Top 3 iPhone Music ID Apps

Quickly identify songs you overhear

Have you ever heard a great song on the TV or radio and wished you knew the name of it or the artist so you could track it down? Most of us have. Music ID apps help you identify that tune and also link to where you can stream or purchase it.

Music ID vs. Music Discovery

Most music apps for the iPhone rely on streaming or cached (downloaded) songs and audio. Some apps provide ways to discover similar music based on your tastes and search behavior. This is music discovery.

A music ID app can identify the songs you are listening to through some form of online database. One method uses your iPhone's built-in microphone to "listen" to a song and pull a sample from it. The app then attempts to identify it by comparing the sample's audio fingerprint against the online database. Well-known databases include Gracenote MusicID and Shazam.

Other apps work by matching lyrics to identify songs. These rely on you typing in a few lyrics, which are then matched using an online lyrics database.

The list of music ID apps below highlights some of the best music ID apps available to download on your iPhone.

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The iPhone Shazam music app

What We Like
  • Very good at identifying songs.

  • Seamless compatibility with Apple Music and additional content.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't hum or sing song to identify.

  • Somewhat basic.

Shazam is one of the most popular apps used to identify unknown songs and music tracks. It works by using the iPhone's built-in microphone, which is ideal if you want to find out the name of a tune playing nearby.

The Shazam app is free to download and gives you unlimited tagging with information such as track name, artist, and lyrics.

There's also an upgraded version of the app called Shazam Encore. This one is ad-free and offers more functionality.

Download For:

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SoundHound app iOS
What We Like
  • Fast results and discovery options.

  • Sing or hum along to identify a song.

What We Don't Like
  • Hit or miss accuracy when humming or singing.

SoundHound works in a similar way to Shazam. It uses the microphone on your iPhone to sample part of a song and then identify it.

With SoundHound, you can also find out the name of a track by using your voice. You can either hum or sing into the microphone. This comes in handy when you can't hold your iPhone up to a sound source, or you missed catching a sample of it.

The free version of SoundHound is ad-supported (like Shazam) and gives you an unlimited number of music IDs.

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MusicID app iOS
What We Like
  • Lots of information about identified artists.

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat buggy.

  • Hit or miss accuracy.

MusicID uses two methods to identify unknown songs. You can either use your phone's built-in microphone to grab the audio fingerprint of a song or type a portion of the song's lyrics. This makes the app more flexible in your search for the name of a song, provided the song has lyrics.

You can also use the MusicID app to watch YouTube music videos, look up artist biographies, see similar-sounding tracks, and add geotags​ to recognized songs.

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