Apple Music was redesigned in 2016 in an effort to streamline the app. While Apple did succeed in its efforts to make the app easier to navigate, it’s still quite easy to get turned around when hunting for music across Apple’s vast, 40-million-plus song catalog. Here then are some tips to help you keep track of which end is up when rocking out with Apple Music.
View album of song playing
When you discover an awesome song in a playlist, you are only a couple of taps away from being able to view the album on which it appears. From the Now Playing panel, you’ll see the artist and album info in red letters below the title of the current song playing. Tap those red letters and the current song will continue to play while Apple Music opens the album so you can read its description (if there is one) and peruse its tracklist.
Add to Library vs. Download
By default, the “+” button for a song or the “+ADD” button for an album adds it to your library but doesn’t download it for offline use, but you can change this. If you want everything on your Library tab to also be available when you are without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, head to Settings > Music and toggle on Automatic Downloads. I would advise doing so only if you have an iPhone with lots of storage space or if you are particularly choosy about what you add to your library.
Customize your Library view
You can choose which headings are displayed at the top of your library. Tap the Library tab and then tap the Edit button in the top right to choose which items to add or remove. I find the Genre header, for example, to be useful for my browsing habits. And if you are a fan of classical music, perhaps you’d like Composers to be shown.
Also, don’t sleep on the Sort function when browsing the Albums or Songs views of your library. Tap Sort in the top right and to arrange Songs alphabetically by song title or artist name. Similarly, Albums can be sorted by album title or artist name.
Master your 3D Touch to keep the party going
Nothing brings a party to a screeching halt and elicits more groans than abruptly stopping the song everyone is grooving to. And this is easy to do by mistake with Apple Music, especially if you have a 3D Touch-enabled iPhone. If you are lining up a song to play next, you need to 3D Touch it to bring up the contextual menu with the Play Next and Play Later options. If your 3D Touch gesture is unsuccessful and ends up being a simple tap instead, however, then the current song immediately stops, your guests groan and the song you just accidentally tapped begins. Make sure you are very deliberate when 3D Touching on a song to add it to your Up Next queue.
Older iPhones without 3D Touch have it easier in this regard; just tap the triple-dot button to the right of a song to call up the contextual menu to add a song to your queue.
Play Next vs. Play Later
When you call up the contextual menu for a song, you should know what the Play Next and Play Later options do. Play Next adds a song to the top of your Up Next queue so, yes, it plays next, while Play Later adds it to the bottom of your queue.
Create your own radio stations
Apple Music can also act like Pandora and play a mix of music based on an artist, album or song. For a song, it’s easy. From the contextual menu as described above, just tap Create Station. For an artist or album, the Create Station button is hiding behind the red, triple-dot button that sits to the right of the artist’s name or an album’s cover.
Unfortunately, there is no way to delete a radio station you created. They get dumped in the Recently Played area of the Radio tab, which gives you no option for organizing or deleting your stations. I suppose if you don’t play a station for a while, it’ll eventually get bumped off the Recently Played grid, but I wish Apple would give me a way to edit my stations as well as those it created for me.
Scroll down for shuffle and repeat
You might be wondering where the shuffle and repeat options disappeared to. Before the app’s redesign this year, they were readily available on the Now Playing panel. Now you need to scroll down a bit to see Shuffle and Repeat. You’ll get to them before the lyrics and well before your Up Next song queue.
You can use Siri as your Apple Music DJ. You can ask Siri to play you a song or an album or a playlist, but you can also perform more advanced searches. Siri can act as a digital Casey Kasem and play the hits from any year. Tell Siri, “Play the No. 1 song from 1989” or “Play the No. 1 song from September 1984,” for example. You can also tell Siri to “Play the rest of this album” and Siri will queue up all of the other tracks from the album of the song currently playing.
Use search filters for faster searches
Don’t overlook the two search filters — Apple Music and Your Library — when searching for a song or album. Apple Music is the default option, but if you’ve built yourself a halfway decent music library, you can quickly zero in on your search target by choosing Your Library.
Choose an EQ profile to match your tunes
Get the most out of your home theater speakers or pricey headphones by using the built-in equalizer in iOS. Go to Settings > Music > EQ and you can select from 23 EQ profiles. Just keep in mind that your EQ selection will remain until you choose something else. It’s not smart enough to apply the Hip Hop profile for Jay-Z’s “4:44,” for example, and then switch to Rock for Queens of the Stone Age’s new “Villains” album.