December 10, 2023

Very like TV and flicks, streaming revolutionized music as properly, with Spotify and Apple Music reigning supreme at this time. Though Apple Music is not the extra fashionable of the 2, it nonetheless boasts 78 million subscribers as of Q2 2021.

House to greater than 90 million songs (nonetheless besting Spotify’s 82 million), curated playlists, social listening instruments, Apple exclusives, and high quality options similar to Dolby Atmos Music and lossless audio, Apple Music exhibits no indicators of giving up the struggle. In case you’re considering of grabbing your self a membership, we’ve damaged down the basics of the service to let you realize what you may count on.

The fundamentals

Like Spotify, Apple Music provides hundreds of thousands of streaming songs on demand. It additionally blends your private music catalog with on-demand streaming and stay radio, multi function place. In the meanwhile, Apple provides a one-month free trial (or extra in the event you purchase eligible audio units), and after the trial interval, the service will value you $11 per 30 days for the Particular person plan or $17 per 30 days for a Household plan that accommodates as much as six members.

College students can pay $6 per 30 days, whereas a new-ish Voice plan, designed to optimize the capabilities of the Siri voice assistant, was introduced in 2021 and can run you $5 per 30 days. Voice lacks premium options similar to Spatial Audio, lossless audio, lyrics, and music movies, however the it could show to be a fascinating tier for no-nonsense subscribers.

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The music

The entire tracks within the 90 million-plus Apple Music catalog use the AAC format, a compressed, lossy file kind that has vital technical benefits over the same however older MP3. Whereas these AAC recordsdata are good high quality for most individuals, they’re not thought-about hi-res, nor are they lossless, which implies that, in principle, they gained’t sound pretty much as good as CD high quality. To raised compete with lossless music suppliers (outlined under), in June this yr, Apple rolled out Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and lossless audio for no extra value to subscribers. Apple’s whole library of greater than 90 million songs has been remastered for the Atmos expertise and made accessible within the Apple lossless format, which the corporate says is a copy that preserves the standard of the unique recording. Remember, nonetheless, that streaming lossless will take up considerably extra knowledge and extra onerous drive area when downloading, and there are some issues you could know to maximise the listening expertise.

Competing music companies like Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon Music HD take a distinct method to high-quality audio. They tout the sonic advantages of their lossless and hi-res FLAC recordsdata (accessible of their costlier non-compulsory subscription tiers), which they declare are an enchancment on any lossy codecs, together with AAC, no matter how these AAC recordsdata had been created. Spotify has been rumored to be imminently launching its Spotify HiFi lossless tier for ages, however to date nothing has materialized. It stays to be seen in the event that they’ll upcharge for the function or provide it free, like Apple. Both method, you’ll have to provide all of them a hearken to see the variations and resolve for your self.

All that, and Apple Music boasts hand-curated playlists, 24/7 stay radio stations, and even an tailored model of iTunes Match, which helps you to retailer as many as 100,000 songs within the cloud. In case you don’t join Apple Music, you may nonetheless entry restricted playlists and music saved in your machine.

Getting began

There are a number of methods to get signed up for Apple Music. You may simply obtain and open the Music app in your iOS machine, Mac, or PC, or go to Android customers can obtain Apple Music for Android. In case you aren’t routinely prompted to enroll, faucet on the Pay attention now tab on the backside of the app, and it’s best to see the choice to hitch. No matter which method you do it, observe the directions to arrange a household, particular person, scholar, or (when accessible) the brand new voice account. On tvOS units, you’ll use the Music app to entry Apple Music streaming.

Earlier than you dig in too deeply, we advocate turning off the auto-renewal following the trial interval, except, in fact, Apple blows you away with its providing.

5 methods to play

Apple Music’s unique format proved a bit too complicated for some customers, and a number of the options accessible at launch have since been eliminated (like Join, a spot for artists to share instantly with followers). The result’s a a lot cleaner person interface that’s simpler to navigate.

