Removing Ping from iTunes 10.0.1 (and 10.2.2)

If you're a fan of Apple's new Ping service, then you'll be happy to see the new Ping Sidebar and Ping buttons appear when you install the new 10.0.1 update of iTunes. However, some of us think it all worked perfectly well before Apple decided to hop on the Social bandwagon.

iTunes 10 iconUnfortunately, Apple have chosen to make these new features default and apparently mandatory in the new release. There's no user interface to disable Ping completely, and certainly no user interface to restore the old behaviour. It turns out that there are some hidden settings though.

Within five minutes of getting the software update, I was already hunting through the iTunes application code for some magic words to tap in to restore the status quo... and my sanity. I quickly found a number of candidates.

Now, to set these, you'll have to go under the hood, so to speak. If you're a techie, this shouldn't be a problem, but if you haven't done this kind of stuff before, I must stress that there's an slight element of risk here: one that's present whenever you open Terminal. If you're not comfortable with that risk, turn back now and learn to love the Ping. If you are willing to proceed, make sure you type exactly as I say, taking care to make sure capitalization, punctuation and spelling is correct.

To reiterate: DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Don't come whining if you break something.

Also, these instructions apply to Mac OS X only. I'm sure there are similar settings for the Windows version of iTunes, but I've got no clue how to apply them, and frankly no desire to either. If you know, please comment on this post for the benefit of others.

Update: thanks to commenter Nikola and the original Apple forums poster
David Wolf1, here are the equivalent instructions for Windows.

iTunes Ping buttons

Firstly, quit iTunes. I'm not sure if this is necessary, but it's a sensible move. You'll need to restart iTunes anyway before this stuff takes effect, and iTunes could undo your tweaks in the process. Secondly, start This is an application that should be in the Utilities folder of your main Applications folder.

This should pop up a terminal window which looks something like this:

Mac OS X Terminal window

Now, type this into that window:

defaults write disablePingSidebar 1

...and hit Enter. You shouldn't get a response, except for the command prompt repeated back to you (as below). If you get an error, I wouldn't recommending proceeding, but you can check and try again. The '1' at the end is a one, not a lowercase L.

Mac OS X Terminal window

That should disable the Ping sidebar. Now for the buttons.

defaults write hide-ping-dropdown 1

That should remove the Ping buttons. However, the old-style arrow buttons need another setting to restore them:

defaults write show-store-link-arrows 1

That one might sound familiar if you've done stuff like this to a previous version of iTunes... however, it's not exactly the same. The old setting was "show-store-arrow-links", and it defaulted to 1 (yes). The new "show-store-link-arrows" setting defaults to 0 (no), presumably to make way for the Ping buttons. I can only imagine they tweaked the wording just so the old setting didn't confuse the issue (!)

Finally, might I also suggest the following:

defaults write invertStoreLinks 1

This setting switches the default behaviour of the arrow links. By default (well, by default in iTunes 10.0.0 and before) the arrows would send the user to the corresponding page in the iTunes Store, but you could also hold down Opt and click to be redirected to the corresponding list in your own library. In my opinion, this was an incredibly useful feature: you can navigate through your own library so quickly. The "invertStoreLinks" setting makes this the default, so you just click to navigate. Holding down Opt while clicking will take you to the store. I wholeheartedly believe that it was the UI designers' original plan, but Apple's synergistic greed hijacked the arrow for the purpose of hocking more media.

iTunes no Ping buttons

Anyway, I digress. Once you've set the settings you want, start iTunes, and all should be well. You can (and should) quit Terminal at this point.

Now, to reset it all to Apple's defaults... you can either do the same lines as above but replacing '1' with '0', or you can delete the settings by changing "write" to "delete" and removing the 1 from the end:

defaults delete disablePingSidebar

defaults delete hide-ping-dropdown

defaults delete show-store-link-arrows

defaults delete invertStoreLinks

(after quitting iTunes, of course)

That should get things back to "normal" and Ping will return in all its glory. Best of luck to you.

UPDATE for 10.2.2: After prompting from a commenter, I've re-ran the commands on 10.2.2 and it still seems to work. Oh well.


84 comments on “Removing Ping from iTunes 10.0.1 (and 10.2.2)

  1. thank you

    it\'s people like you who create civic society for lazy fuckers like me

  2. Hi - this looked to me to be a godsend, but when I try and put in the commands, I get the following:

    2010-10-10 12:44:45.535 defaults[421:903] Could not write domain; exiting

    Am using new mac mini, and this is the first time I have had such a message in terminal. I have repaired permissions, looked at permissions for itunes and for terminal, still no luck. Any tips much appreciated.

  3. @Alan: weird... I would check the permissions on /Users//Library/Preferences/ and also on the Preferences directory itself.

    If not, prefix those commands with \"sudo\", ie. \"sudo defaults write ...\" which will run the command as root. It\'s not ideal.

