December 24, 2012, 1:23 PM — One of the big changes in iTunes 11 is the new MiniPlayer. The iTunes MiniPlayer has been around for years, but its functionality has been enhanced with iTunes 11. In addition to being a control center for playing your music, you can also use it to search for songs, playlists, and more, and to access the Up Next queue. Here's how you can get the most out of the iTunes MiniPlayer.
A mini window
First, if you want to use the MiniPlayer, you need to display it. In iTunes, choose Window > MiniPlayer, or press Command-Option-3, to display this window. This will bring up a MiniPlayer in addition to the main iTunes interface. If you want to just use the MiniPlayer, click the rectangular button at the upper right of the main iTunes window (just to the left of the control to enter full screen), select Window > Switch to MiniPlayer, or press Command-Option-M.
If you want to use the MiniPlayer a lot, you can close the iTunes window (Command-W), and set a preference that makes the MiniPlayer float above all your other windows. Choose iTunes > Preferences > Advanced, then check 'Keep MiniPlayer window on top of all other windows.' (Note that if you want to use the MiniPlayer with iTunes in full-screen mode, or if you use multiple spaces, this hint will tell you how to get it to work so it displays above other windows and in all spaces.)
So what can you do with the MiniPlayer? Of course it can tell you what's playing, but it does much more; you can access a number of controls if you hover your cursor over the MiniPlayer window.
From left to right, the controls are as follows:
First you'll see an X and below it, a rectangular-shaped button. The former closes the MiniPlayer, while the later expands the MiniPlayer back to the full iTunes interface.
Clicking the > button displays a contextual menu that lets you rate the currently playing song, play it next, add it to the Up Next queue, add the song to an iOS device or to a playlist, and go to it in your iT