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Prevent iTunes web previews from opening iTunes automatically


Ever since Apple rolled out web previews for iTunes links several months ago, I've been meaning to find a way to disable those pages from automatically opening iTunes, which I don't usually have running. <del>These pages have a "View in iTunes" link already, so if I want to open iTunes, it's easy enough to do manually.</del> (Update: A commenter correctly notes that these links do not seem to work after making this change. You will have to open/search iTunes manually.) The Apple Blog posted some instructions for doing this, but that method didn't seem to always work for me. Some links still opened iTunes. My best guess is that Apple uses a variety of methods of opening these links, but The Apple Blog's instructions were only addressing one.

Then I remembered RCDefaultApp from Rubicode, a freeware application which allows you to easily set which application will open files based on filename extension (such as the ".doc" in "review.doc") or by the protocol in a URL, such as http:// or itms://.

I went into the URLs section of RCDefaultApp (which is a preference pane), and disabled the following protocols:
  • itms:// (this seems to be the most prevalent in my limited testing)
  • itunes://
  • itmss://
Then I went to the "Extensions" tab and disabled the "itms" extension, based on The Apple Blog's advice. I tested several iTunes web preview links and did not find any which still automatically opened iTunes. The other advantage to using RCDefaultApp is that the settings should work for all browsers.

Speaking of iTunes links, the folks over at Bjango have posted an article dissecting iTunes links and how to craft them. Great reading.

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