There are a lot of ways to listen to music on your iOS device. You may be into Spotify, Amazon Music, SoundCloud or Pandora. Those are all great apps, but the Apple Music app is ready and right at your fingertips, so let’s look at how to get the most out of it.
Two of Apple Music’s biggest selling points are the huge library of music and the service’s ability to learn what you like to help you discover new music. But those two features don’t come for free. Here’s what the app can do for you and what parts of it you need a subscription for.
What is Apple Music
The Music app is easy to spot. The icon looks like a colorful pair of eighth notes from musical notation. Just tap on it to get going. If this is your first time opening the app, you will see a Welcome to Apple Music message. Apple pumps its own app up, saying it’s “The best way to enjoy all the songs you already have and all the ones you want.” Tap the continue button to get going.
You can move around in the app by making selections from the options at the bottom. If you have purchased songs from iTunes, you will see them here in your Library. Tap on an album cover to see the songs. From this window, you can play them in order, shuffle them or download songs to your device by tapping on the little cloud with the arrow.
Want to listen to a mix? Look for the “Purchased” playlist option in the upper left-hand corner with a mix of album covers. You can play or shuffle your purchases from here in one giant playlist.
Apple Music as a subscription service
Apple will pop up a message designed to sell you a subscription to Apple Music starting with a free trial. The service costs $9.99 per month if you choose to continue with it. The company says it offers 50 million songs, so chances are good your favorite artist (or one you have yet to discover) is on there. The subscription is ad-free and also lets you download tracks to play offline.
Apple Music subscribers are able to access the Music app’s “For You” suggestions and play tunes you find through the Browse and Search functions. If you’re not a subscriber, then you’ll be restricted to playing your iTunes-purchased music from the app’s Library. The music subscription service also offers a variety of radio stations you can play through the app.
If you’re already dedicated to Apple’s ecosystem and want access to a massive music library, then Apple Music could be a good fit for you. Take the opportunity for the free trial if you’re not sure.
Beware: If you cancel your subscription to Apple Music, you lose access to content you downloaded when your subscription was active. To access the music, you’ll have to buy it.
Get better suggestions from Apple Music
Apple Music subscribers can check out the For You section of the app to get suggestions for new music and mixes. Apple figures this out by tracking what music you listen to, which songs you like or dislike and which genres and artists you favor.
You can get more accurate suggestions by telling Apple when you love (or really don’t love) a song. Here’s how to do it: Tap on the now-playing song title at the bottom of the screen while listening to music. This pops open an overlay window. Tap on the three dots at the bottom and look for the love and dislike buttons that show up. Tap on one of these to give Apple useful feedback about your musical tastes and improve future suggestions.
Search Apple Music by lyrics
Here’s a cool new feature Apple introduced with iOS 12. The Music app’s search function is good for more than just looking up song titles or band names. You can also search by lyrics. For example, I typed in “ten years ago on a cold dark night” and got results for the classic song “Long Black Veil” as recorded by Johnny Cash and the Chieftains. The lyric search is a cool feature that can help you track down a song when you only remember a snippet.
Apple Music functions just fine as way to access your purchased iTunes songs, but it really comes alive when you subscribe to the full music service. Is the price worth it? That’s up to you to decide, and the free trial is the best way to find out.
Bonus: Listen to Kim’s podcasts
You can do more than keep up with the latest hits on your iOS device. It’s also a great way to listen to Kim Komando’s podcasts. Just open up Apple’s Podcasts app, click on the magnifying glass search option and type in “Kim Komando.” Click on a podcast to get more details and subscribe. Just tap on an episode to listen.
Komando On Demand is a perfect podcast to start with, but also check out our guide to all the Komando podcast offerings. We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest tech, gadget and internet news you need to know.