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12 little-known tips and tricks for Apple Music

Once you figure out the basics, there's so much more to explore in Apple's new streaming service.

apple music hero
Credit: Apple
Get to know Apple Music with these tips

After signing up for your free 3-month trial of Apple Music, you probably made some playlists, scoped out the app’s recommended albums, and listened to Beats 1 for awhile. So now what?

We combed through Apple Music to find the neat little features that can make your streaming experience better—and no, we’re not just talking about banishing Connect altogether (though you can do that, too!).

apple music tips beats
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 Zane Lowe's first hour spinning music on the station or St. Vincent's Mixtape Delivery Service, don't worry—you can listen to them later. The easiest way to do this is by using Connect to follow Beats 1's curators, like hosts Ebro Darden, Julie Adenuga, and Lowe, or a specific artist's show, like the Mixtape Delivery Service. Within hours of airing, the playlists from those shows will be available to stream.

You can also search for Beats 1 in the search bar and playlists from Darden, Adenuga, and Lowe will pop up in the results under Playlists, but you'll miss out shows hosted by your favorite artists. Alternatively, open the Radio tab, tap the big Beats logo (but not the Listen Now button), and then scroll down past the schedule to see the Featured Shows, and tap any you find interesting to Follow them and see the past shows as playlists.

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 makes Apple Music infinitely more useful in all sorts of surprising ways. 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 beat.

apple music tips recs
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 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 Recommend Less Like This. Eventually, your recommendations will be perfectly on point.

apple music tips choose again
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 the silhouette icon in the top left 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. Now you can customize each soundtrack with a photo instead, but only when you’re first creating a playlist. Go to *My Music > Playlists > New* 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, and then tap the little camera icon that appears over the playlist’s cover image.

Apple Music also uses the primary color in your photo to customize your playlist’s background color, which is a nice touch.

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 reorder 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 My Music, 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 For You playlist so I can add, remove, and reorder songs and save it as a new playlist.

apple music tips history
The history of music

Apple Music has a hidden history list. Just open the Up Next queue, which shows you what’s coming up, and then scroll up to see what you’ve already played. Music you’ve added to your collection recently can be seen in the My Music tab, which has a Recently Added section at the top of both the Library and Playlist views. It only shows you three things to start, but tap the words Recently Added to see more.

apple music tips see more
See the album, or more from the artist

One thing I like about Rdio is that long-pressing a song gets you clear options to View This Album, or see more by the same artist. Apple Music lets you make those jumps too, but they’re not as obvious. First, tap the ellipses button next to a song, and at the top of the contextual menu that appears, you’ll see the name of the song along with the artist and album name, with a thumbnail of the album art (circled at left). Tap on that to see the full album. Seeing the rest of the artist’s work is one more tap away, but it’s not obvious either: You have to tap the name of the artist above the album’s track list (circled at right), which appears quite small.

apple music tips cellular 2
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 > iTunes & App Store, and turn on the switch 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 since the iOS 8.4 update, or whenever you last reset your stats.

apple music tips musixmatch
Bonus: Sing along

Big thanks to Federico Viticci of MacStories for noticing this one! If you install an app called MusixMatch, its Notification Center widget will show you live-updating lyrics of the song playing in the Music app—including songs from Apple Music. You don’t even have to use the MusixMatch app once you get it set up.

Just download the free app, open it, swipe through the greetings, close the app again, and pull down from the top of your screen to get your Notification Center. Scroll to the bottom of the Today view, tap the Edit button, and find Musixmatch in your list of available widgets. Once you tap the green plus sign to add it, you’re set. Just open Notification Center while a song is playing in Apple Music and watch the lyrics update live—perfect for belting out your favorite song. It takes a few seconds to show up, and not every song I played in Apple Music had lyrics available. But it’s fun when it works.