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How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

Can you please post a link here so we can see exactly what you mean? Thanks!

Feb 5, 2010 4:45 AM

Sure. Go to http://www.defenderchronicles.com/ and click on the Available on the iPhone AppStore graphic.

I think the issue is this line in the HTML when one opens a link to an app:

Which probably points back to this script:

I could turn off JavaScript, but I really don’t want to do that.

After following the JavaScript, I think the answer is to redefine how itms:// is handled. I used More Internet to use Safari as the helper for itms and itmss and that seems to have stopped it, but now the View in iTunes link does work 😟

I need to figure out how to stop the onLoad from loading it for just that page type. I vaguely remember some program that lets the user rewrite JavaScript on the fly (Greasemonkey?), but that may only be for FireFox.

Message was edited by: Allan Marcus1

Feb 5, 2010 6:03 AM

Thanks for posting the link.

The link is posted on a non Apple website. You need to contact the site admin and report the bug to them. This is not a Safari tech issue.

Feb 5, 2010 8:58 AM

No offense, but you are wrong. Any link, including those on Apple’s site, that point to an app on the iTunes app store will open a web page and then, if using Safari, open the App Store. This is because of the itms:// link that the apple JavaScript feeds to Safari.

See http://www.apple.com/iphone/apps-for-iphone/ and look at the page source after clicking on an app and getting the iTunes store preview. Download the script javascript from Apple. It’s located at

you will see, assuming you know JavaScript, that the page opens iTunes.

Feb 6, 2010 6:24 PM

Thanks for your work thus far on this.

I investigated the same thing last week, down to using “More Internet” (to remove those itms and itmss helper protocols) but ended with the same results as you.

Rest assured, many will be bugged by this behavior soon. Now that we have the interstitial App Store page appearing on the web, there’s really no reason for iTunes to launch (unless we want it to, and can do so by clicking the “launch in iTunes” button.) I’m thinking we’ll see some hacks or workarounds soon. Or hopefully Apple will hear some complaints, and make it an optional step. It works better in Firefox/Chrome, there’s a popup dialog before it launches iTunes (which you can dismiss permanently by checking a box.)

That said, now that you’ve identified the javascript that’s causing it in Safari. we’re off to a good start in “fixing” it. I will be sharing this link with others, hoping to find help.

Also, just to put it out there, Greasemonkey scripts can indeed be used with Safari — it’s called Greasekit.

Feb 10, 2010 1:35 PM

Sure enough, here’s a Greasemonkey script that deals with this issue. It halts the automatic loading of iTunes to the App Store, and lets the user click instead.

Greasemonkey scripts work natively in the latest Chrome beta for Mac, and Safari by way of Greasekit:

Feb 11, 2010 9:41 PM

<<*Rest assured, many will be bugged by this behavior soon*.>>

I am part of the “many”. This is annoying. If Micro$oft were doing this with IE (forcing users to their own store to buy stuff), we would all be screaming “Big Brother!”, etc. And the fix available, having to run a third-party script to modify my browser’s behavior (and then worry that it will break after the next OS update) is very un-Apple. What happened to caring about the user experience, Steve? We have been loyal to you, how about reciprocating? I know how to go to the App Store if I need to.

By Aunindita Bhatia – January 9, 2017 – no comments Email article | Print article

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safariThere is no doubt that Safari is one of the best browsers in the world currently and iTunes is the best music player. Both are offered by Apple. The only problem is that when you open the app store pages using Safari it will automatically launch iTunes. Are you tired of iTunes getting automatically launched? Do you want to stop iTunes from launching when opening the app store pages in Safari browser? It might be great if going to iTunes is what you want, however, that’s not the only reason people go to the app store. The following tips will help you to stop this annoying occurrence.

What is iTunes?

iTunes is the home of Apple music. Using iTunes, you can enjoy and easily organize music and movies in your MAC system or iPhone. You can also download various music files and movies using iTunes. You can install iTunes not only in MAC systems but also in a Windows based system.

iTunes was earlier known as “Sound Jam MP.” It was renamed iTunes when Apple purchased it in the year 2000. Today, iTunes is considered the number one music player in the world by not only MAC or iPhone users, but also Windows users who use it to manage music and video files. We know it’s popular, but many people would prefer to stop iTunes from launching automatically.

Steps to Stop iTunes from Launching

Install the ‘No More iTunes’ Extension: To stop iTunes from launching on opening the app store pages in Safari, you must first install a new extension named “ No More iTunes .” For that, open the No More iTunes webpage and then download the extension.

