How to use iTunes 12.1’s Notification Center widget

iTunes12IconXEarlier today Apple released iTunes 12.1, which brings a few fixes for some known stability issues, and also improves syncing with various iOS devices. In addition, Apple has included a Notification Center widget that will allow you to control iTunes from the Notification Center sidebar. This option gives you similar convenience to Apple’s iTunes Dashboard widget, and adds to the numerous options Apple already includes for controlling iTunes from small window. However, upon installing iTunes 12.1 you might not see the widget available right away.

To get the widget working, you might first have to enable it, which can be done in the Extensions system preferences, where all of your Notification Center widgets and other extensions for programs are managed. In this system preferences pane, simply check the iTunes widget, and then optionally drag it up or down in the list to change its position in Notification Center.

Once enabled, open Notification Center, where you can use the standard controls to play, pause, and skip around the current playlist. You can also drag the time slider to a specific point in a song, if you wish to skip around. In addition, you can hold the Option key to reveal the Shuffle button to quickly create a new mix. When listening to iTunes Radio, the widget will give you a quick link to purchase the song you are hearing, and give you a star button that will allow you to specify more songs like the current one to play, or choose to never play the song again.

For now, these features seem to be the extent of the new widget’s functionality, though Apple could update it with new tweaks as new versions of iTunes are released.

iTunes widget in the Extensions system preferences

Check the iTunes widget in the Today section of the Extensions system preferences to enable it.

iTunes 12.1 Widget options in OS X

This menu is available for iTunes Radio playback. Holding the Option key for local library playback will reveal a Shuffle button.