Apple Music vs. Apple Podcast vs. Apple TV: What's the difference?

The iTunes era is ending, leaving users with three new apps.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
4 min read

Goodbye iTunes, hello new apps!

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After being neglected by some of its users (guilty!), Apple music will finally replace iTunes in the new MacOS Catalina update this fall. This will result in Apple Music , Apple Podcasts and Apple TV splitting up into separate apps that control your music. Apple sketched out a few details at its annual WWDC event this year.

Although three new apps sounds complex, Apple hinted that it's killing iTunes to keep apps fast and focused on what you want to do. Here's exactly what happens to your iTunes music collection, but the bottom line is that iCloud syncs all your music, videos and podcasts across all your Apple devices.

Apple has a vision for how you'll use Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts. Here's what we know about how your Mac will organize all your media.

Watch this: Say goodbye to iTunes

Apple's Music app is the workhorse for your tunes

The new Music app will be your source for listening to songs and watching music videos. The app, which shares a name with the Apple Music service in general, will work across all your Apple devices so you can listen to music from any of them.

The Music app is the home to Apple's subscription music service, Apple Music (we told you it was confusing). You can use the Music app without being a subscriber to Apple Music, but paying the $10-a-month price will unlock a lot more features. The paid service offers 50 million songs (no change there), has curated recommendations, and your own library for storing music.

The Apple Music service, which has been around since 2015, will be primarily used for music in its new app (obviously). This is where the music from your iTunes library will live, but you won't use the app to sync your new devices -- you'll use Finder for that. Also, if you're subscribed to iTunes Match, a service that gives you access to all of your music (like imported CDs), you'll keep those benefits, too. The Music app already has Match baked in.


Apple Music is a subscription service you can use across your Apple devices.


With the new update, you'll be able to access your Apple Music service and Music app on your Apple TV and follow along with the lyrics on the screen.

On iTunes, you paid to own individual songs or albums. The Music app has a store where you can buy individual songs, but it's bread and butter are subscriptions, similar to Spotify. That's what gives you access to those millions of songs, and Match.

You can try out Apple Music for three months before making a decision. After that, subscriptions cost $5 per month for students, $10 a month for individuals, and $15 per month for family groups of up to six.

Apple Podcast is a specialist

As the name suggests, Apple Podcast is dedicated to the podcast format, not to musical tracks at all. The app offers more than 700,000 recorded broadcasts of TV and radio shows that you can watch, listen and subscribe to for free.

Podcasts are typically aired in episodes. You'll be notified when new episodes are available once you subscribe. You can also add podcasts to your library and listen offline for free.

Right now, you can listen to podcasts on your iPhone , iPad and iPod. And if you're driving home and want to finish listening to the podcast when you get inside, you can pick up where you left off on any of your devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac).

Once the MacOS update launches, you can listen to podcasts on your Mac. Until then, you have to listen through iTunes, which will remain active until the MacOS Catalina update this fall.


All of your shows and movies will live in the Apple TV app.

James Martin/CNET

Apple TV app is your home for movies and TV shows

Movies and TV shows will migrate from iTunes to the Apple TV app, which is currently available on your iPhone, iPad and Apple TV device, but comes to Mac with the Catalina update.

The Apple TV app will stream your favorite TV shows and movies from services like Hulu and Prime Video, and you can also buy and rent movies and shows from here.

Apple will also add a new subscription service to the app called Apple TV Plus, which sees the brand working with Hollywood stars to create original content to battle Netflix . What we still don't know is how much that subscription will cost or the exact launch date -- we only know it will be this fall. Also, Netflix won't be a part of Apple's streaming service, according to Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings.

As with Apple Music and Apple Podcasts, you'll be able to pick up watching on any device using the Apple TV app. Apple TV box will support multi-user profiles for family groups.