See free stuff in the iTunes 7 store

One of the things that apparently disappeared with the iTunes 7 upgrade was the one-page view of all the free stuff in the store. At least, if you have an account on the store and you’re usually logged in, it seemingly vanished. In its place is the “beta” (Apple taking a page from Google’s never-ending public beta releases?) Just For You section, listing items you may find of interest, based on your prior purchases. To find the free stuff, you apparently have to keep an eyeball on the individual promotional tile graphics, looking for the Free tag. Ugh.

Well, it turns out that the free stuff page isn’t missing—as anyone who browses the store while not logged in will attest. Right at the bottom of the store page, non-logged-in users will see a FREE ON iTunes section, complete with a See All link, showing all the free stuff on one page. If you’re an active buyer, however, logging out to see the free stuff and then back in to purchase anything is a bit of a pain, to say the least. Thankfully, there are at least two solutions to this problem.

The first solution, assuming you’re logged in, is to click the Turn Just For You Off button, which you’ll find at the very bottom of the store’s main page. With that section disabled, the FREE ON iTunes area will show up in its place. But what if you want to keep Just For You, but would still like to access the free stuff page?

In that case, you’ll want to copy and paste the See All link from the FREE ON iTunes section to a useful location—like the dock. Start by logging out (or disabling Just For You), so that the FREE ON iTunes section shows up. You could then simply drag the See All link to the right side of your Dock—it will turn into a URL placeholder (the “@-spring” icon), which will then load the free stuff page when clicked. Well, almost. Since the URL starts with http://, it will actually load your browser first, which will then transfer you to the free stuff page in the iTunes Store. Not exactly ideal.

So instead of dragging and dropping the URL, control-click on it and choose Copy iTunes Store URL from the pop-up menu (it’s the only option in the pop-up menu). Now switch to TextEdit, and paste the URL into a new document. You should see this line:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewRoom?fcId=188575544

Edit that line, replacing http with itms, so that the line now looks like this:

itms://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewRoom?fcId=188575544

Finally, select that entire line, click and hold the mouse button over the selection, wait a second or so with the button pressed, and then drag the selection to a spot on your hard drive—your Desktop is the easiest spot (for now). Then release the mouse button. You’ve just created a text clipping, a little snippet of text that looks like most any other file on your Desktop. This one will be named phobos.apple.com/ , though you can rename it as you would any other file (I named mine Free iTunes Stuff ). Now move the file to a safe location on your drive, just so you don’t have to look at it on your Desktop all day. After renaming and moving the file, drag and drop it from that location to the right side of your dock—the file is just a document, so it will drop there just like any other document or folder.

That’s it; you’re done. Now whenever you want to see the latest free stuff on the Store, just click once on that icon in the dock, and you’ll jump right to the free stuff page in the Store. (The original document’s name will show when you mouse over the icon, so using a meaningful name will make it clear what the icon does before clicking.)

You can, obviously, find other ways and/or places to store the URL for the free stuff for easy future access; this is but one possible way to do it.

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