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Tunesviewer Brings iTunes U to Android, Linux

When Apple launched the updated version of iTunes U back in February, they had planned to only make it available on their hardware.Unfortunately for Apple, someone forgot to tell that to a Linux developer who has been working to make the content in iTunes U accessible to those not lucky enough to own an iPad or iPhone.

Tunesviewer is a 2+ year-old app for Debian, Fedora and Android. It predates the current iTunes U app by quite a bit, and it has one simple goal.  It helps Android owners (there’s more of them than Linux owners) find and download the podcast and videos in iTunes U.

The app won’t help you with the more sophisticated features that Apple added this year (like shared notes) but that’s okay.  It would require far more tricky programming to do more than simply download content. And it does show you everything that is currently available via iTunes U (I double checked with my iPad).

Update: The app has been updated and it now works for me.

TBH, I’m not sure it can even download content. I’ve now tried it on a couple Android tablets (including my eeePad Transformer) and I cannot download anything. I can find the course pages, but when I click the button nothing happens.

Right now I’m scratching my head.  This apparently worked for someone at some point, but it’s clearly not working for me. What’s more, I’ve looked through the various pages and I don’t see where I can do anything to change it. (Perhaps the app doesn’t like the latest version of Android?)

Even though I cannot get it to work, I’m posting this anyway. I’m hoping that it works for you and that someone might have pity on me and tell me how I can fix it. I am willing to put some work into troubleshooting my issues.

I definitely like the idea and I think the developer deserves a round of applause.


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Luqman June 12, 2012 um 3:20 pm

I can use it to wath/download videos on my Toshiba Thrive Running Android 3.2. Thanks for covering this.

menelic June 12, 2012 um 6:03 pm

Thanks a lot for introducing me to this tool! It works well on my Android 2.3 Samsung Galaxy S as well as on my Ubuntu 11.10 install – both streaming and download worked immediately,no tweaking required.

Nate Hoffelder June 12, 2012 um 6:11 pm

Great! I’m glad it works.

Luke June 13, 2012 um 10:40 am

"they had planned to only make it available on their hardware." Are you sure? When iTunesU was introduced, a major selling point on their site was that it was "accessible to all". (granted, at the time it was dependent on iTunes and they had not yet released a software for access from Linux/Android).

As for the Android version not working… You could probably find the error message with ADB Logcat, right after you select "download" and it fails.

If you can capture the error you could post it as a bug at:

Nate Hoffelder June 13, 2012 um 10:44 am

I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt that Apple plans to make iTunes U any more open than iBooks. Both are currently limited to iOS. Knowing Apple, they will likely remain that way.

Luke June 14, 2012 um 2:18 pm

iTunes U wasn’t, isn’t only iOS, it was originally for iTunes, a Mac/Windows program. Not sure why iBooks and other features aren’t yet available for non-ios, but hopefully after they fix it for pcs they will expand these to Linux/Android, once it gets more popular.

Nate Hoffelder June 14, 2012 um 3:16 pm

I seriously doubt that will happen. It looks to me like Apple has turned iBooks and iTunes U into iOS specific apps as part of their overall strategy (OSX for creation and iOS for consumption). Note that there’s not even an iBooks app for OSX.

Nate Hoffelder June 13, 2012 um 10:49 am

The bug has been submitted.

Luke June 15, 2012 um 4:54 pm

Does it happen in latest version, 0.9.1?

Nate Hoffelder June 15, 2012 um 9:21 pm

That fixed it, thanks!

Ray Hoffpauir June 14, 2012 um 8:11 am

It works for me on Motorola Xoom 4.04

Internet als nieuwe volksuniversiteit? | i_beta/blog September 3, 2012 um 9:27 am

[…] Een van de grootste beloften van internet was de komende bevrijding van burgers en informatie uit de ‘klauwen’ van instanties. Drastische veranderingen volgden, voor vele grote bedrijven en instanties betekende internet het einde (o.a. videotheken en postdiensten). Ook voor het onderwijs lijkt er de laatste jaren een beweging op gang te komen die de lesboeren weldra wakker zal schudden. De hoeveelheid online lesmateriaal en studie platformen neemt steeds sneller toe. Apple was met iTunesU een van de pioniers, die het mogelijk maakten colleges te volgen van verschillende gerenommeerde universiteiten. Door een eigen app en de verspreiding van iPhones en iPads, is er voor velen een krachtig platform om vandaag al te beginnen. Voor Android is er dit alternatief. […]

Jaha Llabal September 23, 2012 um 7:55 pm

Ah the joy of Linux, shit works now and then…

anonymous October 26, 2012 um 10:39 pm

The joys of Mac/Windows… having to install 100MB program in order to view/download your university’s podcasts 🙂 Not to mention no preinstalled Office etc.

Scoob November 20, 2012 um 8:59 am

Well, I don’t see this App on Google Play – so not sure what happened to it… 11/20/12

Anonymous November 23, 2012 um 11:46 pm

It’s not on Google Play, to my knowledge it has never been on there. Source code and app download are available on the site linked.

Personally I don’t like to use Google Play because of security (Anyone with your account can add any software to your device, and it has had some site security issues in the past…)

Ansar March 11, 2013 um 3:30 am

How can i enroll in tunes viewer????????

Nate Hoffelder March 11, 2013 um 7:19 am

Do you mean enroll in a course? You can’t.

Christian Karnath May 8, 2013 um 6:54 am

Alternatively I can recommend the iTunes U App "TuneSpace" for Android which is available on Google Play:

Nate Hoffelder May 8, 2013 um 8:02 am


Luke September 6, 2013 um 2:44 am

What’s the advantage of Tunespace over Tunesviewer?

Luke May 12, 2013 um 1:59 am

Not bad, though Tunespace requires 2.3 or greater to run? Also it seems to not have any general podcast+iTunesU searching capability like Tunesviewer has, and many error messages are not in english, or are somewhat odd english translations. It’s a good start though, it has holo theming if you like that style.

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