It will take a few minutes for the extension to get downloaded. Once the downloading is completed, find . safariextz file in your download folder. Now, click on the file to open it. Before it gets installed to stop iTunes from launching , it will ask you if the file extension is from a trusted source. In the popup message displayed, press the “Trust” button so that the extension gets installed correctly in your system.

Now, open Safari and go about opening the app store and you will see that program has worked to stop iTunes from launching. You can easily browse the app store pages now without moving to any other browser page.

Open iTunes After Stopping its Launch

Even though you have now stopped the launching of iTunes on opening the app store pages in Safari, it doesn’t mean that it will always stop iTunes from launching . It will now open when you want it to. You can see a bar on the browser window that will allow you to launch iTunes, or just click the “View iTunes” button that is placed below the apps icon.

Run the Command

You can also stop iTunes from launching when you press the “Play” button on your keyboard. For this, you need to go to the terminal and run the command given below:

“launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.rcd.plist”

Once you are done with running the command, when you press the Play button on your keyboard, it will stop iTunes from launching .

Conclusion

Safari is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, web browser in the world. Safari and iTunes, both Apple products, go hand in hand. However, one of the biggest complaints reported by users worldwide is that on opening the app store using Safari, it will automatically launch iTunes. Using the above given tricks will help you stop iTunes from launching and have it start up only when you want it .

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

Editor’s Note: the Login Items method may not work for all software, and some may not even show up on the list. Hence, you would have to use an external software like CleanMyMac to stop Apps from auto opening on startup.

Apple packs their MacBooks full of features to help you be more productive at every turn. Between gestures, the launchpad, and so much more, there are hundreds of ways to personalize your workflow.

Unfortunately, sometimes these features can get in your way when they aren’t properly set up. The “Open at Login” feature is one of those — it can be great for those who frequently need specific applications every day as soon as they begin working.

But if your Mac is bombarding you with auto-run apps or services as soon as you log in each morning, it can be a pain.

So how do you stop those pesky apps from opening automatically every time you start your computer? I’m here to show you three methods to do that.

1. Via Users & Groups > Login Items

If you want to stop multiple apps from opening on startup, using System Preferences will let you do it all in one place.

First, open System Preferences by navigating to the Apple menu in the top left corner of your Mac. It will be the second option in the drop-down menu, and once you click it you’ll notice the program open in the dock and as a window.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

The home screen for System Preferences is a grid of options. You should look in the second to last row on the leftmost column for Users & Groups. The button looks like two small dark silhouettes of people from the shoulders up.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

Once you click this, you’ll transition to a new screen that lists all the Mac users along the left side and your account settings in the main section. At the top of this main section are two buttons: “Password” and “Login Items”. By default, you’ll be on the “Password” tab, so change to “Login Items”

This will bring you to the app opening preferences. You’ll see a list of all the apps set to open upon login, in no particular order. To stop an app from opening, click on it in the list so that it is highlighted in blue.

Then, just beneath the list of login items, click the small minus sign. The item will be removed from the list and will cease to open at startup.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

Alternatively, if you accidentally remove an app that you want to continue opening at startup, you can choose the small plus button instead. This will open a Finder window for you to choose the application you want, and it will be added to the list of apps in System Preferences.

2. Via App Settings

Is one particular app bothering you every time you log in? You can end the annoying behavior easily by changing the app’s settings.

I’ll be using Microsoft Word to demonstrate, but the process is nearly identical for almost all apps. First, open the application you want to prevent from automatically starting up (you can skip this step if the application is already kept in the dock).

Then, right-click with your mouse or control + left-click if you’re using a trackpad or a Magic Mouse with two-button mode disabled.

Depending on the app, you’ll have additional options when the small menu shows up, but all apps will show “Options”. Choose “Options”, and then you’ll see “Open at Login” with a small checkmark next to it if the application is set to automatically open.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

To end turn this off by simply clicking “Open at Login” once. The checkmark will disappear and the menu will close. Want to check if it worked? Just right click and re-navigate to the options menu. The checkmark will be gone, indicating that the program will no longer open at login.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

This method works best for individual applications, whereas the previous method of utilizing System Preferences is better for large-scale changes.

3. Via CleanMyMac

There may be apps or services that you can’t get rid of using the above two methods, they are mostly auto launch agents that show up in the menu bar.