    Alternatively, delete the file, which will wipe your iTunes preferences. Make sure iTunes isn\'t running though.

    If none of that works, then I think there\'s something more fundamental that\'s wrong with your system. Sorry!

  4. Thanks ever so much for posting this. Quick and easy, and it\'s good to know that I\'m not alone in being quite infuriated by Apple trying to force new features on me without even giving me a way of saying no.

  5. Thanks for this. It works perfectly. Easy to follow instructions. I love the internet and people who post useful things.

  6. Thank you for this incredibly useful post!!

    Used to be that Apple was the one to that was
    so different than MS. Now they are fast
    becoming the same Evil Empire they
    rebelled against.

    Hail to the resistance!

  7. dude! awesome post. thanks much for the hacks. it finally got the last of me, so i decided to google \"removing the ping links\". i I dont mind ping, but I hate seeing the ugly button every time i look at my music.

  8. if you also want to change your iTunes icon to a better design, visit:

    the new icon reminds me of windows media player...

  9. Hi Tom - it was the plist preferences - and it\'s worked a treat. Freedom from ping! Hurrah! You are a hero. Thank you so much.

  10. I don\'t even know what Ping is.. geez, but I don\'t want to mess with iTunes. *sigh* I wish all these things \"now with facebook/twitter/accelerators/whatever\" would vanish. -_-

  11. I could kiss you!!!!

    Thanks for writing the instructions so clearly because I have no idea what I\'m doing in Terminal.

  12. Hi and thanks for your help with removing an unwanted \"improvement\" to iTunes. Each time there is an upgrade, I become so aggravated with Apple. I\'m not in favour of all this social connection garbage it not good for the future of our society.

    I sent a note to Apple complaining that when they add feature, it should be an option and not mandatory. However, there was no reply.

    Further to the mods that you have provided, is there one to remove Ping from the sidebar on the left, under STORE?

    Thanks again.

  13. Your solution is overkill. You can just turn it off in your preferences; ghost ping button, sidebar and all. Also you can opt out of ping by logging into your iTunes account and turning it off. Changing the defaults to bring back the store link is useful though.


  14. Found easy way to disable PING for those of us who tend to be somewhat leery messing with commands. Opened iTunes. Clicked on Edit. Clicked on Preferences. Unchecked PING. And viola, PING was gone. I\'m sure it is still in the system lurking around waiting for me to mess up somehow, but it is gone for now. Why can\'t software/hardware makers just leave well-enough-alone? APPLE, quit messing with things. Haven\'t you ever heard of the saying, \"If it ain\'t broke, don\'t fix it?\"

  15. just copied your code and Ping, i mean worked with no bugs. thank you for your hard work...messing with code is a mess; i started with COBOL/Fortran...i know and that was with punch cards. great work....

  16. I\'ve got 10.1.1. and tried the show store link arrows but it hasn\'t worked. Is a restart required? I\'m assuming these are the same arrows that appeared next to a podcast title and took you straight to the place in the apple store. Or is that different??? Other than that tried the suggestions by Geo and Ken, thanks.

  17. thanks for providing the scripts for redirecting the shortcut to show a particular in our library instead of the iTunes store...
    i used your script and tweaked it to make it work for Windows
    \"C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe\" /setPrefInt invertStoreLinks 1
    and it worked!
    thank you so much!

  18. Now, is there a way to make Ping go away when you buy a song? I love the \"do not show this to me again\" checkbox Apple gives you that has absolutely no effect whatsoever.....

  19. Thanks for this! Worked like a breeze.
    And double thanks for making it accessible to us non \"techies\"

  20. sadly, this doesn\'t seem to work with iTunes 10.2.2. any chance you would be willing to update this for the latest release?

    many thanks!

  21. fivecats: I just re-ran the following commands on 10.2.2, and it seems to do what I want it to do: the dropdown arrows are gone and are replaced by right-arrows that cross-reference within the iTunes Library (rather than the store).

    defaults write disablePing 1

    defaults write hide-ping-dropdown 1

    defaults write show-store-link-arrows 1

    defaults write invertStoreLinks 1

    Hope that\'s enough.

  22. Sax: disabling Ping via Parental Controls doesn\'t restore the original behaviour, ie. cross-referencing with your library. These fixes (almost) restore it.

  23. Tom,

    Just tried those four commands in Terminal, using iTunes 10.4.1 and they still work like a charm. Thanks!


  24. For Windows...found on:

    1st: \"C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe\" /setPrefInt show-store-link-arrows 1\"
    2nd: \"C:Program FilesiTunesiTunes.exe\" /setPrefInt invertStoreLinks 1\"

    \"C:Program Files (x86)iTunesiTunes.exe\" /setPrefInt show-store-link-arrows 1\"
    \"C:Program Files (x86)iTunesiTunes.exe\" /setPrefInt invertStoreLinks 1\"

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