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Frustrating OSX and iOS inconsistencies

I use my iMac and iPhone for hours and hours every day. Sometimes I get frustrated when I have the same app on both devices but they do completely different things. The point of this article isn’t to complain and rant but to point out the differences and hopefully save you some frustration.

iTunes for OSX is a media player, music library, and store for audio, apps, podcasts, movies, tv shows, and audio books.
iTunes on iOS is just the store. To play music on the iPhone you need the Music app.

App Store
App Store for OSX allows you to browse buy and update apps for your computer, but not for iDevices
App Store on iOs allows you to browse, buy and update apps for your iDevice.

Already it seems like I need a chart just to keep this stuff straight.

Task OSX iOS
Buy music iTunes iTunes
Update iOS app iTunes App Store
Listen to music iTunes Music
Buy App iTunes App Store

Address Book & Contacts
In OSX you use the Address Book app to manage contacts. This gets synced through iTunes to your Contacts app on your iPhone.
BUT on the iPhone there are two ways to manage contacts. Either through the contact app or through the contacts section in the Phone app.

iTunes does not transfer photos when you synch your iDevice. You must do this through iPhoto. On the iPhone there are two ways to access photos, the Photos app or the “camera roll” in the Camera app. These apps have different options and it’s quite annoying when you can’t find something. For example: when you access the camera roll from the lock screen, the sharing options are disabled.

Transferring of videos made on your iPhone is handled by iPhoto on the Mac. The Videos app on the iPhone is for viewing videos purchased from iTunes.
Videos you took with the iPhone camera are accessed through the Camera Roll or Photos app. Would be really nice if the app could sort images from video files.

The iPhone has the handy Notes app. The problem is there’s no way to access these from a computer besides emailing them from the phone. May as well just type the note in an email to begin with. Evernote is a good alternative.

These are the main ones that I’ve come across since getting my iPhone last year. I’m sure there are more. It would be so nice to have things more unified between the two systems.


  1. David Das
    David Das April 6, 2013

    Mountain Lion has alleviated some of these. There is a Notes app, for example, synced via iCloud. Address Book has been renamed Contacts, for consistency.

    • Admin
      Admin April 6, 2013

      I didn’t realize that. Lion is working so well for me I honestly forgot about upgrading.

  2. Nathania
    Nathania April 6, 2013

    I prefer Image Capture over iPhoto in order to get photos/videos from iPhone to Mac. You’re spot on about everything. I would also add iTunes and App Store search navigation could be way better. When you view an individual app, song or video and then go back to search results, it takes you back to the beginning. But when you’re in the middle of viewing a large list of results, you don’t want to go back to the top. Can’t believe it’s been this way for years and it got worse last year when they updated iTunes to horizontal scroll.

  3. Damion Hill
    Damion Hill April 6, 2013

    Thought about upgrading to Mountain Lion, but didn’t need everything on my Mac. I run everything from my iPhone and iPad. I don’t do emails on my Mac ever. I almost never load up iTunes on my Mac unless I need to sync my phone or iPad to load a movie or music on my device.

  4. Actually you can access all your iOS notes in the Mail app in OS X.

    Also when you access the camera roll from the lock screen. Sharing options are disabled for security reasons in case someone accesses your phone.

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