How to Use iTunes Radio on the iPhone & iPad

woman listening to music on iphone in the sunlight

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Picking the songs you want to listen to in Apple Music is great, but sometimes you need the variety and surprise — and means of discovering new music — that radio offers. In that case, you need iTunes Radio.

Apple's streaming radio service iTunes Radio is a core feature of the desktop version of iTunes, but it's also built into the Music app on the iOS. Because of that, any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7 or higher can use iTunes Radio to stream music and discover new bands. Like Pandora, iTunes Radio lets you create stations based on songs or artists you like, and then customize that station to fit your musical preferences.

Want to use iTunes Radio on a Mac instead on an iPhone or iPad? Check out How to Use iTunes Radio in iTunes.

How to Listen to Beats 1 and Other Pre-Made iTunes Radio Stations

itunes radio interface on iphone iOS 12

When you use iTunes Radio, you can choose from a set of pre-made stations created by Apple and stations you create on your own. Whichever you want to use, begin by tapping the Music app on your iOS device's home screen. In the Music app, tap the Radio icon.

On the home screen of iTunes Radio, swipe across the top to see a set of live programs on Beats 1, popular pre-made stations, and featured shows hosted by DJs and musicians. To listen to one of those, simply tap it.

Beneath that list are two menus: Beats 1 and Radio Stations.

  • Tap Beats 1 to listen to live shows, past episodes of popular shows, and to check out the upcoming schedule.
  • Tap Radio Stations to see the list of all of the pre-made stations Apple offers. Tap items in the All Genres list to dig into multiple shows in different genres. When you find something you want to listen to, just tap it.

How to Create a New iTunes Radio Station on iPhone

creating an itunes radio station in iOS 12

While the pre-made stations in iTunes Radio can be nice, you're probably going to want to create your own stations, too. You don't do that from within the iTunes Radio section of the app, though. You do that by starting with a song. Follow these steps to learn how:

  1. Find a song in your music library that you want to use as the basis of your station. Other songs played by this station will be similar to it or enjoyed by other people who enjoy the same kind of music.
  2. Tap the song to start playing it.
  3. Tap the player bar at the bottom of the screen to reveal the fullscreen music playback interface.
  4. Tap ...
  5. In the menu that pops up, tap Create Station.
  6. When you do this, the new station is created. There's nothing on the screen that lets you know this, so it can be a little confusing. However, once the first song plays, or if you skip it, the next song you get will be from the new radio station you've just created.

Playing Songs in iTunes Radio on iPhone

listening to songs in itunes radio on ios 12

Playing songs in iTunes Radio on the iPhone is extremely similar to playing music from your library. The buttons for play/pause, volume, AirPlay, etc. are all the same. So, if you're familiar with using the Music app, you'll pretty much know what to do in iTunes Radio.

When the fullscreen playback interface is present, your options for controlling iTunes Radio are:

  • Playback: You can play and pause the station using the play button.
  • Skip Songs: To skip ahead to the next song in the station, tap the forward button. You can also go back and listen to past songs in the order they were played.
  • Add a Song to Your Music Library: If you like a song enough that you want to add it to your library, tap the + icon.
  • See What's Coming Next: To get a preview of the next song, swipe up to reveal the Up Next list. In most cases, this will only show one song into the upcoming playlist (if you've tapped the back button a lot, you'll see the list of songs you've already heard, but still only one new one).
  • Share Station or Song: Think you know someone else who would enjoy this station or just the song you're currently listening to? Tap ... and then tap either Share Station or Share Song, then choose how you'd like to share it.

There's a lot more to know when it comes to sharing music from your iOS device. To learn more, check out How to Share Apple Music.

  • Improving Your Stations: You can customize your iTunes Radio stations to your tastes by providing feedback on songs. When a song is playing, tap ... and then tap Love or Dislike. Songs you love will lead to more, similar songs being played. Songs you dislike will be removed from the station. You can also assign star ratings to songs already in your library.

How to Edit or Delete Stations in iTunes Radio on iPhone

Once you've created a few stations, you may want to edit some of your existing stations or even delete ones you don't listen to anymore. Strangely enough, you can't.

For some reason, Apple has removed the option to edit a station or delete it from iTunes Radio on both iOS and Mac. You used to be able to edit stations Pandora-style: by changing names, adding more songs or musicians to the station to mix up the type of music you heard, and more. That option is gone now.

So, too, is the ability to delete stations. Luckily stations don't take up storage space on your iPhone; they just show up in the iTunes Radio interface. It's a little weird not to be able to delete a station, but it won't really cause any problems.

No word on why Apple made this odd choice or whether it will ever restore these features to iTunes Radio.