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Why are My iTunes Downloads so Slow?

164319 Views 212 Replies Latest reply: Apr 13, 2014 9:55 PM by TallBearNC RSS
  • rblino Calculating status...
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    Mar 24, 2013 8:05 PM (in response to Griff1324)

    Rented a movie today... it says it will take 26 hours to download and I only have 24 hours to watch the remaining 2 hours of the movie.


    This is the last movie I ever rent from iTunes.

  • Vincent Van Heukelum Calculating status...
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    Apr 4, 2013 12:32 PM (in response to Griff1324)

    I'm getting the idea that it's a problem with the servers at akamai. I'm having the same slow speeds at websites who have hosted ( parts of ) their site there. Apple used to store their downloads there as well...

  • Wiilliis Calculating status...
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    Apr 5, 2013 8:05 AM (in response to Vincent Van Heukelum)

    I dunno, i found a workaround for my phone. Downloading an album and rates were insanely slow for LTE (about 8 kB/s). I paused the first  download, waited for the second to start, and the unpaused the first download again. It downloaded the first and second song almost immediately. Then the third song would start slow and i would have to repeat the process. It was a little annoying but way faster than the alternative.

  • Jordan Sackley Calculating status...
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    Apr 7, 2013 4:36 PM (in response to Griff1324)

    Not sure if anyone else posted about this (I didn't read the whole thread), but recently we tested some internet filtering software with our router. Doing so changed the DNS server our router uses to the internet filtering company, instead of our ISP. While my speed tests were all perfect (32mbps+ on a 25mpbs connection from Comcast), my Apple TV was taking an hour just to load HD TV espisode. I discovered the manual DNS servers today in the router settings and promptly changed it back to "automatic". After the router rebooted it was using a very different set of DNS servers. Instantly my Apple TV was able to stream HD content like before, and my PC is now downloading 2-gig iTunes episodes in less than 20 minutes. In case anyone is wondering, I am using a Netgear R4500 dual-band router from Costco.

  • aburtt Calculating status...
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    Apr 10, 2013 4:17 PM (in response to Jordan Sackley)

    I downloaded a 4 gig movie from iTunes from my ipad and it took roughly 20 min.  I then tried a equal sized movie from my Mac mini which took 7.5 hours.  My ipad is of course using the wireless N and my mac mini is a gigabit connection to the router.  Any thoughts, it seems to point to the software / settings on the mini rather than a router or outside server issue?

  • aburtt Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 12, 2013 5:41 PM (in response to aburtt)

    I have resolved my issue by further trial and error.  I had changed my default media location in iTunes to my synology NAS.  As soon as I reverted back to the iTunes default my speeds were back up.  If anybody knows how to fix the download speeds with changing the default media location I would love to know.

  • riverfreak Calculating status...
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    Apr 22, 2013 4:24 PM (in response to Griff1324)

    The iTunes store.




    Going on a long trip and thinking, 'Hey! I'm going to binge watch the last season of the show everyone has been talking about?"


    WRONG. It won't be downloaded tonight. You'll spend a few minutes dorking around trying to copy the first or second episode to your mobile device in the morning and probably miss your flight.


    Ever had a long layover before a flight? You think, hey, I'll download a couple of TV shows, maybe a movie?




    Date night!  Let's rent/buy a movie and watch it (thinking it's something like Netflix.)




    Seriously. The download speeds from iTunes are LUDICROUS. I just bought the MadMen season 6 to catch up for some international flights. Initial download estimate for just the first episode (a double episode, granted) was 4 hours. Four hours later, it's downloaded halfway and still estimates four hours.


    This is not the first time this has happened to me. But it is surely the last.



  • Andy2k Calculating status...
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    Apr 28, 2013 6:57 PM (in response to Jordan Sackley)

    DNS Servers have NOTHING to do with your download speeds.
    DNS = Domain Name System.


    They only tell your Computer which IP is behind (or whatever they are named, i made that one up)

    Once it has this information, it doesn't care about the DNS for quite some time, as he already knows where to look for that site


    The DNS is nothing more than a phonebook. As long as your computer remembers the number, he doesn't need to use it again.


    Also opening up Ports in your Router OR Windows Firewall wont do anything at all.


    iTunes is an outgoing connection, so they both don't block it. If they did, it wouldn't work at all.

    Don't just randomly start opening up ports if you don't know what they do. It is not needed, and it wont help you at all.

    The problem here is on the side of apple. And they don't care about fixing it.


