How to Use Apple Music

Everything you need to know about using Apple Music

Two women and a man huddle around a smartphone to listen to music

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If you're looking for a great streaming music service and have an iPhone or iPad (or other Apple device), look no further than Apple Music. Not only does it have a huge selection and great features, its integration with the entire Apple ecosystem makes it extra useful. Whether you're a long-time subscriber or just thinking about signing up, this article shows you the ins and outs of how to use Apple Music.

This article covers the Apple Music streaming service on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches running iOS 12. It doesn't discuss basic features of the Music app that comes with all iOS devices. For that, read How to Use the iPhone Music App.

How to Sign Up for Apple Music

Like other streaming music services, you have to sign up for Apple Music to use it (it does offer a three-month free trial). For step-by-step instructions on to subscribe to Apple Music, read How to Sign Up for Apple Music.

How to Search for Music on Apple Music

Once you've got Apple Music set up, it's time to start finding music to listen to. Here's what you need to do:

  1. With the Music app open, tap the Search tab.

    A screenshot of the Apple Music homescreen on iPhone
  2. The Search screen lets you search and offers shortcuts to Trending (i.e. popular) music. Tap Trending to see that content. To search for what you want, continue to the next step.

    A screenshot of the search feature of Apple Music on iPhone
  3. Tap the search bar. Make sure the Apple Music tab is selected so you search all of Apple Music and not just your current library.

    A screenshot of the process of searching Apple Music on iPhone
  4. Type the name of the artist, song, or album you're looking for into the search bar.

    Can't remember the name of the song or artist? Apple Music can also help you find music by searching for lyrics.

  5. Once you've entered what you're looking for, results will begin to appear on the page. The results are categorized as Top Results, Artists, Albums, Songs, and other categories. Tap the one you're interested in.

    A screenshot of search results in Apple Music on iPhone

    Other interesting categories include Playlists (playlists created by Apple Music that match your search), People (other Apple Music users whose names match your search), and Shared Playlists (playlists created by users that match your search).

  6. What happens after you tap the search result you're interested in depends on the item. Songs play, Albums show all songs on the album, Artists show all albums by the artist, etc.

How to Add Music to Your Library in Apple Music

Any music you find in Apple Music can be streamed by tapping the play button. But having to search every time you want to hear a song is a pain. Luckily, Apple Music lets you add songs and albums to your music library so you don't need to search for them again. Here's how:

  1. Find a song or album you want to add to your library.

    A screenshot of search results in Apple Music on iPhone
  2. In the search results, songs have a + icon next to them. To add the song to your library, tap the +.

  3. If you want to add an album or playlist to your library, tap it to view the full track list.

  4. Tap the Add button at the top of the screen.

    A screenshot of the album view in Apple Music on iPhone

    You can also tap the ... icon and then tap Add to Library.

  5. When the song, album, or playlist is added to your library, a big checkmark appears on the screen.

    a screenshot of the checkmark indicating music is added to Apple Music
  6. You'll also know it's in your library because the Add button is replaced by a download icon (a cloud with a downward arrow in it. More on that in the next section).

How to Save Apple Music Songs for Offline Listening

Adding music to your library is great, but Apple Music lets you do something even better. Just adding music to your library means that every time you listen to a song, you'll stream it. That requires either being on Wi-Fi or using wireless data, and — if you don't have an internet connection — you won't be able to listen to the music.

Get around those limitations by downloading the music to your iPhone or iPad for offline listening. This uses storage space on your device, but it means you'll never be without the songs you want. Here's what to do:

  1. Go through the steps from the last few sections to add a song, playlist, or album to your music library.

  2. Go to the item you just added. If it's a song, you can find it from the Songs list on the Library tab. For an album or playlist, go to the screen that lists all of the tracks.

    The album view in Apple Music, when songs are not downloaded
  3. Tap the download icon (the cloud with the down arrow in it) to download the song, album, or playlist to your device.

    A screenshot of songs downloading in Apple Music on iPhone
  4. You can download individual songs or entire albums, depending on the download icon you tap.

Want to remove downloaded music from your iPhone or iPad? It's almost as easy as adding it. Just find the music you want to remove and tap the ... icon and select Remove. Then you can decide to Remove Downloads (to leave the music in your library for streaming, but remove the downloads) or to Delete from Library (to remove the downloads and take the songs out of your library).

