iTunes Store downloads: whether it consists of podcasts, movies, TV shows, audiobooks or music, most of the content you add to your iTunes library will be downloaded (only exception being content you manually import, and any multimedia file you select to play with iTunes). In this tutorial, we will explain how to make the most of the options iTunes gives you to manage your downloads: pause and resume individual downloads, pause all or resume all, prevent iTunes from checking for new content in the iTunes Store, etc.
Two of the iTunes Store settings that control whether iTunes should automatically start downloading any new content from the store as they are available, or if it should at least let you know (download notification) when new purchases are available for download, are covered in another tutorial: learn how to make iTunes automatically check for new downloads (tell you when new downloads are waiting), and how to optionally make iTunes automatically start downloading prepurchased items (actually start downloading them without manual check). Note that these iTunes Store download settings only affect the current iTunes, and can be different from one computer to another.
When iTunes is in the process of checking the Store for new downloads (whether this happened automatically or was initiated manually by going to Store > Check for Available Downloads), a progress bar is displayed at the top of iTunes' main window, with an "Accessing iTunes Store..." message.
Notice the "x" button on the right: this allows you to cancel the current action: in the case of checking for downloads, this will stop iTunes from checking your account for new downloads. But this same button allows you to manually stop an iPod from being synced, or audio adjustment from being performed, etc.
iTunes allows you to download up to 3 separate files at the same time; depending on the speed of your internet connection and number of people using it, downloading 3 files at once (especially large downloads like movies or TV shows), may mean that you have to wait a very long time before you can start watching your content.
To force iTunes to download only one file at a time, click on the Download section in the left pane (only visible when there are downloads in progress or pending). Then, uncheck the "Allow simultaneous downloads" checkbox: iTunes will immediately pause the last two current downloads, and keep downloading the first one until it is complete. At that point, iTunes will download the second, and so on, going from top to bottom.
iTunes also allows you to change (or override) the download order by pausing and resuming downloads manually. To pause a single download (we explain in the next section how to pause all downloads at once), click on the corresponding Pause button:
To resume a paused download, simply click on its Resume button: notice that the Pause button now displays a Resume symbol (circular arrow) on the button instead. Once you resume your download, you can pause it again before it completes (you will see the Pause button re-appear in place of the Resume symbol as soon as the download resumes).
Notice from the screenshot above that when a download is complete, iTunes marks it as "Done" - completed downloads are only visible once you are inside the Downloads screen; if you leave it to another section and come back, you will only see relevant information, namely pending and in-progress downloads.
At any point, iTunes gives you a visual summary of the current downloads:
The Done files are completed downloads; "processing file" means that the download is complete, and that iTunes is currently adding it to your library; "stopped" means that the download is question is paused; a download in progress will indicate "x minutes/seconds remaining", which is a generally good estimate (affected by your other online activity, and that of anyone else sharing an internet connection with you). Finally, downloads marked as "waiting" are pending, and waiting for their turn to start.
Audio content (music and audiobooks), as well as any podcast (audio or video podcast) cannot be preview while the download is in progress, and you will have to wait until the one you want to listen to has completely finished downloading. TV Shows and movies, on the other hand, can start playing even as they are downloading. The screenshot below shows you the equivalent in iTunes of the download status covered above, seen from your iTunes library:
6 is paused, and cannot be played: the two songs at the bottom (numbers
10) are currently being downloaded from the iTunes Store, and cannot be previewed or played back until the download is finished. All other songs have finished downloading, and can be played like any other item in your iTunes library.
Tip: Also notice that the progress screen gives you continuous updates on iTunes' activity; in this case, that it is processing one of the two remaining downloads from the album we just purchased.
iTunes displays a Pause All and Resume All buttons in the bottom right corner of the download screen. If the current iTunes Store downloads interfere with another download (like downloading a large file or application from the internet), simply click on the Pause All button, and iTunes will pause all downloads until you tell it to resume them; note that when you do (by clicking on the Resume All button), iTunes will resume each download where it stopped, not start over from the beginning.
If you exit iTunes in the middle of one or more downloads, it will first give you a change to leave iTunes opened until the downloads are complete (hit "Don't Quit"), or interrupt the downloads in progress to exit iTunes: (click on the Quit button)
If you exit in the middle of downloads, iTunes will resume them without any problem next time you launch iTunes. (Depending on your iTunes Store settings, you may have to manually check for new downloads.)