The Music app has 5 particular person sections: Pay attention Now, Browse, Radio, Library, and Search. On the backside of the app, the Now Taking part in window is all the time seen, so that you’re by no means greater than a faucet away from skipping tracks or sharing a track. Every part permits you to entry your music and that of the Apple Music service another way. Right here’s how they work:

Apple Music menu on an iPhone.
Picture used with permission by copyright holder


Because the identify suggests, that is your content material. It’s the music you ripped from CDs and added to your machine through the now-defunct iTunes, the music you bought from the iTunes retailer, and any playlists you’ve created. Nevertheless it’s additionally the repository for any Apple Music content material that you just’ve chosen so as to add to your library (simply search for the + Add button beside albums and tracks). You may often type your assortment by album, artist, or track. Including tracks from Apple Music requires that the iCloud Music Library be enabled. The iCloud Music Library is the cloud-based storage that Apple makes use of to accommodate the synchronized music provided by each Apple Music and iTunes Match. Although that’s certain to confuse lots of people, the necessary factor to recollect is that in case you are subscribed to Apple Music, you don’t have to additionally pay for iTunes Match — it’s successfully included in Apple Music.

As with companies like Spotify, when you add a monitor or album to your library from Apple Music, you’ll see a cloud-plus-down-arrow icon that allows you to obtain them for offline listening (so long as you keep your Apple Music subscription). Wish to keep away from any music that requires streaming, maybe to save lots of in your cellular knowledge utilization or for a pink eye flight? The Downloaded Music part of the library will present you simply the tunes which can be bodily saved in your machine.

Each the music you add from Apple Music, in addition to the tunes you’ve synced, will generate Apple Music strategies as you navigate the library. When you choose an album, artist, or track after which select See extra, the Music app will present you all the related matches present in Apple Music. From there, you may add extra albums or tracks to your library, making it simpler to search out your favorites later.

One odd side of the library is that though it categorizes your music by playlist, track, artist, and album, it doesn’t present music movies as a class, despite the fact that these will be added and downloaded from Apple Music, too.

Fortunately, Apple provides regular enhancements on this space. Most notably, the corporate made a small but infinitely useful tweak that teams alternate variations of the identical album into one view. Assume specific versus non-explicit variations, deluxe editions, and so forth, so that you’re not inundated by complicated repeats as you scroll via the library.

Pay attention Now

Apple Music – MacBook Air
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Beforehand often known as For You earlier than the iOS 14 replace, Pay attention Now is kind of the identical concept — providing music strategies based mostly in your likes and your listening habits. While you first enter, you’ll be introduced with a collection of questions and alternatives that provide help to designate your musical tastes, beginning with genres like rock, traditional rock, jazz, and hip-hop. Nothing you do right here is everlasting; you may change it at any time.

The result’s a collection of personalized strategies that purpose to floor music from Apple’s assortment that you just may like. These strategies vary from albums in genres through which you’ve proven curiosity to playlists which can be themed across the time of day. We checked out the Pay attention Now tab round 3:30 p.m. and had been greeted by a collection of upbeat playlists underneath the overall heading of Acquired Off Early? It’s also possible to count on to see strategies impressed by buzzing artists, upcoming holidays, and different dynamic circumstances that Apple thinks would go completely with slightly music.


This part of the Music app is sort of a journal. It’s an editorially-curated assortment of sections, like Trending, Music by Temper, Every day Prime 100, Simply Up to date, and so on. Not like conventional browse sections in music-streaming apps, which focus solely on letting you drill down into the content material through classes like artist or style, Apple Music’s browse function is extra harking back to the homepage of the corporate’s App Retailer — hand-picked strategies that provide help to uncover one thing new from amongst that large 50 million-track music vault. You may nonetheless browse by conventional classes in the event you like; it’s simply that the Music app buries these choices additional down within the browse part.

Apple Music Browse screen.
Picture used with permission by copyright holder

What will get highlighted will partially rely in your listening habits and likes, however very similar to the Pay attention Now part, it has a time-of-day part, too. Across the midday hour, we had been provided up a set of playlists underneath the heading Hit the Health club. We’d most likely have most popular one known as Making Lunch, however then once more, the gymnasium inspiration might be more healthy.

