Put iTunes on a Diet

By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2008-07-17 Print this article Print

Put iTunes on a Diet

With iTunes 7.7, Apple has given Windows administrators a little more flexibility in how the music and device synchronization manager can be installed. Not only can administrators control which elements of iTunes get deployed, they can also push the software out to desktops via Microsoft's Active Directory Group Policy.

Although Apple has made it easier to synchronize certain data (e-mail, calendar and contacts) to the iPhone without requiring a direct connection to an iTunes-enabled PC, administrators will find that iTunes is still necessary is some cases. iTunes will continue to be needed for further iPhone software updates, to unlock iPhones that had an illegal passcode entered too many times or to add homegrown enterprise software to the devices.

To streamline the operation of iTunes just a little to fit the new role Apple hopes it will find on the enterprise desktop, the iTunes setup file now supports option flags that can be run from the command line as part of the setup command. The command takes the form of:

iTunesSetup.exe NO_FLAG1=1 NO_FLAG2=1

In order to maintain version control across desktops, iTunes can be installed without its update engine (flag NO_ASUW=1). A check box for the feature will still appear in the setup wizard interface, but the installation will ignore the value set here.

To avoid iTunes use of Apple device discovery and file-sharing protocol, administrators can set the Bonjour flag (NO_BONJOUR=1), and avoid all the network chatter that comes when iTunes tries to automatically share its music directory to the local subnet.

Or if you already have QuickTime installed on your workstations, you can skip that part of iTunes setup with the flag NO_QUICKTIME=1.

Home users without an iPhone could instead choose to install iTunes without mobile device support (NO_AMDS=1).

The iTunes 7.7 setup file can actually be broken up into pieces. Using your favorite unzip program (although I could not get the Windows integrated unzipper to do it), unpack iTunesSetup.exe to a temporary folder. You will find six Windows Installer (.MSI) packages-AppleMobileDeviceSupport, AppleSoftwareUpdate, Bonjour, iTunes, QuickTime and SetupAdmin-that can be appended to a software installation policy via Microsoft's Group Policy Management Console.

Keep in mind that, as a minimum for iPhone device support, iTunes requires QuickTime and Mobile Device support, so make sure to include those two packages plus the core iTunes installer when deploying remotely.

Administrators can also lock out the use of some iTunes features via the registry, allowing them to control the use of some iTunes services like Internet Radio or access to movies or TV shows.
For more information, check out these two documents: Apple's iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide (PDF) (Chapter 4) and Windows OS Managed Client: How to Manage iTunes Control Features.


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