But you can still disable or remove them with CleanMyMac X — it is extremely well known for its ability to clean up a Mac and help you regain more storage space, and can make your Mac run a bit faster. Also, it comes with many useful features to make your Mac life easier. One of the features is to get rid of those launch agents.

Once you download and install CleanMyMac, open the app and navigate to Optimization > Launch Agents (screenshot below):

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

In the list, simply check those applications/services you don’t need to autorun when your Mac starts up, then hit the “Remove” button (note: the removal function isn’t available in the trial version).

If you don’t yet have a copy of CleanMyMac X, you can get it here and have access to lots of cool features such as secure document deletion, duplicate file detection, the safe uninstaller, and plenty of other tools to help you manage your Mac system.

Final Words

Turning off the “open at login” feature can have a lot of benefits for your MacBook Pro. Your Mac will run faster on startup since it won’t be frantically opening multiple apps at once. It will also give you a clean working space to start your day and prevent a sudden barrage of new windows, especially since you may not need all of them.

On the other hand, if you know you use certain programs on a daily basis, you can use any one of the above methods to simply enable that program instead. It all comes down to what helps you work smarter rather than harder.

What built-in tricks do you use to keep your Mac away from annoying auto-launch apps or services? Tell us in the comments below!

44 thoughts on “3 Ways to Stop Apps from Auto Opening on Startup”

Thank You! The other forum and help responses for getting Tidal to stop opening automatically were infuriatingly unhelpful.

No problem. Glad that you found the article helpful 🙂

I have a MacBook Pro running High Sierra.
How can I stop the Messages app from auto launching at startup.

It is not listed in Users & Groups > Login where I would have the option to uncheck it.
I don’t want to uninstall it.
I just don’t want it popping up on my Desktop whenthe sydtem boots.

Thank you for this VERY CLEAR set of instructions – the words and the clear screen shots were SO helpful! Good job 🙂

If Safari on your Mac isn’t working as you expect, one of these solutions might help.

These solutions are appropriate for issues that affect Safari on Mac, including issues such as the following. Before you get started, make sure that your Mac is connected to the internet.

  • A webpage is blank or doesn’t show all of its content
  • You can’t to sign in to a webpage, despite using the correct sign-in information
  • A webpage asks you to remove or reset cookies
  • Safari slows down or stops responding

Reload the page

If a page doesn’t open or finish loading, try to reload it: Choose View > Reload Page or press Command-R. If that doesn’t work, press Command-Q to quit Safari, then reopen Safari and try again. If Safari doesn’t quit, press Option-Command-Esc to force Safari to quit.

Install software updates

Install all available Apple software updates, which can include updates for Safari. If you installed any Safari extensions, update them as well.

Turn off Safari extensions

Even if your Safari extensions are up to date, temporarily turn them off to be sure they aren’t affecting Safari in unexpected ways. Choose Safari > Preferences, then click Extensions. To turn off an extension, deselect its checkbox.

Test with a private window

A website can store cookies, caches, and other data on your Mac, and issues with that data can affect your use of the website. To prevent the website from using that data, view the website in a private window: Choose File > New Private Window.

If that works, use the following steps to remove the website’s data from your Mac. The website can then create new data as needed. If it’s a website that you sign in to, make sure that you know your sign-in information before continuing.

  1. Choose Safari > Preferences, then click Privacy.
  2. Click Manage Website Data.
  3. Select the affected website from the list shown.
  4. Click Remove.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Open the website again in a non-private browser window.

Check network settings

Certain network settings, such as those related to using a proxy server or custom DNS server, can affect access to content on the internet. Even if you haven’t changed your network settings, you might have installed software that changed those settings for you.

To find out whether the issue is with the network settings on your Mac, try viewing the website from some other device connected to the same network. You can also add a new network location in Network preferences as a way to quickly reset your network settings for testing.

To find out whether the issue is with your network itself, try viewing the website after connecting to a different network.

Lately I’ve noticed my browser redirecting me to the App Store without clicking, generally just as the site begins to load, am I accidentally clicking somewhere on the screen or this something other people have noticed?

Yep. was happening to me just last night. Imgur was sending me to the App Store for some “Game of War” thing. It was annoying.

Yeah, I actually just got that one from imgur as well, ion just glad I’m not going crazy

This has happened before.

I mentioned this some weeks ago. It’s incredibly annoying and I bet Apple/ad networks would penalise people for doing it, if there was some way to report it.

