How to Use Apple Music on iPhone

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Setting Up Apple Music

Using Apple Music
image credit Miodrag Gajic/Vetta/Getty Images

Apple is famous for its user-friendly interfaces. Unfortunately, Apple Music isn't quite in that tradition. Apple Music is overflowing with features and tabs, menus and hidden tricks, making it difficult to master.

This article teaches you the basics of all the major features of Apple Music, as well as some lesser-known tips, to help you get the most out of the service. This tutorial is strictly about how to use the Apple Music streaming music service, not the Music app that comes with every iPhone and iPod touch (learn more about the Music app here).

Once you've signed up for Apple Music, you need to give it some information about what music and artists you like. This helps Apple Music get to know you and help you discover new music to you in the For You tab of the app (check out page 3 for more).

Selecting Your Favorite Genres and Artists

You share your preferences in musical genres and musicians by tapping the red bubbles bouncing around the screen. Each bubble has a musical genre in it on the first screen and a musician or band on the second.

  1. Tap the genres or artists you like once
  2. Tap the genres or artists you love twice (double-tapped bubbles get extra large)
  3. Do not tap genres or artists you don't like
  4. You can swipe side to side to see more genres or artists
  5. On the Artists screen, you can reset the artists presented to you by tapping More Artists (the ones you've already selected remain)
  6. To start over, tap Reset 
  7. On the Genres screen, tap enough genres so that the You circle is complete and then tap Next
  8. On the Artists screen, tap Done when your circle is complete.

With that completed, you're ready to start using Apple Music.

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Searching for and Saving Songs in Apple Music

apple music search
Search results for Apple Music.

The star of the Apple Music show is being able to listen to almost any song or album in the iTunes Store for a flat monthly price. But there's more to Apple Music than just streaming songs.

Searching for Music

The first step to enjoying Apple Music is to search for songs.

  1. From any tab in the app, tap the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner
  2. Tap the Apple Music button below the search field (this searches Apple Music, not the music stored on your iPhone)
  3. Tap the search field and type the name of the song, album, or artist you want to find (you can search for genres and radio stations, too)
  4. Tap the search result that matches what you're looking for
  5. Depending on what you searched for, you'll see songs, artists, albums, playlists, videos, or some combination of all of those options
  6. Tap the result that matches what you're looking for. Tapping songs, radio stations, and music videos plays those items; tapping artists and albums will take you into listings where you can explore more
  7. When you've found the song or album you want, tap it to start it playing (but make sure you're connected to the Internet; you're streaming).

Adding Music to Apple Music

Finding music you like is just the start. You'll want to add the things you really like to your library so they're easy to access in the future. Adding music to your library is very simple:

  1. Find the song, album, or playlist you want to add to your library and tap on it
  2. If you're adding an album or playlist, just tap the + at the top of the screen, next to the album art
  3. If you're adding a song, tap the three-dot icon next to the song and then tap Add to My Music in the pop-up menu.

Saving Music for Offline Listening

You can also save songs and albums for offline playback, meaning you can listen to them whether or not you're connected to the Internet (and, even if you are, without using your monthly data allowance). 

This is great because music saved offline mixes in with the rest of the music library on your iPhone and can be used for playlists, shuffling, and more. 

To save music for offline listening, follow these steps:

  1. Turn on iCloud Music Library. Go to Settings -> Music -> iCloud Music Library and move the slider to On/green. In the pop-up menu, you can choose to Merge the music on your iPhone with the songs in your iCloud account or Replace what's on your iPhone with your iCloud music (if you're not 100% sure what the consequences of each option are, choose Merge. That way, nothing gets deleted)
  2. Go back to Apple Music and search for a song or album you want to save
  3. When you've found the item, tap the three-dot icon next to it in the search results or on the detail screen
  4. In the pop-up menu, tap Make Available Offline
  5. With that, the song downloads to your iPhone. You'll now be able to find it in the ​Recently Added section of the My Music tab or mixed in with the rest of the music on your iPhone.

How to Know What Songs Are Saved Offline

To see what songs in your music library are available for offline listening (both from Apple Music and as part of your iPhone music library):

  1. Tap the My Music tab
  2. Tap the drop-down menu just beneath Recently Added
  3. In the pop-up, move the Show Music Available Offline slider to On/green
  4. With this enabled, the Music only shows offline music
  5. If you don't have this enabled, look for a small icon that looks like an iPhone on the screen. If the music is part of your iPhone music library, the icon appears at the right of each song. If the music is saved from Apple Music, the icon appears on the album art on the album detail screen.
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Personalized Music in Apple Music: The You Tab

Apple Music For You
The For You section of Apple Music recommends artists and playlists.

