Difference Between iTunes and App Store

Key difference – iTunes vs App Store

Though both iTunes and App Store are owned by Apple Corporation, there is a difference between iTunes and App Store based on their function. iTunes is mainly associated with organizing and adding digital media like songs, movies, and TV shows, which can be purchased by the users. On the other hand, the Apple App Store is a website that enables the purchase of software and mobile applications to be run on Apple related devices. So, the key difference is that iTunes is associated with digital media while App Store is mainly associated with software and mobile applications. Let us take a closer look at both and find all the significant differences between them.

What is App Store?

The year 2007 was a crucial year for Apple Corporation, it was the year when the apple’s first ever smartphone, the iPhone was launched. Initially, the Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs believed that the web apps that were developed would be enough to cater to the needs of the user, and did not allow any third party apps to enter the Apple space. However, due to reasons like jailbreak and with the release of iPhone OS 2.0 in July 2008, the App Store was launched, providing Third party support and distribution. However, the introduction of the App Store meant great financial success. In 2013, there were over 40 billion downloads.

App Store is an online store having a collection of software and mobile applications that have been developed for Apple computers and devices. It started its online debut supporting mobile devices like iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that run iOS mobile operating systems. However, it has been expanded to support Mac App Store, which allows purchases of applications for personal computers running the Mac OS X. Only a PC supported by Mac OS X operating system is capable of accessing the Mac App store. The native apps of Apple can only be downloaded from the App store.

These apps can be purchased and downloaded directly onto the device. These apps can also be accessed via Apples iTunes software and then transferred to iOS as an alternative method. The free iCloud service enables to share these apps across multiple platforms like the iOS and Mac OS X.

Now there are more than 800,000 apps counting in the Apple app store. There are other similar app stores that provide applications. Android Market (now known as Google Play), Amazon App store that is specially designed for Android apps, Blackberry app world for Blackberry devices, Ovi store for Nokia are some examples. Mobile applications can be added to App store by software developers using Software Development Kit designed for iPhone OS. From the App store, some apps are available for free downloaded, but some apps have to be purchased. The revenue share for purchased apps will be 30 percent in favor of Apple, and 70 percent goes to the publisher.

There are applications that can be installed by accessing the private files of the iPhone and overriding stipulated restrictions. This is known as jailbreaking. Jailbreaking also gives access to the user to install third-party applications on the iPhone. These apps cannot be downloaded from the App store. Apps have to pass Apple’s stipulated guidelines to enter the App store now. Otherwise, these apps will be rejected. The rejected apps and the apps that do not want to go through the App store are distributed via Cydia.

Key Difference - App store vs iTunes

What is iTunes?

iTunes is a software that is capable of adding, organizing, and playing digital media on a computer. It also allows synchronization of portable devices so that digital media can be played on them as well. It is a jukebox player, which is able to run on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The difference between iTunes and other media players is that it has a built-in iTunes store where podcasts, touch apps, music, video, movies, audiobooks and TV shows, etc. are available. Apple supports it as a portable media player on its many devices. It is also capable of operating on computers as noted before.

iTunes as a media player has many capabilities. It has built in features like a media library, radio broadcaster that operates online and mobile device application management. Recently, iTunes 12 was released which is able to run on OS X v10.7.5 or later of Windows XP or later.

iTunes has its share of lovers and haters. iTunes through the use of the iTunes store gives way to an incomparable world of digital media. On the other hand, iTunes is slow, and the user interface is not that user-friendly. iTunes is still in the process of making the UI better, but the real deal is its vast digital media world it gives access to. In its Windows edition, it comes in two flavors supporting 32 bit and 64 bit.It can be downloaded free, and is able to import mp3s and burn audio. It can also transfer playlists to mobile devices. The iCloud integration with iTunes let all purchases made, be available on all the devices the user handles.

Many improvements have been made to iTunes with recent updates. The search feature has been improved. The Sync feature now enable the users to share playlists across iPhone, iPad, and iPod. A playlist can be automatically created by iTunes according to the user preference. iTunes is also capable of analyzing titles and creating playlists that the user might prefer.

The iTunes store is a digital media store also operated by Apple. This is a software based store opened in April 2003. It was crowned as the largest music vendor for the United States from April 2008 and the world’s biggest music vendor from February 2010. It offers millions of apps, songs, TV shows and films. This store has sold over 25 billion songs all over the world, and the store itself is worth billions of dollars.difference between iTunes and App store

What is the difference between iTunes and App Store?

Features of iTunes and App Store

Main Content

iTunes: iTunes is mainly associated with digital media.

App Store: App Store is mainly software and mobile applications.

Main Function

iTunes: This is a software and  a store consisting of digital media.( Songs, films, TV shows, etc.)

App Store: This is a web-based online store to purchase apps.


iTunes: It is a Software(iTunes) with Web-based store. (iTunes Store)

App Store: It is a Web-based online store.(Apple app store)

Operating Systems

iTunes: iTunes is a software that runs on various operating systems.

App Store: App store is a web-based online store which consists of applications that run on various platforms.


iTunes: iTunes is fair play protected. (Enforces usage restrictions).

App Store: App store does not allow jailbreaking (Apps have to pass Apple guidelines).


iTunes: Digital Media can be downloaded from iTunes.

App Store: Software and mobile apps are downloaded from App store.

App store Size

iTunes: It is the largest music vendor in the world.

App Store: It is the second Largest app store in the world.

Main Operation

iTunes: iTunes’ main operations are  organizing and selling digital media.

App Store: App Store’s main operations are selling software and mobile apps.

Revenue Share

iTunes: The revenue share will vary according to the digital media purchased.

App Store: The revenue share is 30%, 70% in favor of Apple and developer respectively.


 Image courtesy:
“Download music from itunes for free” by Amit Agarwal (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
“The new Mac App Store” by Marlon E (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr