Apple’s new Classical music app is here - but you can't download songs

Apple Classical on iOS
(Image credit: iMore)

Alongside the release of iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, macOS 13.3, and watchOS 9.4, Apple has also brought out its long-awaited Apple Classical music app, where you can browse and listen to a bunch of music from the genre.

The app has been long-awaited by many fans of the genre, ever since the company bought Primephonic back in August 2021. In that press release, it was mentioned that the new app was going to be available in 2022, but that didn't come to pass.

However, it's here at last, and while it's iPhone only for now, it's a useful app that also boasts a lot of soundtracks from movies and games that you can find through the 'Browse' tab.

In my short time using the app, it does feel like version 0.5 for now in some areas, and not the complete package you expect from Apple's software efforts in recent times, such as Freeform.

Bach to the Future

Apple Classical - playlists and essentials

(Image credit: iMore)

Apple released a support document when Classical launched on March 27, where it states that you can't download music, only stream it. That could be an issue for those in areas with spotty reception, or if they're on a commute and they can't connect to any network.

As a bizarre temporary fix though, it recommends, in the same document, adding music to a playlist on Apple Classical, then switching to Apple Music and downloading the music from there.

It also explained why there was a separate app for classical music. "Classical music is different. It has longer and more detailed titles, multiple artists for each work, and hundreds of recordings of well-known pieces. The Apple Music Classical app is designed to support the complex data structure of classical music."

When you line up Classical and Apple Music together, it makes sense as to why Classical is its own app. There's simply too much content in this one category to be restricted to a music app where you can also download playlists from Rhianna, Arctic Monkeys, and others.

But there are some basic things missing here - the fact that you can't download any music in this app could be a fatal step for many users in keeping the app on their iPhone for longer than a day.

Hopefully, with WWDC 2023 looming, we could see some changes sooner than later, with downloading classical tracks being a top priority, and perhaps dedicated radio stations, similar to what Apple Music 1 has brought in recent years.

It's a fine start, but it needs some work on its notes before it becomes a respected Classical app for fans of the category.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.