Pinna: An Elegant, iOS-style Music Player For Your Mac

I know there are Mac users out there who still have hurt feelings, even after all these months, over the most recent iTunes redesign. Let me tell you, you’re among friends here, and I want to help. While it’s hard to replace iTunes, especially if you have to sync any iOS devices with your Mac, you can find alternatives to lessen the iTunes sting.

Music player app Pinna works with your iTunes library so you won’t have to give up iTunes altogether, but it’s a far sight better looking and easier to use. Will it have what it takes to displace iTunes, at least for pumping out your jams?

Playing with Pinna

Pinna will have already grabbed all of your music from your iTunes library when you launch the app, so you should see your playlists displayed for you. If you’re missing some, like I seemed to be, they might be saved Genius playlists. Pinna doesn’t seem to snag those, but you can copy the tracks from a Genius playlist into a regular playlist if you want to get it into Pinna.

Add the music from your playlists to your play queue.

Add the music from your playlists to your play queue, in an iOS app-like interface

The easiest way to play your music is to click the Play icon when you hover over a playlist. All the songs in the playlist will be added to the play queue automatically. You can do this with an artist or an album, too, adding all the associated songs to the queue at once. You can also double-click on any individual song to get it to start playing.

Clicking the radio icon will bring up the Trending on Exfm tab. Here you can listen to the most popular music on Exfm or pick a specific genre. This will be updated periodically, so it serves as a great music discovery service right in your desktop music player.

Listen to what's trending on Exfm to hear the latest popular tracks.

Listen to what’s trending on Exfm to hear the latest popular tracks.

You can’t edit your playlists or really anything in Pinna, unfortunately. If you want to create a new playlist, add songs to an existing playlist, or just edit the information associated with a song, you’ll have to do that in iTunes. Pinna is pulling all of your music from your iTunes library, but it can’t update your library for you.

What you can do, though, is create a music queue. Though it’s not the same as a playlist, your music queue is saved when you close the app and will be there waiting when you reopen Pinna. You can add music to the queue by adding entire albums or dragging individual tracks from the Artists, Albums, and Songs tabs. You can even reorder the Pinna queue to get just the right mix.

Pinna can display album artwork, too.

Pinna can display album artwork, too.

Social Listening

Pinna scrobbles to Last.fm, which can be a dealbreaker for some people when it comes to third-party music apps. Not only will it let your followers know everything you’ve listened to, but it will keep your Now Playing status up-to-date, as well. If you put on a really embarrassing album, you can turn on Private Listening, so no one, not even your Last.fm followers, has to know.

If you have an Exfm account, you can log in to that, too. Exfm is a music discovery service, and if you’re signed in via Pinna, you can search for new music and favorite whatever you like. Anything that rubs you the right way will be added to your library so you can listen to it later.

Log into Exfm and Last.fm to make the most of Pinna.

Log into Exfm and Last.fm to make the most of Pinna.

Final Thoughts

With Pinna pulling from the iTunes library, I can hear readers asking why they’d want to use it in the first place. Well, it looks really cool. I know a lot of people are still smarting from the most recent iTunes facelift, and I certainly think there have been iTunes incarnations that were easier to use. I work at home on my own computer, so I’m a big fan of apps that do what I want them to do but get out of my way while they do it. iTunes is very much in my way, but simple-to-use Pinna is just so much easier when all I need to do is switch playlists or albums.

The Pinna miniplayer looks pretty sleek, and Pinna minimizes to just the album artwork when in the background.

The Pinna miniplayer looks pretty sleek, and Pinna minimizes to just the album artwork when in the background.

Plus, with a support app you download from within Pinna, it will work with the Mac keyboard’s media player function keys. While I wish Pinna just worked, it promises the support app is teeny tiny and absolutely won’t get in the way of anything else, and it didn’t seem to. Third party media players that work with the media player function keys are really about as good as it gets for me, and while I admit I have a simple life and am a girl easily pleased, that’s still pretty great. Will Pinna replace iTunes completely? Absolutely not. But it’s certainly a great little music player that works as a nice complement to iTunes.


Summary

A nice complement to iTunes. Pinna won't be able to replace its bigger Apple brother, but if iTunes feels like too much when you just want to listen to some beats, this may be the app to try.

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  • zidizei

    Love the Art Mode feature and ex.fm functionality… If your iTunes Library is on an external hard drive or generally not in the default Music folder, you might want to check out their no-sandbox version here: http://pinnaplayer.com/nosandbox/

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Thanks for the tip!

  • Jawad

    How to put Pinna in simple view as shown in last screenshot.

    • Blair

      I was told by the developer, that view is only available when you click on the shuffle button on the bottom right. I emailed the developer about this cause I couldn’t figure it out either.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      That’s how it looks when it’s on shuffle, but it will only look like that when the Pinna window is active. As soon as you click off of it, it will scale even further down to just the album art. Pinna does that no matter what the play mode. Hope that helps! :)

  • Dennis

    What about an equalizer?

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Nope, there’s not that much going on here, but I’d imagine (though I am not sure) that your equalizer presets for a song in iTunes would carry over to Pinna.

  • http://petraquilitz.com Petra Quilitz

    From what I can see the main difference between Pinna and iTunes is the added Radio and LastFM integration which definetely is a plus.

    But actually Pinna seems to have less view options in the player. The iTunes redesign added the mini-list view (click on the little monitor shaped icon in the upper right corner of the main iTunes window).

    But it does that list a little bit more intelligently in my view. If you’re in a “view list” mind set, do you really need that big title image to the right? It blows the window size up to double. Apple’s solution: click on the currently playing title image at the top and you get a second, even smaller window with just that title and play functions.

    With that resizable “cover only” view open, you can even close the list alltogether, which gives you the ultimate mini player. (one that I payed money to get with other players in the past)

    In my view, these two different views alone stay more true to the use case scenario. Pinna’s a bit more muddled approach seems unsure if it wants to be a list or a a gallery view, and ends up being both in one. Never a good idea.

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