iTunes (not for) U

Posted at — Dec 24, 2012

I can’t figure out how to play local iTunes U content on my iPhone - it just doesn’t appear on my device.

I like to download tutorial and training material (from sites like Railscasts, iDeveloper TV, PeepCode and Mijingo) and I’m one of these people who likes to hold onto the material just in case I ever need to watch it again. For convenience I dump it into iTunes on my Mac Mini that serves up content to a number of Apple TV and iOS devices. Because I’ve got a thing for organization, I like to mark the videos as being iTunes U material so that I can get to it easily through the Apple TV menus.

Sometimes I’m not using the Apple TV and I want to watch a quick tutorial on my iPhone. This happened the other night when I decided to watch a Railscast. So I opened up the iTunes U app on the iPhone. It gives me the option to get official material from the catalog, but doesn’t let me browse my local Home Sharing machine.

So I tried the Videos app - it does let you choose Shared libraries, but only displays the categories Movies, TV Shows, and Music Videos. No sign of iTunes U content.

In desperation I tried the Music (formerly iPod) app but it didn’t include the option for iTunes U content (and hasn’t since iTunes U was split off into its own app a while back).

This seemed weird - I couldn’t find a way to play iTunes U material stored on my local server. Strangely, when I picked up my iPad mini the Videos app there has a section for iTunes U material (and I was able to watch the Railscast absolutely fine - “panic” over).

Seems like quite an oversight that there is no way to carry out this (admittedly edge) use-case on an iPhone. Time for a Radar…