iPod service. Can anyone offer help?

  26. says

    Did I hear that correctly? Any new iPod _requires_ iTunes-10? Thanks for the warning – I won’t be buying a new iPod when my old one finally bites it. In fact, I’ll probably not be buying any more Apple stuff either – I’m pissed off with their forced “upgrades” and “Steve knows best” attitude.

  27. says

    iTunes 10 would not even open after I had installed it on Windows XP SP3. I really should know better than to take an automatic upgrade of any product, especially a major release.

    I followed these instructions to the letter & it worked a treat. My iTunes library was all intact except for a few tracks which I think had been moved after they were added to the library. Nothing that can’t be easily sorted out.
    Thanks so much for posting this up.

  28. says

    Cannot believe what a hulking piece of garbage iT10 is!
    I’ve NEVER repeat NEVER(possibly luck)had to retrofit an earlier S/W version to use any iPod I’ve owned.iT10 point blank refused to recognise my 1st gen iPTouch running 2.2.1 after installing 10 on new 21.5″ iMac 10.6.4.
    Thanks to this site I have successfully been able to sync my pod again.Phew!!
    Great instructions,just to add…..
    I had to throw away my iTunes folder in my home folder as this was created using iT10.Luckily I had kept a previous back up from 9.2.1 and replaced it with that.Worked like a charm and also luckily,being an iPT it synced all purchased content back.Double PHEW!!
    Worst still,I’m contemplating getting the new iPTouch..hmmmm not so sure now!

  29. says

    Thank you so much for offering the old version for download. Its not even available per update anymore! (Trying to tell me that my 9.1.1 I had saved is the freshest version available, which is a) bullshit and b) an insolence to everybody still using 10.4)

  30. says

    The best and easiest thing is to use Appcleaner and totally delete iTunes from your computer. It is really a total POS designed to force you to do things Apple’s way and take control of your music files. If you are so computer-illiterate that you cannot organize those things for yourself, maybe you should break out the old 45 rpm music box and forget about technology.

  31. says

    Thank you so much for the link to download iTunes 9.2.1! I didn’t have to downgrade from iTunes 10, but when I recently had a hard drive crash and replaced my hard drive, I had to reinstall my MacOS X 10.4.11 operating system, and Software update would not upgrade my version of iTunes from 4.7.1! My whole iTunes library was not recognized by 4.7.1, since the last version I had was 9.2.1, before the crash. I looked for hours online to try and find where to download the earlier version of iTunes, the last one that would work on Tiger, and your website was the only one who had a link to do that. I couldn’t find it on Apple’s site at all, even under older software downloads. So now I’ve installed it, and it recognizes my whole previous library (which I was able to save from the old hard drive). Yea! I’ll be sure to back up this .dmg of iTunes 9.2.1. Thanks again!

  32. says

    iTunes 10.0.1 sucks i have wasted two hole evenings on that damn upgrade, because of bad development. I serious considering apple after this bull…. amateur software.

  33. says

    I’m having a problem with my 5th generation 80gb ipod classic, this problem started as soon as i upgraded to itunes10, when i had itunes9 i would sync without any trouble now everytime isync itunes crashes, ihope that downgrading to itunes 9 can help me.

  34. says

    Thanks for your article! I’m relieved to have iTunes 9 back. I don’t remember having downgraded another app because of UI changes before, but iTunes 10 is just too ugly for my music collection.

  35. says

    Hi, I am back to the site to see if there are any fixes to iTunes 10 after 1.5 months since downgrading to v9. iTunes keeps telling me to upgrade from v9 but I have turned off automatic updates, thank goodness. I am disappointed that Apple have not addressed these problems by now. The number of new complaints since I first used this site tells me the same problems with iTunes 10 are still out there so I am sticking to v9.

    I have a recently purchased 3rd Gen IPod touch running OS 4.1 and no problems with v9 – for those who have asked.

    I downgraded from 10 and while I haven’t completely sorted syncing my apps back to what they were, I have my music and podcasts back and my IPod is no longer frozen and unsable. Thanks to this site I was able to get the link to downgrade to the previous version of iTunes which had been working a treat.

    Apple wake up! you are losing people with releasing apparently untested software and not communicating the fixes – you can communicate everything else – like what else to buy.

    • Some circuit damage, unit still operational. says

      LMAO “I WORKAROUND Apple products all day”. A workaround in computer engineering is a temporary fix for a problem typically caused by bad design and ineffectual testing. You say it ALL about Apple with that statement. I’ve been dealing with their shit for a few days only and it stinks at least as bad as anyone else’s. Why the f**k do software companies waste good hardware by artificially-crippling their products? Is it because they’re addicted to the new product release cycle instead of making a product good once and for all?

