iOS 16 Clears up Shazam Confusion

Or maybe not...

  • iOS 16 will unite the Shazam app with the built-in Shazam feature. 
  • Currently, Shazams from the built-in tool don’t get synced to your Music app. 
  • Pro tip: A long press on the Shazam icon in Control Center brings up a list of your Shazam history.
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You might already know that Apple owns the song-recognizing app Shazam and that you can Shazam songs from the iPhone's Control Center. But have you ever wondered why your Shazamed songs aren’t making it to your Shazam playlist?

When I discovered that iOS 16 will sync the Shazam app with the built-in Shazam-powered music recognition feature, I thought, "Doesn't it do that already?" The answer is that it does, but there are some big gaps in the setup. The built-in service recognizes songs, but until iOS 16, it couldn't save those songs directly to a playlist. It's a small addition that makes everything less confusing to use.

"There is a 'Sync Shazams to Apple Music' option in the Shazam app. You then get a 'My Shazam Tracks' playlist in Apple Music," says Shazam user Wombert in a Mac Rumors forums thread. "[The] issue until now was that songs recognized via the Control Center shortcut would not be included in that list. Glad that's finally getting fixed in iOS 16."

Two Shazams

Shazam is fantastic. You just play it a snippet of a song, and it identifies it for you and can also remember it. Simple. But then Apple bought it, and things got a little weird. First, while Apple built Shazam into iOS, letting you use Siri, or a button in your iPhone's Control Center, to start recognizing music, it didn't remove the app from the App Store. 

"As a musician, I have to learn a ton of new music quickly by ear often, and being able to snag artist info and a direct link helps me streamline my process, so Shazam is a very important tool for me," musician Summer Swee-Singh told Lifewire via email. 

Shazam on an iPhone and an Apple Watch.


In fact, even today, there are two fundamental ways to access Shazam. One is to use the app. Launch it, press the Shazam button, and wait for your result. The other is to use the built-in version, which can be activated—as mentioned—from the Control Center and Siri, but also via Siri on your Apple Watch (which is really useful) and even via Shortcuts. 

And if you do use Shortcuts, then you won't see Shazam in the list of available apps that provide shortcuts. Instead, you'll see it in the Media section of built-in shortcut steps—only it carries the Shazam logo. You can also tap and hold on the Controller Center icon to see a list of your recognized tracks. 

Let's get even deeper. If you Shazam a song from the built-in tools, it will show up in the Shazam app if you have it installed. And from there, you can manually add it to the My Shazam Tracks playlist in your Music library or check a setting to do that automatically. 

Still with us? No. Neither are we.

Shazam in iOS 16

In iOS 16, things get a little less confusing. According to Someone on Twitter, music recognized in the Control Center "finally syncs with Shazam," which means that you can open the Shazam app and find your recognized tracks inside. 

Except that… it kind of already does this? But only if you open the Shazam app after recognition has happened. 

"Under iOS15, running Music Recognition from Control Center does result in the found track appearing in the Shazam app, but doesn't get added to the playlist," says Macrumors forum member Brijazz. "Kinda weird that it doesn't sync it to the playlist already, but hopefully iOS16 will remedy this."

What’s Really Going On Here?

Try it right now. If you have two Apple devices running the (current version) iOS 15, this one is easy. First, Shazam a track from the Control Center on one device. Then, open the Control Center on the other device, and long-press the Shazam icon. After a moment, that new track will show up. 

This shows that the built-in Shazam is syncing between devices without the Shazam app being involved at all. However, if you then visit your My Shazam Tracks playlist in your Music app, you will not see the track there—or at least, I don’t when I try it. To get Shazamed songs on that playlist, you must launch the app on one of your devices, and even then, the auto-sync may not actually work. 

This, we understand, is what iOS 16 fixes. By syncing the app, and the built-in feature, all of these weird inconsistencies should go away. To be honest, Apple should probably ditch the iOS Shazam app and build its functionality into the Music app. But given how sluggish and annoying the music app already is, nobody wants that. Still, at least we all now understand Shazam a little bit better.

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