You’ll begin to discover that Apple Music tends to double up on the names that it likes. As an illustration, inside the Hit the Health club playlist group, we discovered a 50-song playlist known as Pop Exercise. And but, that’s additionally the identify of an Apple Music radio station, which options a lot of the identical content material.

Talking of radio …


Included together with your Apple Music subscription is entry to Apple Music 1, the corporate’s livestreaming radio station staffed by skilled music DJs. Very like livestreaming TV, the Apple Music 1 schedule is a set of exhibits that run 24/7, which you’ll be able to hearken to stay or on-demand after they air. The accessible archive of Apple Music 1 content material, together with interviews, exhibits, and particular segments, is now extremely deep. A few of these exhibits really feel like podcasts, whereas others observe extra conventional codecs.

The Radio part of the Music app is the place this livestreaming and on-demand Apple Music 1 content material will be discovered, however it’s additionally house to Apple Music’s choice of genre-based radio stations like Pop Exercise, which we talked about earlier.

These style radio stations are so much like terrestrial radio because the music retains enjoying so long as you retain listening, however in fact, there aren’t any advertisements and no stay DJs. They’re similar to countless playlists (which additionally means you’re certain to run into some bizarre and funky stuff in the event you let it run lengthy sufficient, not that that’s a foul factor).

As of iOS 13, the Apple Music app can be used to entry over 100,000 conventional terrestrial radio stations too, even when your machine doesn’t assist iOS 13. These are supplied through radio aggregators like TuneIn,, and iHeartRadio. Sadly, they’re very onerous to search out.

The one strategy to entry them is through the Search tab. You may’t browse them by style or location, and even if you discover one you want, there’s no strategy to favourite it for fast entry later. In case your machine is Siri-equipped, like an iPhone or HomePod, you may ask Siri to play certainly one of these radio stations by identify. The easiest way to deal with that’s to Google some cool radio stations and see if any of them flip up on Apple Music. Be at liberty to attract some inspiration from our personal assortment of favourite radio stations.


This one is simple: Merely kind something you need into the search area, be it a track, artist, album, radio station identify, and even just some strains from some lyrics you heard if you had been out with mates. If there’s a match in your assortment or the Apple Music vault (together with radio content material), it would present up right here. In case you’re inquisitive about what different Apple Music customers are searching for, this tab will present a Twitter-like trending record, however with out the hashtags.

However for a very rewarding search expertise, attempt utilizing Siri. You may ask for quite a lot of Apple Music-related issues, like, “Play Nicki Minaj,” or just, “Play me one thing upbeat,” and the Music app will dutifully reply with personalized playlists based mostly in your request.

Now Taking part in

Apple Music screen on an iPhone with a pair of AirPods on a table.
Nikki Meel/Shutterstock

The Now Taking part in window permits you to management the playback of the present monitor, however it’s rather more than play/pause and skip ahead and again. Citing the full-screen model of the window exhibits you the related album cowl for the monitor, however the true magic is within the three-dot contextual menu under the amount slider and the assorted shortcut icons accessible. Relying on whether or not you’re utilizing the iOS app or the desktop app, tapping these three dots provides you a wealth of extra choices, similar to:

  • Add to Library: provides the monitor to your Library tab.
  • Add to Playlist: permits you to add the monitor to an current playlist or create a brand new one.
  • Create Station: triggers the creation of a customized radio station based mostly on the monitor’s style and artist; this new station seems within the Pay attention Now tab for entry later.
  • SharePlay: permits you to use FaceTime to ask a buddy to hearken to a track with you in actual time.
  • Share: shares a hyperlink to the monitor, album, or lyrics through iOS’ regular share choices like Messages and Mail.
  • Share Station: similar concept as Share Track, however personalized to create a radio station.
  • Lyrics button: shows the lyrics for the track in a full-screen view on iOS or alongside the correct pane on the desktop app. As of iOS 13, this now contains Reside Lyrics, a karaoke-style function that helps you observe alongside because the phrases scroll. Not each track is supported.
  • Love and Dislike: tells Apple Music a bit extra about your tastes in music so it will probably make higher guesses sooner or later for steered listening choices.

