The 10 Best YouTube Music Tips and Tricks

Make the YouTube Music app your very own, personalized DJ

YouTube Music, formerly Google Play Music, is a surprisingly good music source. Access YouTube Music on the web or from its iPhone and Android apps. Here are our recommendations to help you take full advantage of everything YouTube Music has to offer.

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Express Yourself: Create Your Own Playlist

Create a Playlist in YouTube Music

It's easy to create a playlist in YouTube Music, whether you're using YouTube music in a web browser on your computer or using the YouTube Music iOS or Android mobile apps.

To create your playlist, play a song, select Menu (three vertical dots), then select Add to Playlist. Create a new playlist or add the song to an existing playlist.

When you're ready to share your playlist as a party DJ, go to Libray > Playlists and play your music. Select Shuffle if you'd like your songs to play randomly.

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Stream Music Offline: Easily Download Tunes

YouTube Music logo on a smartphone with earphones
Chesnot / Getty Images

If you're planning a trip, you may not have internet access. YouTube Music allows you to download songs, playlists, and albums, so you can take your music with you. You'll need a YouTube Music Premium subscription to access this feature.

To download songs, playlists, and albums, tap More (three vertical dots), then select Download.

The iOS YouTube Music app has a nifty feature called Offline Mixtape, which automatically downloads content based on what you usually listen to. To enable Offline Mixtape, open the app, tap your profile picture, tap Downloads > Settings, and then toggle on Download an offline mixtape.

On the Android YouTube Music app, this feature is called Smart Downloads. To enable Smart Downloads, tap your profile picture, select Downloads > Settings, and then toggle on Smart Downloads.

Go to Settings > Downloads to specify the length of your Offline Mixtape.

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Music Everywhere: Play Songs Throughout Your Home

Cast YouTube Music on to your TV

YouTube Music makes it easy to play your tunes on other devices, so you can enjoy your music throughout your home. This process is especially easy if you have Google Home and Nest devices because YouTube Music is integrated with these smart speakers.

It's also easy to cast YouTube Music to your TV from the iOS or Android YouTube Music app. Open the app, tap Cast, and then select your device.

You can also listen to YouTube music on a smart display that uses Google Assistant, such as a Lenovo smart clock. If your smart TV supports the YouTube app, you can access all your YouTube Music content.

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Child Controls: Block Explicit Songs

Toggle on YouTube Music's Restricted Mode to eliminate explicit lyrics

If you let your kids use YouTube Music to stream songs, it's a good idea to protect them from explicit lyrics. YouTube Music makes this easy with its Restricted Mode, which blocks mature content.

To enable Restricted Mode, go to your profile picture, select Settings, and then toggle on Restricted Mode.

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YouTube Music lets you search by lyrics, even the wrong ones

If you know a song's melody and can sing some of it, but can't recall the title, YouTube Music will come to the rescue. YouTube Music's powerful search algorithms mean you can type a few lyrics into the search bar, and YouTube Music will present you with a list of matches.

Whether you use YouTube Music on your desktop computer or in the iPhone or Android mobile app, select Search, type some lyrics, and find the song that was on the tip of your tongue.

Here's a fun bonus. If you type the wrong lyrics, YouTube Music gets the gist of it. For example, typing Starbucks lover brings up Taylor Swift's Blank Space, with its often-misunderstood phrase, "Got a long list of ex-lovers."

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How Did You Know?: Get a Personalized Radio Station

YouTube Music's Radio feature lets you create a personalized radio station

While many music-streaming services emphasize personalization, YouTube Music takes it up a notch with its Radio feature. When you're listening to a song you really like, select More (three vertical dots) and then select Start Radio. YouTube Music will automatically create a personalized radio station for you filled with songs similar to the currently playing song.

If you're looking for more personalized playlists, your YouTube Music home screen automatically generates several constantly updating My Playlists, including My Super Mix, which includes a sampling of songs that span your tastes, as well as playlists that focus on specific genres of music you like.

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Work With Me: Collaborate on Shared Playlists

YouTube Music lets you make a collaborative playlist

YouTube Music makes it easy to share your playlists so that your friends can enjoy your selections. If you add or remove a song, the service automatically updates your playlist, so anyone you've shared the playlist with will have the latest revisions.

To share a playlist, go to your Library, find the playlist, select More (three vertical dots), and then select Share.

But if you're looking for a more collaborative playlist, YouTube Music lets you designate playlist recipients with permission to add to the playlist.

To make a collaborative playlist, go to your playlist and select Edit Playlist. Change the privacy option to Unlisted, then select Collaborate. Select Share to share the collaborative link with a friend.

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Wake Me Up: Use a Playlist or Song as an Alarm

Set an alarm with YouTube Music

Wake up to your favorite song, or set up a special morning playlist to get you energized for your day, using YouTube Music and the Google Clock app. This feature only works for Android devices. Google Clock isn't yet available for iOS. You'll also need YouTube Music Premium.

In the Google Clock app, tap Alarm. Set an alarm, then tap the down arrow. Tap the alarm sound icon, then tap YouTube Music. Choose your song or playlist.

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Keep it Personal: Don't Mess up Your Recommendations if Someone Else Listens

YouTube Music lets you pause your watch history

YouTube Music is a highly personalized experience. It constantly watches to see what types of music you listen to so it can populate your offerings with similar songs.

But what happens if you let someone else use your YouTube music app? For example, if you let your child choose the songs they want to listen to, will your recommendations suddenly include Raffi and the Teletubbies?

YouTube Music makes it easy to avoid tainting your musical offerings with someone else's tastes. Before letting your child or anyone else use the app, go to Settings > Privacy and toggle on Pause Watch History and Pause Search History. This way, nothing anyone else listens to will affect your recommendations.

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Set the Mood: Find Tunes When You Don't Know Exactly What You Want

Create a themed playlist with a simple search in YouTube Music

If you're in charge of the music for girls' night out, a child's dinosaur birthday party, or anything else, don't worry about painstakingly putting together a playlist. YouTube Music's amazing search function will do the heavy lifting for you.

Go to the search bar and search for the musical vibe you're going for. For example, enter Three-year-old's birthday party to yield offerings like Happy Third Birthday, The Party Freeze Song, and Dance Music for Three-Year-Olds.

Whatever background music you need, YouTube Music can help!

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