But it’s hard. You open a page, you get bounced to the App Store, how can you tell which ad is responsible? Even going back to the same page might not help. The ads load somewhat randomly.

Report it to the page owners. They will report it to the ad company. The ad company will track it down.

This should be easy for Apple. The requests will arrive with an Http-Referrer header set, which indicates the URL (ad in this case) that provided the link.

I work in mobile ads and these are script ads that auto-click, and then redirect you to the app store. It is very hard to track; I usually have to have a proxy set up when i test to identify the ad network it comes from and give the network the ad id. The thing is, it is hard for networks to identify these ads before they run because some script ads can have a dynamic source that the advertiser changes after the ad is approved.

I did too. Was just waiting for someone to be nicer about it.

I work in mobile ads and these are script ads that auto-click, and then redirect you to the app store. It is very hard to track; I usually have to have a proxy set up when i test to identify the ad network it comes from and give the network the ad id. The thing is, it is hard for networks to identify these ads before they run because some script ads can have a dynamic source that the advertiser changes after the ad is approved.

Just happened to me multiple times browsing Slickdeals.. Really annoying :/

Same thing has been happening on my Android phone as well. Seems like something might be reading user-agents and injecting code to redirect devices to their respective app marketplaces.

This was happening yesterday on jailbroken devices while browsing applications and packages in the Cydia store. It turned out to be a rogue advertiser whose ads were embedding itms:// links that caused the iTunes / App Store to launch. It was reported thousands of times, and the owners of one of the large software collections yanked all their ads.

I suspect they have moved on to targeting other platforms, and will be nuked soon as well.

StopTheMadness is a Safari extension that stops web sites from making your browser harder to use. And it protects your privacy on the web. StopTheMadness is not an ad blocker: it offers unique features not available from ad blockers or any other apps. StopTheMadness is one of a kind!

Many web sites disable user interface features in Safari that you normally expect to work. StopTheMadness ensures that those features continue to work for you in Safari:
• opening contextual menus
• selecting, copying, cutting, and pasting of text
• drag and drop
• AutoFill/autocomplete of passwords, emails, etc.

With StopTheMadness enabled, the annoying web sites that deliberately make your life harder suddenly become easy to use again!

StopTheMadness also protects your privacy on the web:
• Stops Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)! Automatically loads the original “canonical” web site page instead of Google AMP.
• Stops hyperlink auditing (anchor “ping”).
• Stops tracking beacons (Navigator.sendBeacon).
• Stops clickjacking in Google Search results.
• Stops clickjacking in Gmail.
• Stops clickjacking in Facebook.
• Stops sites from using the Page Visibility API to know when a tab is visible on your screen.
• Removes tracking parameters such as utm_source, gclid, and fbclid from the end of link URLs when clicked in Safari.
• Stops URL shorteners. Checks the links you click in Safari for well-known link shorteners — bit.ly, tinyurl.com, l.facebook.com, t.co, etc. — and loads the unshortened destination URL instead of the shortened URL. This occurs without setting any cookies or other site data, so you can’t be tracked by your click.

Bonus Features:
• Stop videos from autoplaying on all web sites.
• Show native video controls. Easily enter Picture-in-Picture from Safari on all web sites!
• Force links to open in the current tab instead of a new tab. Remove target=”_blank” from links so that they no longer automatically create a new tab.
• Warns when you paste or type beyond the maximum length in a password field or other text field.
• Stops “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” alerts. Close your tabs without getting stopped by the site!
• Force images to the front. Bypass the transparent overlay on sites that prevents you from dragging and opening the contextual menu on images.

Just wanted to share this as it took me ages to work out why this was happening but only a few minutes to actually fix it.

So the symptoms…

> On opening iTunes, and selecting the iTunes Store, the home area would be sporadic bits of content with large gaps of nothing.
> When clicking through the tabs there would be nothing or just one or two bits of random content
> The App Store, Podcasts and iTunes U had absolutely nothing – just a completely white blank page

So I have spent a good amount of time wandering around the internet to see if I could find anything to help me. Apparently a LOT of people have had this issue (-_- ; )

Some people had quite extreme solutions like resetting keychains and putting through lots of commands and processes and deleting things as root. Others suggested changing the date or time or language.

However!

The one page that caught my eye and actually ended up solving this straight away was actually from Apple Support. But it was to do with issues signing in with your Apple ID.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

It had nothing to do with blank pages in the iTunes Store.

