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What do the symbols mean in itunes?

Updated February 21, 2017

When you launch iTunes on your computer, you'll see the main application window, a menu and a sidebar where you access your media files. A variety of symbols appear in the iTunes interface, and if you're not familiar with the application, you might wonder about the meaning of some of the symbols. Once you become accustomed to using iTunes, the symbols will make it easier for you to work with the application.

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About iTunes

iTunes is a free application from Apple that you can use to play music and videos. The application also lets you access Apple's iTunes Store over the Internet, where you can browse and search for music, TV shows, movies, books, audio and video podcasts, as well as apps and games to use on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

Music Display

At the top right of the iTunes application window, you see four symbols, which you use to change how you see your music collection. Click the symbol with four lines to display your music as a list of songs. Click the symbol with two small squares and lines to display your music as a list of albums. Click the symbol with six squares to display your music in grid view. Click the symbol with a square and two lines to browse your music in Cover Flow, which is like flipping through your CD collection.


Click "iTunes Store" in the left pane of the iTunes window, and navigation symbols appear at the top left of the window. Click the symbol of a house to load the iTunes Store home, where you will find links to buy gifts, browse for items and see featured music, videos and artists. After you click a few links, you might want to go back and forth to revisit different sections of the iTunes Store. Click the left-facing triangle symbol to go back, and click the right-facing triangle symbol to go forward.


Playlist control symbols appear at the bottom left of the iTunes window. Click the "Plus" sign to create a new playlist. Click the symbol with two crossed arrows to toggle the iTunes shuffle feature on and off to control whether your music plays back in random order. Click the symbol with two curved arrows to switch between playing music in a playlist once or repeatedly, or to repeatedly play one item. Press the symbol of an upward-pointing triangle to toggle hiding or revealing item artwork. Click the symbol of the atom on the bottom right of the window to activate the iTunes Genius feature, which creates playlists based on your music collection. Click the left-facing triangle next to the Genius symbol to toggle showing or hiding the iTunes sidebar.

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About the Author

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.

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