Banish the Caps from iTunes 7

iTunes 7 sports a number of interface changes—everything from the reorganized sidebar to the black highlight bar to the vanished Equalizer buttons. Overall, I like the new appearance quite a bit, though my opinion isn’t shared by everyone. It seems many love the new look, many hate it, and there’s a large group in the middle who probably like some of the changes and dislike others. When I first loaded iTunes 7, SOMETHING caught my eye RIGHT away that was definitely not THERE in iTunes 6 —that’s right, the capitalized category names in the sidebar. To some people, the use of all caps is a social offense akin to stealing candy from children or going in through the out door. To those people, and I’m not saying I’m necessarily one of them, the all cap category names in iTunes 7 simply have to go.

Luckily, getting rid of them is a simple matter of editing a text file—no Terminal required, no fancy Unix tricks. You only need TextEdit and some creativity to pull this one off.

The first thing to do is quit iTunes. Next, control-click on the iTunes application in the Finder and choose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. In the new window that opens, navigate into Contents/Resources/English.lproj (or the appropriate folder for your language). In that folder, click once on the Localizable.strings file and then press Command-D (File -> Duplicate) to make a backup copy.

Now control-click on the Localizable.strings file and choose Open With from the pop-up menu, then move to the sub-menu and select TextEdit. This will open the file for editing. What you’re looking at are the snippets of text used in various spots throughout iTunes. Technically, you can change any of these to your liking, but today, we’re just going to FOCUS ON ONE AREA—darn those capitals. Scroll down until you reach this area of the file:

	/* ===== Source Display Strings ===== */

"135.001" = "Source";
"135.002" = "Are you sure you want to delete the playlist “^1”?";

Within that section are the lines that hold the names of the items in the Sources column:

	"135.006" = "SHARED";

"135.011" = "LIBRARY";
"135.012" = "DEVICES";
"135.013" = "STORE";
"135.014" = "PLAYLISTS";

(I’m only showing the lines in that section which apply to the Sources column display. Leave the other lines intact, obviously!)

To change the names of the items in the sources list, just change the words in the above lines to whatever you like. Remember to keep the names relatively short, unless you prefer having a super-wide sidebar. You can do something simple, like just remove the caps:

	"135.006" = "Shared";

"135.011" = "Library";
"135.012" = "Devices";
"135.013" = "Store";
"135.014" = "Playlists";

Or you could have more fun, and actually rename the entries and maybe add some distinctive characters to help separate the sections:

	"135.006" = "---- Other Machines";

"135.011" = "---- My Stuff";
"135.012" = "---- iPodland";
"135.013" = "---- The iTunes Store";
"135.014" = "---- Selected Things";

Make the changes you wish to make, then save the file and quit TextEdit. When you relaunch iTunes, you’ll see your new naming convention. As an example, here’s a shot of the original look next to the above two modified examples:

It shouldn’t be possible to truly break iTunes while doing this…but if you do manage to do so, navigate back into the English.lproj folder, delete your Localized.strings file, and rename the Localizable copy.strings file to Localizable.strings.

A couple of notes

When you edit a file within an application like this, you’ll affect its permissions. This shouldn’t affect the normal operation of either iTunes or your machine, but it’s probably a good idea to put everything back to “right” when you’re done. Launch Disk Utility (in Applications -> Utilities), select the drive where iTunes is installed, and click Repair Permissions on the First Aid tab. This will restore the proper permissions on the modified file.

It’s quite possible that future iTunes updates will overwrite this file. If you want to keep your changes around, I’d recommend copying just the five relevant lines to a new text file, and then saving that in a safe spot. If a future update wipes out your changes, you can use your saved copy to quickly re-customize the file. I wouldn’t recommend a wholesale copy and paste, just in case Apple has done something like renumber the entries.

And, despite the impression you might get from this blog entry, I actually don’t mind the caps in this context…but I do enjoy having the ability to rename the entries as I see fit.

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