The iTunes Visualizer

Hidden in iTunes is a powerful music visualizer that will display amazing graphics that react to the music that is playing. You can use the visualizer to complement your iTunes music as it plays and you have nothing else going on with your screen, like while your Mac is playing music at a party. There are keyboard command that you can use to adjust what you see in the visualizer.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: The iTunes Visualizer.

Have you ever heard of the iTunes Visualizer? Well, a lot of you know about it but some of you may not even know it's there. It's in iTunes on your Mac. It's been around since the dawn of iTunes. You can get to it after you start some music.

So let's start some music first. Then I'm going to go to View and Visualizer, Show Visualizer. You can see Command T brings it up easily. Then it fills the screen with all these graphics that are actually reacting to the music that's being played.

Now there a brunch of different things you can do to customize it. If you do Shift and the question mark key it brings up some stuff that you can do. You've got M and P for Mode change and Palette change. So I can keep hitting m and you can see it changes to different modes. If I don't do that it will eventually cycle through different modes naturally. Also p will change the palette. This means the colors will come in and change.

Now i brings up track info but there's no info for this particular track that is playing so nothing will show. Now you can also do some toggling. So you can toggle freeze mode. Freeze mode kind of freezes everything in place but not completely. Things are still moving around a little bit.
n turns that nebula on and off in the background. Let's unfreeze that there.

Now you can do Camera Lock and if I do that it kind of locks the objects in place somewhat. They still move a little bit but just a lot slower. So you can use x and l together to really lock things in place. You can kind of see what happens if I unlock the camera and if I unlock the entire thing with unlocking the freeze mode. You can also bring up the frame rate at the bottom right hand corner of the screen to see how well your Mac is performing with it all.

So in general this is just for a good bit of fun. But, you know, if you are using your Mac, your MacBook, or your iMac in the corner of the room and playing music while you have some people over consider putting this on rather than letting your Mac go to screen saver or shutting off completely so that there's something to look at.

Now there's another mode entirely. I'll hit the Escape key to get out of here. I'll go to Visualizer and there's Classic Visualizer because at some point Apple updated it to make it look like this and some people still like the classic look. So we'll switch to the Classic Look and you can go and see that. Now you may recognize this. The Classic Look always started with the Apple logo there. You also have some things you can do here. The h key brings up some help there and actually you can toggle through two different modes of help. So you can see you can toggle some things, and have it do some different things for you in this mode as well as the regular mode.

So you can enjoy these. Some people actually like doing screen grabs, you know Command Shift 3. Grabbing a screen and using it for something like say a desktop background. But it's just fun to know it's there and it's a neat thing to have displayed.

You notice another option was to play videos and if in my playlist there were any music videos as well as just pure audio songs, then the videos would play on the screen. So if you have a mix of music videos and music you can always have something going on on the screen even if what's playing is not a music video at the time.

So it's kind of fun. Play around with it and see if you've got a use for it the next time you have friends over and you want to listen to music with your Mac.

Comments: 2 Responses to “The iTunes Visualizer”

    Dave Schweitzer
    2 years ago

    I don’t know if it’s at all helpful to mention, but we used to be able to utilize visualizers created by third parties in iTunes by placing them in a certain folder. Somewhere along the line Apple disabled that functionality (or changed the mechanism which generates the visualizer?), but at one time there were many creative alternatives. I wouldn’t mind learning more about that history.

    2 years ago

    Many thanks, I have not used this option before, now I will…

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