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Quick QuickTime Q&A

TJ Luoma, @tjluoma

QuickTime was one of the few apps which changed significantly in Snow Leopard. We've heard from some readers who missed the initial reports about it, so we're repeating it here, with some additional QuickTime information.

Q: "What happened to QuickTime in Snow Leopard?"

QuickTime Player "X" has brought significant changes to the way the app looks and works. Most notably, there is no "chrome" to the player when a file is being played. This is intended to let you see as much of the picture as possible.

Q: "How do I get the old QuickTime back?"

You can install QuickTime Player 7 on Snow Leopard. Apple even posted instructions which boil down to this:

  • Insert your Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Install DVD.
  • Open the Optional Installs folder and double-click "Optional Installs.mpkg".
  • Select the QuickTime 7 option and click Continue.
  • QuickTime Player 7 will be installed in your Utilities folder.
It goes on to say "If you double-click any media that requires QuickTime Player 7 for playback and it is not already installed, you will be asked if you want to download it from Apple."

Q: "I had QuickTime Pro before I upgraded to Snow Leopard, I want to use its features!"

That's not really a question, but we understand that you're upset. QuickTime Pro had the ability to do more than QuickTime X. If you installed Snow Leopard over your Leopard installation, check /Applications/Utilities/ QuickTime 7 should already be there. If not, you can install it as above.

Q: "I have QuickTime 7.6.3, and I tried to install 7.6.4 but it wouldn't let me."

That isn't a question either. You're not very good at this Q&A thing, are you? Nevermind. This confused me as well. The webpage for QuickTime 7.6.4 says that it is for "... Mac OS X 10.5 or later" but the download page for QuickTime 7 says that it is for Leopard or Tiger only. The installer for QuickTime 7.6.4 refuses to install on Snow Leopard.

Q: "What's New in QuickTime 7.6.4?"

That's a good question. From Apple: "QuickTime 7.6.4 includes changes that increase reliability, improve compatibility and enhance security. This release is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users." It's unclear why this isn't available for Snow Leopard. Perhaps the security and compatibility aren't applicable. I hope.

Q: "How can I take a screenshot of a movie in QuickTime X?"

One gripe about the new QuickTime X is that when you pause a video, the on-screen controls stay visible, making it impossible to grab a clean screenshot. TUAW reader Gwion Daniel wrote in to tell us that you can make the controls fade by double-clicking the picture frame. I have had mixed results with this. I have had the most success double-clicking on the far right side of the window (where the scrollbar would be, if there was one). Sometimes it seems to work, sometimes it takes a few tries. If you can't get it to work, fire up VLC and use the menu item Video > Snapshot.

Q: "What happened to QuickTime X's preferences?"

Thery aren't any clearly visibe as there's no preference menu. However, if you install the Secrets preference panel which we mentioned earlier you'll find hidden preferences for:
  • Autoplay movies on open
  • Allow multiple simultaneous recordings
  • Always hide title bar
  • Autohide titlebar/controller
  • Autoshow titlebar/controller
  • Automatically show subtitles and closed captioning on open
  • Exit fullscreen when switching apps
  • Use square corners
I'm hoping that the new QuickTime player will eventually regain all of QuickTime 7 Pro's functionality and the user interface will become a little more user-friendly (hiding these basic preferences seems like an odd decision), but for now we are living in an in-between time in QuickTime's development. QuickTime turns 18 this year, and it's obviously going through some changes. 'Ol Quicktime is no longer who it was, nor is it yet what it will be when it grows up. At least you don't have to worry about it staying out all night with its friends.

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