Mobile Phones iPhone & iOS Top iPhone Music ID Apps Quickly identify songs you overhear By Mark Harris Writer Mark Harris is a former writer for Lifewire who wrote about the digital music scene and streaming music services in an easy to understand, no-nonsense manner. our editorial process Mark Harris Updated June 24, 2019 iPhone & iOS Switching from Android Tweet Share Email Have you ever heard a great song on TV or radio, for example, and wished you knew the name of it or the artist so you could track it down? Most of us have. Enter music ID apps for your smartphone to help you not only identify that tune but even link you to where you can purchase it. Music ID Vs. Music Discovery Typical music apps for the iPhone offer known songs and artists using online music services. This content is normally delivered via streaming or cached (downloaded) to your device. Some apps also give you a way to discover similar songs based on your tastes and those you have searched for in the past. This is music discovery. A music ID app can identify the songs you are listening to through a couple of different methods, and most use some form of online database. On method utilizes your iPhone's built-in microphone to "listen to" a song, sampling it. The app then attempts to identify it by comparing the sample's audio fingerprint against an 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. 01 of 03 Shazam Screenshot Shazam is one of the most popular apps used for identifying unknown songs and music tracks. It works by using the iPhone's built-in microphone — ideal if you want to quickly find out the name of a tune playing nearby. The Shazam app is free to download from the iTunes Store 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. 02 of 03 SoundHound SoundHound works in a similar way to Shazam by using the microphone on your iPhone to sample part of a song in order to identify it. With SoundHound you can also find out the name of a track by using your own voice; you can either hum or sing into the microphone. This comes in handy for times 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 that can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store is ad-supported (like Shazam) and gives you an unlimited number of music ID's. 03 of 03 MusicID With Lyrics MusicID with Lyrics uses two main methods for identifying unknown songs. You can either use the iPhone's microphone to grab the audio fingerprint of a song or type in a portion of the song's lyrics to attempt to identify it. This makes the app more flexible in your search for the name of a song. 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. The Music ID app also lets you buy songs you identify through the iTunes Store.