    I'm also running on 100Mbit, and im waiting since 30 minutes for 30MB Download of an App to finish.
    Seriously, thats slower than ISDN speed was....


    Only about an hour ago, i loaded the big Debian DVD Set with almost 12MByte/s. Every service runs fast for me, except anything i download from itunes. Doesn't matter if its my Windows8 Machine, my iPod, or whatever. Same problem everywhere. And its only with downloads from iTunes.

  • walkerreuben Calculating status...
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    May 3, 2013 8:47 PM (in response to riverfreak)

    I decided to download one recent Doctor Who episode in HD to see what it was like.


    My current internet is ADSL2+, and I live practically next to the local exchange. (There's one building in between.)

    Whenever I download something in Steam, it generally sits around 1.2-2.0 MB/s.


    At that rate, I should be able to download an episode in 20 minutes.


    But no, it took 3 hours. Or that's what it said when it started, and for the first hour and a half. I went to bed after that and it was finished in the morning.

  • mservidio Calculating status...
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    May 6, 2013 8:00 AM (in response to Endurion)

    @Endurion - This was exactly my issue too. Google DNS does slow down iTunes downloads dramatically. I was able to reproduce the issue with the same results as you. I'm not longer using Google DNS.

  • Mik B Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
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    May 10, 2013 10:54 AM (in response to Endurion)

    So what? It still does NOT apply to everybody as DNS lookups are not done for every packet. When a site have been looked up the result will be cached and the DNS will not be consulted again very frequently.


    I don't use Google DNS and I have extremely slow speeds, taking 2-3 hours for a rented move to download.


    This is just want you want to belive is happening, not what is really happening. Especially so in a fashion that others can learn from.


    So how many of you guys reported this as a bug? Apple listen to compliaints if done informatively and with detail. If you're not happy with the services tell Apple! I did.

  • lhotka Calculating status...
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    May 10, 2013 11:13 AM (in response to Mik B)

    And, on reflection, DNS could impact download speeds - if it's an interaction between Akami and Apple.  There isn't a single name/ip mapping for Apple's servers.  Based on your particular geographic location, Akami (and similar services) will change the ip returned to route you to the most optimal server.  Local DNS will work in this case.


    But if you use a DNS provider in a remote location, that breaks the geographic routing model.  By using Google DNS, you're probably triggering a route to a server located out in California, near Google's HQ's - which could be a very slow route.


    It looks like Level3's public DNS servers, and route you to a DNS server physically located near you.  I can't be sure because I actually live near where those IP's terminate, but after switching to them, it looks like I've got decent download speeds again.  Try those, or try finding local DNS providers and use those servers.


    I've heard some ISP's don't use local DNS servers either, so that could also be causing the problem.

  • Mik B Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
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    May 10, 2013 11:57 AM (in response to lhotka)

    Oh yeah, but what if you don't use Google DNS in the first place? Also, the nearest server should be used no matter which DNS is used.

  • Mik B Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
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    May 10, 2013 12:05 PM (in response to lhotka)

    Also, Apple are no newbies when it comes to building high performance solutions on the web. We, the customers of Apple, are in our full right to expect a very nice service level, better than many others. If Apple want to ruin the brand that's their right, but I will complain whenever they try to pretend their service should be expected to be sub par.


    All of you that takes sh** from Apple are responsible for the service we all get. Complain! In a nice way, but make your point.

  • lhotka Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
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    May 10, 2013 12:19 PM (in response to Mik B)

    I haven't fully validated the theory yet, but after talking with some engineers that used to work at Akami, it seems like this may be at least part of what's happening.  My own experience buildling networks is that it's never just one thing - they are complex beasts, and can respond in unexpected ways.


    If the DNS server is in (say) Boston, and you live in Texas, Akami's nameservers will return a route for a Boston end point (in other words will have different IP's based on where you are in the country).  So if your ISP, for example, has centralized DNS servers located in a different location, the same thing will happen.


    And that could also explain why we see such variance over time - akami and other folks like them, do dynamic network load management - you can get different IP's at different times.  Add in router and OS DNS caching, and trying to figure out exactly where things are going at any given time can be a challenge.


    To test the theory completely, we'd need to have a network monitor, check the IP location where the downloads are actually taking place when it's slow.  Then switch DNS providers, reboot your router and your computer, and continue the download.  It may very well change.


    I do agree though, that since this is a widespread issue, Apple needs to diagnose the issue and then drop a KB article - it may simply be 'don't use XXX DNS services', but yep, their user experience is their responsiblity (even if they don't own the network).

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