Purchasing HD videos without SD versions
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have the new Apple TV (1080p), an iPhone 4S, and an iPad 3; also, I no longer have an iPod Classic. In other words, all of my devices are HD-capable, so I no longer need any of iTunes’ video content in SD. From a previous tip on iLounge, I already know how to remove the SD portion of “HD·SD” content from my iTunes library. So my question is, can I force iTunes to only download HD content from now on? Even more recent content on the iTunes Store, when purchased, will download both HD and SD versions - which is now a waste of bandwidth.
A: Unfortunately, there isn’t a setting that you can use to stop iTunes from starting to download both the HD and SD versions of a video when purchasing new content in iTunes. However, you can manually remove the SD versions from the “Downloads” section in iTunes to avoid downloading them.
You can do this simply by visiting the Downloads section when downloading new content, selecting the SD versions by clicking on them while holding down the CMD key (Mac) or CTRL key (Windows) to select multiple items, and then simply tap the DELETE key to stop the downloads of those items. A second press of the DELETE key will remove them from the queue entirely.
In the past iTunes would re-attempt downloads of removed SD versions the next time you downloaded anything else from the iTunes Store. However, as of early February 2012, Apple has quietly changed this behaviour so that SD items manually removed from the download queue no longer return automatically. Basically, iTunes performs a one-time download of the SD versions, but they’re not added to your queue on the iTunes servers, so if you remove them, they don’t come back. If the content you’ve purchased is available from iTunes in the Cloud in your particular country—Movies in the U.S., TV shows in most countries—you can of course manually download the SD version at any time from your purchase history.
The behaviour for automatically downloaded video content—pre-orders and TV show episodes from season passes—was also changed around the same time; now, only the HD version is automatically downloaded when it becomes available, rather than both the HD and SD versions. For this, you don’t need to do anything special—you’ll simply get whatever HD version is configured in your iTunes preferences.
It’s also worth mentioning that videos purchased directly on the Apple TV are not downloaded by iTunes at all, since on the Apple TV they are streamed directly from iTunes in the Cloud. In this case, you can choose to download the purchased content manually to your iTunes library or any of your iOS devices. When downloading content from iTunes in the Cloud, you will only receive the specific version you’ve asked for—an HD version according to your iTunes preferences or the SD version if you uncheck the box to download the HD versions.
This not only avoids downloading the SD version, but can also save space in your iTunes library if you primarily plan to watch these items on your Apple TV; keep in mind as well that you can still manually download any movies or TV shows you’ve purchased on your Apple TV directly to an iPhone or iPad for viewing on the go. Sadly, however, streaming is not available on these devices—you’ll need to download the entire item before you can begin viewing it.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Spotify penalizing artists who release Apple Music exclusives
- Apple releases new round of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 betas
- Report: 2017 iPhone to eliminate home button
- Apple to add payment technology to iPhone for transit passes, Apple Pay in Japan
- Apple releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Report: Apple developing its own Snapchat-style social video editing iOS app
- Apple announces Apple Music Festival lineup including Alicia Keys, Britney Spears + more
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app