Back during the release of iTunes 8, Apple included a new music visualizer based on a rumored version named ‘magnetosphere’.  With more customization than at first glance, it’s a great way to sit back and enjoy your music in an often jaw-dropping way.

iTunes comes standard with five different visualizers, iTunes Visualizer being the most recently added.   The idea behind it is a magnetic center from which particles explode and retreat to the rhythm of the song.  It’s mindlessly addicting and endlessly entertaining; a great way to waste some time.

Each visualizer included with iTunes is more complex, with options that allow you to customize the visualizer’s actions.  Pressing ‘M’ while in the visualizer will change the mode how the particles are displayed.  Upon each song change the visualizer is set to change modes.  To prevent automatic mode cycling, press ‘C’ after you activate the visualizer.  The standard iTunes Visualizer menu allows you to lock the camera in place by pressing ‘L’ and freeze the particles in place with ‘F’.  All of these actions, and a few more, can be accessed by pressing the ‘?’ key inside the visualizer.  There are four hidden commands that aren’t shown in the menu.  Pressing ‘+’ or ‘-‘ on your numerical keypad will increase or decrease the sensitivity of the particles.  The ‘A’ and ‘S’ keys allow you to add or subtract particles from the visualizer.

You can also add visualizers to iTunes that aren’t packaged within the application.  Once you find a visualizer you want to add, down the package and close iTunes.  For Mac: open a finder window and navigate to /library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins and move the downloaded .bundle file there.  For Windows: open explorer and open your iTunes folder, usually in Program Files.  Place the file in the iTunes Plug-ins folder.  If you don’t already see this folder, you have to create a new folder with the name iTunes Plug-ins.

Do you ever use the iTunes visualizers?  Have you already downloaded any 3rd party visualizers?  If so, share your favorites in the comments and we might just compile a few of our favorites in the future.