Extra, extra, read watch all about it! Apple on Thursday released iTunes 11.3, with one very significant update: iTunes Extras for HD movies. And with the latest software update for the Apple TV, released late last month, you can, at long last, enjoy those extra features on the big screen as well. Even better, as iTunes Extras become available for HD movies you’ve already bought, you’ll get access to them as they roll out—and, if studios decide to add more features later, those will automatically be available to those who already own the film.
However, if it’s your iOS device on which you’re hankering to watch, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer: The company also said that support for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will come as part of iOS 8 this fall.
iTunes Extras, in case you haven’t had the pleasure, are essentially those additional features that you get along with purchasing a movie—the same type of special content you see on DVDs and Blu-rays. They include everything from behind-the-scenes content to director’s commentaries to blooper reels. And iTunes Extras can go beyond simply adding extra content, and instead provide different ways of viewing a movie. For example, a Scenes feature can let you change how you watch: See just the musical content in Frozen, or only the car chases in the latest Fast and the Furious. They also include HD photo galleries of conceptual drawings, as in Monsters University, or even looks at the recording sessions in The LEGO Movie. Other films featuring iTunes Extras include The Avengers, Django Unchained, Ghostbusters, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to name just a few.
While the additional content was available on the first Apple TV (it arrived in
the Apple TV 3.0 software update), when Apple revved the set-top box to its newer streaming-only design, iTunes Extras were left by the wayside. You’ve always been able to play iTunes Extras on the Mac, but starting with iTunes 11.3 you’ll be able to get online access to that content, instead of having to download hefty video files.
Though it may not be an addition that everybody was clamoring for, there were plenty of vocal demands
on social media and elsewhere for support—and it appears that Cupertino listened.
The iTunes 11.3 update is available via the Mac App Store; to make sure your Apple TV has the latest software, visit Settings > General > Software Updates.
Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET with more information throughout.