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Apple quietly released an iTunes update that keeps iPhone apps

When Apple released iTunes 12.7 a few weeks ago, the new software unexpectedly killed a feature I’ve been using for years: iPhone apps download. Whenever I’d find an interesting iOS app or game while on the Mac, I’d download it in iTunes. That way, I’d see it installed on the iPhone (or sitting at the top of my recent purchases list).

However, Apple just fixed the problem it created by releasing a special fork of iTunes, version 12.6.3, that you can download right away.

Discovered by redditors, this iTunes version is a temporary fix to the problem. iTunes 12.6.3 will let you download apps to your Mac, but it won’t receive any support or updates of its own in the future.

The next iTunes versions will be iTunes 12.7.x upgrades, which focus only on music, TV, shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. If you want to move to iTunes 12.7 or later from iTunes 12.6.3, you’ll have to upgrade to it manually.

For the time being, however, iTunes 12.6.3 may be exactly what you needed, if you still want to download iPhone apps using your computer. Beware, however, that it may break your music library, so it’s not a hassle-free downgrade.

Don’t expect this iTunes side project to survive for too long. Instead, we can only hope that Apple finds a way to bring back the app download functionality to Mac and PC, so that users can purchase App Store content on a computer and have it downloaded on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Those of you who want iTunes 12.6.3 right now can get it at this link. Yes, it will work with iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.