One of the best things about Apple Music is that it learns what music and artists you like and helps you discover new music. Its recommendations can be found in the For You tab of the Music app. Here are a few things you need to know about that tab:

  • It offers playlists and individual albums - The playlists are created by Apple Music's experts in various genres and styles and can contain a mix of artists or songs from a single artist
  • Listen by tapping the play button - If you want to listen to a recommendation right away, just tap the Play button on it to start listening
  • Add playlists, songs, or albums - You can add a whole playlist or album, or single songs, to your music library from For You. Just tap into the playlist or album. To add the entire playlist or album, tap the + three-dot icon (or the three-dot icon at the top and then Make Available Offline, to save the songs). To add a song, tap the three-dot icon next to each song
  • Playlists can be slow to appear - The first time you open a playlist, you may think that something's broken. That's because all you'll see is the album art and playlist information, but no songs. Wait a minute and the songs appear. You won't have to wait as long the next time you access that playlist
  • ​For You shows you things you already own - This is something Apple needs to fix in later versions of Apple Music. For You recommends albums you already have in your music library (even ones you bought from the iTunes Store!)
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Using Radio in Apple Music

Apple Music radio
iTunes Radio is transformed in Apple Music thanks to expert curation.

Another major pillar of Apple Music is a totally revamped approach to radio. Beats 1, Apple's 24/7 global radio station has gotten the majority of the attention, but there's much more.

Beats 1

Pre-Programmed Stations

Apple Music is touted as being curated by experts in different genres, giving you access to collections of music assembled by knowledgeable people rather than computers. The pre-programmed stations in the Radio tab are created this way.

Stations are grouped by genre. To access them, just tap the Radio button and swipe down. You'll find featured stations, as well as two or three (or more) pre-made stations in a bunch of genres. Tap a station to listen to it.

When you're listening to a station, you can:

  • Skip forward, but not backward
  • Favorite a song by tapping the heart icon
  • Add a song to My Music by tapping the three-dot icon and tapping Add to My Music.

Create Your Own Stations

Like in the original iTunes Radio, you can also create your own radio stations, rather than just relying on the experts. For more on iTunes Radio, check out this article

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Follow Your Favorite Artists in Apple Music with Connect

Apple Music Connect
Keep up to date with your favorite artists using Connect.

Apple Music tries to help fans get closer to their favorite artists with a feature called Connect. Find it in the Connect tab at the bottom of the Music app.

Think of Connect as being like Twitter or Facebook, but only for musicians and Apple Music users. Musicians can post photos, videos, songs, and lyrics there as a way to promote their work and connect with fans.

You can favorite a post (tap the heart), comment on it (tap the word balloon), or share it (tap the sharing box).

How to Follow and Unfollow Artists on Connect

When you set up Apple Music, you automatically follow all the artists in your music library with Connect accounts. Here's how to unfollow artists or add others to your list:

  1. Manage the artists you follow on Connect by tapping the account icon in the top left corner (it looks like a silhouette)
  2. Tap Following
  3. The Automatically Follow Artists slider automatically adds artists to your Connect when you add their music to your library
  4. Next, to find artists or music experts (called "curators" here) to follow, tap the Find More Artists and Curators and scroll through the list. Tap Follow for any you're interested in
  5. To unfollow an artist, go to the main Following screen. Scroll through your list of artists and tap the Unfollow button next to any artist you no longer want updates from.
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Other Useful Apple Music Features

Apple Music New Tab
The latest releases to Apple Music are in New.

Accessing Music Controls

When a song is playing in Apple Music, you can see its name, artist, and album and play/pause from any screen in the app. Look for the bar just above the buttons at the bottom of the app.

To access the full music controls, including for shuffling and favoriting songs, tap that bar to reveal the music playback screen.

Favoriting Songs 

On the full music playback screen (and the lock screen, when you're listening to music), there's a heart icon to the left of the controls. Tap the heart to favorite the song. The heart icon fills in to indicate that it's selected.

When you favorite songs, that information is sent to Apple Music so it can better learn your taste and help you discover more music you'll like in the For You tab.

Additional Options

When you tap the three-dot icon for a song, album or artist, there are a number of other options in the pop-up menu, including: 

  • Start Station - Use this to create an iTunes Radio station based on this song, album, or artist 
  • Remove from My Music - Deletes the song from your music library. Use this to remove Apple Music songs (but be careful about deleting songs that aren't from Apple Music).

The New Tab

The New Tab in the Music app gives you quick access to the latest releases available on Apple Music. This includes albums, playlists, songs, and music videos. It's a good place to keep track of new releases and hot music. All the standard Apple Music features apply here.