Apple’s macOS Catalina update is a big problem for DJs who relied on iTunes

Apple’s macOS Catalina update is a big problem for DJs who relied on iTunes

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple’s latest desktop operating system update, macOS Catalina, will mark the official end of iTunes after nearly two decades. But that transition is proving to be complicated for a certain subset of Mac users who’ve relied on the software to help manage their jobs: DJs.

According to Apple, along with Catalina’s removal of iTunes, users are also losing XML file support as all native music playback on Macs moves over to the official Music app, which has a new library format. XML file support is a popular organizational feature for DJs who use it to sort tracks into playlists and utilize the “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications” option to seamlessly transmit data between apps.

iTunes became the de facto way for lots of DJs to sort through their massive file libraries

Tons of popular DJ apps, like Serato and Traktor, read XML files, and over the years, iTunes became the de facto way for lots of DJs to sort through their massive file libraries and quickly find tracks while performing.

But this means updating to Catalina will replace iTunes with Music, and that, in turn, will break communication between the app and pretty much all existing DJ software. According to Apple if a customer is reliant on XML files for DJing, they should avoid updating and continue using their preferred software on macOS Mojave until developers push out fixes. iTunes on Windows has not changed, so apps on Microsoft’s platform should function as normal.

Additionally, according to Apple a previously reported fix saying users can manually export XML files in the Music app is incorrect. Essentially, if you’re a DJ and you have put tons of time into sorting music in your iTunes playlists for whatever software you use, upgrading to Catalina will likely erase all your hard work.