So why did it catch my eye?

Because it mentioned Safari, root of all evil and program of death and mayhem. (Oh, you are thinking that perhaps I am being mean, harsh, unfair? Read this post and then judge me.)

After having said issues with Safari before, I pretty much blocked everything I possibly could in the Safari Preferences. However, I did not delete it. For this reason:

APPLE WILL ALWAYS FIND SOME WAY OF MAKING YOU REGRET DELETING ITS OWN PRODUCTS

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

There will always be something ; some reason that you need some default Apple program to run other things.

And I was right. Because what the Apple Support page says is…

If you’ve blocked cookies in Safari, you might be asked to sign in repeatedly when you try to view your account information in the iTunes Store.

And I thought, this has nothing to do with my problem. I can sign in fine. It can’t work… Surely… I mean, iTunes has nothing to do with Safari. I don’t even use Safari. How can that possibly change anything…? And other people have deleted and reset all sorts of complicated things. Can Safari really be that annoying? Can it really have that much destructive power inside my system that it stops iTunes working?

Of course the answer is

YES.

I went into the Safari Preferences and in the Privacy tab reluctantly changed Block Cookies from “Always” to “From third parties and advertisers“.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

Closed Safari. Restarted iTunes. And yes, everything worked! It all loaded. EVERYTHING. I could browse Apps and Podcasts galore.

So yes… Now it works.

Nevertheless, I reserve the following space to rant about how annoying stupid stupid Safari is. WHY DOES IT KEEP AFFECTING THINGS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. AAARRGHHHHHHH. STUPID USELESS PIECE OF LESS THAN RUBBISH. AT LEAST SOME RUBBISH CAN BE REUSED AND RECYCLED. *GODZILLA STOMPS ALL OVER SAFARI*

If you want to look you can find the original Apple Support message here:

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

The App Store is one of the most important places on your Mac because it lets you search and download your favorite apps on your machine. The problem arises when you need to install an important app but you can’t do it because the App Store freezes or crashes again and again. It usually happens when app store updates stuck in OS 10.15 but there may be some other issues too.

Luckily, we have several tips to fix frozen app store issues on macOS 10.15. Let’s learn its causes first.

Well, technology is a blessing but sometimes it may give you a headache, just like the frozen app store. You may face such an issue when you are already downloading an app and it gets paused without any reason. Sometimes, the App Store cache files may also end up in a disaster.

Most of the common errors you may receive while the app store is frozen are:

  • Cannot connect to the app store.
  • Your purchases couldn’t be completed, canceled.
  • Unexpected error occurred while signing in.
  • Or simply it doesn’t work at all and shows nothing.

Tips to Fix Frozen App Store Issue on macOS 10.15

Given below are the 5 tips that can help you resolve macOS 10.15 AppStore hanging and crashing problem.

1: Force Quit through Activity Monitor

  1. Open Activity Monitor on your computer.
  2. Click on “CPU” tab so you can view the CPU selections.
  3. Now, check for “App Store” and select it. Click on the “X” icon on top to initiate its elimination.
  4. Now, you’ll be prompted to end this process “App Store”, click “Quit” to close it.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

2: Force Quit Window Process

In this way, you can quit unresponsive app store forcefully and then re-launch it from the Launchpad to fix frozen app store issues on macOS 10.15. To do that, follow the given steps.

  1. This process can only be done if you have opened the App Store, so make sure it’s open.
  2. Press “Command + Option + Esc” simultaneously to open the Force Quit Dialogue Box.
  3. Here, you’ll see several apps opened, pick “Apple Store” and press “Force Quit” to close it by force.
  4. Relaunch the app store from the Launchpad or Dock to check whether it works or not.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

3: Check for multiple IDs problem

Sometimes, you may also face “We couldn’t complete purchase: Unknown Error” while trying to purchase an app in the App Store. This error usually appears when multiple Apple IDs are being used on your system.

To get rid of this issue, first, make sure that you have logged in to App Store and iTunes using the same ID. If the problem is still not solved, log out and log in again. Still, if your problem persists, then make sure you have accepted the new iTunes Terms and Conditions. Using this handy technique, you’ll be able to tackle a hung app store update in macOS 10.15.

Note: Every time the macOS updates, you need to accept the Terms and Conditions to make it work.

