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Tech how-to: Identify any song using your phone

We’re sure that there have been many instances where you hear a song that pique’s your interest but don’t know who the artist is. You want to add the tune to your playlist but can’t figure out what song it is.

Luckily, technology is here to help, allowing you to identify songs quickly and easily by only using your smartphone. SoundHound has been one of the most-used apps to do that since its founding in 2005. Tap or click here to see where Spotify beats Apple Music – and where it doesn’t.

But several others leverage the power of your mobile device and an internet connection to have you singing along in no time. Keep reading to find out how to identify any song just by using your phone.

How to ID songs on iOS

One of the easiest ways to identify a song through an iOS device is to ask Siri. When the music is playing, say, “Hey Siri. What is this song?” The virtual assistant will jump into action and search for an answer.

She isn’t doing it herself, as she has help from one of the biggest music ID companies. Shazam was launched before SoundHound and was eventually bought by Apple in 2018. This paved the way for Shazam to be integrated into Siri, and it’s this technology that she utilizes to identify unknown tracks.

If you prefer not to use Siri, you can always use the standalone Shazam app. Open the app and tap on the big icon in the middle of the screen to start the listening process. To quickly ID songs, you can add Shazam to your iPhone’s Control Center.

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on Control Center
  • Scroll down the list of available controls and tap on the plus-icon next to Music Recognition

When you need to ID a song, swipe your finger down diagonally from the top right corner. Tap on the Shazam icon and your device will start the ID process.

How to ID songs on Android

Android uses similar technology for song identification. While it can also be used on an iOS device, the easiest way to do this on Android is through Google Assistant.

Unlock your device and hold down on the Home button. Then ask, “What’s this song?” and the Assistant will do its best to name it for you. If a result is found, you can share the song, tap on the screen to watch the music video on YouTube, or add it to a playlist on YouTube Music.

Most of us have had earworms before, and often we don’t know what the song is. With Google Assistant you can also hum, whistle, or sing the melody of a song.

Owners of Pixel 2 and newer devices have an easier way to ID songs through the Now Playing option. When you turn it on, your Pixel device will display details of music playing around you on the lock screen.

Note: Some of these steps only work on Android 10 and up. Also, Pixel (2016) can’t identify songs.

Here’s how to set up Now Playing:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Sound & vibration > Now Playing.
  • Turn on Identify songs playing nearby.
    • Ensure your phone is fully charged and connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Wait until your phone downloads the song database. This can take a few minutes.
  • After the download is complete, songs playing around you will automatically be identified and shown on your lock screen.
  • To find out more about a song:
    • If your phone is locked, tap the song name.
    • When using your phone, expand notifications at the top, then tap the song notification.

Keep reading

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Apple Music is getting some big upgrades – for free

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