How to Share a Playlist in Apple Music

Apple Music lets you share the playlists you create with other users. This is a fun way to share your creations with other people who like the same kinds of music as you. To share your playlists on Apple Music, follow these steps:

  1. Create a playlist. You can do this with music that's already in your library or by adding new music from Apple Music.

    Not sure how to make a playlist? Learn how in How to Create and Use Playlists on iPhone.

  2. Next, you have to share your profile and playlist with others. In the Music app, tap the For You tab.

    A screenshot of the For You tab in Apple Music on iPhone
  3. Tap the silhouette icon in the top corner to access your profile.

  4. Tap See What Friends Are Listening To. This lets you connect with your friends to share music, see what you're all listening to, and discover new artists.

    A screenshot of the profile screen in Apple Music on iPhone
  5. Tap Get Started.

    A screenshot of the starting to share a profile in Apple Music
  6. Follow the onscreen prompts. Enter your name, create an Apple Music username, find friends from your Contacts app to connect to (or don't, if you prefer to skip this step), and then choose whether Everyone or only People You Approve can see your Apple Music profile and playlists.

    A screenshot of profile sharing options in Apple Music on iPhone

    This section focuses on sharing playlists, but these features also let you see what your friends are listening to, share music, and more.

  7. Choose the playlists you want to share in Apple Music. Tap the circle next to each playlist you want to share, then tap Next.

    A screenshot of playlist sharing in Apple Music on iPhone
  8. Choose what kinds of notifications you want from Apple Music, if any, and tap Done to start sharing your playlists.

    A screenshot of profile notification options in Apple Music on iPhone
  9. Now, whenever you want to share a playlist in Apple Music, just go to the playlist, tap Edit in the top corner, and move the Show on My Profile and in Search slider to on/green.

    A screenshot of the option to share playlists with the public in Apple Music
  10. Remember, depending on your settings from step 6, your playlists be only be shareable with friends or any Apple Music user may be able to find them by searching.

Found another user's playlist that you love? Add it to your library just like you would any other music from Apple Music. Tap Add on the screen that lists all the playlist's songs. You can even download the songs for offline listening.

How to Share Apple Music

There are features that you let share Apple Music with your friends and family. This can mean sharing a subscription or just sending a great new song. Whatever kind of sharing you want to do, learn how in How to Share Apple Music.

Using the For You Tab in Apple Music

A screenshot of the For You tab in Apple Music on iPhone

Apple Music isn't just a giant library of songs. It also learns your tastes and habits so that it can recommend music that you'll love. The For You tab is where that happens. Content there is updated at least daily, sometimes more, so check back often. On the For You tab, you'll find:

  • Favorites Mix: A regularly updated playlist that features the songs you listen to the most. This is your personal collection of greatest hits.
  • Recently Played: This lists the albums you've listened to on Apple Music most recently.
  • Daily Playlists: A selection of handmade playlists created by experts on your favorite genres served up to you daily based on your listening habits.
  • Heavy Rotation: The albums that you listen to the most on Apple Music.
  • Daily Albums: Every day, Apple Music suggests albums that you might enjoy based on what you've listened to. A great place to discover new music.
  • Artist Spotlight Playlists: Looking at the artists you enjoy, Apple Music delivers these curated playlists focusing on individuals or small groups of artists.
  • New Releases: The latest releases by artists already in your music library. Never miss a new album.

Lots of data goes into determining the recommendations on the For You tab. Help shape those recommendations by favoriting and rating songs. Doing this lets Apple know what you like, and what you don't, so it can give you more great music. Find out how to do this in Why You Need to Rate Songs in iTunes and iPhone.

Using Radio in Apple Music

A screenshot of Radio options in Apple Music on iPhone

The core feature of Apple Music is the streaming music service that's been discussed in this article, but that's not all Apple Music offers. The Radio tab has a great set of radio features, including Apple's expert-curated, DJ-heavy Beats 1 streaming radio station and Pandora-style stations you can make and customize yourself.

Learn all about Apple Music's Radio features in How to Use iTunes Radio in iTunes.

How to Cancel an Apple Music Subscription

Tried it out and decided that Apple Music isn't for you? Learn how to cancel your subscription by reading How to Cancel an Apple Music Subscription.