4: Force Quit from the Dock

Press and hold “Option” key on the keyboard and right-click on the App Store icon in the Dock. By doing this, the “Quit” option will be transformed into “Force Quit”. Select it to close the App Store.

Now, reopen the App Store to check whether it works now or not.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

5: Clear Cache Files

There is a small possibility that all the mentioned tricks do not work at all, so here is another proven method to fix frozen app store issues on macOS 10.15.

Actually, every app you install on mac makes some cache files in a specific folder. Sometimes these files may be corrupted so removing them may solve your problem. For that purpose, simply access the temporary folder on your mac and look for “com.apple.appstore” folder. It may be a bit hectic task because there are dozens of other files in this folder. Anyhow, when you find it, select it and move to trash. Now, re-launch the app store to check whether you were able to tackle a hung app store update in OS 10.15 or not.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

So, these were the 5 most helpful tips to resolve macOS 10.15 AppStore hanging and crashing problem. If you are still unable to solve this issue after implementing these techniques, you may need to reinstall your operating system or get the system checked from an Apple outlet.

Best PDF Editor for macOS 10.15 in 2021

Did you know that you can edit your PDF files using PDFelement? Yes, it is the best PDF editor for macOS 10.15 which provides you with some most powerful tools to create, edit, and organize your PDF files.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

  • It is user-friendly and has hundreds of options which let you unbelievably control your PDF files.
  • It is suitable for not only small and medium business but also works well for large enterprises.
  • Believe it or not, but using PDFelement on macOS 10.15, you can convert more than 300 file formats into PDF within seconds.
  • From creation to editing, extraction to combining, and text-editing to exporting data from scanned PDFs, this extensive app is the need of every small, medium, and large business.

Along with that, it enables you to add watermarks, headers, footers, and backgrounds in an existing PDF file, as well as, offers real-time spell check, user permissions, and password protection of your sensitive data files.

It takes charge of your office and helps you save lots of your time and resources which automatically results in the fruitful output.

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safariDaniel Eran Dilger | Mar 27, 2010

How to stop itunes from launching when you open app store pages in safari

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

After nearly two years of criticism of its censorship of adult content in the iPhone App Store, Apple appears to be gearing up to sell explicit content for both the iPad and the iPhone and iPod touch.

Links to new “explicit software” categories in iTunes indicate that Apple plans to finally deliver adult content for both the iPad and for existing iPhone OS devices, segregated from other content with parental controls in the same way that iTunes has long sold music with explicit lyrics.

Over the last year, Apple refined a ratings system for App Store software titles that enables users to restrict the level of software that can be downloaded through their copy of iTunes.

iTunes parental controls

The system uses the same parental controls preferences (below) that can restrict movies to the MPAA-designated “G, PG, PG-13, and R” ratings, or TV shows to the broadcaster-initiated “TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA” classifications.

Currently, Apple has its own rating system for App Store software titles, which sets thresholds at “4+, 9+, 12+, and 17+.” However, the company has prohibited the sale of explicit software that includes pornography or other adult subject matter, at times removing titles it deemed obscene.

This policy has attracted widespread criticism due to the fact that adult content is freely available over the web in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser. Any App Store titles that incorporate an embedded web browser, including Facebook, are listed as 17+ for this reason, and can potentially display content that is more explicit than Apple allows in native App Store titles.

An iPad Killer App?

Parental controls in iTunes also allow users to block access to the iPhone’s web browser and the ability to open the iTunes Store to download any apps at all, in addition to the content ratings settings. But iTunes also has a separate option to block “explicit content,” which until now has apparently been limited to restricting access to music with explicit song lyrics.

By enabling developers to publish “explicit” software titles in the App Store, Apple will provide the potential for a new, unanticipated killer app for iPad: digital interactive magazines, comics, and games that present adult subject matter to audiences that want them while also enabling parents to prevent access to such content within iTunes’ preferences.

Access to adult content has long been credited with the success and popularity of technology platforms. It is widely held that JVC’s VHS videotape format won out over Sony’s Betamax due to the fact that JVC did not attempt to block distribution of adult content in the early 80s. The explosion in popularity of the consumer web has also been credited to its ability to deliver unfettered access to adult content.

At the same time, Apple is under intense pressure from activist groups seeking to ban all access to adult material, including one group that addressed Steve Jobs at last year’s shareholder meeting in a diatribe that implored Apple to not distribute CBS TV sitcoms in iTunes (which were originally broadcast over the air) because they contained mildly suggestive scenes.