Unexplained Airtunes/itunes Pauses


almost everytime I use airtunes, somewhere in the middle of a song, the music will quit unexpectedly. sometimes the music will resume in a three-count, sometimes longer, sometimes not at all. When i look at itunes, it looks like the song is just paused - meaning the little diamond that shows where you are in the song in the display along the top isn't inching along anymore, however the actual PAUSE button on the upper left has not been selected (meaning there is not a PLAY arrow displayed. the double bar PAUSE button is still showing).

I have tried:
stopping the song (clicking the PAUSE button) and then starting it again
quitting itunes and restarting
restarting my ibook (G4)
unplugging my airport express and plugging it back in to reboot
using the airport admin aplication
completely unplugging EVERYTHING (modem, airport base station, airport extreme) and then slowly rebooting them all in order
upgrading itunes to the current version

at first, I thought it was a problem with airtunes, like the signal got lost or something, but after looking at itunes and realizing the song isn't *going* anymore, i thought the problem was with the application. but I don't know... I've never experienced this if i use the computer speakers, but then again, I hardly ever use them so I really don't know that for sure...

oh, and I bought my airport base station *after* the airport express, and I'm pretty sure this problem was happening when my "network" was just my ibook and the express.


(my experience level: I'm a former PC'er. I'm fairly knowlegable, but more on the software end. I know *nothing* when it comes to mac hardware. But I'm pretty with it. thanks...)


I am experiencing the same problem - itunes will freeze for a few seconds and either revert to paused mode or start up again. Like niblosis, if you check iTunes, the diamond is not moving and the time is not changing.

I am pretty sure that this is an issue with airtunes and the wireless netowrk for three reasons:

1) when the pauses happen my airport indicator in the top bar of my screen will often reset (the time connected disappears and then reappears)
2) if I connect my computer directly to the stereo the problem is much diminished (although does not go away completely)
3) The problem also happens with in an unpredictable way (sometimes will work for hours, sometimes pauses every minute or so.) This leads me to believe that wireless network congestion in my very dense brooklyn apt building may be to blame.

Here is my connection set up:

powerbook pismo g3 OS 10.3 connected to the network via airport, cobbected to a Lacie 160 gig external hard drive (all the music is stored on this drive)
powerbook g4 667 OS 10.4 connected to the network via airport, this computer is accessing the external hard drive via file sharing and iTunes on the g4 is playing music directly from that drive (not via itunes haring or nettunes or anything else)

any ideas would be welcome.



well my pauses are still happening after the Airport Express firmware update (the link in the previous post), so forget that as a fix...


Staff member
It sure does sound like a network related problem, i.e. iTunes "is not sure" whether there's still a base station to stream to. Try this: Open Activity Monitor from /Applications/Utilities, choose the network tab and look at the transfer rates while listening to your music over AirTunes. Look at what happens when it pauses. That might give you some clues.

If you can, also try it "clean", i.e. without an internet connection of any kind. Simply only use Mac/AirPortExtreme/Stereo without a router or cable modem or anything and see if the problem persists. Again: Look at Activity Monitor to get more clues.


I have ad this problem too. I have located it down to iTunes itself. If I close and restart iTunes, the problem "usually" goes away. It seems to be problem with the wireless and iTunes talking to one another. One note, I can reliably get iTunes to do this when I turn on my microwave oven (30' away). It seems to mess with the wireless signal in a way that interupts streaming. I can continue to surf, so it does not drop the connection entirely. Look for microwave or 2.4Ghz cordless devices around too (phones)


Thanks for the help on this.

So i checked out my activity monitor but I am not sure how to interpret these numbers. When things are working well, data received hovers between .5 and 30k per sec, data sent hovers around 75 and 125k. When iTunes "pauses" these numbers drop to nothing and then spike up hard when a connection is reestablished. The packets sent spike up especially hard, getting uptp 300k. In fact, when a pause occurs, it looks very similar to when a new song starts.

What do you think?


I know it's an old thread, but someone might still find it useful - or add something. I still have this issue with iTunes 8.x, and it's iTunes related - in that restarting iTunes fixes it, however briefly.

I can also tell you that my "Airtunes" is actually running over gigabit ethernet through a single switch, so it's A) not a wireless issue and B) not bandwidth related, provided all is working.

I've had the problem through two different gigabit configurations (one router, one switch), so I don't think it's the network hardware.

Drives me nuts. Mine pauses about 1 second after each track starts - for about 1-3 seconds... then resumes. Irritating.



I discovered it was a network latency issue. After restarting everything on the network from a complete (and I mean every single appliance shut down so that new DHCP leases are created and nothing renewed) it fixed itself.
I could not figure out why this fixed and I accidentally stumbled upon the what I think was the issue. My DHCP server was having some issues and after an upgrade to the firmware it has never done it again. In my case it was an old Linksys 54G router. I updated its firmware and poof problem has never returned.


Weird. I can try swapping back to my old Linksys router I guess - I don't remember it happening back then, but it's been awhile. I did see it when my Airport Express was a wireless client, but that could still be a DHCP/routing issue, as you point out.

I've also noticed that (as others saw) the bitrate/encoding of the music file does co-sort with the problem, in that I've not ever seen it with AAC files but do see it with SOME (but not all) MP3 files.

Coincidence, of course, doesn't always mean causality.... so many variables.

Maybe time to try a direct wire and/or isolated wireless connection for a test.