Play music in your Apple Watch

Music controls on the Apple Watch Series 7.
Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Whether or not you’re operating, understanding, or commuting, the Apple Watch is a helpful strategy to play and management Apple Music out of your wrist. You may make the most of Apple Music in numerous methods through Watch — you may play music saved in your Watch, controlling it utilizing the digital crown; you should use the Watch to manage music that’s saved in your iPhone; and in the event you’re subscribed to Apple Music you may stream music to the Watch.

Comply with your mates

A barely hidden possibility inside Apple Music is the power to verify in on the music your mates are listening to. Earlier than you are able to do this, you could activate your Apple Music profile by tapping on the Individual silhouette on the prime of the Pay attention now display. After assigning your self a person identify and a public identify, the Music app will check out your iOS contacts and work out which of your mates are additionally on Apple Music.

Those that have provided to let anybody observe them will present up first — and you may faucet the Comply with button subsequent to every of those — however you’ll additionally see your Apple Music mates who haven’t provided an open-follow possibility. For these contacts, you may faucet an Invite button, which then sends an encouragement hyperlink to them through the same old sharing choices. It’s not a really private message — simply an Apple Music URL — so that you’ll should make it a real invite your self; in any other case, it would doubtless be ignored.

As soon as that is all arrange, you may select to be notified if and when your mates observe you or when there are artist or stay present occasions that Apple Music thinks you could be enthusiastic about.


Yep, there’s an EQ, however it’s fairly restricted in the intervening time. You gained’t be capable to make particular person changes throughout the sonic spectrum, as Apple limits you to a set of presets. On iOS, you’ll have to enterprise outdoors the Apple Music app to entry it, which will be annoying in the event you’re a genre-hopper. Discover it in Settings > Music > EQ.

Spatial audioPerson listening to spatial audio using Apple AirPods Max headphones.

Introduced in Might 2021 as a part of the Voice plan information, Apple Music subscribers have entry to pick out songs accessible in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos. Principally, spatial audio refers to Apple’s 360-degree sound tech, permitting a extra immersive listening expertise — particularly if you pay attention on AirPod Execs and AirPods Max. Because the origin factors of various sounds can hit your ear from all instructions, it provides music a fuller sound, irrespective of the way you’re listening. (It’s particularly helpful in the event you’re watching a film or present and listening together with your AirPod Execs.) Head-tracking tech additionally makes use of the machine’s gyroscope to permit you to transfer your head round whereas the sound appears to nonetheless be coming from its origins.

At the moment, Spatial Audio on Apple Music is accessible on the AirPods Professional and AirPods Max, in addition to the next units:

  • iPhone XS or later (besides iPhone SE)
  • iPad Professional 12.9 inch (Third-generation) or later
  • iPad Professional 11 inch (1st-gen) or later
  • iPad Air (4th-gen)

Spatial Audio for video playback is accessible on the 2 AirPods fashions when used with these units:

  • iPhone 7 or later
  • iPad (Sixth-gen) or later
  • iPad Air (Third-gen) or later
  • iPad mini (Fifth-gen)
  • iPad Professional 12.9 inch (Third-gen) or later
  • iPad Professional 11 inch (1st-gen) or later

Extra methods to pay attention

Apple Music works on extra than simply iPhones. The truth is, it really works on all Apple units, together with iPads, Macs, Apple Watch (together with on the mobile fashions), Apple TV, HomePod Mini, and CarPlay.

On non-Apple units, you’ve received a number of choices, too, in case you’re not a fan of Apple’s walled backyard. PC customers will be capable to entry it with the iTunes app for PCs, and your Apple Music subscription will work through Sonos and Amazon’s Echo household of good audio system, too. There’s additionally a model for Android, which now permits you to stream Apple Music to any Chromecast machine in your community.

So there you’ve gotten it — Apple Music in a nutshell. It’s just like companies like Spotify and Pandora, however with loads of distinctive options to assist it stand out from the streaming crowd. Is it best for you? There’s just one strategy to discover out, so seize the three-month free trial whilst you nonetheless can.

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