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Six ways to master the Mac App Store and the iTunes Store

Kirk McElhearn | April 12, 2013
Here are six tips for using a web browser to access the stores more quickly and efficiently

Feel like shopping? Both the Mac App Store (Apple menu > App Store) and the iTunes Store (accessed through Apple's iTunes) may appear to be applications, but they are actually websites. That means you don't have to fumble through menus or wait for iTunes to launch in order to access the stores. It also means that you can use powerful Web-based tools--like Google search--to find apps, music, movies, and more. Here are six tips for using a Web browser to access the stores more quickly and efficiently.

1. Search from the Web

When you want to search the Mac App Store and iTunes Store apps, the limitations can be frustrating. For example, iTunes doesn't let you search for record labels. If you're looking for a song that's been covered by 100 bands that makes it hard to find the version you want. Try Google to search instead.

Harness the power of Google: Say you want to find all the albums by a certain artist that are available in the U.S. iTunes Store. In your Web browser, type in a Google search such as this: Grateful Dead site:itunes.apple.com/us/

This search string has four parts. The first, Grateful Dead, is what I'm searching for. In the second part, site: specifies that the search is limited to the domain following the colon. The third, itunes.apple.com is the actual domain where the search will take place. (Both the App Store and the iTunes Store use the same URL.) Finally, the /us/ part at the very end limits the search to the United States stores. If you want to search in France, use /fr/; in the United Kingdom, use /gb/; and so on. (If you don't know the two-letter code for your country, see this Wikipedia article. Naturally, not all countries have the iTunes Store or the Mac App Store.)

Your search results will contain a wide range of content, and you can scroll through Google's pages looking for what you want.

Limit your searches further: If you want to be more precise, include words like podcast or iPhone in your search (in the first part of the search string). If you want to find an multiplayer word game, for example, you might search for: multiplayer word game site:itunes.apple.com/us/

If you want to find OS X-comptible text editors that handle Markdown, search for: text editor os x Markdown site:itunes.apple.com/us/

You can also search for specific songs, or classical works, by adding artist names, labels and more. For example, search for fischer-dieskau winterreise EMI site:itunes.apple.com/us/ to find Dietrich-Fischer Dieskau's recording of Winterreise on the EMI label.

2. Share URLs

Since the Mac App Store and iTunes Store are really just made up of webpages, it's easy to share links to apps, songs, movies, albums, and more with friends. If you perform a Google search as described above, simply copy the link to the search result you want to share.

 

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