For people mourning the loss of a desktop iTunes client to store their app library or check the best-selling app charts, there is some hope. It has been noticed on Reddit that Apple offers a special version of iTunes, iTunes 12.6.3, which retains the features that were abruptly removed in iTunes 12.7.
Apple positions this build as necessary for some businesses performing internal app deployments but it is available to download by anyone.
This version of iTunes is available for PC and Mac, and is specially configured by Apple to be installed even if you have already upgraded to iTunes 12.7 (despite the lower version number).
You may still have to rebuild your library manually but it offers a path for people who were disappointed to see features like Ringtones, and Apps removed from the desktop client.
Apple previously released iTunes 12.7 with a ‘focus’ on music, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. This was a seen as the first step towards a more comprehensive breakup of all the different components inside Apple’s most-bloated Mac application.
However, the change happened without warning and even left Apple’s own iTunes Preview website non-functional for a while, causing an endless loop of new browser tabs to open as iTunes could no longer display apps in its UI.
iTunes 12.6.3 includes the removed features whilst supporting iPhone 8, iPhone X and iOS 11 devices. After you upgrade to iTunes 12..6.3, the app will no longer prompt about future versions.
Naturally, installing this offshoot version of iTunes this should be seen as more of a stop-gap measure than workable long-term solution.
Apple is clearly only offering it to satisfy some enterprise needs and makes it plain that it only provides technical support for the latest version of ‘real’ iTunes.
This version is still available if you really miss out on features like the desktop App Store, and should work fine for a while. (Hopefully, Apple will soon flesh out its iTunes Preview website into a full replacement for the App Store browsing experience, with the ability to download apps to iOS devices over the internet.)