12 little-known tips and tricks for Apple Music

Apple Music's reboot in iOS 10 brought a fresh look and new ways to navigate the streaming service.

apple music tips primary

Get to know Apple Music's new look

Apple completely overhauled its 1-year-old streaming music service, and now subscribers are finally seeing the results with the public debut of iOS 10.

Apple Music’s new look refreshes some old features, like For You, and adds few under-the-radar ones that make version 2.0 a whole lot easier to use. Yes, Connect is no longer taking up valuable space in your navigation bar, although it’s not gone altogether.

Here are 12 tips that will help you get the most out of Apple Music in iOS 10.

apple music tips beats 1

Listen to Beats 1 playlists off the air

If 24-hour live radio station Beats 1 is giving you a serious case of FOMO because you keep missing all the great parts, like the premiere of Drake’s latest album on Zane Lowe’s show or the latest episode of Elton John’s Rocket Hour, then catch up by streaming shows on-demand.

Just tap Radio > View All Beats 1 Shows and scroll past what’s currently on air and upcoming shows to find all shows. Tap a specific show, then stream the episode you missed. Just want to hear the songs that Elton John played on his show and not listen to the entire episode? Each show displays the on-demand episodes and playlists from each episdoe, which you can save to your music library or download to listen to offline.

Unfortunately, you won’t find shows that are no longer on Beats 1, like St. Vincent’s brilliant Mixtape Delivery Service, but those shows will forever live on in our hearts.

apple music tips alarm

Stream a song to wake you up

Many of us already use our iPhones as alarm clocks, but with Apple Music, alerts just got a whole lot more fun. First, make sure to add the songs you want to use for your alarms to My Music. Then open Clock > Alarm and either add a new alarm or edit an old one. Above the standard ringtone selection you would normally pick from, there’s an option to pick a song from your Apple Music catalog. The possibilities are endless.

apple music tips siri

Make friends with Siri

Siri in iOS 10 is way more powerful, but Apple’s personal assistant has been making Apple Music easier to use since its launch. Here are a few of my favorite Siri capabilities when it comes to managing my tunes: When you’re listening to a song, say, “Play more like this one,” to create an immediately personalized playlist tailored right to your mood. You don’t even have to know the name of the song you want to listen to. Just ask Siri to play hits from a certain year or that one song from that one TV show, and she knows what to do. Siri can shuffle play any playlist or album you want her to. Siri can add songs to your collection.

You don’t even have to have the Music app open for Siri to work her magic, which is my favorite part. She can be your personal DJ without any effort on your part, which is a feature no other streaming service can match.

apple music tips for you

Constantly improve your recommendations

You already told Apple Music the genres and artists you love (and hate) when you signed up, and the app has used that information to create some pretty on-point playlist, artist, and album recommendations in the For You section. But you can keep fine-tuning your preferences with every song you listen to, so Apple Music will one day know exactly what you want to hear.

Use the heart button, located in a menu behind the ellipses on every Now Playing page, liberally on songs and playlists so Apple Music knows what you like. Hate something recommended to you in For You? Give it an extra long press and more options will show up. At the bottom, tap on Dislike to show your distate. Eventually, your recommendations will be perfectly on point.

apple music tips recs

Or just pick new favorites

If you didn’t do a good enough job selecting your preferred genres and artists when you first launched the Music app, you can give yourself a second chance. Go to the For You tab, then tap your profile photo in the top right to open your account page. Then just tap Choose Artists for You, and you’ll get to do the whole thing again.

Remember, tap once to like a genre or artist, tap again to really like it, and tap and hold to make the ones you don’t care for disappear. Slide the display back and forth with your finger, and on the artist screen you can tap More Artists to see additional choices.

apple music tips playlist

Personalize playlists with photos

Your playlists have different names (I assume), but they all sort of look the same, marked by an icon with a grid of album covers indistinguishable from the next. But you can customize each soundtrack with a photo instead, either as you’re creating the playlist or after. Go to Library > Playlists > New Playlist and tap on the Camera button in the top left corner. From there you can add an image from your Camera Roll or take a new photo. If you want to change it later, go to the playlist, tap Edit on the top right, and then tap the little camera icon that appears over the playlist’s cover image.

Apple Music used to customize each playlist with a background color to complement your cover image, but those days are gone. Every playlist has a white background.

apple music tips eq

Music in loud spaces

If you’re trying to block out the world and jam to your tunes in peace, the Music app has a setting for easier listening in loud spaces like airplanes. Go to Settings > Music > Playback > EQ and tap the Late Night option. According to Apple, this setting will “compress the dynamic range of audio output,” which tones down loud sounds so they won’t be so loud and pumps up the sound on quiet parts, so you won’t have to constantly futz with the volume controls to find an even keel.

apple music tips up next

Tweak a For You playlist's order

It’s easy to shuffle a For You playlist—each one has a Shuffle button right at the top. Or you can tap any song to begin the playlist at that point and play the rest in order. But if you want to tweak the order to your exact liking, or even ditch a song before it plays, just start the playlist going and then tap the mini player, and the Up Next button. Then you can drag the songs into a new order by pressing the hamburger button (three lines in a stack) and dragging them up or down, or swipe right-to-left on a song you don’t want to hear and tap Remove.

Note that this doesn’t alter the playlist permanently. If you’ve saved it to your library, it’ll still appear in its original order, with all the songs present. If the curator changes it later, it’ll update in your collection automatically, but I wish Apple let me duplicate a curated playlist so I can add, remove, and reorder songs and save it as as a personalized new soundtrack.

apple music tips imessage

Share a song

Listening to a song you love and have to share it with your friends immediately? Open the iMessage app drawer and select Music, where you’ll see your most recently played songs from Apple Music. If they’re also running iOS 10 on their device, the message will display as a rich link to play the song without leaving Messages.

You can also share a song in a text message in Apple Music itself, but that will show up as an iTunes link and launch the Music app when you try to play it, as opposed to playing directly inside the iMessage thread.

apple music tips ellipses

See the album, or more from the artist

Apple Music 1.0 buried everything behind ellipses. Want to navigate to an artist’s page from an album view? Ellipses. Want to view an album while playing a song? Ellipses. Those days are gone, thank goodness.

Now when you long press on a song, you can tap through to the artist’s page or the album, in addition to all the other options that were buried in the ellipses menu: add to library, add to a playlist, play next, play later, create station, share song, love, or dislike. The fonts are bigger so you can actually see what you’re tapping on instead of squinting and hoping for the best.

apple music tips cellular

Listen over cellular, but watch your data

If you get an error that you can’t listen to Apple Music without Wi-Fi, go to Settings > Music, and turn on the option to Use Cellular Data.

Weirdly, there’s also a switch to allow the Music app to use cellular data in Settings > Cellular that should do the same thing—and that menu even shows you how much data the Music app has consumed.

apple music tips lyrics

Sing along

No more Googling a song to figure out if Taylor Swift is singing “Starbucks lovers” or “long list of ex-lovers” (it should be the former but it’s definitely the latter). iOS 10 brought lyrics to Apple Music, so you can sing along and sound like you know every line to every song.

The mini-player used to be just a screen with some album artwork and an ellipses icon to access more options—very bare bones. Now when you swipe up from the Now Playing screen, you’ll see a song’s lyrics (which you can easily hide), song credits, and tracks that are playing next. I’m still not exactly sure how to song along with Kiiara’s “Gold,” but I’m closer now than I was before. Thanks, Apple Music!

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