Can I run iTunes on a Chromebook?

Can I run iTunes on a Chromebook?

Google changed the landscape of affordable computing with the advent of Chromebooks. These affordable laptops running Chrome OS are ubiquitous throughout the education sector. Many users also prefer to use a Chromebook at home for personal computing. Of course, a large percentage of those people also use an iPhone as their daily mobile device. It’s certainly natural to wonder how well your favorite Chromebook pairs with your iPhone. For many iPhone users, iTunes is still an integral part of their music management routine. So, can you run iTunes on your Chromebook? Let’s clear things up.

Installing iTunes on a Chromebook with Linux and Wine

Wine HQ software

It is technically possible to install iTunes software on a Chromebook device, using the Linux environment on your Chromebook, along with Wine. Chrome OS is Linux-based, providing the versatility to run on a variety of hardware. Wine is an open-source tool that allows Windows applications to run on Linux or macOS. Since Chrome OS is based on Linux, you can use this to install the Windows version of iTunes on a Chromebook.

The details of this installation process are technical and require a few terminal commands. However, it turns out that installing the Windows version of iTunes on a Chromebook isn’t worth the effort.

Running and using iTunes on a Chromebook

iTunes logo

Several users around the internet have installed iTunes using the process above. In the end, their reward was a very laggy and unusable version of iTunes. The slowness is not unexpected, considering the iTunes program is running inside both a Linux and a Windows container. While slowness may be tolerable for some, it’s also impossible to sync an iPhone with iTunes running on Chromebook.

Lastly, many users report that they couldn’t even sign into their Apple account without iTunes crashing. In totality, these issues demonstrate that iTunes is virtually useless when installed on a Chromebook device. Indeed, just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done!

A possible alternative to Linux and Wine: Parallels Desktop

A computer running Windows using Parallels Desktop

Thus far, this article seems like mostly bad news. Installing iTunes via Linux and Wine is clearly a poor idea. There’s a small glimmer of hope, if you’re willing to buy Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS. Parallels Desktop is a full-featured Windows container that runs natively on Chrome OS. This method will allow you to run the Windows version of iTunes more smoothly, but there are a few important things to be aware of. The Parallels Desktop software is currently only available at scale to business customers, making this option of little use to individual users. It’s also possible that some of the bugs found in the Linux/Wine installation will persist when using iTunes via Parallels Desktop on your Chromebook.

Overall, iTunes is fairly difficult to install and nearly impossible to run smoothly on a Chromebook. However, if you want to listen to music on a Chromebook, all hope is not lost. You can still easily import your iTunes library to a Chromebook using YouTube Music or other streaming platforms like Spotify. If you’re locked into the Apple ecosystem, it’s easy to run the Apple Music web app in the Chrome browser. The most important take away is that music is still easy to enjoy on Chromebook, but syncing an iPhone or iPod isn’t possible. Despite the lack of iTunes support, Chromebooks are still excellent for play and productivity. Chrome OS supports Linux apps, full Linux installation, and there are several docking stations that turn your Chromebook into an excellent work machine.

About author

Jeff Springer
Jeff Springer

Applied mathematician with a love for Android. I am interested in inverse problems for imaging and integration with camera software for mobile phones.