  36. says

    If I could find a way of adding artwork (my own) to mp3’s using another player than iTunes, I’d be doing it now. This release won’t run on my machine.

  37. says

    I have uninstalled iTunes10 works fine a couple of days and suddenly failed.
    Downgraded to 9.2.1.4 nothing works
    Downgraded to 9.0.2.25 still nothing works. All I can see iTunes is running in Windows Task Manager but didn’t popup the UI.
    Apple now sucks…

  38. says

    Thank you. It has been close to 10 years since I downgraded an application, but iTunes 10 is a total disaster, and it’s the ugliest Mac app in a long time.

    Again, thanks for that link!

  39. says

    I am following the Mac instructions, but do not have an iTunes.pkg to delete.

    I ignored this step and carried on with the instructions, but iTunes9.2.1 won’t open. The error message says “not recognized.”

    What the heck am I doing wrong?

  40. says

    Ahh, nevermind. I finally got the download to take, but it won’t open up, because my library was “created with a newer version of iTunes.”
    Except that… it wasn’t.
    I haven’t changed my library in at least a week, and the update only came out a couple of days ago.

    I REALLY hope I didn’t just lose all my music.

    Apple, you FAIL.

  41. says

    *You said we can simply use Time Machine…
    I’m an amatuer computer user. I have Time Machine (which I’ve never had to use before). I only want to restore iTune 9.2.1; not my whole Mac.I want to make sure that I don’t miss any extra iTunes files. Don’t I still have to delete some iTunes 10 files, since I wouldn’t be restoring the whole Mac? Will Time Machine restore everything the way it was? (ie. playlists; icons; library…). Don’t want to recreate library; if I can help it. Thank you for your help.

  42. says

    I Upgraded To 10.1 An Ever Since I-Tunes Won’t Open..I Have Looked In My Processes Manager To See If The I-Tunes Exe File Was Running It Is..I Have Tried Installing An Re-installing An Alway’s Get The Same Result’s..It Will Launch An Load My I-Tunes Library Because It Say’s So On The Dialog Screen ,Also It Will Launch The Scrobbling Program An Then After That The Program Never Come’s Up..No Store ,No Music Nothing..Very Dissapointed At The Moment I’m A Music Artist On I-Tunes An I Can’t Even Get On..I-Tunes 10 Need’s To Be Replaced With Something That Work’s…Please Fix This..Sincerly Jimmy Drew

  43. says

    Um…this doesn’t work for at least one complaint. Follow these instructions exactly, and iTunes 9.2 will install without the podcast links to the iTunes Store. To revive those links, rename iTunes folder in \music to iTunes.old. After iTunes creates a new folder, each podcast folder must be created with a visit to the iTunes store…then the episodes can be dragged to iTunes and the link will remain. Drag the entire podcast folder and the link will disappear.

  44. says

    hiiiiii
    i have degraded my itunes to 9.2.1 but it is say that ipod has sync with 10.1 and asking me install again 10.1to sync plz help me out of this ……

  45. says

    DO NOT TRY TO USE TIME MACHINE, as it won’t work. Instead,
    very carefully follow the instructions posted by Paul on September
    11. That method will restore version 9.2.1 and leave your library,
    playlists, etc. intact.

  46. says

    to Not a Pingster : use your “previous itunes libraries” files in your main itunes folder, look at those dates,and pick the right one and replace it with your current itunes library file,that’s it!

  47. says

    Tengo problemas con itunes 10 pues en el arranque de mi pc (windows xp) me aparece un mensaje que dice apple sycn le faltan componentes en una de sus librerias por favor ayudenme.
    ya desinstale y vovi a instalar cada uno de sus componentes pero ni asi logro quitar ese problema.
    Gracias por su ayuda.

  48. Almost says

    It says that the file “Itunes Library.itl” cannot be read because it was created by a newer version of Itunes… what should I do?

  49. steve says

    haha they made it so you can’t import as a wave file!
    according to apple 128 kbps is high quality, what bullshit!!!

  50. says

    I saw an earlier post about adding artwork to mp3s using a different program. Basically, I think they were looking for something to do it for them. Granted, I’m on a PC, but I use Media Monkey…. it’s a freaking GREAT product. SO Easy to add artwork. It searches the album, artist, and track list against amazon, until ii finds the best matches, then plugs in ALL the info, correcting it if need be, including artwork. Love it.

    Seriously apple? I have 28000 tracks, and itunes 10 takes 22 hours and it’s not even 10% through gapless playback and processing album artwork? Are you kidding? you suck apple!

  51. xoxox says

    I can’t delete iTunes 10 (it’s in Trash but it won’t delete). Says iTunesHelper is in use (can’t find that, the receipt and pkg. files don’t exist in my library/preferences either)….iTunes just sucks. I’ve had two Macs die on me in the last month and i lost 3 years of a library. Oh well.

  52. Reverberation says

    This method is particularly hard, but I just uninstalled itunes, googles the itunes 9.2 setup, and re installed it. Took 10 minutes. It works to.

  53. Tracy says

    Thank you SO much! HAve been trying to remove itunes after make mistake of upgrading. With your help its finally all sorted.
    Not planning upgrade again any time soon.

  54. VLA4 says

    Can’t find iTunes.pkg & iTunesX.pkg… my friend can’t find it either. Can anyone help with the specifics of the file locations? A video would be awesome.

  55. Matthew Bright says

    I’m sorry, but I’m not a computer expert and I have no time to become one. I would think Apple would fix the goddamn problem and give us a fix. Because I have no third party apps on anything pertaining to ITunes and the instructions for doing any of the fixes mentioned appear to be for experts only. Which means, I have to take the laptop to a repair shop and pay good money to fix something I’ve already paid good money for.

    FIX THE GODDAMN PROBLEM!!!

  56. amy says

    I was so very happy to find this – it worked wonderfully until I plugged in my iPod Touch, which apparently requires iTunes 10. Sigh.

  57. Em says

    Thank you! I am so happy to have things finally working again! Apple you really need to get your shit together!

  58. Valerie says

    So I need to upgrade my itunes to version 10 in order for it to sync with the new itouch that i just got, but i hate how the new itunes looks. How do I keep version 9.2 and download 10.1 at the same time?

  59. banana says

    Worked for me too. I had to go back a few more files in the “Previous iTunes Libraries” folder until I found one that worked though. Needed one which synched with the older version of iTunes I chose.

  60. Hadi says

    Does this instruction suits for this version of iTunes as well or is this only for the Beta version?
    I have installed iTunes latest version 10.5 (not beta) and have serious problems in syncing and even restoring my iPod.
    I have already updated my iOS to iOS5 and due to the fact that iOS5 can not work with older versions of iTunes, I’m stuck in an awful situation!

  61. Brittany says

    That didn’t help me at all. It kept saying “itunes cannot be read because it was created by a newer version of Itunes”….Now what? I wanted to downgrade because I needed the home sharing and now I can’t get anything to work…I’m stuck :(

    • Ken Woods says

      Brittany, (10/22/11 10:47a)

      open Terminal
      type “sudo bash”
      enter your password
      type “rm -rf /Users/(your username)/Music/iTunes/*.itl”

      That’s a pretty brute force way to fix it, but it will work for you.

  62. says

    i have just jailbroken my iphone and i want to revert to itunes 9… i dont have a large library (it would be fine to lose any of the songs)… if i just delete 10 and download 9 would that work? im terrified of messing up my phone since it has been jailbroken. would reverting to an earlier version affect my other backed up info?

  63. sue phi says

    this method does not work with OSX LION. 1: can’t delete iTunes (system won’t let me), 2: there is no .plist file or package to remove. iTunes 10 appears to be completely integrated into Lion.
    i just wanted my drop down menu back (the one next to the song title). in previous versions, one could modify it from pointing to ping or the iTunes store to point directly to the library. it made it easy for me to go from a single out of order track in the recently aded playlist to the full album in the regular library list. i miss this feature greatly

    • laneo says

      1. change the permissions of the itunes app
      2. try again. it is over there.

      3. thanks for this ! i just did it on my mac and it worked perfectly.
      I had to recreate the library its a pretty simple process.. but i loss the “date added” attribute from my library.

  64. Ray Tomecko says

    Recreate the iTunes library? Are you kidding? I have 1,000 songs. (unless I’m misinterpreting that instruction.)

  65. Sheyenne says

    What else would the iTunes.pkg be called/named?

    *I realize most people have done this awhile ago. I just haven’t figured this thing out yet. Don’t want to make mistake and lose music or redo work that took months. Thank you for any advice.

  66. Chris says

    I spent a lot of money for an Airport Express and it does not work with my MacBook Pro. Seems like this is something the Apple store sales person might have thought to mention…. The reinstall did not work. I did not try downgrading–a solution that might require me to recreate the iTunes library seemed pretty bogus.

  67. Kenny says

    Whom ever decided to upgrade Itunes to a newer version I could beat you I hate this new version can’t copy new Playlist to my I phone and boy and I upset!!

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